We begin with an image from the Tumblr WHAT ARE WE HERE FOR?, featuring images from a photographer living in Mexico:
From Al Jazeera America, compounding a tragedy:
Classmates of missing Mexico students abandon studies
- Dropout rate among freshman class escalates as students fear further violence, follow wishes of their families
Since 43 students at a teachers college in rural Ayotzinapa, Mexico, were disappeared in September, dozens of remaining members of their first-year class have abandoned their studies.
Within days of the students’ kidnapping and suspected massacre by a drug gang, nearly everyone in the first-year class — where the majority of the 43 disappeared students were enrolled — left the school, students told Al Jazeera.
“The freshman class was down to about five students, but now as we better understand the situation and have talked to the families, some have started returning, one by one,” said Uriel Alonso Solís, a 19-year-old second-year student at Ayotzinapa, adding that about 25 freshman students are currently attending classes.
But at least 75 students have discontinued their studies, according to members of the school’s student committee.
The Christian Science Monitor documents a hack attack:
Anonymous hits Mexican websites to protest kidnapping of 43 students
The hacktivist collective aimed a digital attack at Mexico that took down and defaced at least eight websites in response to the government’s handling of the abduction and possible murder of 43 trainee teachers.
Anonymous attacked and took down several Mexican government websites Thursday night, an online assault the hacktivist collective said was meant to protest the government’s handling of the recent mass abduction of 43 students.
While smaller scale attacks have been going on for three weeks, the so-called #opMexico culminated Thursday evening in a wave of assaults on government and academic sites. The operation took down several websites and defaced others. Some sites hit in the attack were redirected to a webpage featuring an Anonymous logo, a poem, and a video titled “Anonymous: Operation Sky Angels” that outlines their motive for the attack.
In the video, the hacker group chides the government for failing to deliver justice and accused it of being “deeply implicated in the violence it claims to oppose.” After calling the government “abusive” and shrouded in a “veil of corruption,” the trademark Anonymous robotic voice vows to “avenge” the students and make the government “pay for their crimes.”
And the video, via TheAnonMessengers:
Anonymous: Operation Sky Angels
Follow https://bitly.com/anonyreport for updates.
From the Latin American Herald Tribune, and hardly surprising:
Families of Missing Students Claim Harassment by Mexican Authorities
Families of the 43 students who went missing more than two months ago in southern Mexico have claimed the government is harassing organizations supporting them in their quest for justice.
At a press conference Thursday, the families blamed the authorities for this week’s attempted kidnapping and beating of a student who was also threatened for taking part in protests demanding that the missing students be returned alive.
“The government told us to stop (the protests) to avoid bloodshed,” said one of the family members, adding that the apparent threats did not scare them but in fact made them stronger.
According to the family member, the government is fearful of how the protests could evolve so it is trying to halt the demonstrations.
From teleSUR, keeping up the heat:
Ayotzinapa Protest to Continue through the Holidays
- Relatives of the Mexican disappeared students say they have nothing to celebrate during the holidays and call for actions to continue.
Relatives of the 43 forcibly disappeared students from the Ayotzinapa teachers college in the state of Guerrero called for actions demanding the safe return of the missing students to continue during the holidays.
They added that during this time normally reserved for celebration, they have nothing to celebrate.
The relatives of the disappeared students are specifically calling for solidarity actions to be held from Dec. 23-27, when most students and some workers are on holiday. A spokesperson for the relatives said that not only have they lost their children but they’ve lost their fear, “because we no longer fear continuing this struggle.”
And one such protest, via teleSUR English:
Mexico: March for justice held in hometown of murdered student
Hundreds of residents of the town of Tecoanapa in the Mexican State of Guerrero marched to demand justice for the missing Ayotzinapa Teachers Training College students. Tecoanapa is the hometown of Alexander Mora, the only missing students whose remains have been identified. The family of the dead student is calling for renewed protests demanding justice.
From the Washington Post, tragedy unearthed:
Mexicans’ search for bodies reveals a history of hidden deaths
They picked up spent shotgun shells and placed them in plastic baggies for safe keeping. They examined discarded bottles, charred sticks, crusted weather-worn clothes. Over rocks and ridges, to the tops of trees and down in bone-dry riverbeds, the parents were searching for their children’s graves.
“Fifteen minutes more,” a father in dusty camouflage said before trudging farther up into the thick Mexican forest, hacking the thorny branches with his machete. “Just a little farther.”
Forty-three students went missing here in September, and for all the attention that received, they were hardly the first. Their abduction by police has loosed a flood of new accusations and begun to reveal a history of hidden deaths.
Before that crime, many people had been too afraid of the police to report the disappearances. Last month, just seven parents attended the first meeting in the basement of a Catholic church here for relatives of the missing. But as the national uproar over the students has grown, plus the arrest of the Iguala mayor, the dissolution of the town’s police force and the torching of city hall, the scope of the brutalities began to become clear. Dozens, then hundreds, of people came to subsequent meetings at the San Gerardo church, which has become the gathering point for a citizen movement to search the surrounding hills and fields for the students’ remains.
From the Department of the Obvious, via teleSUR:
Mexico’s Human Rights Commission Acknowledges Crisis
- At the country’s annual human rights award ceremony, Mexico’s ombudsman affirmed that the country is suffering a crisis in human rights.
Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) president, Rual Gonzalez, said the “shameful acts of Iguala and Tlatlaya are not the product of a spontaneous generation.” He declared that the “conditions that gradually led to those events have been boiling for a long time.”
He made his comments at an annual human rights awards ceremony, with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in attendance.
“Human rights are in crisis in different parts of the country,” said Gonzalez.
He also echoed some questions that activists have raised in marches and protests: Where were state security institutions that should prevent risks and threats to internal security and public order? What were the corresponding authorities of the different levels of government doing when these events occurred?
The Los Angeles Times continues is superb reporting on what goes into so much of the food the fills U.S. supermarkets:
Company stores trap Mexican farmworkers in a cycle of debt
The mom-and-pop monopolies sell to a captive clientele, post no prices and track purchases in dog-eared ledgers. At the end of the harvest, many workers head home owing money.
Company stores, called tiendas de raya, are a stubborn vestige of an oppressive past. During the early 20th century hacienda era, they kept peasants buried in debt, fueling resentment that helped spark the Mexican Revolution.
The country’s export farms have modernized rapidly in recent years to meet U.S. food safety standards and satisfy Americans’ appetite for fresh fruit and vegetables year-round.
But the company stores operate as they have for generations: as mom-and-pop monopolies that sell to a captive clientele, post no prices and track purchases in dog-eared ledgers.
The tiendas play a key role in a farm labor system that holds workers in a kind of indentured servitude. The combination of low pay and high prices drives many deep in debt to the stores. They spend the picking season trying to catch up. Guards and barbed-wire fences deter workers from fleeing the camps and their unpaid bills.
The company store has a long history, and back in 1956, the top rated song in the United States, recorded by Tennessee Ernie Ford, recalled the stores’ repressive role in poor mining communities in the U.S.:
After the jump, as presidential cabinet member’s curiously presidential real estate dealings, a big thumb’s up from Washington, a quite reasonable asylum plea denied, a proposed amnesty for village vigilantes, a hitman’s claim of killing nearly a thousand, gunmen kill and burn their way through a village, and a story that shouldn’t surprise. . . Continue reading