Nearly half a million migrants have been apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol in 2016, while hundreds of thousand of others have been detained and deported en route through Mexico. Within this number is a record-breaking number of Central Americans seeking asylum in what Amnesty International called “the world’s least visible refugee crises.” Many of these asylum seekers have escaped communities torn apart by violence, the drug trade and poverty, but human rights groups report that an alarming number of them are subject to serious danger en route to the border.
It was a brazen attack. Some 60 gunmen linked to the brutal Zetas cartel descended on a quiet cluster of towns just south of the Mexican border in the spring of 2011 and launched a door-to-door extermination campaign that went on for weeks, leaving an untold number of people dead or missing. Yet in the five years since the slaughter in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, the Mexican government has failed to fully investigate, much less address the needs of the victims and their families, according to a preliminary report released today by a panel of scholars and human rights investigators.
Former Head of Foreign Affairs Felipe Calderon Videgaray to Take His Place
Luis Videgaray Caso has resigned from Mexico’s Office of Finance and Public Credit, a spokesman announced Wednesday, September 7.
Caso will reportedly be replaced by Jose Antonio Meade, who served as Secretary of Social Development (SEDESOL).
The change was confirmed by President Enrique Peña Nieto in a message to the media from the official residence of Los Piños, where Meade was officially appointed as the new head of the SHCP.
We still need to better understand the logic of repression to be able to begin countering it, but the dimension it has taken lately urges the Mexican society to take action now.
In the novel 1984, it sends a shiver down my spine when O’Brien asks Winston, who is begging for mercy, “how does one man assert his power over another?” After hours of torture in Room 101, Winston’s answer might seem obvious to us: “by making him suffer.” This is precisely the purpose of repression: to hurt, humiliate, frighten, demobilise, divide, and silence. If there were an Oscar award for repression, the Mexican government would win one for its 50 year trajectory. In the acceptance speech, the country could mention the repression which was executed against peasant leaders following the failed attack on the Madera Barracks in 1965, as a milestone achievement. Or perhaps the participation of the Mexican army to quell student riots in the University of Michoacán, San Nicolás Hidalgo, in 1966. The most recent feat achieved by the Mexican government would without doubt be the police’s actions in Nochixtlán, 19 June 2016, in dispersing a road blocked by sympathisers of the National Organisation of Education Workers (CNTE), whereby 8 people were murdered and an additional 100 injured.
Mexico’s War is a civil war against and amongst citizens, regardless of where they stand on the drug business, of devastating consequences for the population and the state.
Mexico’s so-called war on drugs has not ended. While no longer part of the government’s official discourse, the logic of war continues to pervade the state’s militarized strategies against criminal organizations. Most importantly, this war continues to be felt amongst individuals, families, and local communities that endure its consequences in the form of extortions, kidnappings, disappearances, torture, and forced displacements. More than “collateral effects,” these various forms of violence and its victims are at the center of Mexico’s ongoing war.
The Zapatistas have sided with the teachers who are engaged in a massive and sometimes violent dispute with the Mexican government. The group released a statement, reprinted in full below. The Zapatistas are a militant group best known for their fight in Chiapas, Mexico. It is unclear if the Zapatistas plan on engaging in any militant actions on behalf of the community.
“Faced with the cowardly repressive attack suffered by the teachers and the community in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca—in which the Mexican state reminds us that this is a war on all—the peoples, nations, and tribes who make up the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation say to the dignified teachers that they are not alone, that we know that reason and truth are on their side, that the collective dignity from which they speak their resistance is unbreakable, and that this the principal weapon of those of us below.
We condemn the escalation of repression with which the neoliberal capitalist reform, supposedly about “education,” is being imposed across the entire country and principally in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero, and Michoacán. With threats, persecutions, beatings, unjust imprisonments and now murders they try to break the dignity of the teachers in rebellion.”
The headlines are terrifying. The images are poignant. A battle in the street between teachers and cops has caught the world’s attention, but the story doesn’t begin there, nor is it likely to end there.
The protests that sprang up recently were triggered by a bizarre series of arrests made by the government of Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s President. The arrests targeted leaders of the teacher’s union. By most accounts, the charges are bogus or at least severely inflated. One of the union officials was arrested for stealing textbooks. Even in corruption prone Mexico, a black market for school textbooks has yet to show its face. Unsurprisingly, those arrested were also political opponents of Enrique Peña Nieto. The teacher’s union adamantly opposes the President’s reforms. The reforms are part of the President’s neoliberal campaign promises, and many in the union see them as a death blow to education in Mexico, particularly for the rural and indigenous communities. Some in the union are fearful of massive layoffs.
Where are the 43 Ayotzinapa students? This question remains unanswered 19 months after the group of teaching students were detained by local police in Mexico and disappeared afterward, even after experts nominated by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) finished their work assisting the country’s authorities.
The government’s ‘historical truth’
The “historical truth” upheld by the Mexican government claims that the 43 students were detained by municipal police officers from Iguala and Cocula, in the state of Guerrero (Western Mexico), to prevent them from reaching a protest they were going to. According to this version of events, the 43 students were then handed over to members of organised crime groups and executed in different places at different times.
The Mexican Chamber of Deputies endorsed a Senate bill that will allow the issuing birth certificates to unregistered Mexicans living within the country as well outside of it.
The bill, which received unanimous approval with 423 votes, will now be sent to President Enrique Peña Nieto, who has the power to make it a law.
The bill supports an amendment to Article 44 of the Mexican Foreign Service Law, which states that heads of consular offices can act, when appropriate, as judges of the Civil Registry. However, it does not make explicit their authority to issue birth certificates.
Illegal immigration to the United States has long been a subject of heated debate. Some argue that immigrants take jobs away from Americans, commit crimes, traffic drugs and unduly strain social welfare programs but pay no taxes. Others counter that immigrants contribute valuable labor and should have a path to citizenship. The rhetoric reached new heights during the 2016 presidential campaign, notably with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the nearly 2,000-mile long border Mexico shares with the U.S. and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.
The debate has largely focused on immigrants from Mexico because, according to the Pew Research Center, they constitute the largest single group of immigrants in the United States.