Category Archives: Latin America

MexicoWatch: Anger, protest, parents, science


We begin with the latest, via Al Jazeera America:

Protests rage over missing students in Mexico ahead of national strike

  • Strike and massive marches called for Nov. 20 in capital and abroad demanding end to government corruption

Protests over the disappearance of 43 missing students raged across Mexico and the United States over the weekend. Activists blamed a government they say has ties to organized crime and called for people in Mexico and the U.S. to support a Mexico-wide strike on Thursday.

Coinciding with the Nov. 20 strike, protest marches will be held in Mexico City, as well as dozens of cities across the U.S. including New York City and Los Angeles.

“We want to warn that these acts of protest will not be silenced while the civil and human rights of our Mexican brothers continue to be violated and trampled on by a government that has colluded with organized crime and to those who blamed the crimes committed by the state on [cartels] — thereby evading their own responsibility in the state sponsored genocide that has been committed with total impunity,” #YoSoy123NY, the New York chapter of a Mexican social movement that opposes Mexico’s current government, said in a statement handed out at a protest in New York City on Sunday.

A video report on the upcoming  protests in Mexico City via teleSUR:

Mexico: Major protests planned for Nov. 20 over Ayotzinapa

Program notes:

This past weekend, several demonstrations were held throughout Mexico to demand that the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa be returned alive. Plans for major demonstrations on November 20 are already underway and include 3 separate marches in Mexico City that will converge in the city’s central square and the possible seizure of the Mexico City International Airport.

From the Washington Post, the ripples spread:

Outrage in Mexico over missing students broadens into fury at corruption, inequality

On the day that pipe-wielding rioters set fire to a government accounting office and ransacked the state congress building, Felipe de la Cruz stepped to the microphone in the floodlit plaza of his missing son’s school.

The protests about his son and dozens of others abducted by police had been building for weeks. The next morning, caravans of buses would drive out of these wooded hills to spread their defiant message to far corners of Mexico, as protesters in different states blocked highways, seized town squares, closed airports, and burned cars and buildings.

“The parents are enraged by so much waiting and so few results,” De la Cruz, who has emerged as a spokesman for the victims’ families, told the crowd last Wednesday. As of Monday, he said, “the flame of insurgency has been lit.”

And from CathNews, a plea:

Mexican bishops plead for peace over student protest violence

“With sadness we recognise that the situation of the country has worsened” – since 2010, when the bishops published a pastoral letter on violence – “unleashing a true national crisis,” the bishops said on November 12 during their semi-annual planning sessions in suburban Mexico City. “Many people live subjected to fear, finding themselves helpless against the threats of criminal groups and, in some cases, the regrettable corruption of the authorities.”

The same day, at the end of his general audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis said he wanted to express to the Mexicans present in St Peter’s Square, “but also to those in your homeland, my spiritual closeness at this painful time.” While the students are legally missing, “we know they were killed,” the Pope said. Their disappearance and deaths “make visible the dramatic reality that exists behind the sale and trafficking of drugs.”

Ordinary Mexicans have taken to the streets, condemning the crimes committed against the students and the apparent collusion between criminals and the political class in parts of the country. The bishops lent their support to peaceful demonstrations, which often have been led by students, and called for a day of prayer on December 12, when millions of Mexicans celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The San Antonio Express-News covers context:

Mexico’s Iguala massacre: criminal gangs and criminal government

Gang and government lawlessness plague Mexico. On Sept. 26, a violent gang and a criminal government combined to massacre 43 students near the Guerrero state town of Iguala.

A perceived attitude of elite indifference by Guerrero state and federal government officials has fanned national outrage. Now, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto faces an expanding crisis of confidence in government institutions.

There are two reasons the crisis could damage Pena’s ability to govern.

Reason No. 1: Atrocities far less hideous and institutionally debilitating than the Iguala massacre have sparked mass revolt.

This column’s first sentence sketches reason No. 2: Mexican government corruption facilitates organized crime. Organized crime enriches a corrupt political class. Cartel gunmen and crooked cops on the streets, cartel comandantes and corrupt politicos through institutions ensnare the Mexican people.

From KNSD-7 in San Diego, solidarity:

Kidnappings, Killings of Students in Mexico Fuel SD Protests

The mass kidnappings and killings of college students in Mexico is fueling protests that have spilled over to this side of the border.

Mexican officials have confirmed the students’ remains were found. But the officials’ response is fueling more demonstrations this week, including here in San Diego.

Here at home, more than 200 students at University of California San Diego showed their support at a candlelight vigil.

“This is something that spans time and space, students being persecuted for their beliefs, for their politics,” said Mariko Kuga, a fourth-year UCSD student.

From the University of Washington student paper, the Daily:

UW students raise awareness for ongoing corruption in Mexico

Chanting filled the streets as a procession made its way around the corner of Brooklyn Avenue Northeast and Northeast Campus Parkway on Friday afternoon. With determined faces, students marched toward Red Square, holding signs and posters calling for justice in Mexico.

These students, most involved with the social justice organization Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán (MEChA), were protesting against the corruption of the Mexican government and raising awareness about the recent massacre of 43 students near the small town of Ayotzinapa, Mexico.

“The whole point of this protest is to raise awareness,” said senior Jessica Ramirez of MEChA, who organized the protest. “This is an issue for Latinos and this is an issue for Mexicans, but mostly this is an issue for everybody that cares about social justice and human rights justice.”

KTVX-4 in Salt Lake City covers solidarity in Utah:

Utahns rally for missing students in Mexico

A rally was held at the Mexican Consulate in Salt Lake City over the weekend. The rally was held to draw attention to 43 missing students in Mexico.

Those at the rally say they believe the Mexican government is somehow benefiting financially from the missing students. They also claim the students were taken to police and then handed over to gangs as a warning to stop protests from the Mexican people.

More solidarity, via the Harvard Gazette:

Murders in Mexico

  • Harvard, Boston experts step in to help

Mexican federal officials now say the 43 students who disappeared were killed by a local drug gang, incinerated in a 14-hour bonfire, and dumped in a local river. (Forensic DNA tests are underway.)

“The brutality of this was huge,” and has to be highlighted to the world, said Miguel Angel Guevara, an M.P.P. candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School. He grew up in Cuernavaca, just a few hours from the scene of the killings. “It reminds me of what the Nazis were doing,” he said.

But unlike the Holocaust’s silent witnesses of seven decades ago, Guevara and other academics are making noise, discussing what may be a six-month blitz of Boston-area events and media outreach. “We felt the story had been underreported,” said Guevara of the missing 43 students — most barely younger than he is. (Guevara, an electrical engineer by training, is 26.)

The project has a pair of YouTube videos up already, on a channel called Boston for Ayotzinapa. One is called “The World Is Watching” and features 136 area students representing 43 countries, one country for each missing student. An Instagram has also appeared, a picture of concerned students demonstrating in front of the gold-domed State House in Boston.

And the video, via Boston for Ayotzinapa:

THE WORLD IS WATCHING: students from 43 countries in solidarity with Ayotzinapa

Program notes:

136 students of 43 countries and 5 universities (Harvard, MIT, Boston University, Berklee College of Music and Tufts) stand in solidarity with the 43 disappeared students in Mexico. Please share this video to raise awareness about the situation and help us pressure the Mexican government.

Countries in solidarity: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela.

