July 16 2004

TV Soap Opera on Ciudad Juarez Murders Infuriates Victims’ Families

By Greg Bloom
Frontera NorteSur

A new soap-opera style show about the Ciudad Juárez serial killings being broadcast across Mexico has infuriated many victims’ families and made Televisión Azteca the target of families’ anger. The show, “Tan infinito como el desierto” (As Infinite as the Desert), has also drawn criticism from the Ciudad Juárez lawyers’ bar and the Chihuahua attorney general. 

According to a June 1, 2004 Reuters article the five part series recreates a murder every night of its run and explores a different line of police inquiry into the killings. These lines of investigation include the creation of snuff films, Satanic masses and copy-cat killings based on previous serial murderers.  

In recent years, snuff films and Satanism have not been seen as the likely origins of the violence which has claimed over 300 women’s lives since 1993. Many of these women were killed by their spouses or partners. More than 100 were killed in a serial manner which includes abduction and typically rape (which can sometimes not be confirmed from forensic evidence). The primary suspects in these killings include sexual predators, a group of wealthy men and/or drug traffickers. 

An article in the Ciudad Juárez newspaper El Diario states that victims’ family members have said that they will sue Azteca if they are not reimbursed for the company’s unauthorized use of their daughters’ names and images. 

Victoria Caraveo Vallina, head of the Instituto Chihuahuense de la Mujer (Chihuahua Women’s Institute, Ichimu), said that the Barra y Colegio de Abogados de Ciudad Juárez (Cd. Juárez lawyers’ bar) will begin a legal process against Azteca at the federal level for crimes including plagiarism and defamation. Fifteen victims’ mothers that met at Ichimu on July 12 said that they want to begin legal action against the broadcast company. 

Salvador Urbina Quiroz told El Diario that based on his analysis of the program there is a legal case to be made against Azteca. 

Jesús Píñon Jiménez, Chihuahua’s Attorney General, said that his office sees the program as lacking any truth and does not rule out the possibility that he will contact Azteca executives. He added that his office will respect any decision that the victims’ mothers make. 

Píñon told El Diario that “Tan infinito” is plagued by errors, confusion and, above all, lies.  Some of the program’s biggest lies according to Píñon were the crimes’ alleged motives and causes. 

Frontera NorteSur: an on-line news coverage of the US-Mexico border: http://frontera.nmsu.edu

Return to the Frontpage