Category Archives: Art

MexicoWatch: Protests, politics, plans, graphics


We begin with protest, first from The News.mx:

Nationwide protests for students continue

Five months after the disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Teachers College of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, thousands of protestors, led by relatives of the students, marched from the Ángel de la Independencia to the Los Pinos official presidential residence in Mexico City Thursday.

Teachers from the State Coordination of Guerrero Education Workers (CETEG) in Acapulco marched to demand the students be brought back alive and to protest the death of retired teacher Claudio Castillo Peña.

Manuel Salvador Rosas, from the Political Commission of the CETEG, said that the federal police apprehended at least 11 teachers on Feb. 25 who have not yet been released. Thirty other teachers have been hospitalized, 15 with serious injuries, he said.

Next, a video report from teleSUR English:

Mexico: Omar Garcia, “the 44th,” of Ayotzinapa, demands justice

Program notes:

Omar Garcia is one of the 43 student teachers in Ayotzinapa who was able to escape with his life from the attack on September 26th. He says that he is a living symbol of the fact that anyone in Mexico could be “the 44th.” Surviving the violence against the students by municipal police, Garcia has become one of the group of full-time activists who travel the country to seek support for the demands of Ayotzinapa: the safe return of the missing students, and the punishment for those responsible.

More protest news from the Latin American Herald Tribune:

Mexican Teachers Protest Police Repression

Some 1,000 teachers marched in this Pacific resort city on Thursday to protest the police response to a protest here earlier this week that left one demonstrator dead.

The marchers, most of them members of the State Coordinator of Education Workers of Guerrero, or CETEG, union, held a rally outside the Federal Police offices in Acapulco to demand an investigation into the death Tuesday of 65-year-old retired teacher Claudio Castillo Peña.

Federal authorities say Castillo was struck by a vehicle, but CETEG rejects that explanation.

“We will not let them come to us now and say our comrade didn’t die from the direct blows he suffered,” one teacher said Thursday. “May they not try to deceive the people, may they not try to deceive Mexico, may they accept responsibility for the death.”

And a change of tactics, via Mexico News Daily:

Stopping elections parents’ new objective

  • Marches aren’t enough, says spokesman, as only 3,000 people turn out

The protest marches are not enough, says the spokesman for the parents of the missing students of Ayotzinapa, so the new plan is to prevent the mid-term elections from being held June 7.

Felipe de la Cruz made the statement after yesterday’s ninth day of global action for Ayotzinapa, for which only 3,000 people turned out in Mexico City, according to estimates by the Federal District government. That’s a big drop from the more than 15,000 who marched in the first event held to draw attention to the violence in Guerrero on September 26, when the 43 students disappeared.

Their families refuse to accept the findings of the official investigation.

De la Cruz said it was the job of all Mexicans to organize, “neighborhood by neighborhood, municipality by municipality,” to ensure there are no elections this year.

And a dose of politics form the Associated Press:

Mexico to replace embattled attorney general

Mexico’s embattled attorney general is leaving the post to take a new cabinet-level job as head of urban and rural development.

Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam had weathered scathing criticism over his handling of the Sept. 26 disappearance of 43 students in southern Guerrero state.

Murillo Karam had also been criticized for being slow to investigate evidence that soldiers killed between 12 and 15 criminal suspects after they surrendered in June.

To close, another protest graphic, this time from Creators:

BLOG Ayotz

ISIS emulates the GOP in destroying history


Hoe is ISIS like the Grand Old Party?

Consider the following ISIS video, depicting the destruction of 4,000 years of history in the museum of Mosul, Iraq, located in the region of the world that served as cradle of  Western Civilization:

The story, via Newsweek:

ISIS Smashes Thousands of Years of History at Museum

Ultra-radical Islamist militants in northern Iraq have destroyed a priceless collection of statues and sculptures from the ancient Assyrian era, inflicting what an archaeologist described as incalculable damage to a piece of shared human history.

A video published by Islamic State on Thursday showed men attacking the artifacts, some of them identified as antiquities from the 7th century BC, with sledgehammers and drills, saying they were symbols of idolatry.

“The Prophet ordered us to get rid of statues and relics, and his companions did the same when they conquered countries after him,” an unidentified man said in the video.

