Monday, March 4, 2024

Puebla prison in spotlight after baby’s body recovered from garbage

The notorious Center for Social Reinsertion (Cereso) in the San Miguel neighborhood of Puebla is once again in the news after the body of a young infant was found in the prison’s dumpsters.

A prisoner was looking for plastic bottles in the trash when he found the small baby with a surgical incision in its abdomen. The inmate quickly reported his grisly discovery to guards.

Authorities are uncertain how the baby entered the prison but said that it was not born behind bars. Visits by children are currently prohibited due to the pandemic, and there was no register of the baby’s ingress.

The cramped prison has the capacity for 2,100 inmates, but the prison population exceeds 3,000. It has been the target of humans rights investigations in the past and has a dark history of riots, gang control and corrupt officials.

The incident began to receive more media attention after the nonprofit Reinserta, which works with children who have been exposed to violence in Mexico, released a statement condemning the child’s murder.

The prison is notoriously “self-governed” by its own prisoners, the organization’s founder, Saskia Niño de Rivera, alleged. She said that extortion, corruption, visits from outside prostitutes and the manufacture of illegal drugs are all commonplace. She condemned the prison authorities for not implementing established visitor protocols and ensuring that visiting children have a safe, controlled environment.

The signs of recent surgery suggest that the baby was used to bring drugs into the prison facility, Niño de Rivera said. But ultimately, she blamed authorities for what happened, especially Puebla Governor Miguel Barbosa Huerta “for his absolute incapacity to maintain control of a prison in which the murder of this baby went unnoticed.”

In response to the revelation, the governor promised that the state Attorney General’s Office would conduct an in-depth investigation.

“This investigation will be handled with the secrecy necessary to uncover the truth, first determining where the child was born … because he was not born in the prison,” Barbosa said.

He assured the public he was taking the case seriously and said the investigation would dredge up “a lot of filth.”

With reports from Milenio and El Universal

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