Mexico Human Rights Letter in US Congress–Latin American Working Group

Hey Supporter,

My co-worker Jenny sent you a message earlier this week asking you to contact
your representative about an important Mexico human rights letter that’s
circulating in Congress right this moment. If you didn’t get a chance to
take action, just click here to send a letter to your member of Congress
. The letter will close within the next week, so please act today!
*Here’s the gist of it: *The U.S. gives money to the Mexican military
(duh!). Some of that money is supposed to be withheld if Mexico fails to
meet certain human rights requirements. And we know those requirements
aren’t being met. In fact, since 2007 there has been a dramatic increase in
human rights violations by the Mexican government, including torture, rape,
murder and forced disappearances. *We’re concerned that the U.S. State
Department will gloss over human rights violations by the military and
police *in order to send  Mexico 100% of the Merida funds.

*That’s why we need your help.* *Please send a message to your member of
Congress* and ask them to sign the letter by Rep. Jim McGovern that calls on Sec. Clinton
to do an honest assessment of all human rights violations by the Mexican
military and police. If enough representatives sign the letter, the State
Department won’t be able to ignore it, and the 15% of funds tied to the
human rights requirements will have to be withheld.

Thanks,

Ben, Jenny, Ruth, and Ella
the LAWG Mexico Team

*Promote Justice for Mexico and the Borderlands*Ask your Rep. to sign the
letter defending human rights in Mexico, before Friday, June 22nd.

*************************************************************************
Dear Supporter,

You may not know who *Israel Arzate Meléndez* is, but we think you should
hear his story.

In February 2010, Israel was picked up by Mexican soldiers in Ciudad
Juarez. Sounds terrifying, right? Well, it gets worse. He was then taken to
a military base where *he was beaten, given electric shocks, and suffocated
repeatedly until he finally gave in and confessed to a crime he didn’t
commit.* No one seemed to mind that it was a false confession, only offered
to make the torture stop.

During his trial, Israel informed the judge that he had been tortured into
giving his confession, but instead of looking into the alleged abuse to see
if it was true the judge ordered the trial to move on. Now, Israel sits in
a Mexican jail.

*Click here to ask your member of Congress to stand against torture in
Mexico!*

Through the Merida Initiative, the United States gives money to the Mexican
military, the same military that tortured Israel Arzate Meléndez. But did
you know that Congress has committed to withhold 15% of these funds if the
State Department decides that Mexico is violating certain human rights
requirements? At the end of June, the State Department will be releasing
their report on human rights in Mexico and will recommend whether to send
Mexico that 15% of funds. *We know that Mexico isn’t meeting the human
rights requirements,* Israel’s story makes that clear. But we’re worried
the State Department will say they are.

*Take action to make sure Secretary Clinton tells the whole truth about
human rights violations in Mexico.
*
Some members of Congress have taken a stand by writing a letter that
will go to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to do a serious
and honest assessment of all human rights abuses by the Mexican military
and police, as well as Mexico’s failure to hold violators accountable. But
before they drop the letter in the mail, we are working to get as many of
their congressional colleagues as possible to sign on too, so Secretary
Clinton knows they mean business. *And we need your help!*

*Will you send a letter to your representative asking them to tell Sec.
Clinton to not sugarcoat Mexico’s human rights crisis? *

It’s no coincidence that since 2007, when Mexican President Felipe Calderón
deployed the military and federal police to combat drug cartels, *there’s
been a five-fold increase in human rights abuses by the Mexican
government.  We’re talking torture, rape, murder and forced disappearances
– serious  human rights crimes.*What’s worse is that the perpetrators are
getting away with it.  Despite the requirement that military abuses be
investigated and prosecuted in civilian courts—these abuses are still being
investigated and prosecuted within the military justice system, where
fellow soldiers are more likely to protect than punish their colleagues.
Out of 4,000 investigations opened in the military justice system since
2007, only 29 members of the military have been sentenced. *That’s less
than 1%!*

*We have until Friday, June 22nd to make our case that the 15% of Merida
funds ought to be withheld. Can you email your representative and
ask them to stand for human rights in Mexico by signing this letter?
*

Thanks for all you do to help change U.S. policy toward Latin America.

Best,

Jenny, Ben, Ruth, and Ella, LAWG’s Mexico Team

P.S. If you’re on Facebook, check out our STOP the Violence in Mexico page to
get frequent updates on human rights in Mexico, and learn what you can do
to help stop the bloodshed south of the border.

About virginiaisaad

Virginia is a journalist based in Los Angeles who's written for publications including Los Angeles magazine, Upworthy, and Elite Daily. She was born in Argentina and raised in the San Fernando Valley along with her three siblings. Fun fact: She took a Chicanas and Feminism course with Eva Longoria while studying for her master's in mass communication at California State University, Northridge. Follow her on Twitter @virginiaisaad

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