We begin today’s coverage with yet another blunder by the Mexican president, via teleSUR English:
Mexico: Peña Nieto’s statement sparks outrage on social networks
In Mexico, outrage is growing on social networks such as Twitter and Instagram over the statement made by President Enrique Peña Nieto calling on society to “move beyond” the tragedy of Iguala, in reference to the 43 students of the Ayotzinapa Rural Teacher Training College who were kidnapped by police and are reported missing since September 26.
From the Guardian, a call for protection:
UN: parents of missing Mexican student teachers are at risk and need protection
- High Commission for Human Rights says parents and protesters have been put at risk by a social media campaign to ‘vilify and insult’ their sons
The UN High Commission for Human Rights has warned that the parents of 43 Mexican students who disappeared after they were attacked by police have been put at risk by a campaign to demonise their missing sons.
Javier Hernández, the representative in Mexico for the UN High Commission, told the Guardian that the parents – and protesters calling for justice – needed protection amid a campaign to denigrate the trainee teachers who vanished 10 weeks ago.
“Some are starting to vilify and insult the disappeared students and demonise their parents and their demands,” said Hernández. “The vast wave of protest generated by the case of the 43 students needs to be protected.”
Reuters covers the ongoing search:
Spurred by mass abduction, Mexicans scour for remains of their dead
Terrorized by brutal drug gangs and corrupt police, residents around this town in southwestern Mexico have for years kept silent when relatives disappeared, fearing they would be targeted next if they made a fuss.
Some tried their own low-profile searches, even going to spots where they saw vultures circling above, but most kept quiet and others simply fled the area when they were threatened.
Then, 10 weeks ago, 43 trainee teachers were abducted by police in Iguala and handed over to hitmen from a local gang which the government says murdered and incinerated them.
And from teleSUR, another contingent marches:
Farm Workers March for Ayotzinapa
- More than 1,500 members of the Barzon farm worker organization marched in Mexico City demanding justice for Ayotzinapa and support for the agircultural sector.
Shutting down parts of the city center of the Mexican capital, farm workers of the Barzon organization drove 43 tractors with the faces of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students in a protest demanding the student be returned alive, and expressing indignation over what they call the government’s abandonment of the country’s agricultural sector.
“The Mexican government under Enrique Peña Nieto has turned everything over to foreign companies. He has done it with our oil and now it is happening with support for us farmers,” explained one of the farm workers from the state of Chihuahua.
The protest ended and turned into a rally in front of the offices of the Interior Secretary, where leaders of the group were to hold a meeting with officials.
The Guardian talks to a parent of one of the 43:
Missing Mexico student’s dad: ‘The government is waging war against our children’
- Emiliano Navarrete talks to the Guardian about his son’s disappearance and his government’s response
Emiliano Navarrete is the father of 17-year-old José Angel Navarrete, one of 43 Mexican students who disappeared in the southern city of Iguala after they were attacked by corrupt municipal police on 26 September.
The students, from a radical teacher training college in the town of Ayotzinapa, are believed to have been killed after they were handed over to a local drug gang known as Guerreros Unidos.
Seventy-nine people have since been arrested in connection with the case, including the mayor of Iguala, who was closely linked to Guerreros Unidos and allegedly ordered police to attack the students because he feared they would disrupt an event to promote his wife’s political ambitions.
And from VICE News, a significant casualty of repression blowback:
Mexico City Police Chief Resigns Amid Criticism Over Police Behavior
Mexico City police chief Jesus Rodriguez Almeida resigned abruptly on Friday, ending his stint just two years after taking the helm of a department that has faced mounting reports of abuse during recent demonstrations over the 43 missing students in Guerrero state.
Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera released a short statement saying he received Rodriguez’s notice of resignation on Friday morning.
Mancera made no other comment about the police chief’s tenure, adding only that he would submit a new candidate for police chief to Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, who must confirm the head of public-safety in Mexico’s Federal District.
