Proceso report on government response to disappearances–Marcela Turati

Turati’s story explores here how families forced the government of Coahuila to respond to the crisis of the disappeared there: 1,835 people disappeared. Apparently, governors reported to Gobernación  how they are dealing with this. If the current government decides to act, it might follow similar methods listed here–not surprisingly, the state says half the people disappeared were criminals. As a side note, the database with 25,000 leaked to the Post has only 270 disappeared in that Coahuila. So, if the difference is so large, how can we be sure the 25,000 or 27,000 figure is even close to representing the real size of the problem?

Confrontations reported in Mexico State; 30 dead, unofficial outcome…PROCESO

There were several “hot-spots” of violence in Mexico reported this weekend. I will try to send more info and a summary later.  As far as I can tell, this last one is the most serious (30 dead) and I can find nothing in the English-language press on it… This one is also unique in the LACK of information provided.

Here’s a quick translation–it is very literal on purpose to emphasize the lack of real information in the report… Note the conditional terms… We might hope to find out more about this confrontation, but at the least, we must ask: if there are no bodies, how do we know that there are 30 people dead? If there are no bodies, how do we know that the dead are “sicarios?” If there are no bodies, how do we know how many are dead? How does anyone know who took bodies away? As well as this report from the military in the region, would it not be just as logical to assume that the military or a paramilitary force went into the area, killed a bunch of people and then did away with the bodies? But since residents of the zone apparently saw and heard the shooting, the military was not able to deny that something happened…?  Just asking…  molly
 Confrontations reported in Mexico State; 30 dead, unofficial outcome…
At least 30 presumed sicarios dead is the balance of two confrontations that took place this afternoon (Sunday) between armed groups in the south of the State of Mexico, according to security forces. There are still no official figures on the number of dead or injured.

Supposedly, the bodies were taken away from the scene by presumed members of criminal groups that participated in the confrontations, the sources added. Sources from the 22nd Military Zone reported that their troops went to the area after learning about reports of the shootout, but they did not find any bodies. They indicated that elements assigned to Tejupilco went to the zone and that some of the residents told them that they heard shots for some period of time; others said that they had seen bodies, reported the sources. Each criminal group could have taken the bodies away, the source added.

The first event, lasting a little more than an hour, took place in the community Caja de Agua, in the municipality of Luvianos, and in which presumed members of La Familia Michoacana and residents of the zone participated. Afterwards, a group opposed to the Knights Templar joined the confrontation. The battles then moved toward the Cerro de la Culebra in the same locality. Vehicles of both groups were left behind, destroyed by the impacts of high caliber ammunition that was exchanged during more than three hours. Until now, according to military reports, no persons were reported to be detained. 

Elements of the Secretariat of Citizen Security and of the Attorney General of the State of Mexico arrived at the scene. Federal forces had already arrived in order to verify the events. At least 30 soldiers are patrolling the zone.

Denise Dresser on Guadalajara plaza … POLICE arrested in the rape/robberies near Mexico City..

For those who may have objected to my comments about the ludicrous Google tour of Juarez with the Federal Police, see this translation from Borderland Beat of a Proceso article by Denise Dresser… and also, Several POLICE are among the perpetrators in the rape and robbery attack on the church camp outside of Mexico City. I received a complaint yesterday from a person on the list [I asked permission to post the complaint but got no reply] saying that I was wrong to place all responsibility for the Juarez violence on the federal police…something I did not do. However, since the google piece opens with a breathless description of their fearless and skilled escorts–policia federal–I mentioned the PF in my commentary.  I never said, nor do I believe, that the PF are the only killers…nor do I blame them for anything more than their share of the violence. As I’ve said in numerous postings on the list:

“…though the military sits at the pinnacle of the impunity pyramid in Mexico, it is one of many powerful groups that abduct, torture and kill Mexicans. Drug trafficking gangs kill. Street gangs kill. Municipal, state and federal police kill. And drug cartel operatives often kill from the inside of these security forces. As former Chihuahua governor, Jose Reyes Baeza, declared in March 2008,

“”All of the public security agencies are infiltrated—all of them, pure and simple…” The governor predicted a “return to normalcy” as soon as these agencies could be cleaned up. Five years on, more than 10,000 people in the city of Juárez alone are dead and so far this year, another 3.4 people are added to the tally each day.”

