Category Archives: Photography

MexicoWatch: A protest, a political attack, raids

A very short edition today, so we’ll got straight to it with a video report from teleSUR English:

Parents and teachers march for justice in Ayotzinapa case

Program notes:

Five months after the forcible disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa students, family members and teachers of the Guerrero State Coordinator of Education Workers (CETEG) held marches throughout the state of Guerrero to demand that the 43 be brought back alive. They also demanded justice for the alleged murder of retired teacher Claudio Castro and the rape of five CETEG teachers by the federal police in last week’s protest. Moreover, the teachers declared a 24-hour strike closing 200 schools throughout the state. Clayton Conn reports from Mexico for teleSUR

Next, when politicians attack, via teleSUR:

UK Deputy Prime Minister Slams Mexico During Peña Nieto Visit

  • “We should remember the estimated 100,000 people killed in Mexico … since 2006,” Clegg wrote in a joint article with Richard Branson.

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg slammed the War on Drugs Wednesday, specifically berating Mexico’s effort as Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is in the country on a state visit.

Clegg’s comments came from an opinion article on the War on Drugs in the Guardian, which was co-written by British billionaire Richard Branson, in which they label it “an abject failure.”

“Since the (drug) ‘war’ was declared by President Richard Nixon in 1971, we have spent over £1tn [US$1.5 trillion] trying to eradicate drugs from our societies,” they denounced, adding that, “Yet the criminal market continues to grow, driving unimaginable levels of profit for organized crime.”

And from photographer Raul Barrera, an image from an Ayotzinapa protest at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California, right in ensl’s own back yard, with a placard declaring that being a student isn’t a crime:

BLOG Ayotz Oakland

Finally, raids on The Beast, from Latin Correspondent:

Mexico raided migrant train 153 times over last year

Mexican authorities staged 153 raids over the last year on a train known as “La Bestia” that once rolled toward the U.S. border crowded with Central American migrants.

Following a big surge in child migrants reaching the U.S. border last year, Mexico’s government cracked down on routes commonly used by migrants to travel from Guatemala to the U.S. border.

The head of the National Immigration Institute said Tuesday that the 153 train raids were part of 758 immigration inspections over the last year. Such raids also target buses, trucks and other means of smuggling migrants.

And now for something completely different

Really different, as in the Costa Rican red-eyed tree frog, via photographer Lindsay Fendt of the Tico Times.

And hang in there, kid:


And now for something completely different

Before there was Photoshop, there were darkrooms, the kind of places esnl spent much time developing and printing black and white photographs for the newspapers he worked for during his five decades in the newspaper business.

And now, from via Petapixel, is a look at the light-and-chemical processes of film photography replicated for digital images by Photoshop:

Before there was Photoshop | film photography | Photoshop 25th anniversary

We’ll leave the program notes to PetaPixel:

These Are the Darkroom Techniques Photoshop’s Tools Are Based On

As a tribute to Photoshop for its recent 25th birthday, Lynda created this “before there was Photoshop” video that shows the darkroom tools and techniques that were used by film photographers before Photoshop and digital photography arrived on the scene.

Photographer Konrad Eek works on a print by dodging, burning, adding gradients, using masks, feathering, and more. If you’ve never made a print in a darkroom before, this video could be quite illuminating.

MexicoWatch: A very, very brief edition today

We begin with a video report from teleSUR English:

Mexican government to charge police with forced disappearances

Program notes:

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto says charges will be brought against five police officers from Iguala, Guerrero, acting in conjunction with organized crime, for the disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa students. The news comes after the United Nations Commission on Forced Disappearances criticized Mexico last week for widespread disappearances throughout the country and impunity for the crime. The Commission also noted that here is no reliable registry of the disappearances. The Mexican government rejected the report but said it will follow some of the recommendations made by the UN Commission.

Selfies for the missing, via BBC News:

Selfies for the missing in Mexico

In the latest twist in a protracted social media movement, thousands in Mexico have used Ash Wednesday to seek justice for the 43 students who went missing in September last year.