#JusticeForAyotzinapa #AyotzinapaSomosTodos

Music: Diego Torres and Fernando Faneyte
Edition: Lucia Vergara

From the Nation, a landscape of death:

This Mass Grave Isn’t the Mass Grave You Have Been Looking For

They have found many mass graves. Just not the mass grave they have been looking for. The forty-three student activists were disappeared on September 26, after being attacked by police in the town of Iguala, in the Mexican state of Guerrero. A week later, I set up an alert for “fosa clandestina”—Spanish for clandestine grave—on Google News. Here’s what has come back:

  • On October 4, the state prosecutor of Guerrero announced that twenty-eight bodies were found in five clandestine mass graves. None of them were the missing forty-three.
  • On October 9, three more graves. None of them contained the missing forty-three. The use of the passive tense on the part of government officials and in news reports is endemic. Graves were discovered. Massacres were committed. But in this case, a grassroots community organization, the Unión de Pueblos y Organizaciones del Estado de Guerrero, searched for and found the burial sites.
  • By October 16, the number of known clandestine graves in the state of Guerrero had risen to nineteen. Still none of them held the forty-three.
  • On October 24, the Unión de Pueblos announced that it had found six more clandestine graves in a neighborhood called Monte Hored. Five were filled with human remains: “hair…blood stained clothing,” including “high school uniforms.”
  • The sixth was empty. It was “new and seemed ready for use,” said a spokesperson for the Unión.

From SciDev.Net, scientific solidarity:

Q&A: Finding the ‘disappeared’ in Argentina and Mexico

The story of 43 students that were kidnapped in Iguala, Mexico — all of whom are now presumed dead — has gripped the country for weeks. But it is just one of many stories of grieving families, outrage and mass graves filled with dozens of bodies, many badly burned. Mexico’s wave of violence continues, making headlines worldwide.

Identifying the victims — to help the police and bring closure to the parents — would be a near-impossible task were it not for forensic scientists. One group that is providing invaluable help is based some 7,000 kilometres away: the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF).

Set up to investigate the crimes of Argentina’s military dictatorship of the 1970s, the team has been identifying skeletal remains of “disappeared people”, often found in unmarked graves. Since then the group has travelled to many of the world’s conflict zones, helping to identify victims of massacres in more than 50 countries, from El Salvador, Guatemala and Colombia to former Yugoslavia, the Philippines and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

From ODN, more Argentine solidarity:

Argentines demonstrate ‘solidarity’ with Mexico over missing students

Program notes:

Demonstrators in Argentina took to the Mexican Embassy on Monday in a show of “solidarity” with the people of Mexico over missing students,. Report by Claire Lomas.

And from the Aurora Sentinel, a reminder of those most concerned:

Mexico couple’s desperate search for missing son

“How is it possible that in 15 hours they burned so many boys, put them in a bag and threw them into the river?” Telumbre says.

Maria Telumbre knows fire. She spends her days making tortillas over hot coals, and experience tells her a small goat takes at least four hours to cook. So she doesn’t believe the government’s explanation that gang thugs incinerated her son and 42 other missing college students in a giant funeral pyre in less than a day, leaving almost nothing to identify them.

The discovery of charred teeth and bone fragments offers Telumbre no more proof of her son’s death than did the many graves unearthed in Guerrero state since the students disappeared Sept. 26. She simply does not accept that the ashes belong to her 19-year-old son and his classmates.

“How is it possible that in 15 hours they burned so many boys, put them in a bag and threw them into the river?” Telumbre says. “This is impossible. As parents, we don’t believe it’s them.”

For Telumbre, her husband, Clemente Rodriguez, and other parents, the official account is merely another lie from an administration that wants to put this mess behind it. Their demands for the truth are fuelling national outrage at the government’s inability to confront the brutality of drug cartels, corruption and impunity.

From Mexico Voices, building on tragedy:

Mexico’s Iguala Crisis: Ayotzinapa Students, Parents and Zapatistas Discuss Establishing National Movement to Locate All Disappeared

Commanders of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and members of the Good Government Council (JBG) agreed with Ayotzinapa Normal School [teachers college] students and parents traveling with the Daniel Solís Gallardo Brigade [part of National Information Caravan] to develop together a national movement for demanding the safe return of Mexico’s disappeared and those extra-judicially executed by the State.

On Saturday morning at the Caracol of Oventic in the Municipality of San Andrés Larráinzar, a four-hour meeting took place with the Zapatistas. Open to all Zapatista supporters, the meeting was attended by Subcomandante Moisés and Comandante Tacho.

That night a press conference was held at the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center during which details of the meeting were unveiled about what they will do in the coming days. Omar García, a student member of the Caravan, said:

“They embraced our indignation and rage. They gave us the greatest attention and expressed their full readiness to support us.”

And to close, via Cube Breaker, a new mural in Ciudad Juarez by the artist Ever to commemorate the missing students:

BLOG Ayoytzinapa mural

Ayotzinapa: The art of Mexican anguish


From the Cat Astrophal Tumblr, a remarkable graphic call for collective action to rectify the structural injustices which led to the abduction and presumed murder of 43 Mexican students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College of Ayotzinapa:. And do visit the site to see the graphic at full size:

BLOG Aytozinapa

InSecurityWatch: War, crime, hacks, cops, zones


First, via the Guardian, one of those responsible warns of collapse:

David Cameron warns that second global crash is looming

  • PM says ‘red warning lights are flashing’ against a backdrop of instability and uncertainty, as G20 summit draws to a close

David Cameron has issued a stark message that “red warning lights are flashing on the dashboard of the global economy” in the same way as when the financial crash brought the world to its knees six years ago.

Writing in the Guardian at the close of the G20 summit in Brisbane, Cameron says there is now “a dangerous backdrop of instability and uncertainty” that presents a real risk to the UK recovery, adding that the eurozone slowdown is already having an impact on British exports and manufacturing.

His warning comes days after the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, claimed a spectre of stagnation was haunting Europe. The International Monetary Fund managing director, Christine Lagarde, expressed fears in Brisbane that a diet of high debt, low growth and unemployment may yet become “the new normal in Europe”.

From the Guardian again, boots ahoy:

Western combat troops may be needed to defeat Isis, says Lord Dannatt

  • Former army chief says west may have to ‘think the unthinkable’ and engage forces on ground to counter Islamic State

British combat troops could be required to fight in Iraq and Syria to eradicate the threat posed by Islamic State (Isis), a former army chief has said.

Lord Dannatt said western leaders might have to “think the unthinkable” and send in troops if the combination of air strikes and local forces was unable to counter the jihadis.

The former chief of the general staff said the British government should think again about whether to join in air strikes against Isis targets in Syria, but that ultimately bombing missions may not be enough.

From the New York Times, fanning flames:

U.S. Believes ISIS Video Shows Peter Kassig, American Hostage, After Beheading

The Islamic State released a video Sunday showing a black-clad executioner standing over the severed head of a man it identified as the American aid worker Peter Kassig, a former Army Ranger who disappeared over a year ago at a checkpoint in northeastern Syria while delivering medical supplies.

In recent days, American intelligence agencies received strong indications that the Islamic State had killed Mr. Kassig. But without a body or other corroborating evidence, officials could not be certain.

After the video was released and intelligence analysts were able to conduct an initial assessment, one senior American official said Sunday that the government was increasingly convinced that the video was authentic and that Mr. Kassig was dead.

While Al Jazeera English spun differently:

ISIL beheads Syria troops and US aid worker

  • US confirms footage showing killing of at least 12 Syrian military officers and US aid worker Peter Kassig is authentic

The US has said a video circulated online showing members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group beheading several Syrian soldiers and US aid worker Peter Kassig is authentic.

The footage, released and confirmed by Washington on Sunday, showed the beheading of at least 12 people whom ISIL said were pilots and officers in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military.

From Reuters, more fuel for flames:

Lieberman tells German Foreign Minister no limits on East Jerusalem settlements

Rebuffing international criticism, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told his German counterpart point-blank on Sunday that Israel will not stop building homes for Jews in East Jerusalem.

His remarks were likely to compound Western frustration over Israeli settlement policy on occupied land that Palestinians seek for a state.