Note that it is the former Chihuahua governor stating that ALL of the agencies are corrupt…I’ve talked to so many people, both in Juarez and now living in exile in the US who have experienced or been witnesses to corruption and killing by the federal police, the army, the municipal and state police, that I find it the height of gullibility to assume that the federal police are the good guys–as the piece about the Google visit does. I think that the Google execs were probably invited to Juarez by powerful people who think it will give them some cachet… The Juarez press did not cover the Google visit hat happened two months ago, but Diario de El Paso did have an article about the Washington Post piece on their front page today: Surgió en Juárez sistema de denuncia vs narco de Google

Veracruz journalists–living in terror–Marcela Turati in PROCESO

A long article in Proceso on the situation of journalists, esp. in the
state of Veracruz, Mexico. A major point of the article is that while
Mexico has a lot of laws, state institutions and non-governmental groups
that say they exist to protect freedom of the press, they don’t do anything
to stop the killing and terrorizing of journalists. A google translation is
posted below. molly

GOOGLE TRANSLATION

In Veracruz is not strange that a journalist is threatened. Not be picked
up, tortured and murdered. Or, if it saves life, which means that hired him
to fire you … Being a journalist in the state is like bringing a target
painted on the back. Y-governmental bodies responsible for civil-union
protection to simply wallow in inaction. It is so serious and scandalous
state of Veracruz press is already known internationally and is the subject
of forums. In one reporter summed Veracruz: “We are living in terror.”

AUSTIN, TEXAS (Process). – Minutes before the end of the forum dedicated to
discuss the challenges of journalism in Latin America, a Mexican reporter
spoke: “In Veracruz we are living in fear. The journalists not only kill
us, torture us and we also cut up. There you stand, you’re stuck, you do
what they want. “

It was Miguel Ángel López Solana, who on June 20 last year survived the
murder of his father, the deputy director of Notiver, Miguel Angel López
Velasco-investigator of drug-trafficking and political corruption, his
mother and brother, photographer of the same daily. This fact opened the
spate of killings since then cripples the lives of journalists in the state.

“I just ran away, ran away, ran to where I could, to the darkness of the
night I reached, I was there,” he told journalists and officials of
organizations present at the forum. And, apparently, has not stopped
running for his life.

His testimony revealed that journalists in Veracruz that are known risk no
justification. Notiver accused, the local newspaper for which labored, to
have fired him. The House of Journalists Rights, created with public funds
to shelter journalists in difficult situations, gave less than a week’s
stay. The organizations he claims to have attended, the said house of the
journalist, Article 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters
Without Borders, could not agree to help.

The many government institutions created to protect journalists, including
the National Commission on Human Rights, sinned away.

The reporter spent six months in the Federal District waiting for someone
to help him leave the country. Desperate, to be known without help, he
returned to Veracruz and then traveled to the border of Tamaulipas and the
United States where for a month asked for a visa. Since April is in this
country with his wife, seeking asylum. His only support, he said, has been
the newspaper La Jornada, which was a correspondent.

Some of his remarks were “a war zone Veracruz no worse than (…) There is
an immense impunity nurtures violence. From the time they killed my family
should have changed things and we would not be mourning the death of
others. No one did anything. Neither the newspaper did a follow-up note. “

Bore witness to the corruption of local government, in addition to not
protect reporters ‘leaked’ to the press the list of journalists
executables, which was fulfilling-the collusion between officials and drug
traffickers, the indifference of the media owners to local reporters
threatened or killed, the removal of government institutions and NGOs
should protect and institutionalized impunity that encourages new crimes.

