Jul 20, 2012

Week's Top Articles on Mexico: July 13 – 19, 2012

Mexico Election News:
While Mexico’s Congress is made up of some legislators who win through direct vote, a proportion of seats are won indirectly, based upon the number of overall votes won by each party and are sometimes given to interest groups, family members, and union leaders as favors. The “proportional members” include a number with close ties to television companies. On a positive note, for the first time ever, women will make up at least a third of seats in the bicameral parliament, more just representation that has been a long legal battle in coming.

The presidential election is being contested by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador . His party along with the PAN party are jointly accusing the PRI of using illicit funds for Enrique Pena Nieto’s campaign. This past weekend an estimated 300 organizations gathered in a National Convention Against the Imposition in opposition to Enrique Pena Nieto taking the presidency. They gathered to decide upon dates of future demonstrations and plan to boycott companies that participated in the electoral fraud. The #Iam132 student movement is struggling to define its future, whether this would entail broadening their work from mass demonstrations and considering making alliances. A future proposal is in its political participation, to draft a bill to regulate media access and promote alternative ownership of communication networks.

Drug War News:
In the United States, the demand for cocaine seems to have decreased, but in exchange for prescription painkillers. For both the Americans and the Mexicans, a shift is taking place in opinion and in priorities from arresting kingpins and seizing drug shipments to improving the justice system, the rule of law, and building stronger communities. Marijuana, however, can easily be overlooked by United States consumers, despite its strong connection with violence and drug cartels. Outgoing president Calderón said this year, compared to the same time frame as last, homicides have decreased by 15 to 20 percent. He claimed his anti-cartel strategy is working, and denies that violence has been caused by government actions.

In Mexico, people living in the mountains of Mazatlan, have been caught between national armed forces and gangs. Their leaving and subsequent displacement and migration patterns have been the cause of much disruption and violence. As Mexican cartels have moved into Honduras, the country’s president has implemented an aggressive crackdown on organized crime and drug trafficking in partnership with the United States. This strategy has caused concern for human rights violations during drug raids. Executives from the HSBC are testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee; the bank has been accused of allowing money launderers to use its services.

Violence Against Women:
Last Friday, in a church youth camp-out near Mexico City, girls were raped and campers were beaten by a gang of armed people; 17 suspects have been detained, and two of them are local police officers. In the state of Mexico, violence against women has worsened during president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto’s six years as governor. During this time, half of the crimes were not investigated, prosecuted or punished; an alert system for women was also rejected. Mexican human rights defender Margarita Martinez is presenting before the Committee of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women on the situation of violence against women human rights defenders and journalists in Mexico. The Mexican government has failed to provide Martinez with adequate protection, despite her having been kidnapped and received threats.

* Article translations are available at the Americas Mexico Blog.

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