It’s the case that has polarised Mexico: the disappearance and alleged mass murder of 43 male students from Ayotzinapa teacher training college in southern Mexico in September. Students from the college were on their way to protest over school hiring practices when they were stopped by police who shot at their buses. Three were killed and 43 others have not been heard from since. Mexico’s attorney general Jesus Murillo Karam says the missing have been killed by a gang and their bodies burnt at a rubbish dump – an explanation rejected by families of these students and activists, who believe the military played a role in these events and have since taken up the students cause online and on the streets of Mexico.

Now the hashtag #43NoSonCeniza (“43 Are Not Ashes”) has begun to pick up steam on Mexican social media. It aims to counter the government line about what happened to 43 male students. Activists are asking people to paint their forehead with the number ‘43′, upload the pictures online and walk the streets to show their protest. The idea is to play on the traditional Ash Wednesday practice, where Christians mark the beginning of Lent by marking their foreheads with ashes, as a symbol of death and sorrow for sin.

Here’s one of the images, via Compa Francisco Gtz:

BLOG Ayotz

And from California, and the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, recognition:

Pomona recognized for action taken in support of missing Mexican students

The adoption of a Pomona City Council resolution calling for an international investigation into the disappearance of 43 Mexican college students was an important action that other governments are replicating, a Mexican priest said Wednesday.

Rev. Alejandro Solalinde made the announcement in front of Pomona City Hall Wednesday morning surrounded by members of the Pomona City Council, Pomona Unified school board, area high school and college students as well as a number of local activists. He was referring to the resolution adopted by the City Council in December.

“It’s important that Pomona had the courage to be the first to have such a resolution,” Solalinde said. “Pomona has all of our recognition.”

Solalinde has been recognized for his human rights activism and work with Central American immigrants in Mexico. He has also become one of the leading voices in Mexico calling for justice in the disappearance of 43 students from the rural Ayotzinapa Normal School in the town of Tixtla in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero.

EbolaWatch: Numbers, images, fraud, medicine

We begin with a video from the United Nations with a photographer dispatched to document the outbreak:

UN through the lens: Photographing Ebola – the ‘invisible enemy’

Program notes:

United Nations – The enemy was invisible—that’s how United Nations photographer Martine Perret described Ebola, the deadly virus which has killed nearly 9,000 people in West Africa.

Last December, she joined the UN’s first health mission, UNMEER, to document the effects of the outbreak on millions of people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, as well as the international response to fight it.

In the following audio slide show, she shares her experience.

Next, the latest numbers, released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

BLOG Ebola

From Associated Press, a call:

Leaders to UN: We need better crisis response after Ebola

A trio of world leaders says the devastating Ebola outbreak exposed the “weakness” of international crisis response and is seeking a solution.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Ghanaian President John Mahama have asked the U.N. secretary-general to create a high-level panel and commission a report on how the world can be faster and more coordinated in the face of disaster.

The letter, handed over to Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday, notes that Ebola cases have been dropping in all three of the worst-hit countries but says, “We cannot be complacent.”

The Washington Post covers a complication:

The search for an Ebola cure is gearing up — but there may be too few patients

The race to find a cure for Ebola is heating up, with scientists launching experiments in West Africa that are among the most ambitious ever aimed at taming the devastating disease.

But they are encountering an unexpected challenge: finding enough Ebola patients as the outbreak recedes.

In Liberia, researchers had to scrap a clinical drug trial at the end of January because of a lack of Ebola patients. Another trial there, using donations of blood plasma, has struggled to enroll enough participants. Its organizers may be forced to move it to Sierra Leone.

From Science, another complication:

‘Positive’ results for Ebola drug upsets plans for trials

Even the researchers whose trial of a potential drug for Ebola made headlines last week worked hard to downplay the glimmer of efficacy it showed. “It is a weak signal in a nonrandomized trial,” Yves Levy, director of the French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Paris told Science about the data, which INSERM has not released. Weak or not, the report in The New York Times that favipiravir, a Japanese flu drug, had halved mortality in one group of Ebola patients in Guinea was one more piece of good news that is complicating prospects for trials of other Ebola drugs.

