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Rage One (blog)

domingo, mayo 25, 2008

Mexico Week In Review: 05.19-05.25

Mexico Week In Review: 05.19-05.25
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"


Prominent women's rights activists in the northern Mexican state of
Chihuahua have reported receiving a new round of threats. Members of
Ciudad Juarez's Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa (May our Daughters
Return Home), a group of relatives of murdered women, canceled their
participation in a screening of the Hollywood movie Bordertown
scheduled for their hometown because of death threats received by
e-mail and on cell phones. "Now the threat is more real," said
Marisela Ortiz, Nuestras Hijas spokeswoman.

Titled Verdades que Matan in Spanish, the film stars Jennifer Lopez
as a US reporter who probes the Ciudad Juarez femicides. The movie
also features Antonio Banderas, Martin Sheen, Kate de Castillo, and
Maya Zapata. Directed by Gregory Nava, the film has not been released
on the big screen in the US and is only available on DVD. After years
of production and delays in its release, Bordertown finally achieved
a limited showing in some Mexican theaters last week. In Ciudad
Juarez, unidentified journalists have also reportedly received
threats warning them against promoting the film. In a Mexico City
press conference on May 12, Nava said the movie was possibly not
released in the US because of its critical portrayals of the North
American Free Trade Agreement and the maquiladora industry. Nava also
revealed that when Bordertown's producers were in Ciudad Juarez a
crew member was kidnapped and tortured into telling his tormentors
the hotel where film material was stored. Local policemen then lifted
the material, according to Nava. Many scenes in the movie were filmed
in Nogales, Sonora, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, among other

Nava was recently interviewed by a reporter for Ciudad Juarez's El
Diario newspaper. The journalist pressed Nava about exaggerating the
murders, propagating presumed "myths," surrounding the killings and
profiting from the suffering of victims and their families. Defending
the film, Nava blamed Mexican authorities, free trade and US
companies for creating an environment in Ciudad Juarez in which
women's lives have no worth. "Women in Juarez live in terror, their
life has no value, and this is what we have to change," Nava said. In
an earlier interview with the Mexican press, Nava charged that
governments on both sides of the border were doing nothing to address
the femicides. "It is horrible, but it is easier for the authorities
from Juarez, from Chihuahua and from the United States to cover up
the situation. It is a grand injustice."

The Diario interview mentioned incidents of harassment against
Bordertown staff, but it did not report the alleged kidnapping of the
crew member. Prior to Ortiz's denunciation of death threats against
members of Nuestras Hijas, Chihuahua City lawyer Lucha Castro,
director of the Women's Human Rights Center, reported receiving a
similar threat. Castro has long represented the mothers and family
members of young women from Chihuahua City slain in a manner very
similar to the more-publicized Ciudad Juarez rape-murders. According
to Castro, an unidentified male caller threatened her on May 14.
Castro then filed a criminal complaint with the Chihuahua State
Office of the Attorney General, and two officers were assigned to
protect the human rights attorney. Activists also demand that the
Chihuahua state government protect Marisela Oritz and the other
members of Nuestras Hijas. The death threats against women's rights
activists come amid an unprecedented wave of narco-violence in Ciudad
Juarez and Chihuahua state. More than 400 slayings attributed to
organized crime have been reported this year alone, and fear of
further carnage is gripping society. In recent days, e-mails and
messages to cell phones in Ciudad Juarez have warned people to stay
home during the coming weekend or at least exercise extreme caution
because of an alleged plan to carry out spectacular executions on
public thoroughfares.

The threats against women's movement leaders likewise occur in a
broader context of violent attacks and legal pressure against social
activists of all stripes. Since March, Chihuahua farm movement leader
Armando Villareal has been murdered, and labor and women's rights
activist Cipriana Jurado, has been arrested on federal charges
stemming from a demonstration nearly three years ago. Arrest warrants
are reportedly pending against dozens of other farmers involved in a
payment strike against the Federal Electricity Commission.

Mexican and foreign activists contend that a deteriorating human
rights environment characterizes the country. Juan Ignacio Garcia,
Spanish member of the International Civil Commission for the
Observation of Human Rights, cited Ciudad Juarez as among human
rights cases crying for redress from the authorities. The
international community is seriously concerned about the femicides,
murders of journalists and other human rights violations, Garcia
said. "We know that public opinion is aware of all this, and it would
be good for the Mexican government to show a measure of stronger will
and attend to these cases," Garcia added.

Sources: Frontera NorteSur (FNS): 05/22; Frontenet: 05/22; El Paso
Times: 05/22; Cimacnoticias: 0519,22; El Diario de Juarez:
05/16;.Pagina 24/Agencia Reforma: 04/21


There are no police anymore in Villa Ahumada. Even the mayor has
fled. Drug gangs have virtually seized this town of 1,500 not far
from Texas, as Mexico's cartels grow increasingly audacious. The
Mexican military took over the police department this week because
all 20 officers on the force have either been killed, run out of town
or quit, officials said. Mayor Fidel Urrutia took refuge in the state
capital of Chihuahua City - 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) away - where
he's waiting for the soldiers to recover his town. "Security will be
in the hands of the army and the state (police) ministries, and it
will remain like that indefinitely," Chihuahua state police spokesman
Marco Antonio Moreno said.