Lamia al-Gailani, an Iraqi archaeologist and associate fellow at the London-based Institute of Archaeology, said the militants had wreaked untold damage. “It’s not only Iraq’s heritage: it’s the whole world’s,” she said.

“They are priceless, unique. It’s unbelievable. I don’t want to be Iraqi any more,” she said, comparing the episode to the dynamiting of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Afghan Taliban in 2001.

The action follows the destruction of thousands of manuscripts and books in libraries in ISIS-occupied areas of Iraq and Syria.

Even before we learned to write our own name in cursive, we insisted that our teacher help us write out the word “archaeology,” and between the years five and eighteen, we were resolved to become an archaeologist working on digs in Mesopotamia, the land between the rivers.

After witnessing firsthand the vicious pettiness that all too often marks the world of academic politics, we surrendered our trowels and camel hair brushes to dig in more contemporary dirt as a journalist.

But we never relinquished our first love, and have kept abreast from afar of some of the remarkable discoveries made since we wrote our first newspaper story a half-century ago.

In covering politics, we discovered that fundamentalist zealots are ever eager to annihilate a past that contradicts their version of events, along with the artifacts and institutions that would remind them of a time when things were different.

While ISIS seeks to annihilate five thousand years of history and purge culture of anything reminding them of that “idolatrous” past, the GOP seeks similarly to purge America of the institutions and creations evolved under a different vision of humanity in the form of the institutions of the relatively mild social welfare state implemented by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight David Eisenhower, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Just as ISIS smashes statues, the GOP would destroy Social Security, Medicare, the Post Office, public schools, public land, public health, and so much more. And along with government institutions, they would also smash our historical legacy in the form of the architectural creations of the past, eager to build those stark, cheaply built high rises and McMansions they so deeply love.

Similarly, GOP radicals would purge classrooms and school libraries of thousands of books contradicting their own versions of religious, pseudoscientific, and political beliefs.

The one notable difference between the GOP radicals and ISIS lies in the domain of honesty, where ISIS holds all the cards.

Very few in the GOP are so frank, knowing that even with their control of campaign money and much of the media, frank expression of their real agenda would turn off even many in their own party — people with children and parents who benefit from those very programs the Koch-heads would annihilate in order to increase their already dominate control of the world’s money and resources.

We’ll leave the last word to Bernie Sanders:

Pope Francis

Quote of the day: Mr. Fish on his calling


Dwayne Booth, better known to esnl regulars as Mr. Fish, is perhaps the most innovative polemical cartoonist of the day, creating images that are both darkly humorous and scathingly insightful.

Currently teaching at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, he is the creator of two books — most recently WARNING! Graphic Content: Political Cartoons, Comix and the Uncensored Artistic Mind.

The quote comes from an interview by Henry Jenkins, Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, at his blog, Confessions of an Aca-Fan [Aca being shorthand for academic]:

Broadly speaking, I think there are two major factors that have contributed to the demise of the editorial cartoonist as a viable and sought after contributor to the national debate regarding news, politics and culture over the last hundred years. The first and most obvious is the concentration of media ownership and the elimination of independent voices by the formation of publishing and broadcast oligopolies whose power and influence derive from their disdain for creative competition and dissent. Through corporate mergers and outright acquisition of media outlets by companies motivated by the procurement of profit above all else, the very mission of the free press to inform, enlighten, agitate and educate has, over time, become less about serving the public good and more about catering to the demands and expectations of multinational corporations who have an active contempt for a diversity of viewpoints, in particular those that undermine the revenue-centric values of advertisers, shareholders and, by proxy, the consumers who revere and respect the absolute power of the marketplace. As a result, the propagation of any idea deemed inappropriate by the business and political elite for which the publishing industry serves and advocates for is prohibited, hence, the power and purpose of the editorial cartoonist as an agitator and outspoken critic of partisanship and complacency is recognized as a liability rather than an asset when it comes to servicing the ways and means of the revised version of the Fourth Estate.

The second reason why cartoonists can no longer earn a living wage is, of course, due to the total collapse of the print media industry and the inability of online publishers to pay contributors for content, having not yet figured out a financial model that is self-sustaining. And while the aforementioned consequences to the profession of editorial cartooning are certainly devastating, they have no effect whatsoever on the drive and instinct of the visual artist for whom graphic radicalism and pictorial civil disobedience are his or her best weapon against systemic injustice and institutionalized dogmatism made harmless by the status quo.