“We won’t accept any limitations on building in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem,” Lieberman told a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The Associated Press covers business as usual:

Prosecutors troubled by extent of military fraud

In a period when the nation has spent freely to support wars on multiple fronts, prosecutors have found plentiful targets: defendants who bill for services they do not provide, those who steer lucrative contracts to select business partners and those who use bribes to game a vast military enterprise.

Despite numerous cases that have produced long prison sentences, the problems have continued abroad and at home with a frequency that law enforcement officials consider troubling.

“The schemes we see really run the gamut from relatively small bribes paid to somebody in Afghanistan to hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of contracts being steered in the direction of a favored company who’s paying bribes,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said in an interview.

In the past few months alone, four retired and one active-duty Army National Guard officials were charged in a complex bribery and kickback scheme involving the awarding of contracts for marketing and promotional materials. A trucking company driver pleaded guilty to bribing military base employees in Georgia to obtain freight shipments — often weapons which required satellite tracking — to transport to the West Coast.

A Foggy Bottom shutdown, via the Guardian:

State Department shuts down email system after suspected hacker attack

  • ‘Activity of concern’ occurred at same time as attack on White House
  • Entire unclassified email system closed to repair possible damage

The State Department has taken the unprecedented step of shutting down its entire unclassified email system as technicians repair possible damage from a suspected hacker attack.

A senior department official said Sunday that “activity of concern” was detected in the system around the same time as a previously reported incident that targeted the White House computer network. That incident was made public in late October, but there was no indication then that the State Department had been affected. Since then, a number of agencies, including the US Postal Service and the National Weather Service, have reported attacks.

The official said none of the State Department’s classified systems were affected. However, the official said the department shut down its worldwide email late on Friday as part of a scheduled outage of some of its internet-linked systems to make security improvements to its main unclassified computer network. The official was not authorised to speak about the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

So you thought you were keeping secret? From the Stack:

81% of Tor users can be de-anonymised by analysing router information, research indicates

Research undertaken between 2008 and 2014 suggests that more than 81% of Tor clients can be ‘de-anonymised’ – their originating IP addresses revealed – by exploiting the ‘Netflow’ technology that Cisco has built into its router protocols, and similar traffic analysis software running by default in the hardware of other manufacturers.

Professor Sambuddho Chakravarty, a former researcher at Columbia University’s Network Security Lab and now researching Network Anonymity and Privacy at the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology in Delhi, has co-published a series of papers over the last six years outlining the attack vector, and claims a 100% ‘decloaking’ success rate under laboratory conditions, and 81.4% in the actual wilds of the Tor network.

When iGnorance isn’t bliss, via PandoDaily:

Apple downplays Masque Attack, but don’t be fooled: It’s a problem

It’s true that there isn’t much more Apple can do to protect consumers from Masque Attack. Its software already warns them against installing third-party applications, and tells people when they’re trying to launch software from an untrusted developer for the first time. Masque Attack is only a problem because some people might be too stupid not to use third-party apps anyway.

But that doesn’t mean that the feature doesn’t make people vulnerable to attack, like some have argued. Apple could at least make it easier for people to remove information from their smartphones, like it should have done already, or limit third-party downloads to consumers who enable the feature on their own. Not knowing how to fix a problem isn’t an excuse for not at least trying to solve it.

To repeat the ribcage metaphor: there are obvious advantages to the design we have now, and it seems like it’s worked out for us in the past. But that doesn’t mean someone wouldn’t wish their bodies were a little different when something slides through their ribs — the same idea applies to users whose personal data was stolen because they mistakenly used masquerading malware.

From Salon, compromising:

Google’s secret NSA alliance: The terrifying deals between Silicon Valley and the security state

  • Inside the high-level, complicated deals — and the rise of a virtually unchecked surveillance power

Google took a risk forming an alliance with the NSA. The company’s corporate motto, “Don’t be evil,” would seem at odds with the work of a covert surveillance and cyber warfare agency. But Google got useful information in return for its cooperation. Shortly after the China revelation, the government gave Sergey Brin, Google’s cofounder, a temporary security clearance that allowed him to attend a classified briefing about the campaign against his company. Government analysts had concluded that the intrusion was directed by a unit of the People’s Liberation Army. This was the most specific information Google could obtain about the source of the intrusion. It could help Google fortify its systems, block traffic from certain Internet addresses, and make a more informed decision about whether it wanted to do business in China at all. Google’s executives might pooh-pooh the NSA’s “secret sauce.” But when the company found itself under attack, it turned to Fort Meade for help.

Up in the air, junior birdmen, via the Verge:

Drones over US soil: the calm before the swarm

An explosion of advanced flying vehicles is about to hit the skies, but regulation lags way behind technology

The Federal Aviation Administration expects there to be more than 30,000 UAVs over our skies by the year 2020 doing work for private companies and law enforcement. Add in the the number of highly advanced vehicles being flown by hobbyists, and that number gets much higher. “I would guess there are already forty or fifty thousand aircraft in the hands of civilians capable of autonomous flight,” says Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired, who recently left the magazine to focus full time on his drone company, 3D Robotics, and community, DIY Drones. “That’s far more than our best estimates of what the military has, and the number is going to grow rapidly over the next few years.”

How have things changed so fast? “10 years ago, drones were military industrial technology, extremely expensive and some of it classified,” says Anderson. “What happened over the last decade is that the revolution in your pocket, has made that technology so cheap, and easy, and ubiquitous that regular people could do it.”

Once-rare components like accelerometers, magnetometers, gyroscopes, and GPS trackers have all been driven down in cost by the explosion of mobile devices. “A lot of the technologies to pilot a drone used to be covered under what’s called export control, which is to say they were regulated as military technology,” explains Anderson. That meant you couldn’t simply order these technologies online or find them at your local hobby shop. “But there is a provision in the export control laws that exempts public domain.” In other words, once all these parts became readily available in the smartphones you could pick up at Best Buy, they were no longer banned for civilian use. “Because the stuff became so easy and so cheap, suddenly regular people could do the stuff only defense contractors could do before.”

From the New York Times, junior G-men:

More Federal Agencies Are Using Undercover Operations

The federal government has significantly expanded undercover operations in recent years, with officers from at least 40 agencies posing as business people, welfare recipients, political protesters and even doctors or ministers to ferret out wrongdoing, records and interviews show.

At the Supreme Court, small teams of undercover officers dress as students at large demonstrations outside the courthouse and join the protests to look for suspicious activity, according to officials familiar with the practice.

At the Internal Revenue Service, dozens of undercover agents chase suspected tax evaders worldwide, by posing as tax preparers, accountants drug dealers or yacht buyers and more, court records show.

At the Agriculture Department, more than 100 undercover agents pose as food stamp recipients at thousands of neighborhood stores to spot suspicious vendors and fraud, officials said.

After the jump, killer cops in Brazil, looking at it from Putin’s angle, Egyptian students face a military court over campus protests, environmentalists versus Big Oil in a Congo park, hints that Obama nears an Iranian nuclear deal, another alliance forms to challenge Russia, Hong Kong cops preapre to evict Occupy encampments, Jaspanese election deals setback to Obama/Abe, the dynamic duo draws closer nonetheless while the Okinawa deal grows more elusive, while Obama and Abe partner with the Aussies against China. . . Continue reading

MexicoWatch: Shootings, parents, rage, pols


We begin with another shooting, first from teleSUR:

Mexican Students Shot by Police

  • One student was shot in the leg and another grazed by a bullet, according to early reports.

At least two people were shot Saturday as an individual alleged to be a police officer fired on students at the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) who were meeting to discuss their participation in the upcoming national strike.

One student was shot in the leg while another was grazed by a bullet, although both of them are in stable condition, according to early reports.

The incident occurred around 13:00 pm (local time), when a group of soldiers and federal police officers occupied the entrance of the iconic university as students held a meeting on the national strike called for November 20 in protest of the disappearance of 43 students of the Ayotzinapa teachers’ training college.