More from teleSUR English:
Mexico City’s Chief of Public Security Renounces
The chief of Public Security of Mexico City renounced as the protests continue. Our Correspondent Clayton Call with further details
The Latin American Herald Tribune covers a belated road trip:
Mexico’s Peña Nieto Visits Guerrero to Address Missing Students Crisis
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has undertaken his first visit to the southern state of Guerrero to tackle the crisis caused by the disappearance of 43 students more than two months ago, and announce measures for economic stimulation in the region.
Economic activity and tourism has witnessed a slump as a consequence of the protests, some of them violent, that have rocked the state owing to the disappearances.
Demonstrations and the blocking of roads, offices and businesses have led to a drop in economic activity, employment and tourist arrivals.
“This obligates the government of the Republic (of Mexico) to come here and address the people, like it has been doing to the entire nation. We will take actions to reactivate the economy of these tourist spots of Guerrero,” Peña Nieto said Thursday in Acapulco.
From the Guardian, governmental chutzpah:
Mexico government denies neglecting corruption amid missing students fury
- As Iguala incident and growing inequality fuel national security crisis, human rights minister describes student disappearances as ‘wake-up call’ to country
A senior Mexican minister has described the disappearance and possible murder of 43 student teachers as a “wake-up call” for the country, but has rejected accusations that the government has been too focused on its economic agenda to tackle violent crime and corruption.
The disappearance of the students 10 weeks ago in the southern city of Iguala – allegedly after corrupt municipal police handed them over to a local drug gang – has provoked protests across Mexico and led to a slump in the popularity of President Enrique Peña Nieto amid accusations that he has done little to address the country’s security crisis.
Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo, undersecretary for multilateral affairs and human rights at Mexico’s foreign ministry, said the students’ disappearance had strengthened the government’s determination to root out corruption and fight drug gangs. “[The disappearance] is a big challenge, but it does not mean we were not working on these issues before,” he said. “It sounds a warning and tells the people, the government and the private sector that economic reforms will never bear their fruit if rule of law does not prevail.”
Despite the discovery of at least 38 bodies in mass graves near Iguala – and the official report that dozens of young people were killed and burned in a rubbish tip outside a neighbouring town – Gómez Robledo said the government was still treating the students’ disappearance as a missing persons case.
teleSUR covers a telling refusal:
Mexico Attorney General Refuses Student Search at Army Base
- An increasing number of voices appear to be pointing the finger at the complicity of Battalion 27 in the forced disappearence of the Ayotzinapa students.
Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo has flatly rejected family demands to search for the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students at military bases.
The attorney general said that as the National Defense Department is “more concerned than anyone” with finding the students, it would be “absurd” to think the students could be hidden there. “We know they are not there,” he added.
His response came as journalist Marcela Turati asked him if the search would include the grounds of the 27th Battalion of the National Defense Department.
And from the Latin American Herald Tribune, another armed confrontation:
Five Alleged Kidnappers Die in Clash with Police in Eastern Mexico
Five alleged kidnappers died Thursday in a shootout with police in the city of Poza Rica, in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz. Police rescued two kidnap victims, authorities said.
The shootout began when the kidnappers opened fire on police with the elite Public Safety Secretariat at a house in Poza Rica, the state government said in a communique.
During the shootout, five of the alleged kidnappers were killed and the two victims were rescued by police.
Finally, via teleSUR, censorship strikes:
Mexican Anti-Government Hashtag Disappears
Internet users have switched to #YaMeCanse2 after the #YaMeCanse hashtag, used since protests agaist government corruption and forced disappearences errupted, has disappeared. The Mexican government uses automated online softwards to detect criticism.
Over the past month top-trending hashtag #YaMeCanse has been used in all anti-government protests, but its sudden disappearence from the web, possibly due to government “bots” has seen the emergence of #YaMeCanse2.
The hashtag was trending for 26 days until, it suddenly disappeared, despite the fact it is still being widely used. The fall was so unexpected — it had stayed in first place for weeks, and suddenly it was gone — that it immediately raised some suspicions as to whether it had been purposefully removed.
Internet forums and technology sites drew attention to what are known as “peñabots,” an army of false Twitter and Facebook accounts, created specifically to confront criticism toward President Enrique Peña Nieto and his government.