Mexican authorities investigate killing of Honduran journalist

07/10/2017 Reuters

veracruzThe attorney general’s office of the Mexican gulf state of Veracruz said on Monday it has opened an investigation into the shooting death of a Honduran photojournalist, who had apparently fled his home country fearing for his life.

The body of Edwin Rivera Paz was found in the city of Acayucan on Sunday with gunshot wounds and was then identified by a family member, the attorney general’s office said in a statement.

Rivera Paz was a cameraman for the Honduran television program “Los Verduleros” (The Grocers). He fled Honduras after armed assailants shot and killed Igor Padilla, the program’s director and producer, in the violent city of San Pedro Sula in mid-January.

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One-Month Anniversary of the Murder of Mexican Journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas

6/15/2017 The Expert Take, Mexico Institute

By Eric L. Olson and Gina Hinojosa

expert I (2)One month ago today, world-renowned Mexican journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas was ambushed by unidentified assailants while leaving his office in his hometown of Culiacán, Sinaloa. According to press reports, he was pulled from his car, shot a dozen times in the middle of the day on a crowded street, and left lifeless in the middle of the road. His signature Panama hat lay bloodied beside him.

Reporting from the base of the infamous Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s ruthlessly violent Sinaloa Cartel, Valdez was widely recognized as one of Mexico’s most fearless journalists. One of the country’s leading chroniclers of organized crime, corruption, and the intricate links between the two, he was awarded the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)’s International Press Freedom Award in 2011. “In a country where widespread self-censorship is the consequence of violence by drug syndicates and criminal gangs, Valdez still covers sensitive issues,” wrote CPJ in its announcement of the award.

Days after his death, fellow reporter Javier Garza Ramos wrote in El País that Valdez’s murder “shook the Mexican press unlike any other act of violence against journalists in the past decade.” Violent attacks against media workers are not uncommon in in Mexico (more than 100 journalists have been killed since 2000), but such high profile, internationally recognized reporters are rarely targeted. Valdez’s assassination sends a chilling message to the Mexican press: no journalist in Mexico is untouchable.

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Mexico, DiCaprio and Carlos Slim craft plan to save endangered porpoise

6/7/2017 Reuters

Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto gives an indigenous Huichol art representing a Vaquita porpoise to actor Leonardo DiCaprio, at Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City, in this undated handout photo released to Reuters by the Mexican Presidency on June 7, 2017. Mexico Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

The Mexican government, tycoon Carlos Slim and U.S. actor Leonardo DiCaprio on Wednesday unveiled a joint plan to protect a tiny porpoise in the Gulf of California that has become a potent symbol of critically endangered animal species.

Populations of the snub-nosed vaquita porpoise have plummeted due to gillnet fishing for shrimp and totoaba, a popular delicacy in Asia, sparking increasing calls for action.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto met Hollywood star DiCaprio and Slim in his official residence in Mexico City to sign a memorandum of understanding committing to conserve marine life in the Gulf of California, including the vaquita.

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MORENA leftist party calls for Mexico State election vote recount

6/6/2017 Reuters

Mexican politician Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador,  leader of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) gestures as he addresses the audience during a meeting at Plaza Zaragoza in Monterrey, Mexico
Mexican politician Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, leader of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) gestures as he addresses the audience during a meeting at Plaza Zaragoza in Monterrey, Mexico February 25, 2017. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

The head of Mexico’s leftist National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) party, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, called on Tuesday for a recount of Sunday’s key State of Mexico gubernatorial election.

With nearly 98 percent of returns in from polling booths, the candidate for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Alfredo del Mazo, had 34 percent of the vote compared with 31 percent for MORENA’s candidate, Delfina Gomez.

“MORENA believes that Delfina Gomez won the election on Sunday and that she is the governor of the State of Mexico,” said Lopez Obrador.

The election was tarnished by piles of pig heads dumped on Saturday near MORENA offices and at polling stations in several municipalities, and accusations of telephone threats and fake electoral literature warning of attacks – tactics used to dissuade people from voting. Prosecutors are probing the situation.

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Mexico’s Fiery Populist May Need to Tone It Down to Win in 2018

6/6/2017 Bloomberg

AMLOFor Mexican presidential front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Sunday’s election must have been bittersweet.

The movement he founded just three years ago came close to unseating the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party in its heartland: President Enrique Pena Nieto’s home state of Mexico.

Yet coming up three percentage points short left Lopez Obrador’s Morena party with none of the nation’s 31 governor’s offices and no access to potential funding that such power provides for national campaigns. Under such conditions, if Lopez Obrador is going to win the presidency next July, tapping into voter outrage at graft, crime and Donald Trump won’t be enough. He’ll need to broaden his appeal and curtail his threats against an establishment that he condemns as the “mafia of power.”

“To do that, he would need to change his entire style of the past 15 to 20 years,” said Jorge Chabat, a political scientist at the Center for Economic Research and Teaching, a Mexico City-based university. “When your speech is extremely confrontational, it’s difficult to expand your support beyond your close circle of ‘true believers.’ And that’s what you need to win.”

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Mexico election loss masks strength of leftist challenger

6/5/2017 Reuters

Source: Eneas De Troya, Flickr

Mexico’s ruling party may have won a bruising electoral battle with its leftist arch-enemy at the weekend, but the narrow victory showed how momentum has swung behind him in the run-up to next year’s presidential race.

Veteran campaigner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has led early polls for the 2018 vote, and his new National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) came close to seizing the main bastion of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Sunday’s gubernatorial vote in the State of Mexico.

Fielding a little-known former school teacher as candidate, the three-year-old MORENA picked up more votes than the other two main opposition parties combined to lift Lopez Obrador’s hopes of making it third time lucky in his bid for Mexico’s top job.

“We feel strengthened,” Lopez Obrador, who finished in second place in the 2006 and 2012 elections, said on Monday in a video in which he disputed the results of Sunday’s vote. “Because MORENA is the party that’s growing fastest.”

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Another Journalist Shot, Seriously Wounded in South Mexico

6/3/2017 New York Times

youth with handgunMEXICO CITY — Another journalist has come under attack in Mexico. This time the victim is a woman who hosts a program on an indigenous radio station in the southern state of Guerrero.

State security spokesman Roberto Alvarez Heredia says Marcela de Jesus Natalia was shot in the head on Saturday as she left the government-owned station on the town of Ometepec.

He says she’s in critical condition at an Acapulco hospital.

Alvarez says he doesn’t know of any threats against de Jesus Natalia, who also has worked for a local family aid agency.

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