Dec 14, 2011

Mexico Human Rights Abuses: No Protection for Activists

A clear recounting of the recent wave of murders and kidnappings of activists in Mexico

IPS "A total of 9 activists have been murdered or kidnapped in Mexico since the first of October, 8 in the last two weeks. The victims include:

In early October, Pedro Leyva, an indigenous land rights leader in Xayakalan, Michoacán, was murdered.

On Nov. 28, Nepomuceno Moreno, who was looking for his missing son and had become one of the pillars of the Movement for Peace with Justice, was killed in the capital of the northwestern state of Sonora, shot by gunmen who intercepted his car in broad daylight just six blocks from the governor's office.

On Dec. 2, Norma Andrade, founder of Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa (May Our Daughters Return Home), an organisation searching for missing young women in the northern border city of Ciudad Juárez, was shot and seriously wounded.

That same day, the body of actress Julia Marichal, who had gone missing on Nov. 12, was found. The murder is apparently not related to her peace activism, although it has not been clarified.

On Dec. 6, Eva Alarcón and Marcial Bautista, indigenous activists from Guerrero, were travelling to the capital in a bus that witnesses say was pulled over twice: at a military checkpoint where soldiers asked if Bautista was among the passengers, and he didn't answer; and later by hooded, armed men who forced the two environmentalists off the bus. They have not been seen again.

Also on Dec. 6, four armed men held up a caravan carrying Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity activists who were on their way to act as observers to a meeting of the Nahua indigenous community in Santa María Ostula, in the southwest state of Michoacán on the Pacific coast.

The gunmen forced the activists – including six journalists - in the caravan to lay face down in a clearing in the jungle and pulled aside 73-year-old Nahua community leader Trinidad de la Cruz, who was beaten and tortured within their earshot. ... His body was found the next day, with several bullet wounds and signs of torture.

Naval officials, the federal police and the state government (had) promised to protect the peace movement caravan. ... the federal police who had orders to accompany the activists abandoned the caravan when it reached the village.

This past Monday, Dec. 12, Gabriel Echeverría de Jesús, 20, and Jorge Alexis Herrera, 21, were shot by police while taking part in student protests in the southern ... state of Guerrero." read more

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