He was saved but not the same fate his three colleagues Guillermo Luna,
Gabriel Rodriguez and Esteban Huge, although after the first killings left
journalism (or ran their means to distance himself from them), in some
cases fled the state or tried unsuccessfully to obtain a visa. In May were
killed. Their bodies were dismembered.

Less than a week earlier, on April 28, had been killed the correspondent of
process in that state, Regina Martinez, known for his work against the
powerful, in what appeared a hunt against journalists.

This period was called by the UN the “tragic week in the Mexican press.”

On Friday 1, Notiver-which has four journalists killed Lopez Solana replied
that the company itself has required
justice for the murder of his father, denies that the reporter was hired by
the newspaper, accusing him of “walking down the wrong path” and asks him
to tell the U.S. authorities “everything he knows” (“we are sure that if
anyone knowswho murdered his family and why you, “he said).

The Forum organized by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
were several things clear: No one understands what happens in Mexico, a
country with strong institutions and monetary resources and allows murder
and gagging their journalists. And that Veracruz is the state where
violence has been merciless with the guild.

Diluted Resources

Research Studies Center and Freedom of Expression (CELE) of Argentina said
the nonsense: In Mexico there is a proliferation of organizations dedicated
specifically to the protection of journalists and investigation of crimes,
and that is not reflected in results.

They include the Program Attacks against Journalists and Human Rights
Defenders of the National Commission of Human Rights, the Special
Prosecutor for the Investigation of Crimes against Freedom of Expression of
the PGR, the Special Committee to Monitor Attacks on Journalists and Media
in the House of Representatives and the Unit for Promotion of Human Rights
Department of the Interior.

Among the burdens that drag on the whole, the CELE detected operating with
a limited legal framework, depend on political decisions, their powers are
limited by jurisdiction, have a tight budget, small staff professionalized,
have serious difficulty in coordination, are hostages of jostling among the
parties and the government, which pays just-concluded-there is more to
impunity.

In Mexico, despite all the bureaucracy assigned to the case, only 3.7% of
crimes are solved and in 59% of cases, the PGR has been declared
incompetent to investigate.

“Unlike other countries in the region, Mexico has strong institutions and
there is clear evidence that when the Mexican government wants to take an
action on an issue, gives institutions the power to act. But as for
protection of journalists and investigation of crimes there is a
proliferation of overlapping institutions and not conducive to good
operation, “said Natalia Torres, lead researcher of the CELE.

Document institutional designs for the effectiveness of protection policies
and investigating crimes against journalists states that one of the most
emblematic of this inefficiency is that institutions have not even been
able to agree on how many assaults are committed each year against
communicators. Each institution has its own, and incomplete account.

“The study did not assess the mechanism of protection (recently approved),
perhaps the mechanism can turn it around and create a coordinated, open to
civil society participation and generate statistics, but until 2011 in this
way has been running,” said researcher in an interview with Proceso.

Meanwhile the annual report of Article 19 states that in 2011 were assigned
to the Interior Ministry 25 million pesos for measures to protect
journalists, which is unknown to what was used 24 million. We only know
that 22 thousand dollars were assigned to protect a journalist from Sinaloa.

Silence The report forced the state complicit in violence against the
press, the international organization said that the NHRC has poor
accountability and offers dubious figures that do not meet the emergency. If
true the little we have, then each trade that sent that cost 226 000 pesos
advocacy.

In the prosecution of the PGR agency calls it “no skills and no
achievements”, and notes that despite the seriousness of the situation has
presented a budget under-spending. A legislative committee is described as
“ornamental” because its members have dedicated themselves to go to forums
instead of adopting the necessary reforms.

Meanwhile, the rapporteurs of the UN and the OAS for Freedom of Expression,
Frank La Rue and Catalina Botero, respectively, present at the forum and in
2010 traveled to the country to know the reality, which issued
recommendations to the State Mexico, called for the end of impunity in the
investigation of crimes.