As it’s always been, the best and most insightful visual art has never appeared in newspapers, nor has it been produced by cartoonists for mainstream publication if only because the very definition of the mainstream insists on pulled punches and language that has been compromised for taste and easy digestion.

MexicoWatch: Protests, artists, and politicians


We begin with the protests, first from teleSUR English:

Mexicans call for another global action day in support of Ayotzinapa

Program notes:

Social organizations, relatives of the missing students and general supporters are using social media to call for a massive protest to continue demanding answers from the government about the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa. The march will take place this Thursday, five months to-the-day since the disappearance of the teaching students.

Here’s a poster for one of the events, from the Asamblea Popular de Houston:

BLOG Ayotz

Next, from teleSUR, a dubious presidential legacy in the making:

Violence on the Rise in Mexico Under Peña Nieto

  • Over 130,000 kidnapping cases took place in Mexico in 2013, while 173 have been executed in two weeks.

Violent crimes, including kidnappings and executions, have increased exponentially under President Enrique Peña Nieto according to Mexican newspaper Reforma Tuesday.

The new statistics show one kidnapping was reported every five hours in January 2015 alone. The recent spike has seen kidnappings increase 7.2 percent compared to December 2014, while over 170 executions took place in the last two weeks.

“In the first month of 2015, 163 kidnappings have been reported, which is 7.2 percent more than December 2014,” said the anti-kidnapping coordinator, Renato Sales Heredia.

From Mexico News Daily, a reasonable move:

PRD rejects candidate: her husband’s in jail

  • The ex-mayor of Lázaro Cárdenas was arrested on suspicion of criminal links

The national council of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) has the edge on its state-level officials in Michoacán when it comes to recognizing bad optics.

On Friday, the party’s state council approved the list of proportional representation candidates for the federal Chamber of Deputies. No. 2 on the list was Nalleli Pedraza Huerta, whose husband, Arquímedes Oseguera, is a former mayor of Lázaro Cárdenas.

He became a former mayor after he was jailed last April on suspicion of kidnapping and extortion and for having links to organized crime. One piece of evidence is a video showing Oseguera at the side of Servando Gómez, “La Tuta,” leader of the Caballeros Templarios cartel.

And from the Washington Post, politics by other means:

Mexican party turns to lottery to pick candidates

Mexican political parties are desperate to convince voters their candidates aren’t tied to drug gangs, violence or corruption. But one party has gone to extreme lengths to pick candidates in an open, transparent way: It held a lottery.

The National Regeneration Movement, known as Morena, had some 3,000 vetted hopefuls put their names in a drum on Sunday, and the names of more than 100 candidates for the June 7 congressional races were pulled out at random. Many have little previous experience in political office.

“We have decided to break the mold, and break with the corrupt way politics has always been done in our country,” said Morena leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. “The candidacies going to be decided by a lottery.”

Reuters covers a complaint:

Mexico complains about remarks attributed to pope over drug image

Mexico said on Monday it would send a letter to the Vatican to complain about remarks attributed to Pope Francis about the risk of Argentina suffering a criminal “Mexicanization” due to the spread of drug gangs there.

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade said his government had expressed concern that the country was being “stigmatized” as a land of drug traffickers in an email attributed to Francis published in Argentina over the weekend.

“We had a meeting with the (papal) nuncio and we will indeed send a note, and what worries us is that the drug trafficking challenge is a shared challenge. It’s a challenge that Mexico is undertaking massive efforts on,” Meade said in Mexico City.

While Mexico News Daily looks at the other side of the rhetorical coin:

Poppy cultivation grows with demand

  • It’s a lucrative crop for rural farmers in Guerrero and other states

The only publicly available statistic that gives some indication of opium poppy production in Mexico is that which reveals how many hectares of poppies were discovered and destroyed.

And in 2014 that figure was up 46% over the previous year for a total of 21,425 hectares. In terms of worldwide cultivation, that’s 7% of the total, well behind No. 1 producer Afghanistan with 70%, but still in third place behind Myanmar with 57,800 hectares.

Colombia was at one time the biggest producer in Latin America (although it never came close to Afghanistan’s output) but that changed in 2005 when its production began to drop. A year later, the area under cultivation in Mexico began to climb, rising from 3,300 to 5,000 hectares between 2005 and 2006.

