Five families massacred in two weeks as Mexico’s murder rate surges

07/25/16 Vice News

Grave photo credit Kelly DonlanThe recent murder of a couple and their three children in the western crime-plagued Mexican state of Michoacán took the number of families massacred in Mexico in the past two weeks to five.

It came after two families were slain on the other side of the country, in the northeastern border state of Tamaulipas. Gunmen stormed a family home and killed 11 people, including four young girls. In another attack, hitmen murdered two women and three children, also in their home.

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Surviving Death: Police and Military Torture of Women in Mexico

06/28/16 Amnesty International

AmnestyInternationalAn unprecedented Amnesty International investigation of 100 women arrested in Mexico reveals that they are routinely sexually abused by the security forces who want to secure confessions and boost figures in an attempt to show that they are tackling rampant organized crime.

All of the 100 women held in federal prisons who reported torture or other ill-treatment to Amnesty International said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment or psychological abuse during their arrest and interrogation by municipal, state or federal police officers or members of the Army and Navy. Seventy-two said they were sexually abused during their arrest or in the hours that followed. Thirty-three reported being raped.

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Violence at Mexico teachers’ protest leaves six dead, officials say

The Guardian 06/19/16

Violent clashes between police and unionised teachers who were blockading roads and burning vehicles in southern Mexico have left at least six people dead, according to union and state officials.

The teachers from the radical National Coordinator of Education Workers, or CNTE, are opposed to the mandatory testing of teachers as part of Mexico’s education reform and are also protesting the arrest of union leaders on money laundering and other charges.

Sunday’s clashes in several municipalities in Oaxaca state involved federal and state police. Associated Press journalists saw riot police firing on protesters in Nochixtlán, where officials said the protests were strongest.

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Zetas drug gang ‘used Mexico prison as extermination camp to kidnap and kill 150’

6/9/2016 The Telegraph

Coahuila_en_México.svgMembers of the Zetas drug gang used a prison in northern Mexico as their private house of horrors where they tortured and killed kidnapping victims and underworld enemies, public prosecutors in the state of Coahuila have said.

Between 2009 and 2012, Piedras Negras prison became a virtual extermination camp, ruled with impunity by the notorious crime cartel as an operational base for their reign of terror in the US-Mexican border region.

After an investigation into the three-year period, authorities estimate that around 150 people were murdered inside the prison, with their bodies being burnt or broken down in acid-filled tanks before the remains were disposed of in a river some 20 miles away from the jail.

It is not clear to what extent the prison’s official guards actively cooperated with gang members or whether they merely allowed them to act with impunity in exchange for keeping order among inmates.

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Ballots and Bullets in the Heat of Mexico’s Drug War

6/1/2016 Foreign Policy

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REYNOSA, Mexico — A Mexican Navy helicopter pursues two SUVs carrying armed suspects through the outskirts of Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas. Schools and local businesses are placed on lockdown as marines arrive to secure the area. Finally cornered in a public plaza, the eight suspects abandon their vehicles and take aim at the chopper with automatic weapons. The marines aboard quickly return fire, killing eight gunmen.

Such a dramatic showdown would make headlines almost anywhere else in Mexico, yet in Tamaulipas state, which lies across from southeast Texas on the country’s oil-rich Gulf Coast, it was just another April afternoon. The Tamaulipas Coordination Group, a joint security body composed of local and federal forces, released a single official statement to confirm the incident took place. In recent years, Tamaulipas has earned a bloody reputation as one of Mexico’s deadliest and most politically opaque states, where information regarding law enforcement and military operations is closely guarded and the media is cowed by threats from organized crime.

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Alan Pulido: Freed Mexico footballer fought kidnapper

5/30/2016 BBC News

11318499224_a287faa403_mPulido, who plays for the Greek club, Olympiakos, cut his wrist when he punched a glass pane on a door as he tried to escape before police arrived.

Pulido, 25, was abducted at gunpoint on Saturday night in his home town of Ciudad Victoria in Tamaulipas state.

A 38-year-old man has been arrested.

Officials say the man had confessed to belonging to a local criminal gang. Police are searching for another three men believed to have been involved in the kidnapping.

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ACLU alleges ‘unchecked abuse’ at U.S.-Mexico border

5/17/16 CNN

fence at border(CNN)A complaint filed Tuesday accuses U.S. officers of “unchecked abuse” at the border.

Several Mexican women claim they were arbitrarily detained and strip-searched, and never told why they’d been singled out. A U.S. citizen alleges that an officer yanked his 11-year-old son’s arm, causing a hairline fracture. A legal permanent resident of the United States says an officer screamed at her and falsely accused her of being a fugitive.
Those allegations are among 13 cases documented in a complaint the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Border Communities Coalition has filed with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The administrative complaint, lodged Tuesday, accuses officers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection of “systemic abuse” and rights violations at several entry points between Mexico and the United States.
“It really mocks our American values of justice and fairness,” said Cynthia Pompa, a field organizer at the ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights. “And it shows that this agency really lacks oversight and accountability.”
DHS did not comment on the ACLU allegations.
Allegations in the complaint include:
• A 51-year-old Mexican woman says officers falsely accused her of being a prostitute and forced her to sign a false confession. She signed it because she didn’t understand English very well, according to the complaint. The confession, the complaint alleges, had her barred from entering the United States for five years.