According to eyewitnesses, a car of the Office of the General Prosecutor (PGR) parked outside of the auditorium where the meeting took place, with four armed men getting out of the car. A number of the students asked them to leave the grounds before one of men from the car opened fire on the group.

The four individuals managed to escape in a taxi and left the car in the parking lot.

Photos of an injured student from the Pugrider Tumblr:

BLOG Mexico student

The accompanying text:

Around noon, members of the PGJ (Procuraduría General de Justicia. Like, special cops) entered the UNAM, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, which, as it’s name says, is autonomous, so the police has no right to go in and, well, do their job. It’s out of their jurisdiction.

The problem started when these agents were seen taking pictures of some students, (who may have been pacifical anarchists, but were doing nothing at the moment) when these students asked them what were the photos for, they started running. A group of people, including more students, followed them, either to stop them or make them leave, but one of the agents took out a gun and started shooting. Several times. Hitting a student in the leg, and even a dog. Luckily, no one else. Now outside of the University, a couple of these ‘cops’ fled in a cab, while a third one, the one who shot, was arrested by the regular Police Department itself.

Later, members of this Police Department (Public Safety Secretary) went to University grounds (once again, they can’t do this) and, in an attempt of getting students out of where the morning shooting happened, a violent conflict started. The Police retreated but is still in the outside of the University.

Please share this, what we want is to make some noise about our situation. We won’t remain silent about how we’ve constantly been opressed for no reason. Not anymore.

Mexico City, November 15, 2014.

More from teleSUR:

Mexico University Rector Allegedly Aiding Student Repression

  • The case of the 43 missing students has mobilized university students in numbers not seen in many years and the state is responding with repression

Alberto Bravo, a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) told teleSUR in an exclusive interview that the President of UNAM, Jose Narro is, “complicit not only in the repression that occurred this past Saturday but also in other incidents where police have entered the campus.”

Bravo also told teleSUR that Narro, “maintains close ties with the [governing] Institutional Revolutionary Party,” and that as a result he works to preserve the image of the government. He also stated that, “inside the university there are many complaints regarding police harassment and there are many infiltrators.” He added that these complaints have not been pursued and those who speak out against the authorities face intimidation tactics.

On Saturday, police from the office of the Attorney General of the Federal District shot and injured two students. The shooter arrived alongside 3 other officers and university police at the Che Guevara auditorium and began photographing the students at which point they were told to leave, the shooter then took out a gun and fired.

But it’s not just students who have been protesting. Teachers are taking to the streets as well, as CNN reports:

Teachers of missing students riot

Program notes:

With little developments in the mystery of 43 missing students in Guerrero, Mexico, the community is outraged.

From Reuters, more blowback for the abduction of the 43:

Main Mexico leftist party on verge of dissolution, leader says

The elder statesman of Mexico’s main leftist party said on Sunday the group was on the verge of falling apart after a series of mistakes and the disappearance of 43 students in a state it runs in the southwest of the country.

Three-times presidential candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas said the opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), which finished runner-up in Mexico’s last two presidential elections, had lost its moral authority and needed urgent reform.

The PRD, which Cardenas helped found in 1989, rules Guerrero state and the city of Iguala, where the government said 43 trainee teachers were abducted by police on the night of Sept. 26 and apparently handed over to a drug gang and killed.

A president besieged, via the Guardian:

Mexico’s president faces wave of fury across country over fate of missing student teachers

The brutal killing of 43 students has become a national cause, and the government’s inaction and perceived disdain risk a social explosion and political instability

The pent-up fury of the parents reflected the intensity of the violent protests that marked a dramatic week in Mexico, which has deepened the political crisis facing President Enrique Peña Nieto as he returns from a week-long trip to China and Australia, seen by many as a sign of disdain for the suffering and anger at home.

The most significant thing the president said during his trip was on an outward stopover in Alaska, when he condemned an arson attack on the door of the ceremonial presidential palace in Mexico City. “Mexican society says no to violence,” he said, referring to the burning door. “We say yes to justice, order, harmony, tranquillity, and we say yes to the application of justice.”

The president made no mention of the fact that, immediately before the door was set on fire, the streets of the capital were filled with thousands of peaceful demonstrators. Many had carried banners proclaiming “ya me cansé”, which means “I’m tired” or “I’ve had enough”. The phrase was used by the attorney general, Jesús Murillo Karam, to cut short questions at the end of a press conference two days earlier, in which he had revealed the government’s new claim that the students were probably massacred in a rubbish tip not far from Iguala, hours after they had been arrested by municipal police and handed over to a local drug gang called Guerreros Unidos on 26 September.

And an inconvenient complication, via Reuters:

Mexican president promises answers on tainted luxury home

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said late on Saturday the government would next week give answers about a luxury house acquired by his wife that has raised questions about the ethical standards of his administration.

Days after the government canceled a $3.75 billion rail contract won in an uncontested bid by a Chinese-led consortium, local media reports identified the property as linking one of the Mexican partners in the group to Pena Nieto.

Reports about the house have swelled a recent tide of public anger about the government, which has been under heavy fire for its management of the disappearance of 43 students in the southwest of the country in late September.

And from teleSUR, presidential thuggery:

Mexican President Warns of Further Force Against Protestors

  • At a press conference, Enrique Peña Nieto said he will address corruption allegations this week and issued a warning over protests demanding justice in the case of the 43 missing the Ayotzinapa protesters

Mexican President Peña Nieto has said that while he will try to establish a dialogue with protesters demanding justice over the 43 missing students but warned that the state will use force “when all other mechanisms to restore order have been exhausted.”

His remarks, during a Saturday night press conference, came just hours after the police in the capital shot and injured two students at a meeting planning solidarity events for the 43. Later 500 heavily-armed police forcefully entered the campus of the university, provoking clashes with students.

Peña Nieto condemned the violent acts of some protesters during recent weeks, although, he said that the government understands the pain and concern of the Mexican population for the atrocities carried out in Ayotzinapa.

While the Latin American Herald Tribune voices neoliberal anxiety:

Mexico’s Central Bank: “Social Developments” Could Hurt Investor Confidence

Recent “social developments” in Mexico could have an adverse impact on investor confidence, the central bank said, according to the minutes of its most recent policy meeting.

Although the Bank of Mexico did not mention any event in particular, all indications are the monetary authority was referring to the case of 43 missing teacher trainees in the southern state of Guerrero – which has made headlines worldwide – and nationwide protests demanding their safe return.

That perception stems from statements Thursday by Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray, who pointed to the potential negative repercussions of the missing students’ case on the national economy.

And CNN turns the focus on those most impacted by the crimes of Iguala:

Crying for justice, clinging to hope: The parents of Mexico’s missing 43

In parental torment over what became of his son and 42 other missing Mexican students, Isrrael Galindo rejects official accounts they apparently were massacred. He hopes that somehow his son and the others are still alive.

“I think they have him arrested or locked up. I don’t know where he is, but if I knew, I would go get him,” Galindo said of Israel, 19, his namesake son with a different spelling.

“I want him to know that I love him,” he added, beginning to weep. “I want him alive.”

Anguish overwhelms Galindo and grows daily, ever since the aspiring primary school teachers disappeared September 26 in a violent clash with police during a political protest that also left six people dead, including three other students.

More on the parents, from Reuters:

Parents of Mexico missing students lead rally

Program notes:

Parents of 43 students who have gone missing in Mexico lead rallies demanding the government bring back their children alive. Yiming Woo reports.

And to close, via the Associated Press, a judicial story:

Mexico begins court proceeding in other crimes for mayor investigated in missing students case

A federal judge has opened a court proceeding against the former mayor of a southern Mexico city in crimes that preceded the case of 43 missing students from a teachers’ college.

