A Mexican journalist’s life hangs in the balance

12/11/2017 The Washington Post

Excluding countries at war, few places are as dangerous for journalists as Mexico, where 73 members of the profession have been killed since 2010, including at least 11 this year. Drug cartels and organized crime, as well as corrupt government security forces, have played a role in the carnage, which has forced some journalists into hiding and others to flee the country. Impunity is the rule; few of the murders are solved.

Among those who fear for their lives is Emilio Gutierrez, who, with his then-teenage son, crossed into the United States in 2008 after writing critical stories about abuses committed against civilians by the Mexican army in prosecuting its war on drugs in Chihuahua, then Mexico’s most violent state. Mr. Gutierrez’s hurried departure was prompted by the news, conveyed to him by a friend with contacts in the security forces, that a military officer had ordered him killed.

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Guerrero Becomes Mexico’s Most Violent State

12/5/2017 Prensa Latina

Guerrero has become the most violent state in Mexico and records more than 9,700 malicious homicides in four years and 10 months, particularly by criminal groups.

According to the National System of Public Security, the entity has not been capable of stopping violence since 2013, date in which clashes between organized crime organizations began.

The report highlights that states with a larger population are below Guerrero in terms of violence rates, including Mexico City, Jalisco, Chihuahua and the State of Mexico.

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U.N. rights team warns Mexico of ‘crisis’ in journalists’ safety

12/4/2017 Reuters

The United Nations said on Monday the Mexican government is struggling to keep journalists safe and prosecute their oppressors, after officials toured regions of the country that are among the most dangerous in the world for reporters.

Mexican federal prosecutors have yet to secure any convictions for crimes against reporters due to ineffective probes and scant resources, said the U.N.’s special rapporteur for freedom of expression, David Kaye, and his counterpart from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Edison Lanza.

They released a preliminary report describing a “profound crisis of safety” after a week-long tour of Mexico City and the violent states of Veracruz, Guerrero, Tamaulipas and Sinaloa, and plan to release detailed recommendations in the spring.

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Zetas-Gulf Cartel Conflict Continues to Rock Mexico’s Northeast

11/14/2017 InSight Crime

The ongoing decline of the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas has left northeastern Mexico without a single dominant criminal force. But the crime groups’ longstanding rivalry has continued to see blood spilled in the key trafficking region.

On the surface, the state of play in Mexico’s northeast is as it has been for most of the past decade: Both the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas maintain tight control over different parts of Tamaulipas — the crucial border state that birthed both groups — but neither is strong enough to defeat the other.

Government forces, particularly the marines, have maintained a degree of consistent pressure on crime groups operating in Tamaulipas.

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3 men, apparently Mennonites, killed in northern Mexico

10/23/2017 Los Angeles Times

Three men have been found shot to death in the northern Mexico state of Chihuahua, and prosecutors say they appear to be members of the state’s Mennonite community.

The state prosecutors’ office said Sunday the bodies were found in the cab of a pickup truck with New Mexico plates in an area known as Campo Menonita 35. The men had been shot multiple times.

While the bodies have not been identified, the office said their appearance suggested they were Mennonites.

Body of Abducted Mexican Journalist Is Found

10/6/2017 The New York Times

The body of a photographer was found Friday in the northern state of San Luis Potosí, a day after he was abducted from his home by men dressed as police officers, Mexican officials said.

The photographer, Edgar Daniel Esqueda Castro, is the fifth journalist to be killed in Mexico this year in retaliation for their reporting, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York.

Another journalist, Salvador Adame Pardo, was abducted from his home in the Mexican state of Michoacán in May; although the authorities say that his burned body was found, his family believes that he is still missing.

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What’s Behind Rising Violence in Colima?: A Brief Look at 2016’s Most Violence Mexican State

expert I (2)The Expert Take, By Eric L. Olson & Gina Hinojosa

May 2017 was Mexico’s deadliest month on record.[1] 2,200 people were reportedly murdered nationwide that month, bringing the country’s death toll to nearly 10,000 since the beginning of the year. If the violence continues at this pace, 2017 will become Mexico’s most murderous year since the federal government began releasing homicide data in 1997, surpassing its previous annual homicide record of 23,000 murders in 2011.

Mexico has struggled with elevated violence for over a decade since the government launched an aggressive campaign against the country’s drug cartels in 2007. Deploying federal troops to communities particularly affected by drug violence has done little to stem criminal organizations’ drug trafficking operations[2] or curb violent crime. In fact, by 2011, Mexico’s murder rate had more than doubled, and while homicides declined moderately between 2012 and 2014, violence picked up once more in 2015 and has continued to rise since (see Figure 1).

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