Canadian company Terradyne sold armoured vehicles to the Saltillo police implicated in human rights violations

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Still from Vanguardia video of Terradyne armoured vehicle used by the Saltillo Operational Reaction Group (GROMS).

The Newmarket, Ontario-based Terradyne Armored Vehicles Inc. has tweeted that it will be at the CANSEC arms show in Ottawa this coming June 1-2.

In May 2014, the Canadian company tweeted: “Mexico delegation stop by the Terradyne booth at @CANSECshow.” It has also tweeted that it was at EXPO Seguridad Mexico in April 2014. And in February 2014, it tweeted: “Take a look at this video of the GURKHA LAPV used by Saltillo Police Department – GROMS / SRT.”

These tweets were made amidst reports of human rights violations by the Operational Reaction Group (GROMS) in the city of Saltillo in the state of Coahuila.

In December 2012, MVS Noticias reported: “The Human Rights Commission of the State of Coahuila issued a recommendation against the municipal authorities of Saltillo for the arbitrary detention of a person by elements of the Operational Reaction Group, the GROMS, who caused injuries and kept the person incommunicado.”

Then in July 2013, the Migrant Human Rights Network (la Red DH Migrantes) expressed “its concern about the probable acts of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, as well as violations of due process in the cases that occurred between March and June of this year [2013], documented and denounced by the Casa del Migrante de Saltillo ‘Frontera con Justicia’, AC, in the state of Coahuila.”

Their report compiled “the testimonies of at least 35 victims of alleged acts of threats, sexual assaults and torture by elements of the Municipal Preventive Police of Saltillo and agents of the Operational Response Group of the Municipality of Saltillo (GROMS).”

In August 2013, the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) also stated: “The OMCT has learned that the first half of 2013 has been characterized by a disproportionate increase in violence against Central American migrants by the Municipal Preventive Police of Saltillo and the Operational Reaction Group of the Municipality of Saltillo (GROMS).”

Their article further noted: “The OMCT has been informed of cases of suffocation, electric shocks and rape among various torture techniques.”

In 2016, El Siglo Coahuila reported: “After it was found that elements of the Metropolitan Operational Reaction Group (GROM) assaulted four people in Saltillo [on October 10, 2013], the State Human Rights Commission ( la Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos/CDHEC) issued a recommendation to request that a procedure be initiated and that the elements that incurred in the violation of human rights be punished.”

In June 2018, this report co-authored by PBI-Mexico noted (on page 22): “In particular, [the Casa del Migrante de Saltillo/ House of the Migrant in Saltillo] cite the Reaction Group Metropolitan Operative (GROM), one of the most important police units in the past for his way of acting in abuse of authority, according to critics. According to the information received, said group would have found itself operational again in El Saltillo, integrated as a Group of Municipal reaction under a new scheme of security.”

And in June 2019, Vanguardia reported: “The Coahuila Human Rights Commission issued a recommendation against the Metropolitan Operational Reaction Group (GROM) for the murder of two countrymen who were executed on the Saltillo-Torreón highway.”

Last year, the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos/CMDPDH) explained: “Although the special forces created in Coahuila between 2009 and 2012 were discontinued in 2016 after a series of scandals over cases of human rights violations, in reality they were only replaced by a new centralized organization called Fuerza Coahuila.”

Broader context

In 2016, the Amnesty International Surviving Death report demonstrated that “the Mexican police and armed forces routinely torture and ill-treat women, and that sexual violence is routine during arrest and interrogation.”

In 2019, Terradyne highlighted that it had sold its vehicles to the Nuevo Leon police in Mexico. It has also sold its Gurkha RPV vehicles to the Veracruz Fuerza Civil (civil force) and its MPV to the Ministry of Public Security in Ciudad Guadalupe, Nuevo.

CANSEC arms show, June 1-2

On Tuesday May 31, PBI-Canada will be hosting a webinar that discusses the issue of Canadian arms exports and militarization of territory in Mexico, Colombia and on Denesuline lands in northern Alberta. To register for that webinar, click here.

There will also be protests on June 1-2 against CANSEC. For more on that, click here.



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