We begin with a very interesting story from Al Jazeera America:
Terror in Coahuila: Gas reserves beneath turf war in northern Mexico?
- Texas researchers link spike in murders and disappearances to land grab in energy-rich Burgos Basin
Mexico’s northern border area is full of semidesert lands with small cities, towns and ranches dedicated to livestock and forage crops. Under this inhospitable surface lies the world’s fourth-largest reserves of shale gas and 95 percent of Mexico’s coal.
The cycle of great violence began here — as in the nearby states of Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas and Veracruz — in 2009. From 2005 to 2009, there were 788 homicides in the state. In 2010 and 2011, Coahuila reported 1,067 homicides, according to the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System.
The prevailing explanation for the violence is that the ruthless Zetas cartel established control of the area while overwhelmed authorities did little to oppose them. But growing analysis links the violence to a corrupt group of government officials in whose jurisdiction lie millions of pesos in hydrocarbons.
“Energy Reform and Security in Northeastern Mexico,” a report published by the Mexico Center at Rice University, places the regional violence in the context of powerful economic interests. It is not the government’s version, that of a war among cartels for routes to the U.S., nor is it the concept of la plaza, or territorial control by criminal organizations. Rather, the struggle is for control of the more than 70,000 square miles of the Burgos Basin and its enormous gas reserves.
From the Latin American Herald Tribune, questions and reassurances:
Mexican AG: Outside Experts Have Resources Needed in Missing Students Case
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, or IACHR, experts investigating the disappearance of 43 education students in the southern city of Iguala last year have all the resources they need to do their work, Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez said.
“We are providing all the facilities so they can carry out their work plan,” Gomez told Radio Formula.
Gomez said that after taking office last week, she met with the IACHR experts, who are from Spain, Chile, Colombia and Guatemala. The IACHR team arrived in Mexico last week to investigate the disappearance of the 43 students, who went missing on Sept. 26.
And from teleSUR, an occupation:
Ayotzinapa Families ‘Occupy’ Mexican TV Station
- The parents of the disappeared 43 students protested against television giant, Televisa, demanding ethical coverage of their movement.
Parents and family of the disappeared 43 Ayotzinapa students led a march in the Mexican Capital to symbolically occupy the headquarters of the private television giant, Televisa, demanding that the media company offer them a so-called “right of reply.”
According to the families of the youth, Televisa, which owns more than 70% of the televised market in Mexico, has portrayed them and their movement under an editorial line that “criminalizes” them.
The families demand that a commission of parents be given access to the broadcaster to make more visible their movement to secure truth and justice in the enforced disappearance of their children which occurred in September in Iguala, Guerrero.
Via Rebeluis, our Ayotzinapa image of the day, featuring one of the mothers of the missing students:
Reuters covers a release:
Mexico court frees vigilante leader involved in fatal firefight
A judge in the violent Mexican state of Michoacan has ordered that a jailed vigilante leader involved in a firefight late last year that killed 10 people should be freed, a spokeswoman for the state judiciary said on Monday.
Hipolito Mora and his followers clashed in mid-December with a band led by Luis Antonio Torres, alias “El Americano,” a former vigilante leader turned rural police commander.
The shootout took place in La Ruana, a town about 150 miles (240 km) from Morelia, the state capital. Both men and 35 others were arrested in January and they have been behind bars ever since. Mora’s son was among the 10 killed in the shootout.
On Monday, a Michoacan state judge ordered that Mora and his 26 followers should be released, arguing they had acted in legitimate self-defense, said the spokeswoman, who asked not to be identified.
And from the Latin American Herald Tribune, an assassination foiled:
Gunmen Try to Kill Mayor of Mexican Border City
Matamoros Mayor Leticia Salazar Vazquez was not hurt in an attack by gunmen over the weekend, Mexican officials said. Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the attack, the Tamaulipas Coordination Group said.
Salazar Vazquez was “entering Matamoros from the western sector” around 8:10 p.m. Sunday when she was attacked, the security agency said.
The gunmen, who were riding in an automobile and an SUV, opened fire “on a vehicle carrying her bodyguards,” the Tamaulipas Coordination Group said.
The News.mx covers another problem:
Mexico open to eradicate torture
Mexico government reaffirmed its commitment to “prevent and eradicate cases of torture and mistreatment” and “punish all those who disobey their obligations to enforce human rights,” said Mexico’s permanent representative to the United Nations offices in Geneva, Jorge Lomónaco.
Juan Méndez, the United Nations Special Investigator Against Torture, submitted a report Monday to the Human Rights Council detailing his findings during his visit to Mexico between April 21 and May 2. He recommended that the Mexican government publicly recognize the size of this problem.
According to Méndez, whose report was debated in the Council Monday, torture and mistreatment “are generalized” in Mexico and occur “during the moments following detention and before standing trial,” with the purpose of “punishing or extracting confessions or information.”
And to close, via teleSUR English, another sellout temporarily halted:
Mexico: Vote delayed on water privatization law
A vote in Mexico’s House of Representatives on the new water administration and distribution bill scheduled for Tuesday has been delayed for the official purpose of clearing up “doubts and misunderstandings.” Critics say the initiative backed by private industry, especially the mining and energy sectors, is an attempt to privatize the resource. At issue is the practice of hydraulic fracturing, which requires enormous amounts of water. A protest demonstration was organized outside the House of Representatives today. Clayton Conn reports from Mexico City for teleSUR.