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


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

April update: Violence against journalists continues

April is shaping up to be a bad month for journalists in Mexico. Continue reading

Police linked to death threats of Veracruz newspaper

Diario El Mundo de Orizaba_1206053065236At around 10pm on Tuesday night of this week, Auricela Castro García, the publisher of El Mundo de Orizaba, a daily based in Orizaba in the southeastern state of Veracruz, received a phonecall.

Identifying himself as José Sánchez, the caller asked to speak to the publisher “for personal reasons.” The call was transferred to the editor, who said Castro was in a meeting and unavailable. The caller replied: “Tell her she has information, she knows what I am talking about, and if she publishes it, she will be killed.” Continue reading

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.

‘Innocent until proven guilty’ to underlie Mexican justice system

Sweeping overhauls to Mexico’s criminal trial system announced last week could bring the country into the modern world, according to the Financial Times. People suspected of crimes will be presumed innocent until proved guilty, according to the reforms backed by President Felipe Calderon.

‘For the first time – and assuming that a majority of the country’s 31 local legislatures approves the constitutional change – defendants will be presumed innocent until proved guilty. Trials will become open and more transparent, with judges and lawyers having to work in public and under the scrutiny of the media.’

amnesty.gifBut according to human rights groups, some of the elements of the reforms threaten to undermine human rights by allowing prosecutors to enforce house-arrest on suspects or to put suspects in jail before they’re charged.

Alberto Herrera, executive director of , said: “We want the judicial system to be efficient but this can mean permission to violate human rights.” Continue reading