The Federal Judiciary Council said in a statement late Saturday that Jose Luis Abarca has been charged with organized crime, the kidnapping of seven people and the killing of another in crimes that occurred before the students disappeared. Abarca was mayor of Iguala, in Guerrero state, when the students went missing.

Abarca has been behind bars since he and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, were arrested Nov. 4 in a crowded Mexico City neighborhood.

EnviroWatch: Health, climate, fuel, nukes


From RT, new hope for people like Ted Kennedy and our own mother who died of brain cancer:

Cannabis combined with radiotherapy can make brain cancer ‘disappear,’ study claims

Two cannabis components can have a significant effect on the size of cancerous tumors in the brain, especially when combined with radiotherapy, according to new research. The study says the growths can virtually “disappear.”

The research was carried out by specialists at St Georges, University of London and published in the Molecular Cancer Therapeutics journal.

There are some 85 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, but the two that had a demonstrably positive effect were tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Combining their use alongside radiotherapy shows a drastic effect, the study claims.

And a possible source of the medication from the Guardian:

Can Zambia save its environment with marijuana?

  • Green party’s presidential candidate Peter Sinkamba is promising voters to cut country’s dependency on mining – by growing and exporting marijuana

For decades, Zambia has staked its economic fortunes on copper mining. But when voters in this southern African nation go to the polls in January to select a new president, at least one candidate will be looking to send that tradition up in smoke.

On Friday, Peter Sinkamba will announce his candidacy on the Green party ticket to replace the late President Michael Sata, who died on 29 October from an undisclosed illness. Sinkamba, regarded as Zambia’s leading environmentalist for his battles against the country’s big copper mines, is running on an unlikely platform, especially in this socially conservative nation: legalising marijuana.

His plan, first announced in April, calls for cannabis’ legalisation for medicinal use in Zambia, which would be a first in Africa. The surplus crop would be exported abroad, earning Zambia what Sinkamba claims could be billions of dollars.

A serious cause for concern from BBC News:

Warning over plastics used in treating premature babies

US researchers have warned that premature babies are being exposed to high levels of a potentially dangerous chemical in plastics.

A study suggested babies may be exposed to high levels of a phthalate called DEHP in medical equipment. Some US healthcare providers have banned the use of DEHP, and other products were available, the researchers said.

The UK is currently re-evaluating its position on phthalate use in devices. Evidence on the safety of phthalates in humans has been inconclusive, but European regulators have classified DEHP as possibly carcinogenic to humans.

Tragedy on the Subcontinent from the New York Times:

India Sterilization Deaths Linked to Pills Tainted With Rat Poison, Officials Say

The women who died after sterilization surgery in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh might have been given antibiotic pills contaminated with rat poison, a senior official said on Friday.

Sonmoni Borah, the divisional commissioner in the district of Bilaspur, in Chhattisgarh, said that tablets of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin that were seized in police raids of Mahawar Pharma, a small company supplying medicines to the state government, were found to contain the chemical zinc phosphide.

“If you do a quick Google search, you will find it is rat poison, and the women were displaying symptoms similar to poisoning,” Mr. Borah said in a telephone interview. State officials issued an urgent warning on Friday to practitioners across the state, telling them to stop distributing or using ciprofloxacin “with immediate effect,” he said.

Another outbreak threatens, from MercoPress:

Fears of a new Chikungunya viral strain in Brazil with the coming of summer

The Chikungunya outbreak which continues to affect thousands of Caribbean residents since it first appeared in St. Martin last year has been relatively self-limiting in the United States, due to the fact that the current strain only spreads through the Aedes egypti mosquito vector, which is uncommon on the US Eastern seaboard.

But recent diagnoses of a new viral strain in Brazil may turn the current hemispheric spread of the crippling disease on its head. The strain – which is prevalent in some African states and which has been the cause of several outbreaks in South-east Asian countries – readily infects the Aedes albopictus mosquito, a hardier species which is common along the US East Coast, and which is adapted to colder climates.

Brazil has recorded over 200 cases of Chikungunya – predominantly in the country’s east-coast Bahia state – but according to Kansas State University virologist Stephen Higgs, the African strain in Brazil has not yet developed the type of dangerous mutations observed in South-east Asia.

Such mutations could make the strain up to 100 times more infectious to mosquitoes, says Higgs, allowing the vectors to become more easily infected and pass the virus on to humans. The virus itself has been shown to develop rapid adaptive mutations, underscoring fears of eventual epidemic circulations of the new strain.

From Reuters, and closer to the U.S.:

Mexico detects first case of mosquito-borne chikungunya virus

Mexico has detected its first domestic case of the painful mosquito-borne viral disease chikungunya in the southwest of the country, the state government of Chiapas said on Saturday.

Chikungunya is spread by two mosquito species, and is typically not fatal. But it can cause debilitating symptoms including fever, headache and severe joint pain lasting months.

The government of Chiapas, which borders Guatemala, said an 8 year old girl became the first person to contract the disease in Mexico, and that she was treated in hospital in the town of Arriaga. The girl has since been released.

Polio-vaccine-pressured Pakistan, from the Express Tribune:

Travel restricted for Pakistanis without polio certificate, says IHC

In a meeting held by the International Health Committee, restrictions have been placed on Pakistani’s travelling abroad without a polio certificate, Express News reported Saturday.

The committee had declared Pakistan to be a nation responsible for spreading the polio virus across the globe.

Between July and now, three cases of polio have arisen in Afghanistan, for which the committee attributes blame to Pakistan.

In attempts to eradicate polio in six months, the International Health Committee have come down hard on Pakistan and ordered that no Pakistani could travel abroad without a polio certificate.

Infectious sausage, via BBC News:

One in 10 sausages ‘carries risk of hepatitis E virus’

One in 10 sausages and processed pork meat products in England and Wales could cause hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection if undercooked, experts warn.

There has been an “abrupt rise” in the number of cases in England and Wales as people do not realise the risk, scientists advising the government say. Sausages should be cooked for 20 minutes at 70C to kill the virus, they said.

Although serious cases are rare, HEV can cause liver damage or be fatal.

Wikidemiology, via the Los Angeles Times:

Scientists use Wikipedia search data to forecast spread of flu

Can public health experts tell that an infectious disease outbreak is imminent simply by looking at what people are searching for on Wikipedia? Yes, at least in some cases.

Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory were able to make extremely accurate forecasts about the spread of dengue fever in Brazil and flu in the U.S., Japan, Poland and Thailand by examining three years’ worth of Wikipedia search data. They also came up with moderately success predictions of tuberculosis outbreaks in Thailand and China, and of dengue fever’s spread in Thailand.

However, their efforts to anticipate cases of cholera, Ebola, HIV and plague by extrapolating from search data left much to be desired, according to a report published Thursday in the journal PLOS Computational Biology. But the researchers believe their general approach could still work if they use more sophisticated statistics and a more inclusive data set.

Keystone pipelined, from BBC News:

Keystone XL pipeline approval passes House

The US House of Representatives has passed a bill to approve the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The legislation will now be put to a vote in the Senate next week, where its prospects are unclear.

The 875-mile (1,408km) pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to the US state of Nebraska where it joins pipes running to Texas.

President Barack Obama is said to take a “dim view” of the legislation, but has not directly threatened a veto.

More from the Toronto Globe and Mail:

Keystone pipeline good for Canada, not U.S., Obama says

As a pro-Keystone XL effort gathered bipartisan steam in Congress, President Barack Obama suggested that the controversial pipeline may be good for Canada but doesn’t offer much to Americans.

The Republican-dominated House of Representatives passed – by a 252-161 vote – a pro-Keystone XL bill intended to force Mr. Obama to approve the Canadian oil export project.

