Body Count Points to a Mexican Military Out of Control

5/27/2016 The New York Times

MEXICO CITY — In the history of modern war, fighters are much more likely to injure their enemies than kill them.

But in Mexico, the opposite is true.

MEXICO, Ciudad de México, 12AGOSTO10. En el centro de mando de la Policía Federal fueron presentados 12 personas detenidas en dos operativos distintos en la República Mexicana. Foto: Jesús Villaseca P/Latitudes Press.
 Foto: Jesús Villaseca P/Latitudes Press.

According to the government’s own figures, Mexico’s armed forces are exceptionally efficient killers — stacking up bodies at extraordinary rates.

The Mexican authorities say the nation’s soldiers are simply better trained and more skilled than the cartels they battle.

But experts who study the issue say Mexico’s kill rate is practically unheard-of, arguing that the numbers reveal something more ominous.

“They are summary executions,” said Paul Chevigny, a retired New York University professor who pioneered the study of lethality among armed forces.

In many forms of combat between armed groups, about four people are injured for each person killed, according to an assessment of wars since the late 1970s by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Sometimes, the number of wounded is even higher.

But the body count in Mexico is reversed. The Mexican Army kills eight enemies for every one it wounds.

20 Months Later — International Support for Mexico’s 43 Disappeared Students

5/24/2016 The Huffington Post

The U.S congressional briefing to be held on May 25th with the Group of Experts tasked with accompanying the case of the 43 disappeared Mexican students could not come at a more crucial time.

The end of this week marks twenty months since the disappearance of the students. On the night of Sept. 26th, 2014, students from the Ayotzinapa rural teachers’ college left their homes in the state of Guerrero to commandeer buses to travel to Mexico City to commemorate, ironically, the 1968 student massacre. They were instead the victims of what we now know were a series of coordinated attacks between organized crime, police forces, and military soldiers resulting in six deaths, the injuries of an estimated forty individuals, and the enforced disappearance of 43 students.

Yet, nearly two years after the initial attacks, the case remains far from closed.

The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), operating under an agreement by the Mexican government and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) presented the findings from their second and final report on the Ayotzinapa case in Mexico City on April 24th to an audience of civil society organizations, the general public, and the families of the disappeared students. The Mexican government officials who were invited noticeably never showed up. The experts’ report presentation was the bitter end to the frustrating year accompanying the case in Mexico; an ending they didn’t ask for but were forced to accept when the Mexican government refused to extend their mandate.

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Ghost companies, odd contracts and 645 million pesos missing

5/25/2016 El Daily Post

DuarteDuring at least two years, top Veracruz state officials close to Gov. Javier Duarte awarded government contracts to a closed network of 21 companies whose very existence is doubtful. The secretariats that approved the contracts can’t confirm that anybody ever received the products. What’s known for sure is that the 645 million pesos that the 73 contracts cost the state treasury are gone.

The procedure is simple: At the very beginning of a gubernatorial term, PRI supporters are selected and asked to give their signature without being told why. Those signatures are used to create new companies. The companies, in turn, are assigned false business addresses that are never reviewed by any authority.

Once created, the companies are registered as government suppliers, able to sell anything from diapers to cement. A handful of authorities close to the governor make sure those companies are granted contracts, either through direct awards or closed tenders.

The purchase of products resulting from these contracts is faked. The products are supposedly meant to be distributed in poor areas, but they never arrive. After receiving the money, the company closes.

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Building Borders That Foster Security And Prosperity In North America

5/24/2016 Forbes

san-ysidro-border-crossing-by-flickr-user-otzbergBy Earl Anthony Wayne and Christopher Wilson

Canada, Mexico and the United States are collaborating to enhance security and foster prosperity at North America’s borders, while respecting each nation’s sovereignty.  Prime Minister Trudeau, President Peña Nieto and President Obama can give this effort a big boost when they meet for the North American Leaders Summit (NALS) on June 29 in Canada.  Given the contentious nature of the public and political debates about border security right now, it will be especially important for the leaders to articulate clearly what it means to build twenty-first century borders that are smart, effective, and meet both the security and competitiveness needs of North America. They should also bless a strong, substantive work agenda to make those objectives reality.

The three countries trade some $3.6 billion in goods and services each day.  Over a million citizens of the three nations cross the borders as part of their daily routine.  Border management tasks are enormous.  But, officials, the private sector and the many states, provinces and cities that benefit from border trade and travel see the tremendous value of a North America in which borders are places of connection and cooperation at least as much as division.  Around our borders, the three governments fight illicit activity; help our economies by facilitating legal trade and transit; and work to protect all three societies from threats ranging from terrorism to invasive species and diseases.

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‘War on Drugs’ a Recipe for Rights Abuses in Mexico

5/24/16 InSight Crime

16-05-23Mexico_logo_prodhMexico’s Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center reports that impunity over human rights violations in the country generates an unconscionable mixture: the economic and political interests of organized crime go unscathed, while the most marginalized and often innocent people face the worst consequences.

The criminalization of the sale and consumption of certain substances, under the model known internationally as ‘the war on drugs’, has been increasingly criticized in a variety of global forums due to its evident failure as a strategy to end the use and abuse of prohibited substances, as well as its impact in filling prisons with people accused of non-violent crimes.

When this model is adopted in a country where the rule of law, accountability or respect for human rights has not been consolidated, the negative impacts are multiplied.

This is the case in Mexico.

The prohibition of substances that are in high demand in the United States has made drug trafficking in Mexico one of the most lucrative businesses in the world. The million-dollar profits produced of this industry have massively fueled the growth, diversification and conflicts between criminal groups in Mexico. And these groups are often mixed up with broad sectors of the state in more than a few regions of the country, where the line between organized crime and the public sector has been blurred.

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Mexico mass grave: Exhumation of 116 bodies in Morelos

5/25/16 BBC News

800px-Morelos_in_Mexico_(zoom).svgMexican authorities have begun exhuming 116 bodies found buried in a mass grave in the central state of Morelos.

The rural grave, discovered last November in the town of Tetelcingo, consists of two 10m (33ft) deep pits.

Prosecutors say that the bodies may have been dumped illegally by morgue officials, but the investigation into who is responsible is ongoing.

Morelos is among the worst-affected states in Mexico’s epidemic of drug-related violence.

At least 20,000 people have disappeared across Mexico, the UN estimates – other organisation put the number far higher.

Investigators at Tetelcingo worked under a yellow tent as families of missing persons and National Human Rights Commission representatives looked on.

Genetic samples will be taken from each set of remains to attempt identification before they are reburied in marked graves.

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El Chapo: Mexico grants extradition of drug lord to US

5/20/2016 BBC

elchapoMexico’s foreign ministry has approved the extradition of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the US to face drug smuggling charges.

His lawyers have 30 days to appeal against the decision and even if it proceeds it could be months before he is sent north.

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