Process Botero says: “We worked with the UN rapporteur to try to understand
the situation in Mexico, which is complex, is one of the countries with the
highest rate of violence against journalists in the region and made a
series of recommendations believe urgent. The situation in Veracruz is
extremely serious. “

Botero also made an urgent appeal to the federal government to adopt all
the mechanisms of protection, it implements the newly adopted law on
protection and prevention and that independent and qualified authorities
investigate crimes committed in Veracruz.

“It is urgent that federal investigations take, take all the mechanisms at
its disposal to advance research and convicting those responsible for
crimes against journalists that all they were doing was fulfilling its duty
to inform. Each murder sends a message that can not speak of what happens
in Veracruz and Mexico are entitled to know the results of the
investigations that they, and especially Regina, being developed, “he says.

La Rue for his part said that the increase in violence against journalists
in the Americas, the most serious cases are Mexico and Honduras, and noted
that Veracruz lives at critical moments.

“The common phenomenon of these acts is that of impunity. The State’s
obligation to investigate each fact itself, where it comes from, who
executed it, investigate and establish a criminal trial. Every one that
remains unresolved but does not generate a lot of violence. Is a multiplier
effect because the message is that anyone can get away with it, “says
Guatemalan.

Guy Berger, head of the Division of Freedom of Expression and Media
Development UNESCO Process says that while Mexico appears to have
institutions that could curb impunity, require coordination to be effective.

“It’s great to have these mechanisms, now need to begin to work,” he says.

He also notes that if the media do not protect their own members or come to
their defense, journalists can not expect society to do.

At the forum, Heriberto Cantu, editor of El Manana newspaper in Nuevo
Laredo in May was attacked with explosives, reiterated the editorial
decision to cancel the coverage of drug violence.

“Four hours from now imagine a newspaper that has to work behind
bulletproof glass barricades or as a result of the bloody disputes,” the
newspaper editor beaten that he has lived a decade of attacks since the
murder of Roberto Mora, director editorial, strafing, verbal and written
threats, intimidating messages and attacks with explosives.

Entering Honduras

At the forum held from 20 to 22 May last in this city attended by more than
70 journalists and officials of organizations defending freedom of
expression representing Latin America and the Caribbean, who were given the
task of making a diagnosis of the challenges facing you and press to take
practical measures to reverse the crisis situation.

Knight Center director, Rosental Alves of Brazil, began the meeting called
Security and Protection for Journalists, Bloggers and citizen journalists
with the claim that “the serious problem of safety and security of
journalists has acquired unprecedented catastrophic proportions” and is fed
by the serious illness of impunity. If you do not care for journalists,
said, cut the chance of having informed societies and endangered democracy.

The cases of Mexico and Honduras were the most alarming about the growing
violence against its journalists. According to statistics from the
organization Artículo19, 47 journalists have been killed during the
presidency of Felipe Calderón and 14 were missing and at least 565 offenses
were committed against the press in 10 years.

Daniela Pastrana, executive director of Journalists Network of Foot, of
Mexico, told a story about the situation facing journalists Veracruz: the
week following the four murders came to that entity to provide a
professional training workshop and found colleagues desolate, without
support from organizations, government or business.

“I asked them what they need and one of them replied: ‘A gun, but not
because I want to do anything to anyone, is to not catch me alive.’ That is
the level of fear that have (…) They understand that there is persecution
and that they will pursue as journalists and wherever. Of the desolation
that level, “he said.

The forms of attacks on the press released or recrudecidas this
administration, the reporter mentioned the bombings, disappearances, exile,
self-censorship and infiltration in the newsroom, attacks against users of
social networks and torture after the murder .

He noted that vulnerability is accentuated by reporters in the provincial
media where, generally, these are little known in its day, earn an average
of 3 thousand 500 pesos per month charge for less than 100 pesos note, they
drawup to 10 per day and their means are in line with local governments.
“The journalist threatened, run. Threat is synonymous with unemployment,
“he said.