The Guinean government has already announced it wants to make favipiravir available to more people, and if the results hold up to greater scrutiny, they could force a change in the design of other clinical trials going forward. Meanwhile, the decline in new cases has investigators revamping or even canceling trials at a time when manufacturers finally have enough supplies to test some of the most promising experimental drugs. The toll of the outbreak ticked up last week, as Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone—the three most affected countries—counted 124 confirmed cases, up from 99 cases the week before. As the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Bruce Aylward said at a press conference on 5 February: “The virus has told us this week, loud and clear, ‘I am not going to go away the way you’re expecting me to.’ “ Yet the numbers represent a sharp drop from the height of the epidemic in September when there were more than 700 cases reported in a single week in West Africa.

CCTV America covers deserved recognition:

Cuban doctors and nurses under consideration for Nobel Peace Prize

Program notes:

In Cuba, the doctors and nurses who went to West Africa to combat the Ebola outbreak are being considered for the Nobel Peace Prize. CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reported this story from Havana.

From AllAfrica, another contribution:

West Africa: China Trains Over 10,000 Ebola Medical Staff for West Africa

Chinese medical experts dispatched to West Africa have trained 10,202 local staff to treat Ebola patients, the Health News, a newspaper affiliated with the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC), reported Friday.

China has sent 64 Ebola specialists to West Africa since Nov. 9, 2014. They have trained 5,093 doctors, nurses and community health workers for Sierra Leone; 1,823 for Liberia; 1,481 for the Republic of Guinea; and 1,805 for six other countries in the region including Senegal.

The mission was China’s first overseas health training program, allowing China to passed on knowledge and experience gained from dealing with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), according to the Health News.

And from the Associated Press, contributors returning home:

US withdrawing most troops fighting Ebola in West Africa

The United States is preparing to withdraw nearly all of its troops fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the White House said Tuesday, as the global health crisis recedes amid a sharp decline in Ebola cases.

Of the 2,800 troops the U.S. deployed, just 100 will remain in West Africa after April 30, officials said. About 1,500 of those troops have already returned home. Those staying in West Africa will work with Liberia’s military, regional partners and U.S. civilians to continue fighting Ebola.

“Just 10 months since the first U.S. government personnel deployed, we have delivered extraordinary results,” said U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah, adding that Ebola cases were down 80 percent and that in hard-hit Liberia, new cases have dwindled to just one or two per day.

On to the hot zone, starting in Guinea with the Thomson Reuters Foundation:

Mistrust and machetes thwart efforts to contain Ebola in Guinea

When Red Cross pickups crawl through the streets of the Guinean town of Lola in search of Ebola victims, crowds of women gather to shoo the medical workers away, young boys throw stones and angry men reach for their machetes.

In the country where West Africa’s Ebola outbreak began, hostility towards aid workers – fuelled by ever more far-fetched rumours – is undermining efforts to contain the deadly virus.

“People tell us if we don’t leave they’ll beat us up, or smash up the car,” said Paquile Zoglelemou, head of the Red Cross in Lola, a town set in thick, tropical jungle in the deep southeast of Guinea near the Liberian border.

Concerns about violence directed at aid teams comes as the number of new cases of Ebola rose at the start of February in all three of West Africa’s worst-hit countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – ending previously encouraging declines.

Thence on to Liberia with StarAfrica, and volunteers aplenty:

Liberians rush for Ebola Vaccine

Reports say Liberians are queuing daily to get vaccinated with an estimated 456 persons vaccinated since the trial began. According Co-investigator Dr. Stephen Kennedy, the figure is by far greater than anticipated at this stage of the trial.

He said the trial which is currently taking place at the state-run Redemption Hospital in the western Monrovia suburb of the Borough of Kru Town is recording more than the anticipated one participant per day.

