Mexican police in “torture” class?

A story emerged here in Mexico today surrounding the emergence of a couple of videos which apparently depict the Mexican police, in the city of Leon, being instructed in the art of “torture” by an unidentified, English-speaking foreigner.

The videos are posted below – some viewers might find them offensive. Continue reading

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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

Bribe culture in action

Corruption within Mexico’s law enforcement agencies is reputedly rife, and recent figures show that people here spent more on bribes last year than they did during 2005. But it’s always interesting to see hearsay happen, and yesterday I had the pleasure of witnessing the power of the bribe first hand.

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Severe human rights problems persist in Mexico: US State Department

The headline might be stating the obvious, but for the record, according to the 2007 country report from the US State department, released this week:

‘The [Mexican] government generally respected and promoted human rights at the national level by investigating, prosecuting, and sentencing public officials and members of the security forces. However, impunity and corruption remained problems, particularly at the state and local level. The following human rights problems were reported: unlawful killings by security forces; kidnappings, including by police; physical abuse; poor and overcrowded prison conditions; arbitrary arrests and detention; corruption, inefficiency, and lack of transparency in the judicial system; confessions coerced through physical abuse permitted as evidence in trials; criminal intimidation of journalists leading to self-censorship; corruption at all levels of government; domestic violence against women, often perpetrated with impunity; violence, including killings, against women; trafficking in persons, sometimes allegedly with official involvement; social and economic discrimination against indigenous people; and child labor.

Read the full report here.

Two journalists attacked in Cuernavaca, say reports

Reports are surfacing in Mexico today that two journalists in the city of Cuernavaca, Morelos, were detained and one of them abused by state police over the weekend.

CENCOS (Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social) is circulating a release stating that journalists Óscar López and Ariel Ramírez Arrieta, of the cultural publication “El Perro Azul”, were detained by Preventative Police.

One of the journalists – Lopez- was brutally beaten, according to the report from the NGO and newspaper accounts of the incident. Continue reading