March 31, 2014
The triangle of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras is now considered to be the most violent non-war zone on the planet. San Pedro Sula, Honduras, was the most violent city in the world in 2012, recording more than three murders a day.
Guatemala City has also emerged as one of the region’s most violent. Between 2008 and 2012, more than 24,000 murders took place there. A similar dynamic of street violence and homicides has taken root in El Salvador, the home base of the Maras.
By contrast, in Chiapas during 2010 and 2011 fewer than 200 murders a year were reported. The number nearly doubled in 2012 to 392, but that’s still much lower per capita than the number reported in Mexican cities such as Ciudad Juarez and Acapulco, or even U.S. cities such as Chicago and New York.
January 23, 2014
The Christian Science Monitor, 01/20/2014
It’s become known as the Peña Nieto model of political ascent, after the current Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto: Drape a comely television star on the arm of a telegenic governor. Get attention from a major television network. Then turn on a spigot of cash for publicity.
Many say the tactic helped President Peña Nieto, who is married to a former television actress, triumph in 2012. Now, other governors are trying to do the same – with mixed results.
Gov. Manuel Velasco Coello of Chiapas state is one of them. Like Peña Nieto, his smile lights up his surroundings.
For the past year, Mr. Velasco, Mexico’s youngest governor at 33, has been a staple in society magazines, partly because of his romance with Anahi Giovanna Puente Portilla, a soap opera star and singer who is universally known by just one name: Anahi (pronounced ah-nah-EE). Her tweets from her @anahi account constantly proclaim her love for the governor.
January 22, 2014
Fox News Latino, 01/22/2014
Standing alongside a dirt road in the steep hills outside of Ocosingo, a town in Chiapas, in southern Mexico, Diego Méndez Gómez, a skinny 13-year-old coffee farmer pointed down at the colonial town center, a bumpy 40-minute truck ride away. “I used to go to school there,” he explained. Now he helps his father tend livestock, grow vegetables, and cultivate coffee. He left school a year ago, at age 12. On the hillside above, a man walked a donkey up the incline, past a patch of corn plants and a few small wooden houses with corrugated steel roofs. It’s Manuel Gómez Guzmán, a 35-year-old butcher who works in the colonial city of San Cristobal but travels to visit his parents outside Ocosingo. “We live from coffee,” he explained. Every year Gomez’s parents grow about 450 pounds of coffee, a yield that earns them a few hundred dollars of cash income. “I come to help them harvest and then go back [to San Cristobal],” Gomez explained. Behind him, an array of light tan beans sat under the hot sun on a tarp on the dusty road. “The beans take about four days to dry out,” Gómez explained.
Chiapas, Mexico, is coffee country, supplier of premium beans to boutique coffee brands and major international companies such as Starbucks and Nestle. But Chiapas is, too, home to many of the poorest towns in Mexico, despite concentrated efforts to invest following fair trade and sustainable production guidelines.
October 31, 2013
The Los Angeles Times, 10/31/2013
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced Wednesday that he would pardon an indigenous teacher who has spent 13 years in prison after being convicted of participating in the murder of seven police officers.
The case of Alberto Patishtan has been a cause celebre for many human rights activists who maintained that he did not receive a fair hearing in the courts and was denied due process. He was serving a 60-year sentence.
October 30, 2013
BBC News, 10/30/2013
Alberto Patishtan, 41, was convicted in 2002 for the murder of seven policemen in southern Chiapas state during the Zapatista rebel uprising. President Pena Nieto said he would pardon him under a new law which widens the scope of executive reprieves. Human rights groups have argued that Patishtan’s trial was flawed and beset by irregularities.
President Pena Nieto said on his Twitter account that the pardon would come into effect on Thursday, when the new law comes into force. The law, which allows for leniency in cases in which the convict’s human rights are considered to have been violated, was passed on Tuesday.
August 6, 2013
Los Angeles Times, 8/3/2013
The Mexican government is pledging to bring order to its wild southern border. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and the job couldn’t be more difficult.
The proof lies in this dusty border town of 14,000 people. Here, unmonitored goods and travelers float across the wide Suchiate River — the boundary between Guatemala and the Mexican state of Chiapas — on a flotilla of inner-tube rafts. They cross all day long, in plain sight of Mexican authorities stationed a few yards upriver at an official border crossing. Some of the Central Americans are visiting just for the day. Others are hoping to find work on Mexican coffee plantations or banana farms. But many will continue north toward the United States.
July 25, 2013
Mexico detained 94 illegal immigrants, including 19 from the Indian subcontinent, packed into a truck bound for the U.S. border, authorities said on Tuesday.
Among the people found near the southern city of Tuxtla Gutierrez, capital of Chiapas state, were 10 Nepalese and nine Bangladeshis trying to reach the United States, officials said. Apprehensions of Asians immigrating illegally to the United States have increased sharply in recent years, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.