26 Nov event: Mexico under the “new PRI” and Trump

What next for Mexico after four years under the “new PRI” and President elect Trump?

26 Nov 10:50-11:50 Congress House (23-28 Great Russell St, WC1B 3LS London, UK)

Please join us on the 26th of November at 10:50 at the Latin America Conference 2016.
A Northern border with the US and a weak rule of law have proven lethal for Mexico. Since the “new PRI” came to power in 2012 violence and human rights abuses have soared. Justice Mexico Now and experts will discuss current and future challenges under the PRI and Trump.
Justice Mexico Now will be part of the Latin America Conference 2016 featuring contributions from over 50 campaigners, politicians, trade unionists, journalists and academics, from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela and the UK.

SPEAKERS:
• Lila Caballero – Justice Mexico Now member.
• Francisco Dominguez – senior lecturer at Middlesex University, where he is head of the Centre for Brazilian and Latin American Studies, and secretary of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign
• Rupert Knox – doctoral student in the Department of Hispanic studies of the School of Languages as well as the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield.
Chair: Christine Blower – ex – General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers.

MEXICAN GOVERNMENT SHOOTS AT TEACHERS PROTESTING REFORMS

Death toll rises to nine – teachers and government due to hold talks Monday 27th

Witnesses – including journalists who have been targeted for reporting in the attacks – report violent state repression against teachers in Nochixtlan, Oaxaca and in the state capital where educators and students are protesting against government backed educational reforms.

On June 19th, members of the Federal Police carried out extrajudicial killings, attacks on citizens’ houses and acts of torture in various municipalities within Oaxaca, all of these targeted towards those who were exercising their right to protest against the Education Reform. Victims were mainly members of the National Union of Teachers (CNTE in Spanish).

In the early hours of the 20th of June, the list of extrajudicial killings reached a total of 9. 20 people had been disappeared and at least 45 people were confirmed as injured. But the vicious attacks, which included air and on-the-ground operations, are more likely to have left at least 150 people injured. Federal police forces reportedly surrounded hospitals and health care centres to ensure that only their operatives were treated and forced medical personnel to refer any incoming casualties to the police forces for their arrest.

Violent clashes also took place in the city of Oaxaca, where rallies were also being held against the reform. Police forces cut power in the capital city of Oaxaca to allow for the deployment of their elements throughout the city.

The CNTE has for years opposed the proposed reforms to the education system in Mexico because it jeopardises teachers’ social and economic rights. They have on many occasions requested for dialogue to be initiated between teachers and the government around modifying the reform but the government has made it clear that they will only talk if the CNTE agrees to the reform first.

The reaction of the Mexican government on 19 June is yet another proof of how entrenched violence and the violation of human rights are in the country. The situation has never been so bad and it is time to step up international pressure to end it.

For more information in English :

http://www.teachersolidarity.com/blog/mexican-teachers-fighting-education-reform-with-their-lives

Video

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#‎ABCnuncamas‬

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In June 2009 a fire at a government-sponsored day-care centre in Hermosillo in northern Mexico killed 49 infants.

Almost seven years on, no one has been held accountable ; not the supervisors, not the regulatory authorities and certainly not the owners of the business, one of whom was distantly related to Margarita Zavala, the wife of the then president of Mexico who is now active in Mexican politics.

Successive administrations have made a string of promises – and left them unfulfilled.
Meanwhile the parents, some of whom were not even told their children were already dead when they arrived at the scene, have not given up their demand for answers to how the fire started and why the building had inadequate smoke and fire alarms and why two of the three exits were locked.

In the run up to events planned to mark the seventh anniversary of the fire, one of the bereaved fathers, Julio Cesar, travelled to London this week with Daniel Gershenson, a dedicated and highly respected activist at NGO Al Consumidor, who believes that sooner or later someone must be held responsible for the catalogue of errors that impeded the rescue of more children – and possibly the more sinister motives that some observers believe was the real cause of the blaze.

To lose a loved one, especially such a young child is traumatic and the sadness is evident in Julio Cesar’s eyes as he recounted how he used to take his youngest son, Yeye, to nursery every day before heading to his own job.

He told the audience at an event hosted the by Institute of the Americas at University College London how the parents had been belittled by the authorities in Hermosillo, the capital of the state of Sonora.

Emboldened by successive rulings that exonerated more and more of those who should have had a role in the oversight of the day-care centre ( be it regarding building regulations or in the department that issued permits to open a childcare business – the permit for the ABC nursery was invalid at the time of the fire) even the state prosecutor in charge of the government investigation “made the parents feel like criminals”. Later, that same prosecutor would become Mexico’s ambassador to Great Britain and then to the United States.

The real criminals, insist the two men, are still walking free. They decline to say with absolute certainty if they believe one hypothesis which suggests that the document storage warehouse (which shared a wall with the nursery) housed a toxic bundle of records that linked the previous governor, Eduardo Bours, to a huge debt amassed by the state of Sonora during his tenure.

These documents were dangerously flammable in more ways than one and their destruction would assure that there would be no evidence linking Bours to the scandal.

“We are talking about people who should end up answering for their crimes in The Hague,” says Gershenson who says many families persisted in putting their faith in the notorious Mexican court system even after the number of disappointing rulings and succession of exonerations started.

“It is likely that we will have to wait five, ten or more years for this case to come before the Inter American Commission on Human Rights”, he told the audience at UCL

In the meantime, he told @JusticeMexicoUK that there has been barely any official response to the incident in terms of improving and tightening up regulations around childcare in Mexico.
One study found that more than 1,000 guarderias – or daycare centres – showed dangerous faults during checks by authorities, “but nothing is done.”

With reports this week suggesting that Mexico may be looking to team up with the US to present a bid to host a future world cup, it gives very little hope that a country with such a fluid attitude to the safeguarding of its most vulnerable citizens – children of working families who do not earn enough for private or home based childcare – would be anywhere near able to reassure the international authorities that it could satisfy the most stringent safety requirements.

At the end of his busy trip criss crossing Europe to raise awareness of the failure to settle the issue after so long – or to fully address the mooted cover up regarding the reasons behind the fire – Julio Cesar will return to his two surviving children. Yeye and the 48 others will never return home.

Reply to Ambassador Mr. Gómez Pickering’s letter to The Guardian

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Dear Sir/Madam, We are writing in regard to the response* written by the Ambassador of Mexico in the UK, Diego Gómez Pickering, about your Editorial “The Guardian view on Mexico’s missing students: justice indefinitely deferred“:

  1. The government is NOT committed to a transparent and in-depth investigation to clarify the social tragedy of Ayotzinapa. Despite allowing an international independent panel of experts (GIEI) to get involved in the case, from the beginning of their work the government never gave this group full access to the records and evidences (only 50% of total evidence was given).
  2. The GIEI declared in their last press conference at Mexico to have been defamed in different Mexican newspapers (like El Financiero or Milenio, as the New York Times certified) once their research pointed out to different pathways than the “Historical Truth” defended by the government.
  3. Photographic evidence leaves no doubt that the Battalion 27…

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