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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Mexico’s Holy Warrior Against the Cartels

November 18, 2014

11/18/14 The Daily Beast 

roadside crossIf you want to know about the Mexican priest Padre Gregorio López, first of all you need to know that his parish is located in the small city of Apatzingán, at the heart of a region in southern Mexico known as a fiefdom of the Knights Templar drug cartel. Then you need to know that he considers it his religious obligation to drive the cartel out of the city and out of the state of Michoacán. The lengths to which the padre is willing to go to achieve that end have carried his reputation far beyond the rough-and-tumble region known as Tierra Caliente, so named for an average annual temperature that rounds down to 95 degrees. Land theft, the extortion of farmers, and the rise in kidnappings and murders were grievances left to simmer for years in the countryside.

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Protests rage over missing students in Mexico ahead of national strike

November 18, 2014

11/17/14 Aljazeera 

MIGUEL TOVAR / LATINCONTENT / GETTY

MIGUEL TOVAR / LATINCONTENT / GETTY

Protests over the disappearance of 43 missing students raged across Mexico and the United States over the weekend. Activists blamed a government they say has ties to organized crime and called for people in Mexico and the U.S. to support a Mexico-wide strike on Thursday. Coinciding with the Nov. 20 strike, protest marches will be held in Mexico City, as well as dozens of cities across the U.S. including New York City and Los Angeles. “We want to warn that these acts of protest will not be silenced while the civil and human rights of our Mexican brothers continue to be violated and trampled on by a government that has colluded with organized crime and to those who blamed the crimes committed by the state on [cartels] — thereby evading their own responsibility in the state sponsored genocide that has been committed with total impunity,” #YoSoy123NY, the New York chapter of a Mexican social movement that opposes Mexico’s current government, said in a statement handed out at a protest in New York City on Sunday.

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Meth-lab busts down; dealers getting drug from Mexico

November 18, 2014

11/17/14 USA Today 

Meth_User_400x602Law-enforcement agencies across Tennessee are trumpeting a drop in meth lab busts, but their excitement is tempered by a cheaper, stronger version of the drug coming from the same Mexican drug cartels that bring heroin and cocaine. Methamphetamine lab busts and seizures are down 41% across the state, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Other meth-heavy states such as Missouri and Oklahoma have seen similar trends this year.

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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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Pope laments ‘murder’ of missing Mexican students

November 13, 2014

11/12/14 Reuters

Reuters/Tony Gentile

Reuters/Tony Gentile

Pope Francis on Wednesday expressed his sorrow at what he said is clearly the murder of 43 missing Mexican students, though the government has yet to officially declare them dead after their abduction and apparent massacre in the southwest of the country in late September. Mexico’s government has said evidence suggests the 43 trainee teachers were handed over by corrupt police to members of a local drug gang who then incinerated them, but it has yet to confirm the deaths for lack of definitive proof. The case has plunged President Enrique Pena Nieto’s government into its biggest crisis and sparked huge protests. On Saturday night, some demonstrators set fire to the door of the ceremonial presidential palace in central Mexico City. “I’d like somehow to say that I am with the Mexicans, those present and those at home, in this painful moment of what is legally speaking disappearance, but we know, the murder of the students,” Francis said in his general audience in the Vatican.

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