Video: Raising of the flag

Following last week’s filming session in the Zócalo, where I was denied the chance to film closeup to the military whilst they were raising the ntaional flag, I managed to edit the move into a decent summary of the ritual.

This film was made for La Plaza, and you can see it here on this post.

Tijuana: Reflections on the Border

Tijuana side.

The view from the border: Tijuana side.

“TJ? Really?” was the response from most people last week when they learned I was heading down south of San Diego for a research trip.

They were right to be cautious. I live in Mexico City — one of the biggest, baddest towns around — but still gave Tijuana a second thought. The world’s most famous border city has been getting some bad press of late due to the drug-related violence playing out on its streets.

But what struck me more during my brief trip was the border itself and how it is littered with evidence of its own casualties and conflicts, past and present. The wall is at the center of the current national debate on immigration, and I wanted to see it for myself.

Read on – this post was written for La Plaza.

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: 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.

Ethical living? Stop taking cocaine

There is a great Leader in this Sunday’s Observer which makes a point I’ve often debated – how cocaine takers in Britain and the US, which provide the demand for the illegal drug industries in Latin America, tend not to think too hard about the impact their weekend drug habits might be having on other people.

If they did, given the trend for ethical shopping that is sweeping the Western World, demand would surely drop.

Continue reading

Debacle disperses in Latin America, but more Mexicans involved

Just as quickly as it blew up a week ago, the disagreement between Ecuador and Columbia over an incursion into Ecuador by Columbia to kill a leader of the Farc rebel group has blown over.

President Correa of Ecuador, Uribe of Columbia and Chavez of Venuezuela shook hands during a conference of Latin American leaders in the Dominican Republic on Friday, ending the dispute that had prompted both Venezuela and Ecuador to send troops to their borders.

Meanwhile, reports continue to emerge about the number of Mexicans who were killed in the cross-border attack the Saturday night of last weekend, which left more than 20 dead in total. La Jornada and the international media said that four other Mexicans died in the attack, and Ecuador has launched an investigation into the incident.

‘Colombia in the wrong,’ says Calderon.

President Felipe Calderon yesterday came out on the side of Ecuador in the ongoing dispute with Colombia, triggered at the weekend when Colombia ambushed and killed a Farc guerrilla leader and more than 17 other rebels on the Ecuadorian side of the border.

The Mexican President backed the Organisation of American States resolution that Colombia violated the territorial sovereignty of Ecuador in Saturday’s cross-border attack, according to today’s The News (no website available).

Speaking from Panama, Calderon also called for the two countires to stablise relations, and reiterated support for Colombia’s war on terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime – the latter two of which are huge challenges currently being faced by Calderon in his own back yard.

According to today’s Los Angeles Times, Lucía Andrea Morett Álvarez, the Mexican girl injured in Saturday night’s attack, is not a guerrilla but a university student who was undertaking research for her thesis. But El Universal today maintains that Morrett Álvarez was one of the principal contacts between the Farc and support networks here in Mexico.

Mexican President wants to ease tension between Ecuador and Columbia

President Calderon of Mexico telephoned his counterparts in Ecuador and Columbia this week – Rafael Correa and Álvaro Uribe – to discuss the increasingly tense situation between the two countries since Columbia strayed onto Ecuadorean soil over the weekend and killed ‘the second-highest-ranking leader in Colombia’s largest leftist guerrilla group,’ the FARC and 16 other rebels.

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has also weighed into the skirmish, and both he and Ecuador have moved troops to the borders between Venezuela and Columbia. Chavez referred to Columbia’s US-backed Government as the ‘new israel of Latin America,’ and both Venezuela and Ecuador have broken off diplomatic relations with Bogota. 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