Friday, March 9, 2012

Week's Top Articles on Mexico: Mar. 2-8, 2012

Drug war news this week from Mexico was dominated by the one-day visit of U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden to Mexico City, where he met both with current President Calderón and the three main candidates in the presidential election to be held in July. Each of the three, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) of PRD, Enrique Peña Nieto of PRI and Josefina Vasquez Mota of PAN had his/her own take on their meetings.

Back in Washington, Biden announced the implicit deal that had been made: all three committed themselves to continuing the war against the Mexican drug cartels and he had assured them the U.S. would respect the election results, work with whomever won and continue U.S. aid to Mexico. For the Americas Program take on all of this politicking, see "Doing Biden's Bidding".

Meanwhile, the voices of political and community leaders calling for a change in drug policy continued to grow. The secretary general of the Organization of American States said, "We are not close to winning the war ... and need to try something else." And the head of a Mexican national business association--a constituency that has been largely silent to date--called the violence "regrettable" and called for "a better strategy."

Human rights and the rule of law news brought a report of a UN group concluding that there are public officials in Mexico who have participated or colluded in forced disappearances. A report by the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights reported that 61 activists were killed in Mexico between 2006 and 2010. And a colloquium of experts on displaced persons addressed the failure of the Mexican government to acknowledge displacements of 1,600,000 persons within the country, caused by its war against drugs.

Meanwhile, the Mexican Senate approved a bill to establish a national registry of disappeared persons.

The Articles:

Drug War

Biden Travels To Latin America Amid Drug Decriminalization Debate
Fox News: "Vice President Joe Biden heads to Latin America Sunday amid unprecedented pressure from political and business leaders to talk about something U.S. officials have no interest in debating: decriminalizing drugs. Presidents of Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia and Mexico, all grappling with the extremely violent fallout of a failing drug war, have said in recent weeks they'd like to open up the discussion of legalizing drugs." read more

Biden agrees not to intervene in the electoral process: AMLO
Milenio: "Andres Manuel Lopez Obrado said that the vice president ... pledged not to intervene in the electoral process and to accept the results next July 1. "It was important what he told me, that the U.S. will respect the will of Mexico and reach agreement with whomever is president," said the presidential candidate of the left. read more

We agreed to greater cooperation against crime: Peña Nieto
La Jornada: "PRI presidential candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, said ....(that) one of the points on which (he) made the greatest emphasis was security, and that he made to Biden "the clear commitment ... to combat organized crime, working in a close and productive collaboration that allows us to deliver results in this area. It is a task and an obligation of the State to do this head on and create conditions of security." read more

U.S. sees the possibility of a woman president as "normal": Vázquez Mota
Milenio: "...the PAN's candidate for President of the Republic, Josefina Vazquez Mota, .... commented on the position of U.S. government towards her candidacy. "I saw him as respectful of the Mexican electoral process and with a view that for Mexico to have a woman president would be absolutely normal. ... he spoke of the importance of female winners, successful ones, and the effort it represents." read more

Mexico's presidential candidates committed to fighting drug: Biden
Milenio: "U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said today that continuing the fight against drug trafficking is on the agenda of the three leading candidates for President of Mexico. ... Biden said that Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Enrique Peña Nieto and Josefina Vazquez Mota ... assured him that they will continue the fight against criminal groups." read more

Doing Biden's Bidding
MexicoBlog: "Vice President Joe Biden landed in Mexico City last night and he’s left little doubt about his mission—to lock in the regional drug war. ... A real discussion on effective strategies has to include the option of legalization. The Obama administration seems determined to block that option..." read more

We are not close to winning the war against the narcos: Head of OAS
La Jornada: "The secretary general of the Organization of American States, José Miguel Insulza, said that "we need to try something else" in the fight against drugs that is being let loose on the continent, because "we are not close to winning" this war: ... He said it is necessary to seek other strategies that place greater emphasis on demand in the drug-consuming countries and on the attack on bank secrecy and hidden money flows. read more

Mexican business association calls the security situation of the past six years “Regrettable”
La Jornada: "The new president of the Mexican Business Confederation (Coparmex), Alberto Espinosa Desigaud, criticized the environment of insecurity in Mexico over the last six years as “regrettable” and called for a “better strategy” to combat organized crime that will guarantee Mexican citizens peace and tranquility as soon as possible.” read more

Human Rights and the Rule of Law

UN says Mexican state is complicit in abductions
Milenio/EFE: Geneva, Switzerland: "The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances of the United Nations says it has detailed information which demonstrates the involvement of public officials in disappearances in Mexico. It says that the disappearances are not only the work of organized criminal groups, but also includes participation from the Mexican state." read more

In four years, 61 human rights defenders were killed in Mexico
La Jornada: "The InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced today its Second Report on the Situation of the Defenders of Human Rights, it which it reported--using information provided by local organizatios--that 61 activists were killed in Mexico between 2006 and 2010. read more

One million 600 thousand people displaced in Mexico
La Jornada: "While the government of Mexico continues not to recognize the existence of forced internal displacement caused by its war strategy against organized crime, it is increasingly difficult to determine the real dimension of the phenomenon and assist victims. So specialists in the field warned during the "Day of Training in Internal Displacement", organized by the National Commission on Human Rights." read more

Mexico senate approves bill to create a registry of lost and missing persons
La Jornada: "By unanimous vote yesterday, the Senate approved the National Data Registy Act for Missing or Disappeared Persons..." read more