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Rage One (blog)

domingo, mayo 18, 2008

Mexico Week In Review: 05.12-05.18

Mexico Week In Review: 05.12-05.18
Published since 1994, 'Mexico Week In Review' is a service of the
Committee of Indigenous Solidarity (CIS). CIS is a Washington, D.C.
based activist group committed to the ongoing struggles of Indigenous
peoples in the Americas. CIS is actively supporting the struggles
of the Indigenous peoples of Mexico while simultaneously combating
related structures of oppression within our own communities.

To view newsletter archives, visit:

"Para Todos, Todo; Para Nosotros Nada"


The Popular Revolutionary Army, or EPR, that bombed energy pipelines
last year rejected direct talks with the government but left open the
possibility of negotiations through a group of mediators. President
Felipe Calderon's conservative government agreed last month to talks
with the EPR, which disrupted oil and gas supplies last July and
September, if the group agreed to swear off future violence. "The
conditions simply don't exist to sit down face to face," the EPR said
in a statement, adding that the government was backed by right-wing
extremists in Mexico as well as U.S. President George W. Bush.

The group is demanding the return of two missing activists it says
are being held and tortured by authorities, an accusation the
government denies. Calderon condemned the EPR's decision. "To me this
is deplorable. However, the Mexican government, my government, will
always be open to dialogue," he told a news conference. But the
rebels said they were optimistic about the recent formation of a
five-member panel that it said could mediate talks. The panel is
mainly made up of left-leaning public figures and it is not clear if
the government would back its mediation efforts. The mediators
include the writer Carlos Montemayor, who is the commission's
spokesperson; anthropologist Gilberto Lopez y Rivas; Samuel Ruiz
Garcia, bishop emeritus of San Cristobal de las Casas in the
southeastern state of Chiapas; and human rights activist Rosario
Ibarra de Piedra, a senator for the center-left Party of the
Democratic Revolution (PRD). At a press conference in Mexico City on
May 9, Montemayor said the commission planned meetings with the
government in the near future and would communicate with the rebels
through the media, which he called "the red telephone with all the
sides involved."

The EPR burst into public view in the 1990s during a rally in the
poor southern state of Guerrero. It claims hundreds of members across
Mexico but after lethal ambushes on rural police and army bases, the
group remained quiet for nearly a decade. The rebels returned to the
spotlight in 2007 with the pipeline attacks directed at state-owned
oil monopoly Pemex.

Sources: Reuters: 05/12; Weekly News Update- Nicaragua Solidarity
Network Of Greater New York: 05/11


Thousands of white-clad people marched silently to protest a surge of
drug-related violence in a Mexican city across from Texas where the
No. 2 police officer was shot dead. The crowd of several thousand
students, church leaders, businessmen and politicians walked for
about four miles (six kilometers) across Ciudad Juarez to a park near
a border crossing, breaking the silence in a burst of speeches,
dancing and singing.

More than 200 people have been killed so far this year in Ciudad
Juarez. The city of 1.3 million across the border from El Paso,
Texas, is home base for the powerful Juarez drug cartel. The
assassination of police director Juan Antonio Roman Garcia came
despite the deployment of more than 2,500 soldiers and federal police
to the city and surrounding Chihuahua state in March. "We need to
unite against this," said Julian Ochoa, an architecture student at
the march. "I hope we achieve something."

An increase in drug-related homicides, shootouts, kidnappings and car
thefts near the border prompted U.S. State Department to warn
Americans last month of rising violence in the region, though it
stopped short of advising against travel here. Last week, police
arrested six suspected gang members after a gunfight in the northern
state of Sinaloa. One of the six, Alfonso Gutierrez Loera, 25,
identified himself as a cousin of suspected Sinaloa cartel chief
Joaquin Guzman, according the Public Safety Department. Gutierrez
Loera and another suspect were wounded in the shootout.

Source: Associated Press: 05/11


Martha couldn't take the beatings anymore. She visited local police
three times last year to report that her husband was punching her in
the stomach so hard she could barely breathe. Each time, the police
told her they could do nothing unless she returned with cuts and
bruises. Discouraged and fearful, Martha, 43, who asked that her last
name not be published for fear of retribution from her husband, in
March packed some clothes and left. She's lived with three different
relatives since. "There were times I didn't want to wake up," she
said, crying. "I wanted it to stop. I wanted to die."

Every day thousands of Mexican women suffer physical and
psychological abuse at the hands of their spouses, despite a federal
law passed over a year ago to protect them. Nearly one-third of the
country's 31 states still haven't adopted the law, which requires
Mexican law enforcement to punish acts of violence against women.
Even where the law has been adopted, it's not being applied, say
legislators and activists. That's because, despite an official push
to move beyond the cliche image of macho, Mexico is still very much a
man's world when it comes to violence against women. Mexico City's
Commission on Human Rights recently reported that complaints by women
against Mexico City law enforcement agencies for failing to respond
to complaints increased more than 12 percent after the law's passage.
"We are enormously concerned about complaints that the justice system
isn't working," Emilio Alvarez Icaza , the president of the
commission, told Mexico City's legislators during his April 24
presentation of the report. But progress is hard to come by in a
country where just a few years ago the punishment for killing a cow
in some states was greater than for killing a woman. A rapist in
Mexico can still escape punishment in 21 states by claiming he was
seeking to satisfy an erotic fantasy. He can escape punishment in 19
states if he later marries the victim.

