Mexico’s murderous alliance of state, the army and the drug cartels

November 18, 2014

11/15/14 The Guardian 

Students are stood against a wall as Mexican soldiers prepare to cut another's hair following protests in 1968. Photograph: AP

Students are stood against a wall as Mexican soldiers prepare to cut another’s hair following protests in 1968. Photograph: AP

When the cycle comes around to commemorate the spectacles of 1968 in Chicago, Paris or Prague, few people outside Mexico remember that the real bloodbath that year was in Mexico City. It is not the hands wearing black gloves held aloft by American athletes at the Olympics that year, but the white gloves of the army’s Olympia Brigade, which fired upon crowds of students and families in the Tlatelolco district of Mexico City, killing 350 people in cold blood, that will be recalled. This was the quintessence of political violence in Mexico for decades, between the state and the leftist opposition. These were the faultlines which detonated the Zapatista movement in Chiapas during the mid-1990s, the mobilisation of workers in wretched sweatshops along the US border, the near rise to power of leftist López Obrador in his 2006 electoral bid.

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Mexico Grants Protection for Army Slaying Witness

November 6, 2014

11/05/14 ABC News 

gavilThe Mexican government said Wednesday it has agreed on protective measures for a witness who told The Associated Press and Esquire magazine that soldiers killed 21 suspected gang members after they surrendered at a warehouse in southern Mexico in late June. The woman told the AP she had been threatened by agents of the Mexico State prosecutors’ office if she talked about what happened at the warehouse on June 30, and said she feared reprisals. The Associated Press has withheld the woman’s name. In October, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission formally recommended that Mexico provide protection for her and her family.

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Mexico rights agency probes death of 22 in clash

September 24, 2014

09/23/14 The Washington Post 

gun - crime sceneMexico’s governmental human rights agency said Tuesday it is investigating the deaths of 22 people in a clash with the army that one witness has described as a massacre. The National Human Rights Commission expects to conclude its report on the incident in about six weeks. The agency is examining various aspects including reconstructing how the victims died, commission president Raul Plascencia said. The Mexican army reported on June 30 that 22 presumed criminals had been killed and one soldier wounded in what it described as a shootout after suspects attacked soldiers first. That version was cast under doubt due to the lopsided death toll and physical evidence at the scene suggesting at least some of those killed had been standing against a wall and shot around chest level.

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Mexico Pres: Army Killing of 22 to Get Full Probe

September 23, 2014

09/22/14 ABC News

crime sceneMexico President Enrique Pena Nieto said Monday that all questions about an army killing of 22 people that a witness said was a massacre will be answered by an attorney general’s investigation. “The attorney general is digging into the investigation and will be the agency responding to this issue,” Pena Nieto told The Associated Press after participating in an economic forum. He is in New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly meeting.

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Mexico agrees to investigate mass killing by army

September 22, 2014

09/21/14  Los Angeles Times

Army detentions MichoacanShortly after the Mexican army killed 22 people in what it described as a fierce gun battle with an armed gang, the governor of the state where the incident occurred praised the military for its actions. The army has courageously and tirelessly protected citizens from ruthless criminals, Gov. Eruviel Avila of the State of Mexico said in a public ceremony, thanking the military for the operation. But in the weeks since the June 30 killings, mounting evidence has raised numerous questions about the army’s version of events.

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A Quandary for Mexico as Vigilantes Rise

January 16, 2014

Mexican Army DetentionsThe New York Times, 01/15/2014

Word spread quickly: The army was coming to disarm the vigilante fighters whom residents viewed as conquering heroes after they swept in and drove out a drug gang that had stolen property, extorted money and threatened to kill them. They even had to leave flowers and other offerings at a shrine to the gang’s messianic leader.

Farmers locked arms with vigilantes to block the dusty two-lane road leading here. The soldiers demanded to be let in; people begged them to leave. Tempers flared, and rocks were thrown. The soldiers fired into the air, and then, residents said, into a crowd. At least two people were killed on Tuesday, officials and residents said.

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In Mexico, self defense groups battle a cartel

September 10, 2013

The Washington Post, 9/10/2013
m16 gun closeup

An audacious band of citizen militias battling a brutal drug cartel in the hills of central Mexico is becoming increasingly well-armed and coordinated in an attempt to end years of violence, extortion and humiliation.

What began as a few scattered self-defense groups has spread in recent months to dozens of towns across Michoacan, a volatile state gripped by the cultlike Knights Templar, a drug gang known for taxing locals on everything from cows to tortillas and executing those who do not comply.

The army deployed to the area in May, but the soldiers are mostly manning checkpoints. Instead, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is facing the awkward fact that a group of scrappy locals appears to be chasing the gangsters away, something that federal security forces have not managed in a decade.

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