The Missing Forty-Three: The Mexican Government Sabotages Its Own Independent Investigation

4/22/16 The New Yorker

Oaxaca por Ayotzinapa

The official scenario, according to the Mexican government, of what befell the forty-three students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Normal School, in Ayotzinapa, in Guerrero state, on the night and morning of September 26 and 27, 2014, is generally referred to as the “historical truth.” Say those words anywhere in Mexico, and people know what you mean. The phrase comes from a press conference held in January, 2015, when the head of the government’s Procuraduría General de la República (P.G.R.) at the time, Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam, announced that the forty-three students had been incinerated at a trash dump near the town of Cocula by members of the Guerreros Unidos drug-trafficking gang, after being turned over to them by members of the Iguala municipal police. This, he declared, was the “historical truth.”

As had already been widely reported, the forty-three students were among a larger group of militantly leftist students who, that night in Iguala, had commandeered buses to transport themselves to an upcoming protest in Mexico City. They’d driven from Ayotzinapa that afternoon in two buses they’d previously taken, and then, the government said, they took two more from Iguala’s bus station. Three other people were killed in initial clashes with the police, and most likely with other forces, in Iguala that night; many more were injured. According to Murillo Karam, the “historical truth” was partly drawn from the confessions of detained police and drug-gang members, including some who admitted that they had participated in the massacre of the students at the Cocula dump, and claimed to have tended the fire and disposed of the remains afterward. Some of those remains had allegedly been deposited by gang members in a nearby creek. Nineteen severely charred bone fragments had been sent to a highly specialized lab in Innsbruck, Austria, which had yielded one positive DNA identification, of a student named Alexander Mora Venancio. That identification seemed to support the P.G.R.’s story that the students had been killed at the dump.

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Meet Mexico’s New Innovators

George W. Bush Institute

The two friends, Jaime Rodas and Roberto Hidalgo, inseparable since high school, live in an apartment-turned innovation pad on the edge of a leafy neighborhood in Mexico City. They contribute to Mexico’s big tech inventions, like building websites for social causes that include teaching the public how to hold government accountable.

“People don’t even know who represents them,” Jaime tells me as he walks me through the apartment, with rooms turned into workspaces, laboratories for experiments. “They have no clue who their representatives are, or even what they’re supposed to do, like be their voice.”

The new narrative

Jaime and Roberto, ages 27 and 29, represent a new face of Mexico. They work out of their apartment, which they share with Roberto’s elderly miniature Schnauzer, Dharma. They are part of a generation of young, high-tech millennials, a group that is quietly expanding into an important global force of innovators. Already there are some 600,000 high-tech professionals in Mexico, and about 115,000 engineering and tech students graduate each year – a vast talent pool in the making.

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Take a look at the tool mentioned in the article that helps Mexicans find out who they are represented by and how to contact them!

Headlines from Mexico

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  1. The case of the disappearances of the students of Ayotzinapa continues as the National Human Rights Commission revealed this week that at least two agents of Mexico’s Federal Police were involved in aggression and later disappearances. Additionally, the Interdisciplinary Group of Experts will be leaving Mexico, and a special mechanism will be created to accomplish the recommendations of these experts.Read more: Jornada, Milenio, Excelsior, El Universal, Excelsior, Reforma, Expansión, El Universal
  2. Mexican authorities have reached out to Interpol to detain three of the four accused of sexual assault of a minor in Veracruz. This case has become a symbol of the corruption and impunity citizens in Veracruz have been faced with.Read more: Jornada, Excelsior, Jornada, Excelsior, Reforma, Milenio, Animal Politico, Expansion
  3. This week the Mexican Senate approved legislation that would establish preferential conditions for both national and international private business who would invest in the southeastern region of the country. This vote was passed with 88 in favor and 8 against.Read more: Jornada, El Universal, Reforma, Expansión
  4. Two of Mexico’s largest political parties, the PAN and PRD, have submitted an anti-corruption and impunity proposal to the Senate so that there would be a plan of action when combating, preventing, and sanctioning corruption at every level of government.Read more: Expansion, Milenio, El Universal

Missing Mexico students: Police involvement possible

4/15/2016 Al Jazeera

16351122146_4433fe03f6_mFederal police may have been involved in the abduction and murder of 43 students in Guerrero state two years ago, Mexico has said for the first time.

The admission comes after its national human rights commission found a witness who came forward with evidence.

The witness reported that two federal police and a third municipal police force were present when the students were taken off a bus and may have even participated in their disappearance, Jose Larrieta Carrasco, the commission member leading the case, said.

Thursday’s announcement added a new twist to a probe that has come under fire from international human rights groups and independent investigators.

Mexico’s Alfa Out of Pacific Exploration Restructuring

4/14/2016 The Wall Street Journal

energy - oil barrelsMEXICO CITY—Mexican industrial conglomerate Alfa SAB  made proposals for a restructuring of Canadian-Colombian oil firm Pacific Exploration & Production Corp. but is no longer involved in the process, a company official said Thursday.

Monterrey-based Alfa, which has a 19% stake in Pacific, made serious proposals for improving Pacific’s financial situation, but the oil company chose a different route, Alfa chief financial officer Ramón Leal said in a conference call with reporters.

Pacific said earlier Thursday that it agreed to negotiate a restructuring with private-equity investment firm Catalyst Capital Group Inc. and with creditors, following a recommendation from an independent committee of Pacific’s board. Terms are still being worked on and there is no assurance a deal will be reached.

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Mexico federal police ‘saw Iguala students being taken away’

4/14/2016 BBC

15425770747_dd7a4b3a8f_mAn unidentified witness said the federal officers were present when 15 to 20 youths were taken off a bus and led away, the commission said.

Local police told them they were taking the students away for “the boss” to decide their fate, the commission said.

The government says corrupt local police handed them to a drugs cartel.

The criminals then killed the students and incinerated their bodies, the government says.

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Mexico forced to rescue drowning oil giant Pemex

4/14/2016 CNNMoney

14238061995_8018a2dc0e_mPemex, as the oil giant is known, is suffering from a steep decline in production that has been exacerbated by the crash in crude. Years of losses have left Pemex with huge unfunded pension liabilities and on the hook for billions to suppliers.

Things are so bad that this week the Mexican government had to come to the rescue with $4.4 billion in aid for its former cash cow. More financial assistance could be needed soon. That’s not good considering the government relies on Pemex to pay for about a fifth of its budget.

“This is just papering over the cracks considering Pemex’s problems,” said Edward Glossop, emerging markets economist at Capital Economics. “Pemex’s struggles have been very negative for Mexico’s public finances.”

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