The forum which brought together the highest authorities in the protection
of journalists at the international level, the Mexican case was widely
discussed.Although in May, following the murder of Regina Martinez, were
approved mechanisms to protect journalists and a new law requiring the
federal government to attract and investigate crimes against journalists,
Benoit Hervieu, the head office the Americas to Reporters Without Borders,
expressed doubts about the extent of such modifications.

“The federalization of crimes to investigate the attacks are very late and
incomplete because it is accompanied by a substantial reform of the justice
system and the police investigation. The situation with Mexico is
desperate, and in other countries achieve results but in countries like
Mexico and Honduras all worse, “he complained.

In an interview with Proceso also referred to the murder of Regina Martinez
who said: “It’s hard not to imagine a relationship between what is revealed
Regina and her murder, one of his publications was an article about the
arrest of nine policemen allegedly linked to drug trafficking . He had also
been summoned to appear in court as a witness in Veracruz. “

 

 

Mexico probes journalist Regina Martinez’s death–Xalapa, Veracruz

via BBC News

Regina Martinez was found in her home in Xalapa on Saturday, apparently beaten and strangled to death.

She reported on crime for the weekly news magazine Proceso.

Pressure groups say Mexico is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist, with more than 40 journalists killed or disappeared since President Felipe Calderon took office.

Click here to read more

Hallan muerta a corresponsal de Proceso en Veracruz

Xalapa— La periodista Regina Martínez, corresponsal de la Revista Proceso, fue hallada estrangulada sin vida en el interior de su domicilio, en la colonia Reforma de esta capital.

En conferencia de prensa la Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado de Veracruz inició una investigación ministerial para esclarecer el presunto asesinato de la periodista Regina Martínez e instruyó a la Agencia Veracruzana de Investigaciones integrar un equipo especial para esclarecer los hechos.

Click here to read more

 

New Proceso article on General Acosta Chaparro’s role during Mexico’s dirty war

In case you need more evidence of the character of the Mexican General murdered Friday in Mexico City, see this excerpt from an article now appearing in Proceso. I hear a lot of rhetoric about the “incredible brutality” of the drug cartels and a lot of other superlative language… But there is seldom any questioning among US policy-makers and even among most journalists of Calderon’s claims that the Army are the incorruptible good guys fighting the drug traffickers. For many decades, the Mexican Army has been the major power in the country torturing and killing social activists and also enriching themselves and their civilian partners through drug trafficking. Here is a short example of some activities of General Acosta Chaparro in Guerrero during the “dirty war

The general who killed by the sword, a name associated with torture

In Guerrero he will be remembered as one of the most abominable actors in the dirty war of the Mexican state against dissidents. Since then his name, Mario Arturo Acosta Chaparro Escapite-continues to evoke the sensation of burning pain among social activists there, who consider him responsible for the detention and torture of hundreds of political opponents of the PRI regime, as well as the person behind many forced disappearances.

Four days after the Guerrero Congress installed the Truth Commission to investigate the crimes of the dirty war, General Mario Arturo Acosta Chaparro Escapite was executed in Mexico City on Friday, April 20, 2012. His name was inevitably linked to torture, enforced disappearance of hundreds of social activists and to many of the as yet unexplained deaths in the dirty war.

His actions in Guerrero during the administrations of Ruben Figueroa Figueroa (1975-1981) and his son, Ruben Figueroa Alcocer (1993-1999), marked him indelibly. In the Fox administration he was one of the soldiers under investigation by the Special Prosecutor for Social and Political Movements of the Past (FEMOSPP), which incorporated a preliminary investigation against him, General Humberto Quiros Hermosillo and then Captain Francisco Javier Barquin for their participation in the torture and murder of 143 people.

The case was referred to military courts, and during the hearings at least 10 soldiers were summoned to testify as witnesses, including Tarin Gustavo Chavez, who said that between 1975 and 1979 he worked as an aide to Acosta Chaparro.

