Category Archives: Mexico

Proceso Journalist Murdered in Veracruz

Regina Martínez

The Mexican journalist Regina Martínez, a regular contributor to the Mexican magazine Proceso, has been found dead this weekend. According to the state of Verzcruz, where she lived, it appears that she suffered a violent death with signs of a beating, and eventual death by stangulation. Martínez dedicated more than thirty years to investigating drugs trafficking in Mexico and its links to central and local government officials. In the past two years Veracruz has become a battle ground between drugs cartels fighting for the ports on the Gulf coast. Martínez is the fourth journalist killed in the state  in the past 18 months. Reporters Without Borders now estimate that more than 80 journalsits have been murdered since 2000, with a further 14 disappeared. The death of journalists in Mexico is especially worrying as magazines such as Proceso offer some of the only quality reporting in Mexico, and play an important role in bringing the state to account.

Take a look at the Proceso website to keep up to date with all things Mexican.

 
 

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US Man Detained on US-Mexican Border With 268,000 Bullets

Picture of the back of the truck in Mexican customs

Mexican authorities have announced that they have detained a US-owned truck containing large quantities of ammunition close to Cuidad Juárez just as it crossed the US-Mexican border. Mexican authorities found the truck to contain more than 268,000 rounds of ammunition, mostly for automatic rifles. Although the driver, and the company that he works for, claim that he took the wrong truck at the depot in Texas, their story appears just a little implausible.

The story illustrates the extent to which companies and citizens of the United States are implicated in the violence which is occurring not just in Mexico but throughout the region. While it is widely known that most of the arms that drugs cartels use come from the United States, it is not often that it is demonstrated in such a clear and striking manner. Obama’s stance at the recent Summit of the Americas, however, shows clearly that the United States is still not ready to accept its share of the responsibility for drugs related violence in Latin America.

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Friday Film: Which Way Home?

Which Way Home? (2009) is a film directed by Rebecca Cammisa about Central American child migrants traveling through Mexico on top of freight trains. The film follows the stories of several children as they make the long and dangerous trip through central Mexico toward the border with the United States. The film is a fascinating insight into migration, people’s motivations for doing it, and the wider impact it has on families and on society. For more information about the film, see Bulldog Films, the production company, and IMDb.

I have not been able to find the full film available legally on the internet, but it is not difficult to find it with a quick google search. Here is the trailer for the film:

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Injustice in Cuidad Juárez: The Death of Don Eligio Ibarra Amador

It has emerged that a Mexican man that denounced police corruption in Cuidad Juárez has been found dead. Last September, Don Eligio Ibarra Amador, a businessman of 62 years, denounced ten members of the Federal Police for attempting to extort him and threatening him with kidnap. After he filed his report, ten federal officers were detained, but on 12th April of this year, assailants entered his house, stabbed him and then set him on fire. The story is a tragic illustration of the situation that many Mexicans find themselves in; they are caught between the violence of the drugs cartels on one side, and the corruption and incompetence of the police forces on the other side.

I am a little bit out of the loop with the YPF story, but I will be writing about that tomorrow.

 

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Peña Nieto, Vázquez Mota and López Obrador begin Mexican presidential campaigns

Source: solucionpolitica

As the Mexican presidential election campaign starts today, Enrique Peña Nieto of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) appears to have a considerable lead of his closest rival, Josefina Vázquez Mota of the Partido Acción Nacional (PAN). Despite having come very close to achieving victory in 2006, the Partido de la Revolución Democráticas candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is trailing far behind. The result of the election, however, looks much more uncertain than before.

Six weeks ago Peña Nieto was consistently scoring 20 to 25 points more than his closest rival, but the gap has now closed. This appears to be mainly because the number of voters who are undecided  has increased dramatically from around 20% to more than 30%. Peña Nieto’s fall in popularity appears to be good news for Vázquez Mota, although she has not been able to convert Peña Nieto’s fall in popularity into an increase of her own. Whereas the PAN was once seen as the change that Mexico needed, it is now what needs to be changed.

There is still more than three months until the presidential elections, and much could change. It is still not really clear what the position of the three candidates is on key issues such as the war on drugs or labour reform, and, of course, there is still time in which Peña Nieto can talk more about his favourite books and the price of tortillas.

For further information on election polls for the Mexican presidential elections, I found this poll of polls very useful:

http://www.adnpolitico.com/encuestas

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Is Calderón a War Criminal?

With 50 000 Mexicans dead, violence at an all time high, and drug cartels doing a roaring business, there is little evidence that Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s war on drugs has been a success. With anger rising, and Calderón’s presidential term coming to an end, there have been suggestions that he should be prosecuted as a war criminal. While there is a case that he has mismanaged the fight against drugs, it does not appear that he is directly implicated in atrocities against the Mexican people.

The Mexican military and regional police forces have consistently stressed the military aspect of the campaign too strongly, placing too much emphasis on the capture or death of leading drug lords, as well as the capture of huge hauls of drugs. This strategy has not helped to diminish the violence, if anything it has bred more violence. Calderón is ultimately responsible for the increase in violence, but he is not a war criminal; he is not Fujimori. What Mexico needs is a full and impartial investigation into the matter, not a highly politicised war crimes trail, although that looks to be a rather remote possibility.

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El Papa in Cuba and Mexico

As Pope Benedict XVI makes his second visit to Latin America this week, he does so at a time when Catholicism across the whole region is in steep decline, and evangelical sects are gaining many new supporters. While the Catholic Church is obviously still a very powerful and influential institution across Latin America, it is in danger of losing its influence as the population turns away from it in response to scandal or in search of a more modern  alternative. If the Vatican wants to retain its support in Latin America, it is going to require a little more than a few visits from an unpopular pope.

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