Via Borderland Beat, another awards ceremony, another opportunity to call out for justice:

BLOG Ayotz 2

And from teleSUR, the response:

Mexico Ruling Party on Defensive over Inarritu’s Oscar Comments

  • The Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI responded sharply to the critical comments made by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu at Sunday’s Oscar awards ceremony.

In response to critical comments made on Sunday night at the Oscar awards ceremony by Mexican director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI published a sharp congratulations on Monday morning on its Twitter feed. Later, the country’s PRI president Enrique Pena Nieto responded to the acclaimed director’s message.

When accepting the Oscar trophy for best film for the highly acclaimed Birdman, Inarritu told the crowd, “I want to dedicate this award to my fellow Mexicans, the ones who live in Mexico … I pray that we can find and build the government that we deserve.”

The response given by the PRI party, which returned to power in 2012 with Pena Nieto after a 12 year hiatus from a 71 year long stint, was, “Rather than just deserving it, it’s a fact that we’re building a better government, Congratulations #GonzalezInarritu.”

And one more image to close, via Camilo José Villa:

BLOG Ayotz 3

MexicoWatch: Investigation, U.S. shootings, more


We begin with the latest posterior-covering semantics from Mexico City, via The News.mx:

Mexican official says UN ‘s results are inaccurate

There were inaccuracies in the U.N.’s Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CDF) reply to the report filed by Mexico, Secretary of Foreign Relations José Antonio Meade Kuribreña said Monday.

The recommendations made by the CDF coincide with the measures that the federal government has implemented and that were reported to the U.N., he said during an interview at the forum “Mexico in the world, diagnosis and perspectives of international relations.”

“We believe that there were some errors in the report prepared by the CDF. There is the impression that some elements were not exhaustively reviewed by Mexico, which is not the case,” the federal official said at the alternate site for the Senate, Casona de Xicoténcatl.

And from the Erie Times-News, Pennsylvania students lend a hand:

Mercyhurst students work on case of kidnapped Mexican students

The two graduate students sifted through bags of debris, trying to find charred human bone.

When they found a small fragment, they looked for telltale signs of aging or trauma, any evidence of burn patterns. They pieced through everything, systematically, methodically.

“I don’t know if either of us were feeling anything emotionally,” said Sarah Baumgarten, a 23-year-old second-year graduate student in Mercyhurst University’s forensic anthropology program. “While working, you just focus on the science. You focus on doing what you need to do.”

What she and fellow Mercyhurst graduate student Sean Carlson were trying to do was help crack what Steve Symes, an associate professor of anthropology/forensic science at Mercyhurst, calls “the biggest human rights case in recent history” — the kidnapping and alleged murder of 43 college students who went missing in the Mexican state of Guerrero more than four months ago.

Baumgarten and Carlson traveled with Symes to Mexico City at the end of January at the invitation of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team. The team was hired by the students’ families as an independent party in the investigation.

And from photo blogger Chico Sanchez, a folk art commentary:

A skeleton holds a flag reading “Ayotzinapa lives. The state is dead” demanding justice for the disappearing of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa.

A skeleton holds a flag reading “Ayotzinapa lives. The state is dead” demanding justice for the disappearing of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa.

From The News.mx, Mexican officials take aim at trigger happy law enforcement north of the border:

Meade questions lethal force used at the border

The Mexican Government will ask its U.S. counterpart to review its protocols for use of lethal force not only in the border between the two countries but also within the United States, Foreign Relations Secretary José Antonio Meade Kuribreña said Monday.

This comes after the death of Mexican farmer Antonio Zambrano Montes, who was shot several times by officers from the Pasco Police Department in Washington state after allegedly pelting officers with rocks during the confrontation.

Meade outlined the government’s concern in an interview after participating in the forum “Mexico in the World: International Relations Diagnosis and Perspectives,” organized by the Mexican Senate.

Meade said President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration has officially complained about this excess of force from the moment the death occurred.

More from Frontera NorteSur:

Washington Police Shooting Ignites a Cross-Border Controversy

On Valentine’s Day 2015, hundreds of demonstrators led by Zambrano’s family marched in Pasco chanting “Justice for Antonio.” Felix Vargas, chair of Pasco’s Consejo Latino, demanded a federal investigation of the shooting. Prior to the march, Vargas said he was “very perturbed” by an encounter that did not justify “even a single shot.” On Facebook, activists are publicizing a Seattle rally for Zambrano and against police brutality set for Westlake Park on Wednesday, February 18.