During this period 1,500 arrests were made at checkpoints set up by the army on Guerrero roads and highways. Some of these detainees were transferred to the Military Air Base “Pie de la Cuesta.” According to witnesses, Barquin was responsible for registering their names in a book of people who would be disappeared [libro de pastas negras].

According to some versions, as part of that process, General Quiros Hermosillo and Acosta picked out detainees and posed them on a chair to take “the souvenir photo.” They then shot them in the neck with a .380 caliber pistol which Quiros named “the avenging sword.” The bodies were put into canvas bags, loaded onto an Arava airplane of what was then known as Squadron 301 and the dead would be to thrown into the sea during unauthorized flights.

According to Tarin Chavez, Acosta Chaparro personally executed some 200 people, “all of this with the permission of General Quiros Hermosillo” (Proceso 1356). Despite the incriminating evidence, he and Quiros Hermosillo were exonerated.
(Excerpt from an article appearing this week in the magazine Proceso 1851, now on the newsstands.)

http://www.proceso.com.mx/?p=305089

The Dark Side to Juarez’s Security Gains — InSight Crime, PROCESO

Below is an article from El Diario with a detailed critique of
Calderon’s claim that murders are down 57% in Juarez as repeated here
in the InSight Crime article. By my estimates, the percent of
decrease in the murders in Juarez is somewhere between 35% and 45%. In
order to be sure of a DECREASE in the number of murders, we have to
know WHICH homicides are being counted. I think it is more accurate to
report ALL homicides, not just those that the government claims are
“related to organized crime rivalries.” That number for Juarez for
2011 was reported to be 2,086. In the national statistics released in
January (the 47,500+ number of drug war murders up through Sept 2011),
the relationship to all homicides is somewhere between 45% and 55%
counted as drug war related. In some of the calculations I’ve seen,
the 2010 figure for ALL homicides is used in comparison to the much
lower figure of drug war related homicides for 9 months of 2011 and
the later number is reduced in several different ways and thus shows a
much greater percent of decrease than is likely to be true. In like
manner, it is hard to calculate how much the murder RATE (per 100,000
population) has decreased because we are not certain what the current
population of Juarez is. The murder rate is certainly down from what
it was in 2010, but the population is down also–we just do not know
how much. But using the government’s own claim that most of the
people killed are criminals, we realize that with the killing of more
than 10,000 people in the city since 2008, the possible population of
criminals to kill has been drastically reduced. As Julian Cardona
noted in his recent article, citing a “narco-mensaje” directed to
Mayor Murguia posted on January 4 2012:

“It is not because you have lowered the murder rate, rather it is
that there are no longer so many people to kill…how many of us were
here four years ago and how many inhabitants remain today?”
[full article with translation posted to frontera list on feb 7:
http://juarezdialoga.org/ls-articulistas/juarez-todavia-la-mas-violenta-del-mundo/]

Posted below is also an excerpt from Marcela Turati’s recent Proceso
article. In it she details the case of Mrs. Padilla Martinez’ children
brutally murdered in retaliation for her testimony in the
investigation of another of her sons who was murdered in police
custody.
http://www.diario.com.mx/notas.php?f=2012/01/09&id=20599350c4fcb3c7df75607e91fcfe2b
‘My children were killed in retaliation’, says mother of brothers
executed and burned
[the full article and translation were posted here on frontera list on
January 9]

Also, one of the witnesses to police chief Leyzaola beating prisoners
in the Juarez Cereso was Shohn Huckabee. The violence he witnessed was
reported in the EP Times in December and also here on the Frontera
List,
http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_19567204?source=most_viewed
Suspects: Juárez chief of police killed friend

Monday, 27 February 2012 12:00
The Dark Side to Juarez’s Security Gains
Written by Patrick Corcoran

Le fallan a Calderón las cuentas sobre homicidios
M. Coronado/R. Chaparro
El Diario | 18-02-2012 | 00:26
PROCESO–EXTRACT

La violenta “pacificación” de Juárez
Marcela Turati
18 de febrero de 2012 ·