The paper also quotes Co-Investigator Kennedy as disclosing that last week 108 persons were vaccinated, while another batch of 348 had booked tickets to be vaccinated.

FrontPageAfrica raises an ethical question:

Volunteer for Hire? US$40 for Ebola Vaccine Trials in Liberia

The current Ebola vaccines being tested in Liberia continues to raise contention among many Liberians. The latest news about the process of getting the vaccines is that Liberians who volunteer to take the trial are being paid to do so. Due to this information about the money attached to the administration of the trial vaccines, many people from poor communities have turned out to take it with the hope that they might get some compensation for their service.

In the small community of Zimbabwe and Popo Beach in New Kru Town, many young people without a job have volunteered to take the vaccine because of the inducement it offers. Though some say that they’re taking the vaccine based on a strong conviction to join the Ebola response, the community’s perception is fixed already.

“The government has to be in the interest of the citizens, they just can’t take a vaccine and bring it here for trial without informing the people on what it is about,” said Prince Kamara, a resident of the Popo Beach area who seems convinced that the trial vaccine was not made for humans and the information dissemination surrounding it was poor. “Is the government aware of the people coming to kill us Liberians? We are not animals; the people should test this vaccine where they made it.”

Other residents of the New Kru Town area where the vaccines are being tried among volunteers think that no one should be paid to take a vaccine if the administrators are sure that it poses no risk to those who take them.

After the jump, a video survivor account, back to school time, border communities on alert, and aid in the microcosm, on to Sierra Leone and prophylactic resistance, allegations of major Ebola payroll fraud, the ghostwriters in the sty, financial answers promised, a reminder that justice delayed is justice denied, even in the time of Ebola, and major questions over victim counts. . . Continue reading

MexicoWatch: Cartels, parents, and economics

We begin with a stunning revelation from Reforma via a Borderland Beat translation:

Wife of Iguala Mayor Abarca is the head of Guerreros Unidos Cartel

The head of the PGR, Jesus Murillo Karam, revealed that Maria de los Angeles Pineda, wife of the ex Mayor of Iguala, is the real Boss of the Guerreros Unidos cartel responsible for the disappearance and killing of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa.

Karam also revealed that her husband Jose Luis Abarca the former Mayor was second in command of the cartel, this made it more difficult to find evidence against them.

The Lady, like a good cartel boss, is making it very difficult for the PGR to bring organized crime charges against the pair and the cartel.

However we made some investigations, “they became criminals in the United States”, we have testimony that clearly puts them at the reins of Guerrero Unidos, with links to the mother, father and two brothers.

From teleSUR, a significant change:

International Human Rights Group Takes Over Ayotzinapa Case

  • Mexico’s attorney general has declared the case of the 43 missing students closed, but human rights groups disagree.

A group of experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) are preparing to start investigations in Mexico into the 43 students who went missing in the state of Guerrero in September of last year.

The IACHR, the human rights body of the Organization of American States, experts will gather in Washington Feb.11 and 12 to discuss how they can offer their technical assistance to the case and adopt a further plan of action, including a new search plan for the disappeared students.

The group of experts were designated by the IACHR earlier this month, after it signed an agreement with the Mexican government and representatives of the families of the 43 students.

Earlier this month, the Mexican Attorney General, Murillo Karam, announced the case of the disappeared students to be closed, saying that all leads have been exhausted. He also reiterated the states official response to the crime: that the students were all kidnapped, killed, with their remains burnt and thrown into the river.

And Latin Correspondent notes what should now be obvious to anyone following esnl:

Families of Mexico’s missing students won’t let government bury the case

Human rights organizations and the parents of Mexico’s 43 missing students have criticized the government’s efforts to prematurely close the case on the young men who were abducted by corrupt police officers in the southern state of Guerrero last September.

Until now the students from the Ayotzinapa teachers college had officially been classified as missing, but Mexico’s Federal Attorney General, Jesús Murillo Karam, claimed in a press conference on Tuesday that his office now has “legal certainty” that they were murdered by members of the Guerreros Unidos drug gang.