It was the ninth time the House of Representatives has passed a pro-Keystone XL measure. The Senate is expected to take up a similar bill next week.

More from the Christian Science Monitor:

Keystone XL pipeline: Obama says he ‘won’t budge’

A Keystone bill swept to easy approval in the House Friday, with 31 Democrats joining the Republican majority, and a parallel bill is scheduled for Senate action next week.

Mr. Obama saying he’ll act on immigration reform because Congress has failed to, while Congress is acting on Keystone to try to end what many lawmakers view as presidential obstructionism.

And now Obama is squaring off formally against fellow Democrats, as well as Republicans.

A Keystone bill swept to easy approval in the House Friday, with 31 Democrats joining the Republican majority, and a parallel bill is scheduled for Senate action next week, with Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) of Louisiana as a lead sponsor. (Until now Senate majority leader Harry Reid has kept the issue off the Senate floor, in a bid to protect Democrats from a divisive vote.)

After jump, heads in sand in G20 climate protest as Obama shines a spotlight on Abbott and lobbyists battle over the Great Barrier Reef, one of climate change’s more striking effects, a legal battle over the humanity of chimps, then it’s on to Fukushimapocalypse Now!, starting with new questions over health risks, more radiation spikes, the new governor takes the tour, and a waste site decision delayed again, China mulls adding more new nuclear power plants, and an appetite for an Iranian nuclear deal. . . Continue reading

MexicoWatch: Fear, hope, despair, rage, protest


We begin with an interview with one of the survivors of the 26 September attack in Iguala, Mexico, leading to the abduction and disappearance of 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College of Ayotzinapa. From Emergencia MX:

Testimony of a student from Ayotzinapa rural school. Survivor of the attack from Mexican police.

Program notes:

The original interview and video was made by “43″ voices.

EmergenciaMX has retaken their material with the purpose of subtitling it.

Next, the other shoe drops, via BuzzFeed:

Mexican Mayor Charged In Disappearance And Death Of Dozens Of Students

  • The former mayor of Iguala, Jose Luis Abarca, has been charged with the aggravated murder of six people, as well as the attempted murder of others

The attorney general’s office in the Mexican state of Guerrero announced Thursday they have formally charged the former mayor of Iguala in connection with the deaths and disappearance of dozens of students in September.

Jose Luis Abarca was charged with “aggravated homicide against six people” as well as with the “attempted murder of others,” prosecutors said in a statement on their website announcing the formal detention order.

The 43 students, who belonged to a teacher training college, disappeared Sept. 26 following a confrontation with local police in which six students died.

From editorial cartoonist Carlos Latuff; a caricature of the murderous mayor and his spouse:

BLOG Latuff

From the Washington Post, another face of tragedy:

Parents of missing Mexican students cling to hope

Maria Telumbre knows fire. She spends her days making tortillas over hot coals, and experience tells her a small goat takes at least four hours to cook. So she refuses to believe the government’s explanation that gang thugs incinerated her son and 42 other missing college students in a giant pyre in less than a day, leaving almost nothing to identify the dead.

The discovery of charred teeth and bone fragments offer Telumbre no more proof of her son’s death than the many graves unearthed in Guerrero state since the students disappeared Sept. 26. She simply does not accept that the ashes belong to her 19-year-old son and his classmates.

“How is it possible that in 15 hours they burned so many boys, put them in a bag and threw them into the river?” Telumbre says. “This is impossible. As parents, we don’t believe it’s them.”

A video report on the parents from Reuters:

Parents of missing students criticize Mexico search efforts

Program notes:

Parents of the missing 43 students cast doubt on search efforts to find their sons after a meeting with authorities in the restive state of Guerrero. Nathan Frandino reports.

A political conundrum, via Reuters:

Mexican police play havoc with president’s security pledge

Restoring order to a country torn apart by drug violence was Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s first promise when he took power two years ago, but corruption and police brutality have handed him the biggest crisis of his rule.

Local police abducted 43 trainee teachers in the southwestern city of Iguala on Sept. 26 and handed them over to a drug gang. The gang almost certainly murdered them and torched their bodies, the government says.

The case, still not closed, has infuriated Mexicans and highlights the scale of the challenge that Pena Nieto faces in trying to end shocking violence and impunity.

“What we’re seeing are the results of many years of deterioration, complacency and denial by successive governments,” said Eduardo Olmos, a former mayor of the northern city of Torreon, who purged all but one of its 1,000-strong police force in 2010 when it was infiltrated by the Zetas drug gang.

Similarly, from Slate:

Mexico’s Breaking Point

This is not the first, biggest, or most gruesome mass disappearance during Mexico’s past eight years of brutal drug violence. More than 106,000 have died in what government data term “executions,” “confrontations,” and “homicide-aggressions” since former President Felipe Calderon informally declared his war on drugs in 2006. But the tragedy of Ayotzinapa is different. Rarely has the collusion between local authorities and the cartels been so obvious and the consequences so dire. Unsurprisingly, the events surrounding the case have captivated Mexico and the international community for weeks.

Since coming to power in 2012, President Enrique Peña Nieto has sought to keep his focus on economic growth rather than the violence that the country has become known for internationally. In the aftermath of this incident, Peña Nieto’s approval ratings have sunk to the lowest point of his presidency amid criticism of the government’s sluggish response. He has decried the incident as “outrageous, painful, and unacceptable” but human rights groups say his short statements about the case have been vague and lacking in specific plans for action. He has also been criticized for taking more than a month to meet with the families of victims and for traveling to the APEC summit in China this week as the crisis simmered. Calls for his resignation are getting louder and more widespread.

From the time the war on drugs started, and its massive, hemorrhaging failure became apparent, there have been protests, marches, and calls for action. This time around, the protests’ significance has moved beyond a dull weariness and discontent to raw expressions of pain. This has happened in part because of who the victims are, students from a poor rural town and a university with a strong tradition of activism for social justice (and a strong tradition of having this activism criminalized by the government). This reputation appears to be why the mayor sent police forces to detain them in the first place. According to Mexican media, citing documents from the investigation, José Luis Abarca ordered the police to “teach them a lesson.”

Borderland Beat covers more blowback:

Australia was no reprieve for EPN from the Ayotzinapa students controversy

The G20 summit was held in Australia this year.

The Group of Twenty (G20) as it is known by, is an economic summit is comprised of  19 countries plus the European Union.  President Barack Obama and Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto are two of this years attendees.

If President Pena thought he would be afforded relief  from the hotseat he and his administration find themselves on,  stemming from the normalistas killings….well he was in for a  surprise.

Australia’s Mexican community have been peacefully demonstrating against EPN’s participation in the G20 summit, rather than his choosing to stay in Mexico and working for a solution in  the Iguala student massacres.

And from Mexico News Daily, the parents again:

Ayotzinapa caravan rolls out from Tixtla

  • Parents wish to spread the message that their children are still alive

Three caravans of buses are rolling out across the country this week as part of an effort by the families of the missing students of Ayotzinapa to tell the country they believe their children are still alive.

The first caravan — three buses carrying family members and classmates of the missing students — departed yesterday on a 1,700-kilometer journey from the Ayotzinapa teacher training college in Tixtla, Guerrero, heading north.

The objective is to inform the public about the tragic events of September 26 and 27 in Iguala, Guerrero, when their sons were taken and six people were killed, presumably on the orders of the town’s mayor.

More from Mexico Voices:

Mexico’s Iguala Crisis: Ayotzinapa Students Shift from Violent Protests to Informative Caravans

After five days of violent protests, teachers and students of Guerrero, Michoacán, Oaxaca, Chiapas and Mexico City changed the direction of their demonstrations to performing peaceful, informative protests. Relatives of the disappeared normal school students and members of the Student Federation of Socialist Peasants of Mexico are setting out across the country in caravans and asking people to support locating the disappeared normal school students.

