April 26, 2013
The 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…
The much lauded Pacto por México was put to the test following the release of an audio recording in which PRI officials are heard discussing how to benefit electorally from a government anti-poverty program. The Los Angeles Times called it “the most serious political crisis of [Peña Nieto’s] young government.” Plans to announce a new reform to Mexico’s banks were postponed as Secretary of the Interior Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong convened an emergency meeting with party leaders.
A small group of masked individuals seized the rectory building inside UNAM’s campus in Mexico City, protesting the expulsion weeks earlier of five students from one of the university’s preparatory high schools who were accused of vandalism. Meanwhile, members of the teachers’ union in Guerrero attacked the local offices of the four major political parties, setting the office of the ruling party, the PRI, on fire. The states of Oaxaca and Michoacán also experienced unrest.
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April 26, 2013
The New York Times, 4/25/13
One of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s signature efforts to shake up the country — a broad plan to overhaul the education system — has run into violent protests that underscore how difficult it may be to carry out, particularly in some volatile states with poor academic performance. Armed with iron rods and rocks, dozens of masked members of the teachers’ union in Guerrero State attacked the local offices of the four major political parties on Wednesday, smashing windows and overturning furniture. They also set fire to the office of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, to which Mr. Peña Nieto belongs.
On Thursday, in a further sign of the growing conflict over education changes, teachers marched down Mexico City’s main boulevard, temporarily closing it down. The education overhaul, which transfers power from the potent teachers’ union to the federal government, proposes periodic teacher evaluations to determine appointments, salaries and dismissals — a major adjustment for workers who are accustomed to buying or inheriting their positions and who have had, until now, virtual immunity from the state.
Click here for pictures and video of the riots.
April 25, 2013
The Washington Post, 4/24/13
Striking teachers in Mexico’s Guerrero state attacked the offices of four political parties and a building of the state’s education department Wednesday after the legislature approved an education reform without meeting their demands.
Dozens of teachers carrying sticks and stones smashed windows, spray-painted insults at President Enrique Pena Nieto on walls and destroyed computers and furniture. They set fire to the state headquarters of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party and another building. No injuries were reported as the teachers, some masked, ran wild after a protest march in the state capital of Chilpancingo.
April 12, 2013
Los Angeles Times, 4/11/13
Debate is intensifying over armed vigilante patrols that have sprung up in crime-plagued sections of rural Mexico, particularly in the state of Guerrero, where some patrols joined forces this week with a radical teachers union that has been wreaking havoc with massive protests, vandalism and violent confrontations with police.
The two groups, on the surface, would appear to have little in common. The vigilante patrols, typically made up of masked campesinos, are among dozens that have emerged in the countryside in recent months, purporting to protect their communities from the depredations of the drug cartels. The state-level teachers union, meanwhile, has taken to the streets to protest a sweeping education reform law backed by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
April 2, 2013
HuffPost Live, 4/1/2013
Mexico Institute Director Duncan Wood joins Juan Salgado, Kathleen Lowenstein and Sanho Tree on HuffPost Live to discuss the latest move by vigilante groups in Mexico. Vigilantes have seized a Mexican town, arresting the police and brandishing automatic weapons. Is this Mexico’s last hope in the drug war?
March 28, 2013
The Washington Post, 3/27/13
Hundreds of armed vigilantes have taken control of a town on a major highway in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero, arresting local police officers and searching homes after a vigilante leader was killed. Several opened fire on a car of Mexican tourists headed to the beach for Easter week.
Members of the area’s self-described “community police” say more than 1,500 members of the force were stopping traffic Wednesday at improvised checkpoints in the town of Tierra Colorado, which sits on the highway connecting Mexico City to Acapulco. They arrested 12 police and the former director of public security in the town after a leader of the state’s vigilante movement was slain on Monday.
March 27, 2013
The Christian Science Monitor, 3/26/2013
Some townspeople in southern Mexico who have taken up arms in the name of self-defense may be given a chance to trade in their masks for official uniforms. Bucking the federal government’s statements decrying impromptu militias, the governor of Guerrero has proposed legitimizing the armed groups in the tradition of the state’s autonomous community police forces. It’s a controversial proposal that could create friction as authorities wrestle with the emergence of armed groups whose origins are not always clear. The move could influence how officials respond to similar movements in neighboring states.
Organized crime and drug trafficking have hit far-flung rural towns especially hard, where official security forces are often weak, ineffectual, or co-opted by criminals. Back in January, fed up with extortion and kidnappings, the residents of Ayutla de los Libres, in the southwestern state of Guerrero, pulled on ski masks, armed themselves with shotguns, and began patrolling their streets. The group’s detention of dozens of suspected criminals and its plan to hold public trials, as well as highway checkpoints to keep out strangers – including soldiers – put the federal government on alert.
March 22, 2013
Animal Politico, 3/21/2013
After meeting with members from CRAC (Regional Coordinator from Community Authorities), Guerrero’s government officials are now planning to define and consolidate the roles of community police forces. They plan to send an initiative to Congress that plans to regulate CRAC and Community police groups.
March 15, 2013
The Miami Herald, 3/14/2013
he leader of Mexico’s best-known group of vigilantes said Thursday that his followers will set aside their masks and highway checkpoints, but they won’t disappear. Rather, Bruno Placido said his group is seeking to form a national movement with other “self-defense” groups that have sprung up throughout Mexico to fight crime fueled by drug cartels.
Placido said the vigilantes he leads in southern Guerrero state are trying to leave behind the concept of masked, armed patrols that have sparked conflict in recent weeks, after some groups were found to have possible links to drug cartels or engaged in tense confrontations with the army or rival cartels. “We have left behind the stage of ‘self-defense’ and are opening a new page,” Placido said. “The farmworkers who came out and joined the ‘self-defense,’ they can return to their work, the ranchers to their cattle.”
March 8, 2013
The president of the Indigenous and Peasant Unit Force (Unidad de la Fuerza Indígena y Campesina) (UFIC), Rocío Pérez Miranda, asked the head of the Ministry of the Interior , Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, to officially recognize indigenous women who serve as police Community their localities.
According to Miranda Perez, Chiapas, Guerrero, Morelos, State of Mexico and Michoacan are states where community policing entities have successfully provided the security that should be commissioned by the State.
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