Filming bullfights is not worth dying for

The Huamantlada pits man against beast in potentially disastrous circumstances. The annual event, which takes place in the otherwise sleepy town of Huamantla in the Mexican state of Tlaxcala, saw 24 bulls let loose in the town’s narrow, uneven streets to be confronted by locals and visitors alike – many of which had been drinking since early in the morning on what was a scorching hot day.

My loyal readers may remember the Huamantlada from last year – the film we made has proved one of our most watched and the coverage was one of the earliest missions of MexicoReporter.com – then known as NewCorrespondent.com. Well, this year I was back – for the Los Angeles Times this time around – and I wanted to apply my new video training to the event which had proved entertaining 12 months ago, although a little hard to watch. One man had died and there were 24 injuries during the 2007 event. Continue reading

Travel alert issued for Mexico

The U.S State Department issued a travel warning for Mexico yesterday, prompted by the increasing violence on the U.S – Mexico border.

‘Violent criminal activity fueled by a war between criminal organizations struggling for control of the lucrative narcotics trade continues along the U.S.-Mexico border. Attacks are aimed primarily at members of drug trafficking organizations, Mexican police forces, criminal justice officials, and journalists. However, foreign visitors and residents, including Americans, have been among the victims of homicides and kidnappings in the border region. In its effort to combat violence, the government of Mexico has deployed military troops in various parts of the country. U.S. citizens are urged to cooperate with official checkpoints when traveling on Mexican highways.’ You can read the full statement here. Continue reading

Mexican Human Rights Commission to investigate attacks against emos

Mexico makes peace with EmosMexico’s National Human Rights Commission is to investigate all of the reported cases of aggression against the emo youth subculture in Mexico, following a spate of violence and hostility across the country directed at the group.

According to El Universal, the Commission called for tolerance yesterday and voiced concern that attacks against emos violate the right to freedom of expression, equality, freedom of expression and the right to association.

The move by the human rights body follow disturbances which have taken place both inside and outside Mexico City, in which emos have been violently targeted. A peace rally staged last week did little to diffuse tensions, which this weekend were apparent during a march for tolerance through the city.

Despite the violence, Mexican authorities stay silent

Despite the murder of three journalists last week, the developing trend of self-censorship amongst the media and the fleeing of one journalist from the country to save his life, both the Mexican Administration and the country’s national Human Rights Commission have remained silent on the issue of press freedom and violence against journalists. Continue reading

What the tourists miss

My folks just flew back last night after a month-long stay in Mexico. Amongst the places they visited, either with me or alone, were Oaxaca, Puebla and Acapulco.

‘I don’t understand it,’ my father kept telling me.

‘I mean you read all this stuff about violence in Mexico, and yet they seem like such a gentle, nice, kind people,’ was his assessment after a couple of weeks living in Distrito Federal, just off Reforma.

Just the ramblings of an average, non-Spanish speaking tourist, but I couldn’t help but appreciate the irony of this words as we walked along the street past a newspaper stand, where on at least three of the front pages I could see gory photographs of deaths by shootings that had happened over the last 24 hours. Continue reading

Washington Post article on Oaxaca gets a beating

An article published in this weekend’s Washington Post, called “Oaxaca: One Year Later”, has prompted heavy criticism from people living in the southern Mexican state which this time last year was the scene of huge civil unrest and what one critic describes as ‘some of the worst human rights abuses in recent Mexican history; detaining, torturing, and raping men, women, and children who had taken to the streets demanding social and economic justice.’ (Please see comments below for a response from the author).

The writer takes the reader to a number of local restaurants and businesses in Oaxaca, whilst attempting to trace the events of last year, which culminated in the deaths of reportedly as many as 23 people.

But a local film-maker and others living in the city today have attacked the article for its lack of insight into the problems that ravaged Oaxaca tweleve months ago, in which IndyMedia journalist Brad Will was killed, as well as a local teacher and an unconfirmed number of other people. Continue reading

Journalist files complaint against local businessman, northern Mexico.

A journalist in Northern Mexico has filed a complaint against a local businessman for assault and threats.

Journalist Víctor Rubén Hernández Guerrero, director of the Semana Ahora weekly newspaper in the state of Durango, says that he was assaulted and threatened in a restaurant by businessman Javier Quiñónez Ruiz. Continue reading