Sep 19, 2014

Witnesses Say Killings by the Army in Mexico State was a Mass Execution

Last June 30, 22 young people were shot and killed in Mexico State by an Army unit. No soldiers were killed. The Army reported that they were attacked but news stories in Spanish and the AP reported that the circumstances were suspicious, to say the least. Representatives of the UN High Commission reportedly investigated the scene. The National Human rights Commission has opened aninvestigation.

Now the story has surfaced again (really, the possibility of an Army massacre of this size should never have disappeared from the news without clearing up the basic facts). The Spanish-language magazine Esquire Mexico and the AP found witnesses to the killings who reports that the Army executed the youth. "Caso Tlatlaya" as Esquire calls it after the place where the killings took place, is becoming big news.

The basic facts are not disputed. Twenty-two mostly young people hiding in a warehouse were shot to death. The allegations are that they belonged to a gang that crossed over the border from Guerrero. The biggest point of contention is whether anyone from the group ever attacked the soldiers. The witnesses and much of the forensic evidence suggests they did not. 

The Mexico State government of Eruviel Avila has denied any wrong-doing. At the same time, they refused to release autopsy reports to AP, heightening suspicions. AP ,reports, again following the Esquire lead,
The state government refused to release autopsy reports the AP requested under Mexico's freedom of information law, declaring them state secrets to be guarded for nine years.

A Christian Science Monitor article picks up the news of the eye-witness accounts.  Now  international human rights groups are jumping on the case and calling for investigations. It is not clear where the investigation of the UN High Commission mentioned in the first article currently stands. Tha National Human Rights Commissons refused to comment as its investigation is still in course.  This version from Aristegui Noticias (in Spanish) reproduces part of the Esquire article and interviews the courageous reporter.

Recall that Mexico state is the power bastion of President Peña Nieto y Avila is his selected successor. Bad publicity in Mexico state could throw off succession plans for the 2018 presidency and cast aspersions on the president.

Also, such a serious human rights abuse by the Armed Forces in the drug war casts even more doubt on the already-unpopular strategy. It also undermines the claims we have been criticizing here since its inception: that you can effectively control human rights abuses under the drug war model. This repressive model will continue to produce human rights abuses. Call it social cleansing, extra-judicial executions or abuse of power, both the police and the armed forces have been accused of huge rise in human rights violations since the drug war began in December of 2006

The latest revelations are causing a stir, with excellent Mexican investigative journalists asking questions and even the US press echoing concerns.  We will also continue to follow the story in these pages. The hope is that this will not be swept under the rug like so many cases in the past.
Laura Carlsen

Daughter of farm workers nominated

Mexico News Daily: The daughter of Mexican immigrant farm workers has been nominated the next American ambassador to Mexico.

Maria Echaveste, 60, is President Barack Obama’s choice to replace Anthony Wayne, who leaves the post this month after three years. Read more.

Sep 16, 2014

Certification prison: new onslaught of American interventionism?

Latin America Info: Last August 50 Women’s Social Rehabilitation Center of Atlacholoaya, Morelos, went on a hunger strike to protest mistreatment and tighter security measures in that prison, in the context of the certification process that promotes American Correctional Association (ACA, for its acronym in English).

The protest action, which just led to a small note in local newspapers, was a call of attention to a broader process that is taking place across the country: the importation of a punitive American prison model, on behalf security and governance.  Read more.

Mexico says will scrap limits on business dollar cash deposits

Reuters: Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Friday he would scrap limits on companies making dollar deposits in cash that were imposed by the previous government.

"Now companies will not have restrictions in their banks to deposit dollars in cash, or carry out currency exchanges," Pena Nieto said during a speech in the northern border city of Reynosa.  Read more. 

Sep 11, 2014

Mexico denounces deployment of National Guard in Texas border

Noticias MVS: Through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government of Mexico reiterated its "strongest rejection" and condemnation of the deployment of these military forces and said it is "irresponsible to manipulate the current state of border security for political purposes."

The government of Mexico reiterated its strongest condemnation of the deployment of the first units of the National Guard of Texas, announced Wednesday by the office of the state governor, Rick Perry.

Through a statement, the Foreign Ministry said that our country states that it is irresponsible to manipulate the current state of border security for political purposes and reiterated that migration must be addressed from a holistic and regional perspective, with a medium-term shared vision that guarantees peace, inclusion and prosperity in the region.

He added that the action taken unilaterally by the government of Texas is undoubtedly wrong and does not contribute to the efforts undertaken by both countries to build a secure border and a solution to migration. This decision does not accredit the collaboration among civil society and opposes the principles and values on which Mexico and the United States govern their bilateral relationship.

Translated by Nidia Bautista 

Mexico Is Only OECD Country Where Work Trumps School Among Youth

Latin American Herald Tribune: Mexicans between the ages of 15 and 29 will spend an average 6.4 years working and 5.3 years studying, according to a report released Tuesday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The study, Education at a Glance 2014, found that Mexico is the only country among the 34 OECD members where youth spend less time in school than on the job.  Read more. 

Youth in Mexico Confront a Bleak Job Market

Vallarta Daily: The National Survey of Occupation and Employment (ENOE) indicated in late August that 85% of youth between the ages of 20 and 29 earn the lowest wages in the country, at 6,000 pesos (US$450) or less a month.

The youth unemployment rate nationally stood at 8.3 percent, equivalent to 349,000 young people between the ages of 14 and 29, of which 14.5 percent are college graduates.  Read more.