Week of February 17– February 22, 2019
Opposition activist murdered before pipeline referendum
Samir Flores Soberanes, a community activist fighting against a plan to build a gas pipeline through his central Mexico town, was murdered Wednesday, three days before a scheduled public referendum on the energy generation project. Investigators are considering potential links to criminal gangs after a note was found next to his body but environmental groups believe the killing was linked to his opposition.
Mexico to close infamous Isla Marias penal colony
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that Mexico will close the infamous Isla Marias prison, the last island penal colony in the Western Hemisphere. The island will now relocate some inmates to Colima (the nearest state) and free about 200. The four islands will be turned into a cultural and environmental education center.
The Senate approves the National Guard
Mexico’s Senate voted unanimously Thursday to approve a more civilian-oriented version of the militarized National Guard that the government wants to use to combat a rising wave of violence. Senators arrived at a rare consensus to place the new guard under the civilian Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection but its members will initially come from the federal police and military police units and will have joint military-civilian command and training.
Two Germans convicted for selling arms to Mexico
Two former employees of the German gun maker Heckler & Koch were found guilty for their participation in the sale of guns that ended in highly violent zones in Mexico. The judge seized the company’s profit, which adds up to 3.7 million euros. The company said that it changed its internal compliance system and now requests all members to comply with an audit.
AMLO to help El Chapo family seek US humanitarian visas
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that he has instructed his government to assist the family of Joaquin El Chapo Guzman in seeking humanitarian visas to visit the convicted drug trafficker in the U.S. During a visit last week to Guzman’s hometown of Badiraguato, Sinaloa, a lawyer gave the president a letter from Guzman’s mother.
Mexico’s Science and Technology Council under controversy
David Alexir Ledesma and Edith Arrieta Meza’s resignations to CONACYT have been plagued with “rumors and decontextualized information”, said the Council’s president Maria Elena Alvarez-Buylla. But these movements within the organization only sheds light upon the heavy bureaucratic practices inside and the much work that has to be done, according to experts.