Kidnappings in Mexico up by 9 percent

The number of kidnappings in Mexico grew by 9.1 percent in the first five months of the year, according to figures published this week.

The statistics, from the anti-kidnapping branch of the attorney general’s office (Procuraduria General de la Republica, PGR, in Spanish), will serve to justify the fear currently gripping the country over insecurity and high crime levels. A march is planned at the end of the month in Mexico City to protest the rising level of crime and public insecurity.

The discovery earlier this month of the bullet-ridden body of a 14-year-old kidnap victim prompted a public outcry in Mexico as kidnappings rise and drug-related violence takes a heavy toll on the civilian population.

Read the rest of this post, written for La Plaza, here.

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John McCain’s great timing

John McCain, the presumptive U.S Republican presidential candidate, couldn’t have timed his trip to Latin America better. Not only does he fly into Colombia a day before 6-year hostage of the FARC Ingrid Betancourt is liberated, he then rides into Mexico City this morning days after the Merida Initiative gets approved in El Norte.

Some of that great timing is pure coincidence – some not. Continue reading

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

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

Latin America promotes but doesn’t respect human rights

Latin American countries such as Brazil and Mexico have been strong on promoting human rights internationally and in supporting the UN human rights machinery during 2007.

But unless the gap between their policies internationally and their performance at home is closed their credibility as human rights champions will be challenged, according to this week’s report from Amnesty International on human rights around the world.

You can access the report here and click on the links at the top for specific country reports. Continue reading

No. 2 police officer gunned down in Juarez: police death count rising

The attacks on police officers, detailed here, continued over the weekend.

The No. 2 police officer in this border city across from El Paso was shot to death Saturday, the latest high-ranking official killed in an onslaught of attacks blamed on gangs resisting a crackdown on drug trafficking. Associated Press.

Mexico: Impunity and Collusion

Index on Censorship » for free expression_1205950003734Threats to reporters from government and criminals are making investigative journalism impossible, writes Deborah Bonello

In February this year, the car of Mexican journalist Estrada Zamora was found empty on the side of the road in the southern state of Michoacán with its engine running. Zamora was not inside and has not been seen since.

Click on the link above to read the full article, published today by Index on Censorship.