We begin with the political, via teleSUR:
Murillo Sparks Final Controversy with Resignation Contradiction
- The Attorney General said the Ayotzinapa case should be kept open, after declaring it closed more than a month ago.
Former Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam prompted yet more derision when he apparently contradicted himself during a speech announcing his resignation.
The fumbling official, who has repeatedly bungled the case of the 43 students forcibly disappeared from a protest for a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa, told the press conference that the case could not be closed because the remains of 42 of the 43 young people had not been identified.
Yet in January Murillo sparked major controversy after announcing the Ayotzinapa case closed.
More politics, from teleSUR:
Mexican President’s Relationship With TV Station Deepens
- The Mexican President’s selection for attorney general is the sister of a high-ranking executive at Televisa.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto named Arely Gomez as his choice for attorney general Friday, in a move that raised eyebrows due to Gomez’s connection with media giant Televisa.
If confirmed by the Senate, Gomez would replace Jesus Murillo Karam, who stepped down after facing months of criticism over his handling of the case of the 43 forcibly disappeared students.
Gomez happens to be the sister of the vice-president of news at Televisa. It was Televisa who broke the news that Murillo was stepping down and was to be replaced by Gomez.
Next, today’s Ayotzinapa protest image, via Sith Spider:
From teleSUR, disappearances:
400 Women Disappeared in the State of Mexico in 2014
- Over 10,000 people have disappeared since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in 2012.
As disappearances are on the rise since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office two years ago, Mexican activists and politicians on Saturday called on authorities to declare a state of gender alert in the central State of Mexico after local reports revealed that in 2014 about 400 women have been disappeared in the entity.
Mothers of minors, social activists and members of the center-left PRD party demanded that the government put in place “drastic” measures to eradicate this crime, according to Mexican daily newspaper La Jornada.
Families and relatives of the disappeared women offered heart wrenching testimonies during an event called “Enough of Disappearances, Femicides and Human Trafficking” in Ecatepec, just north of Mexico City.
More from Frontera NorteSur:
The Missing Faces of February
Martha Cecilia Gomez was visibly shaken as she pleaded for the whereabouts of her daughter. According to the Mexican mother, her 16-year-old daughter Paola Yaneth Alvarez left the family home in the central Mexican state of Aguascalientes the morning of February 1 to go shopping for pork rinds and never returned.
“We don’t know anything about her,” Gomez told FNS. “As the mother of a family, I ask people who might have seen something to come forward, but nobody has” Along with relatives of other missing or murdered persons, Paola’s family members staged a march earlier this month through the state capital of Aguascalientes to press for answers.
The other presumed and confirmed victims spotlighted in the demonstration included Sergio de Lara Quezada, 28, disappeared on August 30, 2011; Maria del Cristal Acevedo Gomez, 29, missing since July 26, 2014; and Cecilia Martinez Mota, murdered in 2014.
In the days following the march, stickers affixed to structures lining one of Aguascalientes’ main streets asked passerby, “Where is Cristal Acevedo?”
More disappearances, via BuzzFeed News:
Mexican Lawyers Are Disappearing, Leaving Nothing But Fear And Questions Behind
More than 60 lawyers disappeared or were killed during a wave of violence in Durango. Their families mourn them and hope for justice while their colleagues scurry away from certain criminal cases.
When Claudio Hugo Gallardo disappeared in 2013, his sons scoured the local hospital, prison, and morgue frantically. They combed through video footage recovered from Gallardo’s last known location and even inquired with the cartels whether their operatives had picked up the well-known lawyer.
But before Gallardo’s family could find him, they stopped looking.
“It’s for our own peace. We don’t want threats,” said Claudio Gallardo, one of the attorney’s sons. The family has floated several theories, including the involvement of government officials, cartel thugs, and a combination of both, but prefer to be discreet about their findings, citing orders by local authorities to stop prodding.
Gallardo is one of more than 60 lawyers killed or disappeared here during a spate of crimes against litigators that began in 2008, according to members of Durango’s Benito Juárez Bar Association. Some of the bodies that have been recovered carried messages from criminal groups saying the litigator should not have been defending certain clients, said Celina López Carrera, who is in charge of the state’s public prosecutors.
