Shadow of Organized Crime Hovers over Wave of Mexico Journalist Killings

3/24/2017 InSightCrime

gun - crime sceneThe murder of a Chihuahua-based correspondent marks the third killing of a journalist in Mexico this month, a wave of targeted violence for which organized crime may be responsible that also reflects more general trends of rising insecurity.

Miroslava Breach Velducea, the Chihuahua correspondent for the national Mexican news outlet La Jornada, was gunned down in her car on March 23 by unknown assailants as she exited her house to drive her son to school, reported Proceso.

Breach was struck by eight 9 mm bullets at close range, according to La Jornada, suggesting an execution-style killing.

During her career, the journalist had spoken out against human rights violations and the negative impacts of drug trafficking. Among the most recent subjects she investigated was the displacement of hundreds of families by drug trafficking organizations in Chihuahua, and organized crime’s infiltration of local elections.

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Mexican Journalist Shot Dead in Northern State of Chihuahua

3/23/2017 New York Times

gun - crime sceneMEXICO CITY — A Mexican journalist has been shot dead in the northern state of Chihuahua.

Miroslava Breach was a correspondent for the national newspaper La Jornada in the state capital, also called Chihuahua.

La Jornada reports that the 54-year-old Breach was shot eight times Thursday morning as she was leaving her home and died while being taken to the hospital.

It says she was accompanied by one of her three sons at the time of the attack.

La Jornada says she worked for the paper for 15 years and also for newspapers in Chihuahua state.

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Another Journalist Slain in Mexico’s Violent Veracruz State

3/19/2017 New York Times

veracruzXALAPA, Mexico — An attacker shot a journalist to death Sunday in the Mexican state of Veracruz, adding to the toll in a region plagued by drug gang violence and allegations of government corruption.

Journalist Ricardo Monlui was leaving a restaurant with his wife and a son in the town of Yanga, outside the larger city of Cordoba, when a man who appeared to have been waiting shot Monlui twice and fled, local police chief Carlos Samuel Hernandez said. The wife and son apparently were unhurt.

Monlui is at least the 11th journalist to be slain in just over six years in Veracruz state, but the first since former Gov. Javier Duarte quit last year and vanished in the face of corruption charges. New Gov. Miguel Angel Yunes, who took office in December, expressed indignation at the killing.

As a battleground for rival drug cartels, Veracruz is one of Mexico’s most violent states. The governor reported that eight people, including five police officers, also were killed Sunday during a gunbattle in the Coxquihi municipality in a mountainous area of northern Veracruz. Yunes said it wasn’t yet clear what happened.

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Mexico Says Inmates Forced to Wear Thongs, Scrub Floors

3/15/2017 New York Times

prison cell blockMEXICO CITY — A state government in northern Mexico says it is investigating alleged inmate abuse at one of its prisons.

The scandal surfaced with a video posted on social media sites showing a group of male inmates wearing nothing but thong underwear and being forced to scrub floors on their hands and knees, while apparently being kicked and shoved by other inmates.

The government of Nuevo Leon state says the incident occurred at a prison in Apodaca, suburb of the city of Monterrey. It condemned the incident, and in response staged a search of the prison Wednesday that officials say found a number of knife-like objects and drugs.

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While Scolding Trump, Mexico Seeks to Curtail Citizens’ Rights

3/16/2017 New York Times

lawMEXICO CITY — Even as Mexico fumes over President Trump’s aggressive stance toward its people, the Mexican government is quietly trying to rip up basic legal protections for its citizens at home and gut longstanding efforts to fix the nation’s broken rule of law.

Legal experts fear the move will set back human rights in Mexico by decades.

The tool is an innocuous-sounding bill, submitted last month by a close ally of President Enrique Peña Nieto — only a day after his government publicly chided the Trump administration to respect the rights of all Mexicans.

The governing party says the bill, labeled a reform to the criminal code, will make “adjustments” to Mexico’s new legal system, a linchpin of cooperation with the United States that was completed last year with more than $300 million in American aid. It is widely considered Mexico’s most important legal advancement in the past century.

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Mexican Official: We’ll Take Migrants Rights Issue to UN

3/1/2017 New York Times

united nationsMEXICO CITY — Mexico’s top diplomat said Tuesday that his country “will not hesitate” to take the issue of migrant rights to the United Nations high commissioner for human rights if the U.S. government violates their rights.

Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Videgaray said Mexico has already held a working meeting with the U.N. office.

U.S. President Donald Trump has pledged to step up deportations, and some activists say U.S. agents are violating migrants’ rights to due process.

Videgaray stressed to Mexico’s Senate that he has told U.S. officials that Mexico will not accept deportees from third countries. A U.S. security policy statement had raised the possibility that non-Mexicans could be returned to Mexico if they entered the U.S. from that country.

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The High Cost of Torture in Mexico

2/14/2017 Human Rights Watch

hands in handcuffsTorture will be on the agenda of the Mexican Congress this month. Curbing the widespread practice should be an urgent priority for all branches of the Mexican government. Its impact on Mexico has been devastating, not only for the many individual victims, but also for the credibility of the criminal justice system itself.

Take, for example, the case of Taylin Wang and “Pedro Salazar,” a kidnap victim for whom we’ll use a pseudonym to protect his identify and privacy.

Wang came to Mexico from her native Peru seven years ago in search of a better future for her children. She found work selling clothes, then opened a Peruvian restaurant. She married a Mexican, and together they were raising her 7- and 9-year-old daughters and 16-year-old son. When the federal police raided their home in February 2014, she was 7-weeks pregnant.

Recently, Wang provided Human Rights Watch with her account of the raid, in the hope—she said—that her story might help prevent others from a similar fate.

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