The law mandating enforcement on women's complaints of violence,
passed in February 2007, was meant to show that the government was
taking the problem seriously. Legislators have allocated millions for
federal and state law enforcement, a special prosecutor has been
appointed and some states have adopted the federal law. But activists
and government officials say they can count few real successes.
Public administrators, police and sometimes even judges are ignoring
the law, they said. "One thing is having a law; it's another thing to
enforce it," said Marisela Contreras Julian, president of the
Commission on Fairness and Gender in Mexico's lower house of
Congress. Contreras said women who report crimes are turned away or
persuaded not to file charges. "They say, 'You're going to forgive
your husband, aren't you?' " she said. "It's the culture. ...And some
of these men are abusers themselves. Therefore, they look for a way
to justify the actions."

Six out of 10 Mexican women have suffered some form of violence
inflicted by their spouses or partners, according to government
studies. In 2006, more than 80 percent of women who were murdered
were killed in their own homes. The National Institute for Women in
Mexico reports that twice as many Mexican women suffer abuse than the
worldwide average. "The problem is violence against women is
ingrained in our culture," said Liliana Rojero Luevano, the
institute's executive secretary. "It's considered natural." The issue
gained worldwide attention after the violent deaths of more than 400
women and girls in Ciudad Juarez beginning in the early 1990s. Rojero
said the Juarez murders, while isolated, are emblematic of the
problems throughout Mexico. Many of the cases remain unsolved, she
said, because people don't consider violence against women a priority.

Margarita Guille Tamayo, director of the National Network, a women's
shelter, answered the phone in March when Martha called asking for
help. "She was crying and hysterical," Guille said. "She kept talking
about how the police would not help her. She didn't know what to do."
Martha was worried that her husband would beat her 10-year-old son if
she left. She agreed to leave the house only after Guille persuaded
her that she needed to save herself first, and then they could work
to rescue her son. Martha said her husband beat and raped her almost
weekly. He would hit her with a broom or pull her to the ground, or
to the bed, by her hair. He would tell her it was her obligation to
have sex with him "no matter whether I worked all day or was tired."
She asked him for a divorce, but he refused. Insulted, he increased
the intensity of the beatings, she said. The state of Mexico, where
Martha lives, shares the record with Jalisco as the Mexican state
with the highest rate of violence against women. But the state hasn't
passed the federal law. Police never arrested her husband or even
brought him in for questioning. "I did what I thought I was supposed
to do," Martha said. "I asked for help, but they didn't do anything."

Source: McClatchy Newspapers: 05/13


The House of Representatives voted to scale back President George W.
Bush's plan to aid Mexico in its increasingly deadly war on illegal
drug cartels. The so-called Merida initiative -- which Bush proposed
last October as a three-year $1.4 billion package providing aircraft,
equipment and training -- initially was to offer Mexico $500 million
in this fiscal year that ends September 30. But lawmakers reduced
this year's segment to $400 million in a 256-166 vote on legislation
that also expanded benefits for U.S. veterans of the Iraq and
Afghanistan wars and lengthened unemployment benefits for U.S.

The Democratic-controlled chamber sought to restrict support for the
Mexican military, while increasing resources for social institutions
including the country's judiciary. But analysts said the cutback was
less than expected and described the vote as an important U.S.
gesture toward Mexico. More than 1,100 people have been killed in
Mexico this year as drug gangs fight each other and security forces.
Across Capitol Hill, the Senate Appropriations Committee set Mexico's
funding level at $350 million. Full Senate debate of the measure
could come next week.

The House increased a part of the Merida initiative to fight drug
trafficking in Central America, to $61.5 million from the $50 million
the White House sought. Lawmakers also added the Caribbean nations of
Haiti and the Dominican Republic to share the funds. The Senate panel
set aside $100 million for Central America, Haiti and the Dominican
Republic. The Bush administration had urged Congress to avoid large
cutbacks that could embarrass the government of Mexican President
Felipe Calderon as Washington is pressing for closer security ties
between the two countries. The Merida initiative would not give
Mexico money outright, but would provide equipment such as
helicopters, planes and inspection scanners as well as training for
police, prosecutors and judges.

"Though the amount is reduced, the vote conveys to the Calderon
government and the Mexican people that both the U.S. administration
and Congress are interested in supporting institutions and
strengthening law enforcement," said Armand Peschard-Sverdrup of the
Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. On
Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee authorized Congress to
spend up to $1.6 billion on the Merida initiative overall. But the
panel's bill, which sets out policy but does not provide the funding,
said the program should be geared more heavily toward supporting the
rule of law, with less assistance for the Mexican military partly
because of concerns of human rights abuse allegations.

Source: Reuters: 05/15

The above articles were originally published and copyrighted by the
listed sources. These articles are offered for educational purposes
which CIS maintains is 'fair use' of copyrighted material as
provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

end: Mexico Week In Review: 05.12-05.18

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