Weekly News Summary: February 22

Coffee by Flikr user samrevelThe Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon, summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English-language press had to say…

This week, auto defensa vigilante groups in the state of Guerrero released the last of the 42 alleged criminals they had kept hostage for almost two months, avoiding a showdown with government authorities. The leader of one such group reported the first casualty since the movement began in early January. Human Rights Watch released a scathing report blaming Mexico’s police and military forces of involvement in several dozen missing person cases. The government pledged to address the issue by, among other things, collecting DNA samples from the families of the disappeared in an effort to match missing persons’ reports with thousands of unidentified corpses found in recent years. In Tamaulipas, an anonymous Facebook and Twitter campaign continued to attract thousands of followers eager to receive unofficial updates on organized crime. International observers drew attention to the lack of safety that journalists working in Mexico face.

What Mexican columnists had to say…

A salient topic in Mexican opinion pieces this week was Enrique Peña Nieto’s telecommunications reform. The project, which aims to create 3 new television networks, prompted meetings between the leaders of the PRD, PAN and PRI to work out the details of the reform’s presentation. Despite the hype, however, legislators and concessionaries have been excluded from the negotiations, and few people seem to know anything about the initiative. An important question underlying the discussions is how Mexico’s most powerful television networks, Televisa and TV Azteca, will react towards the project. After all, Peña Nieto was associated with Televisa throughout his campaign, and a telecommunications reform may end up transforming him from being the media’s puppet to being its puppeteer.

Controversy surrounding Peña Nieto’s security reform continues following reports that corruption had penetrated local police forces. His plan to control violence through crime-prevention strategies seems to contradict the mobilization by various community police groups throughout the country. While Guerrero’s governor, Ángel Aguirre Rivero and the coordinator of the PRI deputies, Manlio Fabio Beltrones expressed their willingness to discuss a legal solution to the issue of community policing, it is important to take into account that this mobilization is the result of a lack of state-provided security. Hence, in order to solve the security issue, it is important to look at the small details—such as closing the inequality gap—before Peña Nieto’s administration faces a much more complex problem.

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