Mexico activists, government quarrel over how to grieve for drug violence victims

Mexico CityAssociated Press, 4/5/13

Mexico, a country suffering the turmoil of a drug war, can’t agree on how to honor the victims of a six-year assault on organized crime that has taken as many as 70,000 lives. The government’s official monument was dedicated Friday, four months after its completion, in a public event where relatives of the missing chased after the dignitaries in tears, pleading for help in finding their loved ones.

Only some victims’ rights groups recognize the monument, while others picked an entirely different monument to place handkerchiefs painted with names and personal messages in protest of the official site, which does not bear a single victim’s name.

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Op-ed: Adding Absurdity to Tragedy

Mexico CityBy Carlos Puig, The New York Times, 3/8/2013

It’s one of the trendiest, most expensive and nicest pieces of land around. It’s in Polanco, the city’s most expensive neighborhood, and on a corner of Paseo de la Reforma, the capital’s most important avenue. Less than two kilometers away from the president’s residence and just five blocks from Masaryk Street, our own Park Avenue. It occupies 1,500 square meters of Chapultepec, the park in the middle of Mexico City.

And it is this piece of prime real estate that last year, under heavy pressure from human rights organizations, the government designated for a memorial to honor the victims of drug-related violence.

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Honoring Drug War Dead, and Spurring a Debate

Mexico CityThe New York Times, 1/23/2013

Reeling from a drug war that has killed tens of thousands and a boom in violent crime in general, Mexico has built a memorial to victims of violence. But like a crime scene still under investigation, it sits off limits behind white tarp, wrapped in questions and uncertainty.

A series of rusted metal slabs amid reflecting pools in a corner of Mexico City’s biggest park, the memorial now stands as an accidental metaphor for the fog and doubts that swirl around the country’s layered debates on violence and victimhood.

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77 names added to slain journalists memorial in DC

The Associated Press, 3/30/2009

newseumThe journalism and free speech museum called the Newseum added 77 names to its Journalists Memorial on Monday to honor reporters, photographers and broadcasters who died while covering the news, including several killed in Mexican drug violence.

Mexico ranked second only to Iraq among the deadliest places for journalists last year, said Alberto Ibarguen, the Newseum’s chairman, and president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The names of five journalists killed in Mexico were added to the memorial wall, along with 13 who were killed in Iraq in 2008.

“These are not long ago and far away events,” said Ibarguen, a former publisher of The Miami Herald. “The story they’re covering in Mexico is a story of drugs and corruption and guns.”

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