The first caravan took the name “Julio César Ramírez Pontes” and left the Ayotzinapa Normal School at about 11:00 a.m., headed toward Chihuahua. It will tour the states of Zacatecas, Jalisco and Michoacán. The second caravan, named “Daniel Solis” in memory of a student who died in the attack in Iguala last September 26, departed at 4:00 p.m., setting out for the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Morelos and Tlaxcala. The third caravan will visit seven municipalities in Guerrero, including Acapulco. It is expected that the three contingents will meet in Mexico City at the end of their tours.

And more from teleSUR:

Ayotzinapa Families to Meet with Zapatistas

Family members of the 43 missing students from the Ayotzinapa rural college, who are meeting with the EZLN and the Good Government Council in Chiapas, say that students’ disappearance “is not an isolated incident.”

After a 20-hour trek, the “Daniel Solis Gallardo” convoy –  named after one of the three Ayotzinapa rural college students killed on September 26 by police and hitmen – arrived yesterday in Chiapas, where they were received by thousands of supporters.

Family members announced that they will meet Saturday with members of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), where there will hold a press conference. From there, they proceeded to the Integrative Center of Indigenous Community Development (Cideci by its Spanish acronym) at the University of the Earth in the state’s capital,  San Cristobal de las Casas.

Meanwhile, protests continued in Guerrero. From PressTV:

Mexican protesters call for justice in Chilpancingo

Program notes:

Thousands of demonstrators angered by police corruption and the massacre of 43 students by cartel gangsters, have flooded the streets of Mexico calling for justice.

Mobs of protestors wielding sticks, pipes and stolen riot gear from police marched through Chilpancingo, the capital of the failed state of Guerrero on Friday. The students, who were all trainee teachers, went missing from the drug-infested state, after they planned to crash the politically ambitious mayor’s wife speech back in September. The protesters carried images of the missing male students. Authorities say they were abducted by the now dissmissed police force and handed over to a drug cartel. Three gang members admitted to slaughtered them and incinerated their corpses. Protests have rocked a number of Mexican cities this week, with the Guerrero state congress set ablaze on Tuesday in the escalating demonstrations.

One impact, via NTDTV:

Acapulco Tourism Feels Chill Over Wave of Mexico Violence

Program notes:

Thousands of tourists cancel hotel reservations on holiday weekend because of ongoing violence in Guerrero state.

Closer to Casa esnl in the San Francisco Bay Area [and belated] via Mission Local:

Protest This Saturday for Disappeared Students in Ayotzinapa, Mexico

It is the event that has captured international headlines and captivated much of the world for the last two months: the disappearance of 43 students from rural Guerrero, Mexico. They were taken by local police, turned to a local gang and are presumed murdered. If that wasn’t enough, the governments timid response has reached a boiling point and there are now daily protests throughout Mexico demanding their return.

Mexico attorney general Murillo karam offered some details during the press conference last week: the bodies were left to burn for 15 hours and then tossed to a nearby river. Massive protests have ensued in Mexico City and abroad.

This Saturday, several Bay Area organizations have put together a march that will begin at noon at 24th and Mission to march and protest against the Mexican government response to what’s happened in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.

And here’s a video of the march as it happened today via Mexican Monitor:

Ayotzinapa Solidarity Protest in San Francisco

Program notes:

Some 500 people marched from 24th and Mission streets in San Francisco’s Mission District in solidarity with the 43 missing students in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexico. 43 students went missing, and are presumed dead, in Iguala, on September 26. The timid reaction by the government and frustrations with a corruption, extreme violence have lead to daily protests throughout the Mexico. In San Francisco, Calif. many people with connection to Mexico or immigrants themselves, took to the streets on Saturday to demand that the president, Enrique Peña Nieto step down.

From up the road from Casa esnl in Berkeley, a solidarity gathering earlier this week at the University of California [in Spanish] via vlogger edwin rodriguez:

UC Berkeley con Ayotzinapa

Program notes:

Across the countries, not just colleges, but cities have been mobilizing around this. We’ve already held a small vigil on campus, but now its time to start mobilizing for the 20th of November. This is the date people across Mexico plan on mobilizing towards the capital and the date international solidarity is to be displayed.

So to those 43, to the 6 who have already been killed by this unlawful act of governance, by the injustice committed by Jose Luis Abarca and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, by their party the PRD.

We Will Continue Standing In Solidarity Until Justice Is Served.

Another gathering today in Sydney, Australia, via vlogger integramedia3d:

Apoyo a Ayotzinapa Sydney Australia

Next, from VICE News, a criticism of the mood north of the border:

Americans Support Mexico’s Anti-Government Protests — As Long as They Stay in Mexico

Since the beginning of the decade, we have become accustomed to the optics of unrest and revolution. Tunisia, Egypt, Ukraine, Venezuela, Brazil — and to a degree, Ferguson, Missouri. The context and struggles may share some resonance, but they’re not interchangeable. I can list these sites of unrest in abstraction only because that is how Western media consumers receive them — contiguous images of tear gas, fire, lines of riot cops, chanting crowds, furious crowds, surging crowds, bleeding, and weeping.

Civil unrest has a consistent visual language across continents and political contexts. What is not consistent, however, are the standards by which Americans evaluate political dissent as justifiable or insupportable. The righteous eruption of protest in Mexico over the massacre of 43 normalista students is the latest instance to draw out a particular American tendency when it comes to watching unrest from afar; a NIMBY attitude to revolution.

If Americans believe the fury in Mexico right now is justified, they are equally obligated to push for a swift end to the war on drugs at home. Yes, there are arguments to continue US drug prohibition, but none of them trump the proliferation of mass slaughter in Mexico. Corruption and state-sanctioned violence there is very much in Americans’ backyard — and Americans should not distance themselves from the struggle against it.

And from the Associated Press, a reminder of other apparently state-sanctioned violence in Guerrero:

Kidnapped Ugandan priest’s remains ID’d in Mexico

The remains of a Ugandan priest kidnapped more than six months ago have been found in a mass grave in southern Mexico, Roman Catholic authorities said Friday.

Father John Ssenyondo, 55, was among 13 bodies in a clandestine grave discovered Nov. 2 in the town of Ocotitlan, said Victor Aguilar, vicar of the Chilpancingo-Chilapa diocese in the southern state of Guerrero.

Dental records were used to identify the priest, who was born Dec. 25, 1958, in Masaka, Uganda. He came to the diocese about five years ago.

Aguilar said Ssenyondo, a member of the Combonian order, was abducted April 30 in the town of Santa Cruz after saying Mass, when a group of people in an SUV intercepted his car.

MexicoWatch: Anger, politics, findings, crimes


Lots to cover and little time to write, so we will begin with video reports, first in the form of two segments from Democracy Now!:

Mexico Burns as Outrage over Student Disappearances Sparks Protests Against State-Backed Violence

Program notes:

Protesters in the Mexican state of Guerrero have set fire to the local legislature as outrage spreads over the disappearance of 43 students. The students from Ayotzinapa teacher’s college have been missing for nearly seven weeks after they were ambushed by police. Unrest has intensified since Mexican Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam announced Friday that suspects in the case have admitted to killing the students and incinerating their bodies at a trash dump. More than 70 people have been arrested in the case, including the mayor of Iguala, who is accused of ordering the police attack. Across Mexico, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in peaceful protests, while groups of demonstrators have laid siege to government buildings, burned cars and blocked highways. The parents of the missing students, meanwhile, have announced they will be traveling across parts of Mexico in three caravans to demand their loved ones’ return. We are joined from Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero state, by John Gibler, an author and independent journalist. “I don’t think it’s possible anymore to talk about corruption,” Gibler says. “What we have is two sectors of an industry that have fully merged — the police and the organized crime gangs themselves.”