Late Saturday, some 70 assailants barged into town and killed the
police chief, two officers and three residents. At least eight people
were kidnapped. The killings came a month after soldiers arrested
eight men, including a police officer, during the burial of an
alleged drug hit man in Villa Ahumada, about 80 miles (130
kilometers) south of El Paso, Texas. Cartels across Mexico have been
launching brazen attacks, beheading police and killing soldiers in
response to a military and federal police crackdown. Since taking
office in 2006, President Felipe Calderon has sent more than 25,000
troops to drug hotspots. Shootouts occur almost daily, especially
along the U.S. border and in other states where the cartels have a
strong presence.

Source: Associated Press: 05/20


A southern Mexican town's 15-member police force has quit for fear of
being assassinated in retaliation for a shootout with gunmen, a
security official said. Zirandaro was the second town in less than
two weeks to be left without its police force as Mexico's drug
cartels wage increasingly bold attacks against security forces. On
Monday, the military took over a town near Texas after all 20 of its
police officers were either killed, run out of town or quit.

Eight members of Zirandaro's police never returned to work after a
May 13 shootout with gunmen that left a 32-year-old man dead, said
Juan Heriberto Salinas Altes, the public safety secretary of the
southern state of Guerrero. The other seven officers - including the
police chief - quit days later. "The Zirandaro police quit the
service because they feared the criminals would return to seek
revenge," Salinas Altas told a news conference. The identities of the
gunmen were not known, but Salinas Altas said cells of both the
Sinaloa and Gulf cartels were operating in the area. About 20
Guerrero state police officers have taken over security
responsibilities in Zirandaro, a town of about 24,000 people.

President Felipe Calderon has said the attacks against Mexican police
show that cartels feel threatened by his crackdown against drug
trafficking. Since taking office in 2006, he has sent more than
25,000 troops to drug hotspots. But the disintegration of two
municipal forces shows how vulnerable police feel in a country where,
despite efforts to fight corruption, they can't be sure their
colleagues are not on the cartels' payrolls. Earlier this month,
Mexico's acting federal police chief was killed in his home by an
assassin who had keys to his house. A fellow federal police officer
and four other people with alleged ties to the Sinaloa cartel were
arrested in the killing.

President Bush's administration has pushed Congress to approve an
initial US$550 million (euro349 million) to help fight drug crime in
Mexico and Central America. The U.S. Senate approved only US$450
million (euro285 million) for the plan on Monday, while the House has
approved US$461.5 million (euro293 million). The U.S. ambassador to
Mexico, Antonio Garza, nonetheless said approval of the funding
"signaled congressional support for this important measure to enhance
ongoing U.S. programs for cooperating and coordinating with the
Mexican government." The two chambers must agree on a final version
of the bill before sending it to Bush for final approval.

Source: Associated Press: 05/23


Mexico's drug violence has claimed another top police official: the
second-in-command in the central state of Morelos. The body of Victor
Enrique Payan was found with a second, unidentified Morelos state
police officer in the trunk of a car south of Mexico City, city
police official Miguel Amelio Gomez said.

Attached to their bodies was a message warning against joining the
Sinaloa drug cartel, based in the northwestern state of the same
name. Authorities could not immediately explain the message, but were
investigating to see if the officials had any ties to drug
traffickers. Mexican police have a history of corruption, and a
number of police and soldiers sent to fight the cartels have ended up
joining them. Mexico's president has sent more than 24,000 soldiers
nationwide to fight drug gangs. The traffickers have responded with
unprecedented violence, beheading police and killing soldiers.

Source: Associated Press: 05/21


The Authentic Labor Front (FAT), an independent Mexican labor group,
announced on May 13 that one of its affiliates is set to declare a
strike at the Central de Abasto, Mexico City's huge wholesale food
market, on May 30. For the past four years the affiliate--the Union
of Workers of Commercial Buildings, Offices and Stores, and the Like
and Related (STRACC)--has represented 41 workers who clean bathrooms
in the flowers and vegetables area of the giant facility, which is
operated by the Federal District (DF) government. The workers are
mostly women, and several are older or have disabilities.

Recently the Central de Abasto's management contracted the bathroom
maintenance out to a small new private company, Operadora Comercial
SAFE, SA de CV (OESSA). This company claims it is subcontracting the
work to another company, Great Limp, which it says already has a
union. On Apr. 29 OESSA management took the STRACC workers offsite
and attempted by pressure and false pretenses to have them sign
letters of resignation. Management got 14 to sign before the workers
could contact union officials; after that the rest refused. The union
members continued to work until May 6, when management appeared with
a group of judicial and auxiliary police and arrested the workers,
some of whom were injured in the operation. The police held them for
14 hours, supposedly for "illegal exercise of particular rights,"
which can carry a sentence of three months to one year in prison.
Since then the STRACC members have not been allowed to work.

Source: Weekly News Update- Nicaragua Solidarity Network Of Greater
New York: 05/18

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: 05.19-05.25

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