We begin with another graphic, this time from the Accomplished Ignorant Tumblr:
Next, the major development of the day from teleSUR:
Mexico: Human Remains Found in Ashes of Village Bonfire
- Local media reports that remains found in Cocula may belong to missing Ayotzinapa students.
Members of the Union of Peoples and Organizations of the State of Guerrero (Upoeg) claim to have found human remains in the ashes of a bonfire burnt in La Barranca de la Carniceria, located in Cocula reports local media. According to Upoeg members, the remains are charred bones that may belong to the disappeared 43 Ayotzinapa teacher college students.
The remains were located based on information from witnesses that reported smoke.
Miguel Angel Jimenez, Upoeg representative, informed the Attorney General’s Office about the finding. Experts are expected to arrive at the scene on Monday to examine the remains.
National Public Radio covers a survivor:
Survivor Of Mexican Student Attacks Tells Of Bullet-Riddled Escape
- In Mexico, authorities continue the investigation into the kidnapping and presumed murder of 43 students from a college in the southern state of Guerrero.
On a recent afternoon at the teaching school in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, I spoke to one man who says he survived the attacks on Sept. 26. NPR couldn’t independently confirm 22-year-old Carlos Martinez’s account, but it is consistent with other eyewitness versions and investigator’s statements.
That night back in September, three buses loaded with students headed out of the school toward Iguala, Guerrero, about an hour and a half away. Martinez, a junior at the school, says unfortunately they arrived just as the mayor’s wife was giving a political speech.
Thinking the students came to disrupt the event, and on orders of the mayor, police chased the students out of downtown and onto the main road, where Martinez says more patrol cars arrived and surrounded the buses.
The police jumped out and started shooting, Martinez says. More would come and start shooting, too. “You just heard shots everywhere,” he says.
From Turin, Italy, La Stampa’s Vatican Insider covers the religious response:
“They took them alive, we want them back alive!”
- On the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, millions of Mexicans prayed for the missing students from Ayotzinapa
While the hymns of the Missa Criolla were being sung in St. Peter’s Basilica, 10 thousand kilometres away, in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, the following slogan was rolling off people’s lips: “They took them alive, we want them back alive!” The voices of protest at the disappearance of the students from Ayotzinapa did not stop even on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The day marked the 483rd anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Mount Tepeyac. But this anniversary will probably be remembered as the year of prayer for victims of violence in Mexico.
It was religious leaders themselves who referred indirectly to the events which shook Mexican public opinion. During the traditional Mass of Roses – the main celebration that marks the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe –, the Apostolic Nuncio to Mexico, Mgr. Christopher Pierre, prayed to the Virgin Mary to “comfort” victims of “violence” and “poverty” in Mexico.
From the altar of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Nuncio said: “We give thanks to you and pray for our many brothers and sisters in Mexico and around the world who are suffering as a result of violence, poverty and illness. May the Lord give them consolation and free them from evil, through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe.”
From teleSUR, another major confirmation of what was suspected:
New Study Shows Federal Police Involved in Ayotzinapa Attack
- The participation of federal forces in the attack opposes the official explanation of the events.
A new investigation on the case of the 43 Mexican students that disappeared on September 26 in the city of Iguala, Guerrero, shows that agents from the Federal Police planned the attack and took part in it.
On the night of September 26, Iguala municipal police and armed masked men shot and killed six people, including three students, in a confrontation while 43 other students were taken away. Their whereabouts remain a mystery.
According to the version by Mexican authorities, the armed men kidnapped the students and handed them to a local criminal gang known as United Warriors (Guerreros Unidos), then the students were burned to ashes in a dump near Iguala, which has not been confirmed by forensic experts.
From Deutsche Welle:
Mexicans fight back after student kidnappings
More than two months ago, 43 students disappeared in the Mexican state of Guerrero. They were abducted and then murdered, allegedly by local drug cartels with the assistance of the police and the mayor. Relatives and demonstrators are now campaigning against corruption and poverty.
More police violence against protesters, via teleSUR:
Mexico: Ayotzinapa Students and Teachers’ Repressed by Police
- Parents of the 43 abducted students, journalists, as well as students and teachers from the Ayotzinapa teacher training college were injured during clashes in Chilpancingo.
Mexican Federal Police repressed early Sunday, in Chilpancingo, Guerrero, a group of students from the Ayotzinapa teacher training school, parents of the 43 Ayotzinapa abducted students, members of the State Coordinator of Education Workers of Guerrero (CETEG) as well as other students and journalists.
Around 17 people were injured during the clashes. They were denied medical care at the Chilpancingo Red Cross, therefore they were taken to other hospitals.
According to a statement published by the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (ANAD), a group of students from the Ayotzinapa teacher training college were heading towards a place called “El Caballito” in Chilpancingo to begin preparations for a concert in support of their 43 missing partners, which was scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
More Chilpancingo violence, via Borderland Beat:
Family Members of the Three Youths Found Executed in Chihuahua Flee in Fear
- As reported by El Diario Juárez
Members of the Archuleta family fled from the municipality due to the fear of suffering a new attack and the absence of security guarantees, as the authors of the forced disappearance and later assassination of three young men remain free and remain in the town, they denounced.
“We can no longer be here”, one of the members of this family told El Diario that he had to decline participating in the funeral service of his loved ones, but he refused to identify the site in which he was refuging.
In this town one can not bury their dead, lamented the bereaved.
“We are afraid to remain longer in the town”, said the person interviewed upon making what would be his last communication.