From teleSUR, demands:
Mexican Teachers Demand Justice
- Members of the CETEG teachers union have demanded the appearance of 11 teachers, and justice for the death of Claudio Peña Castillo outside the headquarters of the Federal Police in Chilpancingo.
Members of one of Mexico’s teachers unions marched on the headquarters of the Federal Police in Chilpancingo on Saturday to demand justice for the death of a retired teacher, and the return of 11 missing teachers
Claudio Peña Castillo was killed in a protest on Tuesday, and 11 teachers who were also at the demonstration have not been seen since then.
The protesters chanted “murderer” at the leader of the federal police in Chilpancingo and pointed out the numerous injuries people had suffered at the hands of the police.
And from Mexico News Daily, an activism incentive denied:
Feds nix Oaxaca’s promotion scheme
- Teachers who want an administrative position must turn up for protests
The National Institute for the Evaluation of Education (INEE) gave Oaxaca Gov. Gabino Cué a deadline to invalidate an agreement that specifies how teachers are promoted to administrative positions in secondary schools. That deadline was yesterday.
INEE head Sylvia Schmelkes said if it wasn’t met it would fall to the Public Administration Secretariat of the federal government to take punitive action against the state government.
Promotions to administrative positions bring higher salaries but the process, designed by the teachers’ union CNTE, violates the constitution, according to the INEE. Federal law stipulates that such promotions can only be awarded following competitive examinations that adhere to parameters and assessment tools that will be defined in the next few months.
But for promotion in Oaxaca, under the CNTE plan, teachers must produce documents that show they participated in protests in Mexico City and Oaxaca.
From Justice in Mexico, the war on the Fourth Estate continues:
Reforma distribution center attacked in Edomex
A distribution center for the newspaper Reforma was attacked early in the morning of February 15 in Tlalnepantla, near the border with the municipality of Naucalpan, in the State of Mexico (Estado de México, Edomex). The attack occurred at approximately 2:00am on Sunday morning in the neighborhood of Viveros del Valle, and has left a franchisee employee in critical condition after he was shot in the nape of his neck during the attack. A truck owned by Reforma was also fired upon four times. No suspects have been detained yet in the case.
The attack comes on the heels of a series of publications made by Reforma in previous weeks that addressed the insecurity in nearby Naucalpan and the local police force’s alleged involvement in several incidences. On February 1, Reforma reported that Naucalpan Councilmember Esther Tapia accused the local police of kidnapping and beating her 23-year-old son to intimidate him, though it is unclear why he was targeted. Video footage of the event captured by nearby security cameras show a vehicle approach her son, and police officers exit from the vehicle and detain and physically assault him. The police vehicle, reports El Universal, is one of the Naucalpan Police’s nine new patrol cars, though it lacked official police insignia and police license plates.
From the Guardian, a cartel capture:
La Tuta captured: Mexico’s flamboyant primary teacher turned drug kingpin
- Servando Gómez Martínez, the head of the Knights Templar crime cartel and nicknamed ‘La Tuta’, was captured by federal police early on Friday morning
Mexican police have captured a former primary school teacher who became the head of one of the country’s most bizarre and bloodthirsty drug-trafficking groups, putting an end to a flamboyant criminal career that stood out in a country where underworld bosses have traditionally sought to avoid the spotlight.
Servando Gómez Martínez, nicknamed “La Tuta” was captured by federal police in the early hours of Friday morning in the city of Morelia, capital of the Pacific coast state of Michoacán.
He was taken to Mexico City for questioning, before being marched in front of TV cameras to a helicopter to be flown to prison the same night.
And from the Associated Press, consequences:
Mexico drug lord captures change but don’t lower trafficking
It’s another big score for the Mexican government, which has been tearing through its list of most-wanted drug lords in recent years.
Still, no one expects drug trafficking or violence to decrease after the capture of Servando “La Tuta” Gomez, a former grade-school teacher whose Knights Templar cartel once terrorized the western state of Michoacan.
Crime will only shift around as the now weakened cartel regroups, or even splinters, as has happened with some of Mexico’s drug gangs after the killings or capture of top leaders. Others continue business as usual after top leadership hits.
“Dismantling them was a necessary step, but that does not end the problem of insecurity,” Alejandro Hope, a Mexico City-based security analyst, said of the Knights Templar. “The next part is more complicated. There are still small groups, remnants, which will be extorting, robbing and perhaps even producing methamphetamine.”