Friday, December 16, 2011

Week's Top Articles on Mexico: Dec. 9-15, 2011

Human Rights Violations dominated the news from Mexico this week. A major national drama unfolded after two students in a normal school (teacher training college) were shot and killed by police while participating in a demonstration seeking changes in the school in the southern state of Guerrero. At first, state authorities claimed that some of the students were armed and shot first. Students immediately denied this.

Blame is now being exchanged between local, state and federal police, all of whom had forces present at the time. The state governor has fired his chief of police and attorney general. National politicians have called for a thorough investigation. The federal Human Rights Commission and the UN Office on Human Rights in Mexico announced investigations and the federal attorney general has taken over the judicial investigation. Eleven local and state police are being interviewed for possible responsibility in the deaths.

This tragedy is the latest in a two-week long series of attacks, kidnappings and/or murders of eight activists across Mexico. These violent events starkly reveal the fragility of Mexican democracy, the continuing penchant for resorting to government supported as well as clandestine violence, the failure of a public security and justice system that fosters impunity and the resulting destruction of human life and liberties. Reflecting this, at the beginning of the week, the president of Mexico's National Commission of Human Rights, announced his belief that President Calderon does not have enough time, in the one year left in his administration, to reverse the high levels of violence, insecurity and human rights abuses that have pervaded the country.

Drug War news included a denial by the Mexican president's office that it knew of the DEA money laundering operation. The U.S. Dept. of Justice defended itself, saying that money laundering "stings" had been authorized by Congress during the Reagan administration. And Time Magazine recognized and interviewed Javier Sicilia, leader of the Moverment for Peace with Justice and Dignity, as one of leading protesters of the year. He talks movingly of his motives in speaking out and his experiences as the Movement has grown since April.

Immigration news brought the Supreme Court's decision to review Arizona's immigration crackdown law, another poll shows that the majority of Americans, including registered Republican voters, think undocumented immigrants should have a shot at legalizing their status, as long as they meet certain criteria and the Obama administration's Secure Communities program, aimed at identifying undocumented immigrants with criminal records, has erroneously detained a number of U.S. citizens.

Two reports found that the crackdown on immigrants is producing abuse in detention centers and harassment and fear among immigrants. A report by the Chicago-based National Immigrant Justice Center and the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights found significant abuse and denial of rights of detainees at three jails in the midwest. A report by Human Rights Watch on the impact of Alabama's crackdown law found that it " fosters a culture of fear and denies basic rights to undocumented residents and their families."

Border news centered on an announcement by the Obama administration that it plans to reduce National Guard presence at the border.

Human Rights Violations

Two students dead in clash with Mexico police
Read more: Los Angeles Times.com

Mexican police claim weapons found at scene of protest clash that killed 2 students
Read more: AP/Washington Post

Guerrero students say they were unarmed and blame the governor
Read more: MexicoBlog,  Spanish original CNN Mexico

The governor of Guerrero fires the Attorney General and the Chief of Police
Read more: MexicoBlog, Spanish original CNN Mexico

Federal and state governments differ on what happened in Guerrero
Read more: MexicoBlog, Spanish original CNN Mexico

Political leaders of Mexico unanimously condemn double murder of students
Read more: MexicoBlog, Spanish original La Jornada

Eleven police officers involved in the death of teachers college students are referred to the federal Attorney General
Read more: MexicoBlog, Spanish original Milenio

Spate of Attacks on Human Rights Defenders and Activists
Read more: Americas Program

No Protection for Activists: Eight Attacked in Two Weeks
Read more: InterPressService

Mexico's Commissioner of Human Rights Says Calderon Has Run Out of Time to Reduce the Violence and Abuses of the Drug War
Read more: MexicoBlog, Spanish original

Drug War

Mexico President's Office Says Mexico Didn't Know of DEA Money Laundering
Read More: MexicoBlog. From Reforma, which only allows subscribers access to its website.

Justice Department says DEA drug-laundering "stings" date back to Reagan presidency
Read more: Houston Chroincle

Why I Protest: Javier Sicilia of Mexico
Read more: Time

Immigration

Arizona Immigration Law Gets Supreme Court Review
Read more: Bloomberg

On Immigration, Polls Show Most GOP Voters Share Gingrich Stance
Read more: Fox News Latino

Immigration Crackdown Also Snares U.S. Citizens
Read more: New York Times

Detention Centers in Kentucky, Illinois Violate Rights, Report Says
Read more: Fox News Latino

Human Rights Watch criticizes Alabama immigration law
Read more: CNN

The Border

Obama prepares to trim National Guard on U.S.-Mexico border
Read more: Houston Chronicle

Cross-posted from the Center for International Policy's Americas Program's Mexicoblog