And the second part:

Are Mexico’s Missing Students the Victims of U.S.-Backed Drug War?

Program notes:

Amidst outrage in Mexico over the disappearance of 43 students, we look at the U.S. role in the country’s violence. According to the Center for International Policy, the United States has spent approximately $3 billion to fund the so-called war on drugs in Mexico. Since the war on drugs began under President Felipe Calderón in 2006, more than 100,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence. That includes $2.4 billion in taxpayer funds through the Merida Initiative, launched as a three-year aid program for Mexican security forces under the administration of George W. Bush. The Obama administration has extended the Merida Initiative “indefinitely.” We are joined by Laura Carlsen, director of the Mexico City-based Americas Policy Program of the Center for International Policy, and journalist John Gibler.

And from France 24, an exercise in posterior protection in the form of an interview with Juan Manuel Gómez-Robledo Verduzco, Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights:

Mexico ‘still trying to locate’ missing students

Program notes:

Protests are spreading across Mexico over the case of 43 university students who went missing in September, a mass disappearance believed to be linked to powerful drug cartels with the complicity of corrupt police forces and local politicians in Guerrero state.

And from France 24 again, a talking heads segment on the political implications with a Mexican diplomat and an assortment of academic and journalistic political analysts:

Outrage in Mexico: Fury Over Student Massacre Boils Over

Program notes:

Six weeks on, the outrage in Mexico is only growing. Anger over the presumed massacre of 43 apprentice teachers in the southern state of Guerrero is being fuelled by the government’s apparent reluctance to act. Meanwhile, Mexico’s young president Pena Nieto, who ran for office as a reformer, is feeling the pressure. How is he going to restore faith in his reforms? And can the mass killing of those students prove a turning point in the uphill battle against impunity?

From BBC News, parents mobilize outrage:

Mexico missing students: Parents begin protest bus tour

The parents of 43 Mexican students who disappeared seven weeks ago have started a nationwide bus tour in protest at the government’s handling of the case.

Hundreds of supporters joined the convoy of demonstrators in south-western Guerrero state.

It came after violent protests this week as anger over the issue mounts.

The students vanished after clashing with police on 26 September in the town of Iguala.

And from Al Jazeera America, burning anger:

Mexico missing student protesters burn state buildings

Protest movement has hit Guerrero’s tourism industry with vacationers canceling trips during busiest time of year

Demonstrators set fire to the local legislature building on Wednesday in the capital of the southwestern state of Guerrero in protests over the apparent massacre of 43 students by corrupt police and thugs from drug gangs.

Violent demonstrations rocked several other states, where protesters blocked an airport and damaged the local office of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

In Guerrero’s capital of Chilpancingo, members of a teachers union set fire to the session hall in the state assembly building while also torching several cars outside.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze and no injuries were reported. Protesters also set a fire at administrative offices of the state’s education department.

Next, from AJ+, a celebrated actor/director speaks out:

Gael García Bernal On Ayotzinapa Killings At Rosewater Premiere

Program notes:

AJ+ caught up with Gael Garcia Bernal on the red carpet at the premiere of Rosewater in NYC. But rather than dish about the film, he had more sombre thoughts on his mind.

From Frontera NorteSur, two cities wracked by violence:

Ciudad Juarez and Ayotzinapa

In a border city that became synonymous with the so-called narco war, Ayotzinapa is but among the latest histories stitched into the dozens of paradoxically pretty handkerchiefs that were draped from the fence surrounding the city’s Benito Juarez Monument last weekend.

In a comparison of the 1968 Olympics massacre of pro-democracy students in Mexico City, one handkerchief proclaimed: “October 2, 1968 Tlatelolco and September 26, 2014  Ayotzinapa.” Another handkerchief listed the names of the 43 students forcibly disappeared in Iguala.

With tears welling in her eyes, Magda Rojero voiced a common reaction to Ayotzinapa and the events which have turned a nation upside down.

“We are completely indignant. All these people could have been our children. I consider them my children,” Rojero said. An activist with Stitching for Peace, the international network that produces the hand-stitched, color-lettered handkerchiefs with anti-violence messages,

A helping hand, via the Latin American Herald Tribune:

Regional Human Rights Group to Aid in Mexican Missing Case

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has agreed to assist the Mexican government in clearing up the case of 43 students who went missing after being detained by police.

Meanwhile, protests about the case continued in the country.

Mexican authorities on Wednesday agreed to IAHCR’s terms of assistance and those of the parents of the students who disappeared on Sept. 26 in the southern town of Iguala after being handed over by the local police to a criminal gang.

The accord, signed in Mexico City, calls for the IACHR to oversee the creation of a group of experts who will provide assistance and technical verification concerning the actions of the government which has faced criticism from the families and many Mexicans.

More from the Yucatan Times:

Forced Disappearances, a serious issue in Mexico: Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will appoint a group of experts to investigate forced disappearances in Mexico.

Emilio Álvarez Icaza, executive secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), said that the group of experts that will work with Mexico’s government to investigate forced disappearances in the country, including the 43 teachers in training of Ayotzinapa, will be appointed in the next weeks.

“In the next few weeks it will be announced who will be part of the group and when will it begin to work,” Álvarez Icaza said in an interview with Televisa’s Primero Noticias.

The agreement signed yesterday between the IACHR and Mexico’s government includes the development of plans to search for missing persons, a technical analysis of the investigations to determine the indictments to be filed and a technical analysis of the attention plan for the victims of the events occurred between September 26 and 27, 2014, in the city of Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico.

Solidarity, via La Agencia de Noticias del Ecuador y Sudamérica:

Ecuador organizes event for the disappearance of 43 young people in Ayotzinapa, Mexico

Social networks have become a platform for expressing solidarity and social unrest on the disappearance of 43 young students in Ayotzinapa, Mexico, and Ecuadorian citizens are also showing their concern about the case.

With the hashtag #EcuadorConAyotzinapa (Ecuador with Ayotzinapa), Ecuadorians on social networks joined the demand for a response regarding the disappearance of the students on September 26 after they had been repressed in protests by the Municipal police of Iguala, in southern Mexico.

‘#EcuadorconAyotzinapa’ went beyond the networks. Through Twitter, a call was made for a vigil to express solidarity messages. The event is programmed for Thursday, November 13 at 18:00 at the exterior of the Mexican Embassy in Quito, located on 6 de Diciembre Avenue and Naciones Unidas in the north of the city.

In another massacre, selective prosecution, via the McClatchy Foreign Staff:

Mexican soldiers face charges, but not officials who tried to hide massacre

More than four months have passed since members of a Mexican army patrol killed 22 suspected criminals, most of them after they’d surrendered, in a rural area southwest of Mexico City. Three soldiers now await trial on charges of first-degree murder.

But the mass killing June 30 wasn’t the only crime committed.

Once the bodies fell to the ground in an empty warehouse in the town of Tlatlaya, a daisy chain of politicians, prosecutors and other officials glossed over the massacre by altering the crime scene, torturing witnesses and denying evidence.

While the soldiers will face their day in court, none of the more powerful officials or judiciary workers who attempted to hide the atrocity or balked at a serious investigation has been disciplined or charged with a crime.

And a new development in an older massacre via the Latin American Herald Tribune:

Mexico Supreme Court Frees 3 Convicted for 1997 Massacre

Mexico’s Supreme Court ordered the immediate release of three people serving prison terms for a 1997 massacre in which both the accused and the 45 victims were indigenous people.

The justices voted unanimously to overturn the convictions of Lorenzo Ruiz Vazquez, Jose Guzman Ruiz and Alfredo Agustin Hernandez Ruiz, citing irregularities in the original trial.

The court did not address the question of the guilt or innocence of the defendants, Justice Jose Ramon Cossio said, stressing that the decision to three men was based on violations of their rights to due process.