Mexicans have rallied to the support of earthquake victims this month but a few have chosen to take advantage of the ill fortune of others, according to two incidents this week.
A band of armed men on Tuesday intercepted a convoy of three pickup trucks carrying emergency supplies for earthquake victims in Oaxaca.
The attackers opened fire on the vehicles, seriously wounding two of the occupants, after which they sexually attacked a young woman and made off with the relief supplies and 40,000 pesos in cash with which they planned to purchase more goods.
The victims were members of a group of young Catholic church volunteers who had left Mexico City that day to deliver supplies to Juchitán, one of the areas severely affected by the September 7 earthquake.
The administrator of a Catholic foundation that had gathered the supplies said one of the wounded youngsters was beaten so badly they had feared for his life.
“We are very upset; we have wept, helpless for both the youngsters who were injured and the young woman who was violated . . . .” said Carlos Arvizú.
He said there was no indication who was behind the attack, whether it was organized crime or the government itself.
“Our outrage is against the federal government, which is not protecting the teams sending aid. They’re not helping, they’re not taking supplies, nor are the state governors . . . .”
Arvizú said people should be worried about the consequences of the earthquake and should not have to be concerned about the safety of volunteers delivering aid to victims.
In a second incident, someone obtained the debit card of a young woman who died in the September 19 earthquake and stole 24,000 pesos (US $1,300).
The money had been taken out of a savings account held by Alejandra Vicente Cristóbal, 24, with at least five purchases last weekend both online and at physical stores including Zara and Best Buy.
Porfirio Vicente had opened the account for his daughter some years ago and since then father and daughter had deposited 100 or 200 pesos every week.
This week, after going through the pain of saying goodbye to their daughter, Vicente and his wife, María del Rosario Cristóbal, busied themselves with the tasks of settling their daughter’s affairs.
They were in the bank to close her account when they were informed that only 8,000 pesos remained from the previous balance of 32,000 pesos.
Cristóbal lamented the fact that the stores failed to verify the data on the card, allowing the money to be stolen.
Painful as the situation was, she said the act should not put a stain on the solidarity of the Mexican people and their massive support for the victims of the quake.
The bank has told Vicente’s parents that they are investigating the purchases made after their daughter died, and will reimburse the stolen funds.