Mexico welcomes Merida, without human rights restrictions

President Calderon on Friday welcomed the U.S. Congress’ approval of the Merida Initiative a day earlier, an aid injection from the United States which is aimed at helping Mexico in its fight against  powerful drug cartels.

The bill has dropped a controversial requirement that Mexico meet certain human rights standards in order to receive the aid. Mexicans had objected to the human rights provision, saying that it amounted to outside meddling by the United States in Mexican affairs. But dropping the human rights requirements seems certain to anger numerous opposition groups to the aid package – see this La Plaza post on the issue. Continue reading

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Changes at MexicoReporter.com

Deborah Bonello, of MexicoReporter.com, with RockyThere is good news and, well, good news here at MexicoReporter.com which I wanted to tell you, my readers, for the sake of transparency.

Next week, I will be start in a new job as staff blogger, investigator and video journalist for the Los Angeles Times and their Latin America blog La Plaza here in Mexico City. After freelancing for the Mexico office for the last six months, they have created a new role for me in the foreign staff. I am both flattered and excited at the new challenge. Continue reading

Mexico City police official to be charged in bar deaths

The police commander who led a botched raid on a Mexico City nightclub will be charged with 12 counts of homicide, one for each person who died in the crush at the bar’s entrance, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The Associated Press reports this morning City Atty. Gen. Rodolfo Felix Cardenas said his office was bringing the charges against precinct commander Guillermo Zayas for failing to halt Friday’s mismanaged raid, in which one group of police tried to force youths out of the club while another blocked the exit to prevent them from leaving. Continue reading

Mexico nightclub tragedy caused by inept police and an ignored youth, says youth advocate

P6232087This post was written for La Plaza, the Los Angeles Times Latin America blog.

A tragedy in Mexico City last weekend, in which 12 people were suffocated or trampled to death in a bungled police raid at the News Divine night club, was due to an inept police force and a lack of public policy directed at the city’s youth, says a sociologist and longtime activist for youth-related programs.

Héctor Castillo Berthier, who runs the youth culture center Circo Volador (Flying Circus) in Mexico City and has worked in youth programs for more than 30 years (pictured), said in an interview Tuesday with La Plaza that the capital’s police are not trained to deal with adolescents and young adults. That’s part of a wider failure to integrate young people into Mexico’s public and political life, he said.

“Mexico doesn’t have a defined public policy for its youth. They aren’t part of the public agenda or the political agenda,” said Castillo Berthier, speaking in his cluttered office in the run-down neighborhood of Lorenzo Boturini. Continue reading

Calderon should accept Merida’s human right conditions?

In anticipation of the scheduled debate around the controversial Merida Initiative aid package in the US Senate this week, the Financial Times newspaper from the UK urges President Felipe Calderon to accept the human rights conditions attached to the US$400 billion injection aimed at helping Mexico fights its drugs barons. But should he? Continue reading

12 people killed during nightclub police raid

A woman reacts next to the body of a young nightclubber who died in a stampede at the News Divine club in northeastern Mexico City, Friday, June 20, 2008. At least 10 people were trampled to death during a police raid on the nightclub, the capital\'s police chief said. The Police went to the club in the early evening to check reports of drugs and alcohol being sold to minors.Reports are emerging this morning that 12 people, including three police officers, were killed yesterday during a police raid on the News Divine Nightclub in Mexico City.

The capital’s police chief said hundreds of youths marking the end of the school year had panicked when police raided the News Divine club.

He said there had been a stampede by customers trying to escape. Three police officers were among the dead.

Police said they had been investigating reports that drugs and alcohol were being sold to under-age clubbers. BBC

You can see a video here from El Universal on the tragic event and read the Miami Herald report here.

Photo: AP via the Miami HeraldA woman reacts next to the body of a young nightclubber who died in a stampede at the News Divine club in northeastern Mexico City, Friday, June 20, 2008. At least 10 people were trampled to death during a police raid on the nightclub, the capital’s police chief said. The Police went to the club in the early evening to check reports of drugs and alcohol being sold to minors.

Frontline Club Journalism Award Winner: John D McHugh

Winner of the Frontline Club Journalism Award John D McHugh is interviewed at the Frontline Club, London, about his award-winning work from Afghanistan.

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