The fear, he affirmed, is because they are poor people, laborers, and without any relation with organized crime, despite the fact that they kidnapped his three relatives, tortured them, and killed them.
From Al Jazeera America, a logical suspicion:
Mexico’s police overhaul may not curtail violence, corruption
- President Peña Nieto’s proposal to dismantle country’s municipal forces ignores state and federal collusion
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has a launched a proposal to overhaul the police force in Mexico, finally acting in response to the thousands of marchers protesting the deteriorated security system and disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero.
The proposal, which Peña Nieto introduced to Congress on Dec. 2, would radically reshape the structure of policing in Mexico, dismantling municipal police forces and replacing them with 32 state police corps. It’s a move designed to show action against corruption on the local level — tragically illustrated by the Iguala police officers who dutifully handed over the students to organized crime at the command of the mayor.
The plan, however, point blank ignores state and federal collusion, despite their obvious contribution to a growing sense of lawlessness in Mexico, and the overall proposal strikes many as a hodgepodge of old ideas.
“This is an improvised and ill-prepared strategy,” said Alejandro Orozco, a Mexico City–based senior security consultant with FTI Consulting. “The way it has been planned and presented contrasts sharply with the energy reform and other sets of reforms that had been developed since the beginning of Peña Nieto’s term and had involved negotiations with the opposition [parties].”
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times publishes the final of four major investigative pieces on the plight of the Mexican people who harvest the food for tables in the U.S.:
Children harvest crops and sacrifice dreams in Mexico’s fields
An estimated 100,000 Mexican children under 14 pick crops for pay. Alejandrina, 12, wanted to be a teacher. Instead, she became a nomadic laborer, following the pepper harvest from farm to farm.
Child labor has been largely eradicated at the giant agribusinesses that have fueled the boom in Mexican exports to the United States. But children pick crops at hundreds of small- and mid-size farms across Mexico, and some of the produce they harvest makes its way into American kitchens and markets.
The Times pieced together a picture of child labor on Mexican farms by interviewing growers, field bosses, brokers and wholesalers, and by observing children picking crops in the states of Sinaloa, Michoacan, Jalisco and Guanajuato.
Produce from farms that employ children reaches the United States through long chains of middlemen. A pepper picked by a child can change hands five or six times before reaching an American grocery store or salsa factory.
Data on child labor are scarce; many growers and distributors will not talk about it. About 100,000 Mexican children under 14 pick crops for pay, according to estimates in a 2012 study by the World Bank and other international agencies. It is illegal to employ workers younger than 15.
And the plight of Mexicans who work on farms across the U.S. border via Frontera NorteSur:
Border Farmworkers Still Lack Health Care
According to Harald Bauder, academic director of the Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement, they are part of a larger global migration phenomenon that produces labor segmentation whereby the labor market is divided into primary and secondary segments. In the secondary labor market, jobs are unstable and the market lacks enforcement of labor standards. It is evident that farmworkers are laboring in the secondary labor market.
Over the summer, I interviewed 58 farmworkers in El Paso, Texas about their access to health care. The farmworkers surveyed live and work in the U.S.-Mexico border area of West Texas and Southern New Mexico. The area studied contains approximately 12,000 farmworkers and, according to the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, the workers in question earn an average of $9,000 per year for a family of four. This is well below the annual income of $23,850, tagged as the poverty level for a family of four in 2014 by the U.S. Health and Human Services.
The abysmal wages earned by these farmworkers is even puzzling considering that, according to a 2012 report written by the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, the net profit in 2011 for New Mexico’s agricultural industry was $1.35 billion. The farmworkers primarily labor in the chile and onion fields, two of the biggest cash crops in New Mexico.
A double tragedy, via teleSUR:
Most Missing People in Mexico Are Under 17
There are currently over 22,000 missing people in the country – 41 percent of them went missing during President Pena Nieto’s time in office.
More than 20,000 people are currently missing in Mexico, most of whom are underage children, according to nongovernment organizations in the country.
“We found out that six out of 10 missing people in Mexico are children, but there is no information of how they were kidnapped. We need much more information to take the right measures and find these kids,” said advocate Luis Alberto Barquera, from the Organization for Social Development and Education For All (ODISEA A.C).
Barquera also told the Mexican news site Sin Embargo that according to the National Registration of Missing People 2013, at least 59 percent of the disappeared people are children and teenagers from 0 to 17 years old.
And from the New York Times, the same is true on both sides of the border:
Mexico Faces Growing Gap Between Political Class and Calls for Change
As the Nobel Peace Prize was being awarded in Oslo this week, a young man dashed on stage, unfurled a Mexican flag streaked with red paint and begged for help for his country because more than 40 college students have been missing for months after clashing with the police.
At the Latin Grammy Awards ceremony in Las Vegas last month, the big winners, Calle 13, shouted solidarity with the victims as they performed. At home, mass marches have regularly filled Mexican streets with angry calls for the government to act against corruption and crime.
But is the country’s political class listening?
In the coming days, Mexico is expected to name a special prosecutor to investigate corruption — a supposed Elliot Ness who would spare no sacred cows and answer the clamor of the public. The prosecutor is supposed to finally root out bribery, favoritism, kickbacks and reveal the kinds of organized crime that prosecutors say were at play in the case of the missing students.
That kind of prosecutorial determination may be what the public demands. What it is getting, however, is a prosecutor with little of the independence necessary to carry out the stated mission, government watchdog groups say.