Seven-Month-Old Baby Murdered With His Parents Becomes A Symbol In The War Against Gangs

Seven-month-old Marcos Colón and his parents were killed in a ganglang shooting in the Mexican city of Pinotepa Nacional. Appalled Mexican web users began to question their society's acceptance of violence

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  • Seven-month-old Marcos Colón and his parents were shot in the Mexican town of Pinotepa Nacional on Friday
  • Images of their bodies outraged web users, who questioned their society's acceptance of crime and officials' inability to deal with it
  • Marcos was likened by many to Alan Kurdi, the Syrian toddler whose body washed up on a Turkish beach to international condemnation
  • Users wondered why Mexicans were more moved by Alan's death than by the deaths of many Mexicans every day
  • Both parents are said by officials to have been involved in the drug trade, and that the killing was gang-related

Horrific photos showing the bodies of a seven-month-old boy and his parents slaughtered in Oaxaca, Mexico, have sparked fierce debate about the country's rampant gang violence and society's acceptance of it.

They also likened the slain boy to Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian toddler whose photo made front pages the world over after his drowned body washed up on a Turkish beach.

The Mexican baby, identified as Marcos Miguel Pano Colón, was being carried by his 24-year-old father, Juan Alberto Pano Ramos, and accompanied by his 17-year-old mother, Alba Isabel Colón, when their attackers opened fire on the trio in the city of Pinotepa Nacional on Friday evening. All three died on the spot.

Photographs of their bodies soon began to circulate on Facebook and other social media sites, prompting users to ask why violence in the country had been allowed to spiral out of control.

Santiago Pinotepa Nacional Oaxaca, a Facebook page focusing on the city's events, posted an image of the murdered family and likened baby Marcos to Alan.

'This picture is running all around the world. It is just like the Syrian boy,' the post read. 'Pinotepa Nacional became famous last night, not from an earthquake, sadly, but because of this image.'

One comment read 'There should be no likes for this image. If you must, it is better to have many or millions of comments of sympathy, and [comments of] contempt for the cowards who did this and the ineptitude of the federal government.' The initial post had 2,979 likes at the time of writing.

The page also posted what it claimed was a photograph of Marcos before the shooting. It shows a cute baby boy being washed in a bucket of water.


Left: One of the images of Marco Colón and his parents that shocked Mexico. Right: An image posted by the Facebook group Santiago Pinotepa Nacional Oaxaca that claims to show Marco before his untimely death

Solo Acapulco, a Facebook account dedicated to promoting the Mexican resort city of Acapulco in neighboring Gurrero state, posted a cropped version of the same photo, focusing on Marcos. It also mentioned Alan Kurdi.

Accompanying the image was this message: 'Do you remember the Syrian boy? Do you remember how indignant you were, and how you put your flag on Facebook? Because this is what happens in Mexico, to be precise in Pinotepa Oaxaca, where drug traffickers killed this family, including this little angel of seven months.'

At the time of writing, the post had received 52,524 shares.

Many Facebook groups, such as this one for Acapulco in nearby Gurrero state, shared the images. This post, like many, likens Marcos to Syrian Alan Kurdi, who drowned off the coast of Turkey to international outrage

The top-voted reply to the post, with 1,626 likes, said, 'We always support foreign countries and believe that what happens in Mexico is either something we deserve or that is it normal. 

'Like when people put the French flag in [their Facebook] photos - that was just an attack, but here in Mexico thousands of innocent people die every day because of crime.'

Another commenter, Roxana Yarani Añorve, said: 'This is our sad and terrible reality: that we live in a rotten country, where our independence from foreign powers did not help us much, where we are now our own tormentors... today we are cowards and allow this pass... the laws are just for show.' 

Twitter users also discussed the event. This post directly compares a photograph of Marcos and his parents with one of the most notorious images of Alan, who drowned off the coast of Turkey

Hundreds gathered to mourn the family at a memorial service held in Pinotepa Nacional on Monday

Police had detained four people on Saturday in connection with the murders, which were gang-related, officials told CNN.

They said that Juan and Alba were targeted by the gang for selling drugs. 'A rival drug gang from [the neighboring state of] Guerrero located them and had them riddled with bullets,' a prosecutor said.

Gonzáles 'El Isis' Gerónimo, a suspected drug trafficker linked with the slain parents, was also killed in Oaxaca state the same day.

Gang violence is rife in some areas of Mexico. The Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego, which analyses crime in the country, says that from 2006-2012, the total number of homicides in the country could have been as high as 125,000.

By Bradley Hayes 04/02/2016 12:15:00