Talk of ‘illegals’ in Beverly Hills

Hollywood, Los Angeles, February 2008The bar was beautiful, and so was she. Utterly Los Angeles, she wore a knee length dress with a low-cut top, allowing her audience to enjoy her full breasts framed by a fake fur coat that hung off her shoulders.

The Beverly Hills hotel bar was comfortably full of what its image suggests is the normal fare: gorgeous women being pampered by old, wrinkled men in expensive suits; one or two famous actors; wide-eyed tourists; and young men and women sharking the crowd.

‘I prefer my boring life,’ she said after discovering I live in Mexico City. Boring is preferable to being kidnapped was what she meant, after finding out where I make my home. Mexico City gets a lot of bad press.

Single-mother to a 19-year old daughter, she looked not much older than my 31 years. A life spent doing small acting parts, bussing tables in Los Angeles and before that Las Vegas; hers was the life of many. It’s hard to remember where the conversation started, but before I knew it she was off on what was clearly one of her hobby horses: ‘illegals’. Continue reading

Video: Exhibition Remembers the Dead

picture for bliptv tlatelolcoEven today there is no definitive count of how many pro-democracy demonstrators were slaughtered by Mexican army troops in the Tlatelolco zone of this capital on Oct. 2, 1968. Was the death toll a few dozen, as the government claimed? Or closer to 300, as some intrepid journalists reported? Did President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz approve the attack? No one knows for sure.

But finally, after decades of government stonewalling, Mexicans searching for answers to these questions have some place to turn: the new Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco, a cultural center dedicated to exploring the massacre, its violent antecedents and its brutal aftermath.

To accompany a Los Angeles Times story about the exhibition in Tlatelolco, produced this video – please click here.

Knifepoint on Valentine’s Day

La Marquesa is a sprawling national park and forest out in the mountains between Mexico City and Toluca, and seemed like the perfect place for me and my man to get some time alone today, the day for lovers. As it turns out, it wasn’t such nice place to be alone.
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Mexican Human Rights Commission is ineffective, says report

Human Rights Watch released a damning report today, calling Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission ‘ineffective’ and ‘disappointing’.

‘When it comes to actually securing remedies and promoting reforms to improve Mexico’s dismal human rights record, the CNDH’s performance has been disappointing,’ reads the report, which also points out that the Commission’s failures hasn’t been due to a lack of funding. Continue reading

Despite the violence, Mexican authorities stay silent

Despite the murder of three journalists last week, the developing trend of self-censorship amongst the media and the fleeing of one journalist from the country to save his life, both the Mexican Administration and the country’s national Human Rights Commission have remained silent on the issue of press freedom and violence against journalists. Continue reading

Mexico still deadliest country in the Americas for journalists, says RWB

rwbMexico remains the deadliest country in the Americas for journalists with two murders in less than a month, and three disappearances, according to today’s annual report from Reporters Without Borders. Three journalists were murdered last year, and three media workers were shot dead.

Those levels are an improvement on 2006, when nine journalists were killed, but 2008 is looking grim if the stats are to be believed. As many journalists were killed last week than in the whole of last year. Continue reading

Violence against journalists surged this week

The developments in the Lydia Cacho case and her revelations yesterday come in a week when violence against journalists surged again. Last year four reporters were murdered and three disappeared, and 2008 is promising to be as equally violent for members of the profession. Continue reading