Vetting Failed to Cull Mexican Cops Accused in Student Kidnappings

November 18, 2014

11/18/14 Bloomberg

federal police mexicoThe Mexican police who are accused of kidnapping 43 students in Guerrero state two months ago and handing them to a drug gang didn’t dodge the government’s vetting process. Most of the officers involved had cleared it. In Sonora, a state prison chief remains on the job three years after he failed his background check. And in Jalisco, a mayor said he wants to re-test officers found unfit to serve — because he can’t afford the severance payments if he fired them. The cases, across Mexico, shed light on how corruption in law enforcement has continued to fester under President Enrique Pena Nieto as he focused on economic improvements and an international image makeover for the country.

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Death and corruption prove that the idea of a new Mexico was a mirage

November 18, 2014

11/15/14 The Guardian

Mexican Flag XXLIn Mexico, we are now living the end of a dream. In fact, it was always a mirage – the “Mexican moment” as it was called – created with the help of an intense campaign of public relations, a momentary economic surge, massaged statistics claiming a reduction in violence and reforms that, until now, exist only on paper. Then there is the well-groomed presidential figure of Enrique Peña Nieto. He framed himself not only as a reformer but as the very saviour of Mexico. Incredibly, he was honoured by an international press that is now flaying him. Since late September, the world has seen the raw, true face of the “moment”. Three students from a rural teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa were murdered and another 43 “disappeared” on 26 September in the city of Iguala, demonstrating collusion at all levels of the government with organised crime. It also showed the failure of Peña Nieto to guarantee peace, law and justice, each one elemental for the existence of a viable state.

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A Familiar Anger Begins to Boil Again in Mexico

November 17, 2014

11/15/14 New York Times

MIGUEL TOVAR / LATINCONTENT / GETTY

Miguel Tovar / Latincontent / Getty

The fate of 43 college students missing and presumed killed and burned to ashes in a mass abduction in September has bred ire and indignation in many corners of Mexico Andrew Selee, a Mexico scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, said isolated areas like Ciudad Juárez and Monterrey received more attention after mass killings, resulting in some drops in crime. But politicians have been unable to carry out effective anticorruption measures and a broad retooling of institutions.“Politicians of all parties have a great opportunity to make transparency and fighting corruption a banner that they all want to march behind, but it is an open question if that will happen,” Mr. Selee said. “Historically, there is a lot of tolerance for corruption in all the parties; no one wants to offend an ally or friend. But the political class risks losing more credibility with citizens if they don’t come out clearly to do something.”

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Mexico’s reforms built on shaky ground

November 17, 2014

11/15/14 The Miami Herald 

Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

Visiting this country after several months, more than a month after the disappearance and likely murder of 43 students by drug gangs in cahoots with local authorities in the state of Guerrero, feels like arriving in a different country. Only a few months ago, President Enrique Peña Nieto was receiving an award for “statesman of the year” in New York, and his government’s bold energy and education reforms were being heralded by world media as the start of a “Mexican Moment” that would put this country on a fast track to the First World. But now, while Mexico’s economy continues to do much better than that of Venezuela, Argentina or Brazil, Mexicans have suddenly become enraged over the country’s endemic violence, and over a series of new scandals that are widely seen as signs of massive political corruption. Whoever you talk to, poor and rich, agree that the Sept. 26-27 killings in the town of Iguala — alongside new scandals involving possible government corruption in a murky $3.7 billion high-speed train construction bid awarded to a Chinese consortium, and the purchase of a $7 million mansion by first lady Angelica Rivero — have led to Peña Nieto’s worst political crisis since he took office two years ago.

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Op-Ed: In Mexico, Still No Justice

November 12, 2014

11/11/14 The New York Times

criminal_justice_jurisprudenceOn Friday, Mexican officials announced that three members of a drug cartel had confessed to burning the bodies of 43 students who were abducted in Iguala, a town in the southern state of Guerrero, on Sept. 26 and then killed. The mayor of Iguala and his wife are in custody, accused of ordering the seizure of the students by local police, who then handed them over to the drug gangs. The discovery, during the search for the students, of other mass graves in the area has reinforced the picture of a catastrophic local breakdown of law and order.

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Missing Students Part of Mexican Scourge

November 6, 2014

11/05/14 Wall Street Journal 

guerreroEvery day several thousand soldiers, police and civilian volunteers in Mexico’s southern Guerrero state pick through garbage dumps, wade across rivers and scour wooded mountainsides in search of 43 college students who vanished here nearly six weeks ago. They have yet to find the students, who officials say were picked up by corrupt police and handed over to an allied drug cartel, presumably to be killed. But searchers have found plenty of other horrors, including a string of mass graves with 50 unidentified victims that DNA tests show are not the students. Most of those victims were chopped into bits and set on fire.

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Mexico missing case: Students go on strike in solidarity

November 5, 2014

11/05/14 BBC News

AFP

AFP

University students in Mexico are starting a 72-hour nationwide strike in support of 43 trainee teachers who disappeared in the south-western state of Guerrero more than five weeks ago. The students are also planning a protest march in the capital, Mexico City, on Wednesday. The 43 disappeared after clashing with police in the town of Iguala. The fugitive mayor of Iguala was detained on Tuesday for allegedly giving the order to intercept them. Jose Luis Abarca and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, were detained without a shot being fired in a modest house in a working-class neighbourhood of Mexico City. A woman who had rented the house to the couple was also arrested on suspicion of aiding a fugitive.

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