The brother of U.S.-Mexican trafficker Edgar Valdez Villarreal, alias “La Barbie,” made waves earlier this week when he announced that his brother was refusing food in protest against prison conditions, but the details of the “hunger strike” suggest that Valdez is less than serious about it.
On October 12, the San Antonio Express-News cited Edgar Valdez’s brother Abel as saying that his brother had ceased to accept food at the Altiplano Prison in Mexico City. According to him, Valdez stopped eating in order to protest alleged mistreatment, including the fact that he has not been allowed to have conjugal visits from his wife since he was first imprisoned in August 2010.
But as El Milenio reports, officials in the Public Security Secretariat say that although he is not taking meals in the facility’s cafeteria, he is still eating non-perishable food that inmates can buy inside the prison.
Exactly how this amounts to a hunger strike is not clear, but either way it is unlikely to result in officials giving in to Valdez's demands. Authorities claim that his wife presented false documents when she first applied for conjugal visits, and is therefore ineligible.
Valdez, for his part, alleges that this is part of a plot by corrupt officials to harrass him, in response to his threats to reveal high level corruption to investigators.
The U.S.-born trafficker, who was a member of the Beltran Leyva Organization, apparently told his brother that he was afraid he would be murdered in prison, which may further explain his reluctance to eat in the cafeteria.