Human Rights and Civil Society

“La Barbie” on Hunger Strike

La Barbie, captured in August 2010, has allegedly been on a hunger strike since September 26, 2011. Source: EFE

10/14/11- One-time high ranking cartel leader Edgar Valdez Villarreal, also known as “La Barbie,” has been on a hunger strike in prison since September 26, 2011. Through emails that he has shared with his brother, Valdez took up the strike in protest of being mistreated in the high security prison in which he is currently being held. Valdez, a member of the Beltrán Levya organization and at one time one of the most sought after men in both Mexico and the United States for his violence and drug trafficking, was arrested in August 2010 and transferred to the State of Mexico (Estado de México, Edomex) where he is awaiting extradition to the United States. According to El Universal, Valdez claims that the area that he is being kept in at the Center for Social Re-adaptation (Centro de Readaptación Social, CERESO) is very unsanitary and that he is punished if he tries to talk to American authorities. He also claims that neither his family nor his lawyers are allowed to visit him.

As cited in his letters to his brother, Abel Valdez, La Barbie fears that he is being held in such poor conditions because he knows too much about incidences of corruption among high level Mexican authorities. He believes that said authorities are conspiring and spreading rumors to other inmates saying that La Barbie has been “snitching” on them with the hope of inciting the inmates to turn on Valdez and kill him before he exposes anything.

In a press release, the Secretary of Public Safety (Secretaría de Seguridad Pública Federal, SSP) stated, “La Barbie has refused to eat the food prepared inside the prison since October 2, 2011,” which varies slightly from other reports indicating the strike began one week earlier. Regardless, other inmates have been selling Valdez food, which he has allegedly been eating. In defense of its facilities, the SSP also stated that the place where he is being kept is in fact sanitary and clean, he is allowed to exercise and go out of his cell everyday, and his rights are respected. The reason why he refuses to eat food provided by the prison, according to the SSP, is ought of protest against the denial of a female visitor, believed to be his wife, who was not allowed to enter and see him. The woman allegedly presented three different marriage certificates that all had varying birthplaces listed, thus resulting in her barred entrance to the CERESO facilities. The SSP did not mention anything in regards to La Barbie’s accusations that rumors are being spread against him by authorities.


 “LA SECRETARÍA DE SEGURIDAD PÚBLICA FEDERAL INFORMA.” Secretaria de Seguridad Publica Federal Boletines. October 13, 2011.

“La Barbie’ no está en huelga de hambre; rechaza comida del penal: SSP.” La Jornada. October 13, 2011.

“La Barbie inicia huelga de hambre en el Altiplano.” El Universal. October 13, 2011.

“Mexico drug cartel suspect ‘La Barbie’ on prison hunger strike.” LA Times. October 13, 2011.

1 thought on ““La Barbie” on Hunger Strike”

  1. Greg in Oceanside

    Let that punk starve himself – the quicker he’s off the grid, the better. This world (and Mexico) doesn’t need cretins like this existing on the planet.

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