Four people have been killed by Pasco police since last summer. About half of the estimated 68,000 inhabitants of the city are Latinos. Don Blasdel, the local county coroner, took the unusual step of ordering a public inquest into Zambrano’s death. The inquest, Blasdel said, would ensure an independent and transparent investigation.

“I don’t want the situation to end up as another Ferguson,” the Franklin County official said.

In Mexico, Zambrano’s death recast the spotlight on the broader treatment of migrants by U.S. law enforcement officials.

And the larger context, via the New York Times:

Killing in Washington State Offers ‘Ferguson’ Moment for Hispanics

  • Pasco Police’s Shooting of Rock Thrower Draws Comparisons to Michael Brown Case

Members of the Zambrano family began arriving here three decades ago, picking apples in nearby orchards. Over time they have become part of the fabric of this harvesting town, growing to more than 50 and settling in tiny candy-colored homes, some ringed by white picket fences.

Then, last week, one of their own was killed by the police, his death caught in a video that has sped around the Internet. Antonio Zambrano-Montes, 35, is shown running from three Pasco officers. He turns and swings his hands upward, before he is felled by a spray of bullets, his body slamming the concrete. He had been throwing rocks at cars and police officers.

It was the third killing by the Pasco police since July, and the video has brought international attention, with a flurry of online commenters criticizing the use of force against a man without a gun or a knife, making comparisons to the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

But from Spain, El País turns the focus back onto Mexico and memories of an earlier reign of disappearances:

The mental scars of Mexico’s Dirty War

  • Torture victim Enrique Chávez is kept in chains by his family for fear of his violent actions

Enrique Chávez Fuentes looks like a castaway – he has a long white beard, dark tanned skin and scabs on his knees. But rather than being lost at sea, he has been set adrift in his own mind.

The 61-year-old Chávez was arrested by the Mexican army in 1974 after he was accused of being a member of a guerrilla group led by Lucio Cabañas, a rural teacher who organized an armed movement in the mountains of the poor and violent state of Guerrero – the same state where 43 students from a rural teaching school were kidnapped and massacred last September.

Chávez was jailed and tortured. To this day, he is unable to forget the beating he was given by an officer using a military helmet. He feared that his skull would split open like an overripe piece of fruit.

Chávez is a victim of the Dirty War that took place in the 1970s, when Mexican authorities arrested anyone they considered an enemy of the state. Torture, kidnappings and forced disappearances were common.

He was one of thousands that suffered under the Mexican government, whose aim was to destroy rebel groups such as the one headed by Lucio Cabañas. According to a Truth Commission report, more than 500 people were forcefully disappeared in that area between 1969 and 1985.

MexicoWatch: Interviews, corruption, hypocrisy


We begin with an interview, via teleSUR English’s Interviews from Mexico, of an investigative journalist on the corrupt Mexican political system and its symbiotic relationship with the vast drug trade feeding hungers north of the border:

Interviews from Mexico – Mexico’s Crisis Foretold

Program notes:

Interviews from Mexico, hosted by Laura Carlsen, goes straight to the source — the men and women making news and making history in Mexico and throughout the region. In today’s program Carlsen interviews Jose Reveles, investigative journalist and author and expert in national security issues. Reveles discusses the government’s questionable conclusions in the case of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students; the role and scope of organized crime in the nation’s political and economic life and authorities’ systemic errors in fighting this phenomenon; big and small players among the cartels; and his critique of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s 10 point program for fighting organized crime.

From the Latin American Herald Tribune, hypocrisy:

Mexico Welcomes IACHR Suggestions on Case of 43 Missing Students

Mexican Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade has said the government would welcome suggestions from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, IACHR, in the case of the 43 students who have been missing for more than four months in the state of Guerrero.

“The investigations and suggestions that they make will be welcome and we are sure, they will generate a legally robust result,” Meade said at a press conference Wednesday.

The IACHR has set up a panel of human rights experts from Spain, Chile, Colombia and Guatemala to offer technical assistance in the investigation into the disappearance of the students of the Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School last Sep. 26 in the town of Iguala.

