Follow-up to the Guillermo Martínez Rodríguez

January 5, 2006


I. Introduction

1. On Friday, December 30 at approximately 8:30 p.m., the Mexican consulate in San Diego, California was told by the Border Patrol that one of its agents had fired on an individual who then entered Mexico.

2. The consulate learned that Mr. Guillermo Martínez Rodríguez had entered the United States between San Ysidro and Otay from Colonia Libertad in Tijuana.

3. After being wounded by a Border Patrol agent, Guillermo Martínez returned to Mexico and was taken to the Red Cross in Tijuana where he died at approximately 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 31. Guillermo Martínez was 20 years old. He was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco and lived in Tijuana.

4. Following the Foreign Ministry’s procedures of consular protection for this type of case, steps have been taken at the local level and through diplomatic channels, the family is being assisted and there has been coordination between institutions.

5. The Mexican government has said many times that it firmly rejects the use of violence against its citizens abroad. Mexico deeply regrets the death of Guillermo Martínez, condemns the disproportionate use of force that led to this tragic event and repeats that it will spare no efforts to investigate the case and to make sure that justice is done.


II. Local involvement

6. As soon as the consulate became aware of the incident, consular officials from the Mexican consulate in San Diego went to the Red Cross in Tijuana to provide Guillermo Martínez with any necessary assistance.

7. That same night, consular officials contacted Mr. Martínez’ family to offer assistance.

8. The consulate also immediately asked the Border Patrol to investigate the event.

9. In addition, the consulate contacted the San Diego Police Department to request an investigation of the shooting, given that the police department is also responsible for investigating events that occur in San Diego.

10. At 2:30 a.m. on December 31st, the San Diego Police Department issued a statement confirming that it was opening an investigation. The communiqué states that once the investigation has concluded the results will be sent to the U.S. Attorney General’s office in San Diego.

11. On December 31st at approximately 11:00 a.m., consular officials from Mexico’s consulate in San Diego at the Red Cross Hospital in Tijuana, Baja California were told that Guillermo Martínez Rodríguez had died.

12. After confirming Mr. Martínez’ death, the San Diego Border Patrol was again reminded of the need for an exhaustive investigation. The concern of the Mexican government for the seriousness of the case was clearly communicated.

13. On January 1st, the Mexican consulate in San Diego repeated in writing to the Border Patrol, the San Diego Police Department, the Inspector General of the Justice Department and the San Diego office of the U.S. Attorney General that an immediate and broad investigation of Mr. Martínez’ death was needed.

14. Both the Border Patrol and the San Diego Police Department have expressed their concern regarding the incident and have confirmed that the corresponding investigations are underway.

15. On January 1st, representatives from the consulate, the Baja California Justice Department and the San Diego Police Department were present during the autopsy.

16. The Mexican consulate in San Diego remains in contact with San Diego officials and with the Border Patrol there.

17. In addition, as part of the program of legal assistance, lawyers who advise the consulate are analyzing the circumstances of Mr. Martínez’ death and, together with his family, they are deciding whether to follow either a civil or criminal legal strategy in order to make sure that justice is done.

18. The Foreign Ministry is also in contact with various civil defense organizations who are interested in the human rights aspects of the case.


III. Diplomatic involvement

19. On January 3rd, the Mexican embassy in the United States delivered a diplomatic note to the State Department requesting an investigation of the event and that the individuals responsible be brought to justice. The note clearly states that the Mexican government condemns the disproportionate use of force.

20. The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security have told the Foreign Ministry that an investigation has been opened into the event.

21. On January 4th, the U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice called Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff called the Mexican Secretary of the Interior, Carlos Abascal, to say that the investigation had begun.


IV. Contact with Mr. Martínez’ family

22. The Mexican consulate in San Diego contacted the victim’s brother immediately, and later spoke with his mother and partner to offer them consular assistance.

23. Given the family’s economic situation, the consulate assisted with the funeral expenses in accordance with applicable guidelines.

24. The consulate’s lawyers have contacted the victim’s family in order to explain their possible legal options once the investigation has reached a conclusion.

25. On January 2nd, personnel from the San Diego consulate’s protection department coordinated an interview between the detectives of the San Diego Police Department Homicide Unit, a witness to the event and the victim’s brother. Two police detectives, the consulate’s lawyer and consular personnel were present at the interview. The interview was arranged at the request of the Police Department detectives because they wanted to hear the witness’ version of events.

26. In addition, today (January 5th), a statement was taken from a second witness to the events.


V. Inter-institutional Coordination

27. The Baja California Attorney General’s office began an investigation, took the witness’ statement and conducted the autopsy. The consulate was in contact with state authorities.

28. Later, and given the possibility that a criminal act had taken place at the federal level, the case was given to the federal Attorney General’s office in Mexico, which has opened an investigation for the alleged crime of qualified homicide.

29. Mexico’s consulate in San Diego is the institutional channel for the investigations that are being conducted in both countries and for inter-institutional cooperation between all agencies involved.