Mexico’s Congress OKs New National Guard Championed by Lopez Obrador

3/15/2019 – The New York Times

09-03-2019-FOTO-06-PRECIOS-DE-GARANTIA-PRODUCTORES-DE-LECHE-JALISCO-1024x682.jpgMEXICO CITY — Mexico’s Congress on Thursday approved President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s plan to create a national guard, a key piece of the government’s strategy to rein in gang violence that has cost tens of thousands of lives over the past decade.

With approval in hand from both the lower house and Senate, the constitutional reform to create the national guard will now head to Lopez Obrador for his ratification and then be published in the official gazette to become law.

The government said initially that in a first phase, the guard would consist of some 50,000 members transferred from military and federal police forces. Mexican Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said recently the ranks of the national guard would grow to some 80,000 by the end of the year.

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Mexico rescues 34 Central Americans from home in violent Tamaulipas state

3/14/2019 – Reuters

photo-1537222961176-50d25fff78ef.jpgMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican authorities said on Wednesday that military personnel rescued 34 Central Americans from a home in the violent northeastern state of Tamaulipas, but said no arrests were made because the people who were watching over the migrants fled.

The eight Guatemalans, 25 Hondurans and one El Salvadoran who were rescued, are likely not the same group of people as the 22 passengers kidnapped by armed men from a bus in northern Mexico last week, a spokeswoman for the state of Tamaulipas said.

“Military personnel rescued 34 people of Central American nationality, of which 19 are adults and 15 minors … At the same address 4 vehicles, 3 high-caliber weapons, magazines and cartridges were found,” state authorities said in a statement.

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Mexico acknowledges failure on gender violence, unveils plan

3/7/2019 – Associated Press

cap 2By Maria Verza

Authorities acknowledged Wednesday that Mexico has failed to do enough to protect women and girls, and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government presented a plan to combat gender violence.

It includes efforts to identify and fix holes in active murder investigations; to strengthen cooperation between prosecutors, health services and other authorities; to standardize femicide, or killings of women that are directly gender-related, as a crime nationwide; and to search for women as soon as they are reported missing.

Currently, disappearances are often not investigated immediately, and experts say that means critical hours or days are wasted. Femicide is not typified as a crime in 13 states, and women’s advocacy groups have regularly called for that to be remedied.

Nadine Gasman, president of the National Women’s Institute, said during a news conference with Lopez Obrador that the goal is to attend to women “with sensitivity and quality.” She called violence against women “a government problem.”

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Mexico Approves 60,000-Strong National Guard. Critics Call It More of the Same.

3/1/2019 – The New York Times

Mario Guzman/EPA, via Shutterstock

By Kirk Semple and Paulina Villegas

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s Congress on Thursday approved the creation of a 60,000-member National Guard to tackle the nation’s public security crisis, a force that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has made a cornerstone of his plan to confront organized crime and curb soaring violence.

The vote capped months of legislative wrangling over the nature of the force and who would control it, with human-rights activists and civil society groups lobbying fiercely to limit the military’s influence on it and warning it could represent the further militarization of policing in Mexico.

In the end, Congress decided the National Guard would have an explicitly civilian, rather than military, character, with the new force lodged under the authority of the civilian Ministry of Security and Citizen Protection.

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Mexico to help “El Chapo” family seek US humanitarian visas

2/21/2019 – The Washington Post

(United States Drug Enforcement Administration via AP) (Associated Press)

By the Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he has instructed his government to assist convicted drug trafficker Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s family in seeking humanitarian visas to visit Guzman in the United States.

Lopez Obrador said Friday that during a visit last week to Guzman’s hometown in Sinaloa state, a lawyer passed him a letter from Guzman’s mother. Lopez Obrador says that she asked for legal and humanitarian support for her son.

Lopez Obrador was announcing a highway construction project in the area.

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Mexico seizes more than 1,300 pounds of cocaine at sea

2/21/2019 – The Washington Post

WhatsApp_Image_2018-12-14_at_12.10.35_PM_6_.jpegBy the Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s navy says it has seized more than 1,300 pounds (630 kilograms) of cocaine from a speedboat off the country’s Pacific coast.

A high-speed pursuit using a navy Black Hawk helicopter eventually stopped the boat that sported four powerful outboard motors.

The navy said in a statement Wednesday that sailors roped down from the hovering helicopter to the boat and detained 15 crew members off the coast of Sinaloa state. Eight of those detained were from Ecuador, four were Colombian and three were Mexican.

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Mexico activist killed days before pipeline referendum

2/21/2019 – The Washington Post

Margarito Pérez Retana /Cuartoscuro

MEXICO CITY — A community activist fighting against a plan to build a gas pipeline through his central Mexico town was killed Wednesday, three days before a scheduled public referendum on the energy generation project.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador condemned the murder of Samir Flores Soberanes as “vile, cowardly.” But Lopez Obrador said the public referendum on the Morelos Comprehensive Project will go on as scheduled.

Local communities have been fighting for years against the project, which would include two thermoelectric plants, a gas pipeline to supply the plant with natural gas from Tlaxcala state and an aqueduct. The mostly indigenous communities around the Popocatepetl volcano, including Flores’ town of Amilcingo, have concerns about health, safety and the water supply.

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