From teleSUR, a sacrifice:

Former Mexican Governor Submits to Corruption Investigation

  • Angel Aguirre, governor in Guerrero state when the Ayotzinapa students were disappeared by police, resigned from his party and has agreed to an investigation into his behavior.

The former governor of the violent Mexican state of Guerrero abandoned his political party Wednesday and agreed to be investigated in connection with the Ayotzinapa case and possible money laundering.

The now former member of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), Angel Aguirre, sent a letter to the party’s leader, Carlos Navarrete, announcing his resignation.

“I present my resignation as a member of the PRD with the purpose of demarcating this political organ from any actions or conduct that I have had since I assumed the governor’s seat in Guerrero on April 1, 2011,” Aguirre wrote.

A member of the ruling PRI party until 2010, Aguirre lost his party’s candidacy for governor of Guerrero, at which time he immediately joined PRD to run for governor.

More from Fox News Latino:

Ex-Gov. Angel Aguirre quits Mexico’s PRD party after brother’s arrest

On Tuesday, Carlos Mateo Aguirre, the former governor’s brother, and eight other individuals were arrested on corruption charges.

Investigators “have determined that a group of people, including former public servants in the state of Guerrero,” had state and federal funds deposited in their personal bank accounts, Mexican Criminal Investigations Agency director Tomas Zeron said.

The suspects, however, did not have any corporate or business relationships with companies that received public works contracts in Guerrero, the federal official said.

Some 287 million pesos ($19.16 million) was diverted to the suspects’ personal accounts between January 2012 and September 2014 via the Constructora Travesa, Comercializadora 2003 and Comercializadora Topacio corporations, Zeron said.

From Frontera NorteSur, a reminder who the victims are:

Daniel’s Story: A Mother’s Memories of an Ayotzinapa Victim

Last summer, Daniel Solis Gallardo was on top of the world. The first to graduate from high school in his immediate family, the young resident of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, was in excellent physical shape, counted many friends, had a girlfriend, and held an admission to the college of his choosing, the historic Atoytzinapa rural teachers’ college located not far from the state capital of Chilpancingo. But only weeks into his first year at the residential school, the 18-year-old was cut down by police bullets in the city of Iguala, Guerrero.

In an interview with FNS, Solis’ mother shared important bits and pieces of her son’s short life. Born to the union of Ines Gallardo Martinez and Jaime Solis Serrano on Father’s Day, June 16, 1996, Daniel was the oldest of three children. Rolling through her phone, Gallardo showed off photos and video and played some of the Daniel’s favorite songs. Daniel elated at winning a soccer match with his team. Daniel and friends playing paintball. Daniel decked out in a pink shirt and black tie at his high school graduation ceremony.

A portrait emerged of Daniel as a serious yet humorous young man with one foot in Mexican tradition and one foot in the globalized techno-world of the 21st century.

According to mom, her oldest child liked enchiladas and red mole, banda and pop music, and Facebook. He excelled in English, earning high grades in the subject at his public high school and enrolling in a one-year course at a private school. For vacation, Daniel loved to visit his paternal grandparents’ small spread in the Costa Grande toward Acapulco and work with their cows. To his friends and family in Zihuatanejo, he was nicknamed “El Borre,” short for “The Sheep,” because of his curly hair. To his grandparents, he was known as “El Becerro,” or “The Young Bull.”

And to close, by way of teleSUR English, a Tweeted image of artist’s depiction of another of the missing students:

BLOG Ayotz

MexicoWatch: More skepticism & disappearances


We open with another artwork, this time from Dejate Care, featuring an image of one of the missing students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College of Ayotzinapa:

BLOG Ayotz Art

From teleSUR, more scientific critics challenge government claims about the missing students:

Experts Slam Mexico Gov’t over Missing Students Investigation

  • Mexican officials are presenting slanted evidence to prove their own theory about the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students, say experts.

A team of Argentine forensic experts that has been helping in the investigation of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students has harshly criticized the conclusions reached by Mexico’s Attorney General, who recently declared the students dead.

The team of 30 foreign experts was hired as an independent party on behalf of the students’ parents who did not trust Mexican officials to carry out the investigation on their own. In a 16-page statement released Saturday, the forensic team highlighted instances in the state’s investigation where they purposefully ignored evidence in order to support their official story.