The government has 487 strands of evidence that “have allowed us to… come to the conclusion beyond a doubt that the students were abducted and killed, before being incinerated and thrown into the San Juan river, in that order,” Murillo said.

The Los Angeles Times covers austerity launched:

Mexico, which depends largely on oil revenue, cuts public spending

The collapse in global oil prices forced Mexico on Friday to announce large cuts in public spending, threatening several major projects, including the government’s showcase but controversial bullet train out of Mexico City.

Finance Minister Luis Videgaray announced cuts of about $8.5 billion, about 0.7% of Mexico’s gross domestic product. About a third of the Mexican government’s budget comes from oil revenue, and the price-per-barrel of Mexican crude has fallen in recent months from about $100 to $38.

Videgaray said the “adjustments” were preventive and responsible and aimed at “protecting stability and the economy of Mexican families.”

And from China Daily, another example of austerity:

Mexico suspends high-speed train project

Mexican Minister of Finance Luis Videgaray announced Friday a decision to cut this year’s budget and the pinch will be felt with the plans for construction of two key rail infrastructure in the country, including a high- speed train project.

The bid to build the high-speed train project, which is expected to cost $3.75 billion and believed to be the first in Latin America if completed, was won by a Chinese-led consortium in November but the bid was soon canceled by Mexican government due to domestic reasons of Mexico.

Another bidding for the high-speed railway project was reopened in the middle of this month.

The budget cut will not affect economic growth projections for the year, said the official, though it does entail “definitively canceling” a proposed trans-peninsular rail line linking the southeastern Mexican states of Quintana Roo and Yucatan, as well as the suspension of the high-speed train project designed to connect Mexico City, the national capital, with the central state of Queretaro

This is the same rail project previously awarded to a contractor who cut a sweet deal on a mansion for the spouse of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, a deal rescinded after a Mexican reporter exposed the deal — a deal also strenuously objected to by China, which has considerable experience in building bullet trains.

And for our image of the day, a show of solidarity with the cause of the missing student from the Uruguayan band Los Diablos Verdes, via Ghetto del Sur:

BLOG Ayotz

MexicoWatch: Murders, protests, and signs

Another short compendium today, once again not for lack of trying. Rather, the ever-thinner ranks of the English-language media have once again become distracted.

We begin with another murder, reported by Borderland Beat:

Former Police Commander Executed In Morelos

Pedro Patrón González, former Secretary of Public Security of Yecapixtla, Morelos, was found dead Thursday afternoon in the municipality of Yecapixtla.

His bullet-ridden body was found around 17:00 hours in the street of Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, in the colony Juan Morales.

According to witnesses, three masked gunmen who were traveling in a gray Volkswagen Jetta executed the former Secretary of Public Security as he was arriving at his house.  Another man was also wounded, presumably his neighbor, as they were greeting each other.

teleSUR covers another protest targeting the neoliberal, austerian presidential regime:

Mexico: Teachers Seize Airports In Protest of Education Reform

  • The education reform implemented by right-wing government of Enrique Peña Nieto has triggered many protests across Mexico.

Teachers of the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca Saturday occupied three airports, including the one in the capital Oaxaca, as well as the one in Huatulco and Puerto Escondido, and gas stations of various regions, in protest against the educational reform.

The blockade of the various airports lasted over six hours, causing many flights to be delayed, according to local sources that spoke with French news agency AFP.

The protesters were also in protest to reject that the federal government assume control payments of salaries of over 80,000 education sector employees in Oaxaca, which is about 300 miles south of Mexico City.

And, finally, three signs of the times.

First, via adeedas, a sign that translates as “Imagine your mom looking for you but she can’t find you… now multiply it x43″:

BLOG Ayotz 1

Next, via enloi, an Alejandro Cuevas photograph of a protester with a sign that translates as “In México it is more dangerous being a student than a drug-trafficker”:

BLOG Ayotz 2

And from forget-no-sleep, a graffito reads “In México they kill you for being a student”:

BLOG Ayotz 3