Last month, Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam announced that investigators had concluded that the 43 students were arrested by corrupt municipal officials Sept 26 and handed over to a drug gang, who killed them, burnt their remains in a garbage dump in the town of Cocula, and disposed of them in a river.

Karam also added that all possible leads had been exhausted.

More from Fox News Latino:

Argentine forensic experts question discrepancies in Mexican probe of missing students

According to the Argentine team’s statement, there was satellite evidence of many fires at the same dump in the last four years. The team found human remains at the dump that did not belong to the students, including a tooth belonging to a set of dentures. None of the students wore dentures.

The team noted the Attorney General’s Office made mistakes in 20 genetic profiles collected from family members of the 43 students that made them unusable for DNA matches. It said such errors are unusual as the process of collecting material is simple.

The prosecutor’s office also allowed the dump, a key crime scene, to go unguarded for several weeks, permitting anyone to plant or manipulate evidence, the team said. It said its members were not present at key moments in the investigation, including when the remains were first found in and along a river and during a Nov. 15 trip to the garbage dump when prosecutors said they found 42 shell casings. The site had not been guarded at that point.

The team said it is important that it have access to the initial chain of custody of the remains found at the river, where a bone fragment was found that led to the identification of only one of the students, Alexander Mora.

And still more from the Washington Post:

The Argentine team also concluded, using satellite imagery and soil samples, that there had been fires at the trash dump in Cocula going back years. That has led them to doubt that it is possible for prosecutors to conclude that the evidence they are relying on — tooth or tire or metal fragments — comes from one specific fire. The Argentines have further found the burned remains of a prosthetic dental bridge that they believe did not belong to any of the students.

“There are other human remains here that do not belong to the” students, the team member said.

From BBC News, more disappearances:

Gunmen kidnap 12 near south Mexico gold mine

Armed men in Mexico have kidnapped at least 12 people in the southern state of Guerrero where 43 students were abducted last year. Local gang Guerreros Unidos was linked to the students’ disappearance.

A spokesman for the state prosecutor said some of those taken were workers at the mine. The owners of the gold mine, however, told AP news agency only one of their employees may have been caught up in the incident.

A spokeswoman for the Canadian company, Torex Gold Resources, rejected reports that the company could be a victim of extortion.

And an update from Fox News Latino:

Zuñiga did not say how many workers were kidnapped, telling reporters that it was “between 10 and 15 people.”

Officials have not confirmed the mass kidnapping, but a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office told Efe that authorities were awaiting information on the case.

Several employees of Canadian-owned mining company Media Luna were kidnapped this weekend in Cocula, the southern Mexican city where the bodies of 43 missing education students were allegedly burned last September, a representative of the workers said.

The Media Luna employees were traveling in an SUV when they were abducted Friday on the highway that links Alto Balsas to Cocula, Juan Zuñiga, who identified himself as a representative of the workers, said in a press conference on Saturday in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero state.

Borderland Beat covers blowback from disappearances in another state:

Coahuila Elite police groups denounced for forced disappearances and torture

Elite police Groups created by the government of the state of Coahuila, have participated in human rights violations, such as enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and torture, denounced the civil association group Familias Unidas.

Denise Bosque, legal representative of families of the victims said the association has documented 150 cases of enforced disappearance in the town of Piedras Negras, in the region of Cinco Manantiales (Five Springs).

According to reports, in about 60 cases, the agents involved were from Grupo de Armas and Tactical Especiales (Special Weapons Tactical Group) (GATE) and other security groups, which were created during the administrations of Humberto and Ruben Moreira.

And from BBC News, a notable cancellation:

Hay Festival cancels Mexico event

The governor of Mexico’s Veracruz state has defended security in Xalapa after the UK Hay festival cancelled its annual event in the city.

The Hay Festival had accused the governor of failing to protect freedom of expression and of inaction over violence against journalists. It said 300 writers around the world had called for the cancellation.

Veracruz is one of the states in Mexico most affected by organised crime and violence against journalists. In January, Moises Sanchez became the 15th journalist to be killed or to disappear in the state since 2010.

And to close, another image, this one of a street sign for Avenida México in Buenos Aires, Argentina, amended with the words “Terrorist State.” Via NeoMexicanismos:

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