Tag Archive | "mexico"

Mexico: Forensic Team Identifies Body of Ayotzinapa Student


Protesters march for the 43 missing students in Mexico City (photo: AFP Photo/Ronaldo Schemidt)

Protesters march for the 43 missing students in Mexico City (photo: AFP Photo/Ronaldo Schemidt)

The Argentine Forensic Anthropology (EAAF) team working on the case of the 43 missing students in Mexico has identified the remains of 21-year-old Alexander Mora.

On a press conference on Saturday, Mexico’s General Prosecutor Jesús Murillo Karam stated that the DNA tests carried out by the EAAF at a lab at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, confirmed that some of the bones found in a river last month were those of the student. The results were submitted to the prosecutor’s office on 4th December.

According to Murillo, “the positive DNA identification, together with the rest of the evidence and the declarations of the accused before the Federal Public Ministry, strengthens the historical reconstruction of what happened in Cocula” on the night of 26th September.

Murillo added that he will not “cease in his investigations” until all those responsible for the massacre have been found. Eighty people have already been arrested in connection with the case.

The families of the students carried out a massive protest on Saturday night in Mexico City, and stated they will continue to fight in order to find their loved ones.

“If those murderers think that with the fact that they matched one of our boys with the DNA, we’re going to stay here crying,” said Felipe de la Cruz, one of the parents, “we want to tell them that they’re wrong, that from today onwards this struggle will extend until we find the other 42 missing students, alive.”

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Mexico: Congress Approves Anti-Protest Measures


Protesters march for the 43 missing students in Mexico City (photo: AFP Photo/Ronaldo Schemidt)

Protests, such as this march for the 43 missing students in Mexico City, could be criminalised under the changes (photo: AFP Photo/Ronaldo Schemidt)

In the middle of nationwide protests surrounding the disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero state in September, Mexico’s congress has approved constitutional changes that allow authorities to stop demonstrations.

Governing party PRI was joined by PAN, PVEN, and Panal in approving the changes on Tuesday. The modifications had been first drafted in April, but critics say they have been rushed through congress to allow authorities to crack down on the protests that are currently gripping the nation.

The changes to articles 11 and 73 of the constitution guarantee the universal right to movement, and give municipal, state, and federal authorities the right to emit laws which will impede street protests, and stop demonstrators from cutting streets for marches.

Opponents to the measure have said that such laws would criminalise the protests that are currently taking place over the student disappearance.

The protestors are demanding the president Enrique Peña Nieto resign over his government’s handling of the student disappearances, and also for the more general security situation that the country is facing.

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The Indy’s Weekly Review – 28th November 2014


Coming up on this episode of The Indy’s Weekly Review:

We analyse the mining lobby in Argentina after Wednesday’s release of a polemic photo, we speak to Juan Pablo Hudson of the Club de Investigaciones Urbanas about drugs, violence and police corruption in the city of Rosario, and we look at the media uproar over the Uruguayan president calling Mexico a “failed state”.

All that, plus the main news headlines from Argentina and Latin America and a preview of the new album by this week’s featured artist, Los Animales Superforros.

(Click on ‘Descargar’ to download)

Presented by: Kristie Robinson & Celina Andreassi
Editing: Pablo Fisher

We will be looking to continually improve and add to this podcast, and we’d love to hear your feedback on it, as well as suggestions for any additional stories or content you’d like to hear in it in the future. Send us an email at info@argentinaindependent.com, or comment on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

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Mexico: Protests After Prosecutor Says Missing Students ‘Likely Dead’


Federal prosecutor Jesús Murillo Karam gave details about the case to press on Friday (Photo Omar Torres/AFP/Télam)

Federal prosecutor Jesús Murillo Karam gave details about the case to press on Friday (Photo Omar Torres/AFP/Télam)

Protests broke out across Mexico during the weekend, after the federal prosecutor said that the 43 missing students in Guerrero state had most likely been murdered by members of an organised crime gang.

Peaceful marches were staged in several cities over the weekend, as protesters blamed the government for its role in the case. Some turned violent as a minority group attacked government buildings and set cars alights in the state capital, Chilpancingo, while in Mexico City a group of protesters were detained after starting a fire at the entrance of the presidential palace.

The latest protest were fueled by declarations made by federal prosecutor Jesús Murillo Karam on Friday evening. In a televised press conference, Murillo said that several detainees had confessed to killing a “large number” of people and then burning their bodies before dumping the remains in a river.

Murillo played video testimonies given by the detainees – members of the Guerreros Unidos gang – providing graphic details about how they had taken the youngsters to a rubbish tip in the town of Cocula, where they killed them and then incinerated the bodies in a blaze that lasted for 14 hours.

The students had been previously attacked and kidnapped by police in the nearby city of Iguala, and were killed by the gang on police orders, according to Murillo.

The confession led to the discovery of several bags full of bone fragments and ashes, and Murillo said that there were “indications” that these belong to the students. The remains will be sent to Austria for a full DNA analysis to try and confirm if they match that of the students’ families.

Murillo said that the investigation would remain open, with the students classified as “disappeared” until there was confirmation of the identity of the human remains.

The press conference came after Murillo held a private meeting with the families of the missing students. A group of parents also spoke to the press, saying they would not give up hope of finding their children until there is irrefutable scientific proof.

“As parents we do not accept these declarations [by Murilla], because even he said they could not be certain,” said one of the parents, Felipe de la Cruz. “We demand that the search be intensified and that international organisations get involved, as the president promised us, to make the search more efficient, as we have found that our country has been overwhelmed by this.”

So far, 72 people have been arrested in connection with the case, including Igual Mayor José Luis Abarca and his wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda, who are accused of ordering the police attack on the students.

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Mexico: Iguala Mayor Arrested Over Students’ Disappearance


Protesters march for the 43 missing students in Mexico City (photo: AFP Photo/Ronaldo Schemidt)

Protesters march for the 43 missing students in Mexico City (photo: AFP Photo/Ronaldo Schemidt)

Iguala Mayor José Luis Abarca and his wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda, were arrested yesterday, accused of masterminding the kidnapping and murder of 43 students in the state of Guerrero.

Abarca and Pineda were hiding in a derelict room in the district of Iztapalapa, east of Mexico City. They were caught sleeping in the early hours of Tuesday, after a long surveillance operation by the country’s Federal Police.

General Prosecutor Jesús Murillo Karam, who is in charge of investigating the case, explained that there was a third person involved, Noemí Berumen Rodríguez, who has been charged with being part of a cover-up operation. Police followed Berumen Rodríguez as she entered the abandoned house were the fugitives were hiding.

Abarca and Pineda are being held by police, who are taking their statements. Authorities expect to obtain information that could lead them to finding the students’ bodies. DNA tests were carried out to confirm their identities.

The 43 students from Ayotzinapa were last seen in Iguala, where they were fundraising, on the night of 26th September. Prosecutor Murillo Karam’s hypothesis is that they were kidnapped by the local police and then handed in to criminal organisation Guerreros Unidos, who killed them, following orders by the mayor and his wife.

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Mexico: Prosecutor Accuses Ex Iguala Mayor for Murder of Students


Protesters march for the 43 missing students in Mexico City (photo: AFP Photo/Ronaldo Schemidt)

Protesters march for the 43 missing students in Mexico City (photo: AFP Photo/Ronaldo Schemidt)

Mexico’s General Prosecutor Jesús Murillo Karam accused former Iguala mayor José Luis Abarca Velázquez and his wife, Ángeles Pineda Villa, of masterminding the kidnapping and murder of 43 students in the state of Guerrero. Both of them remain at large.

According to Murillo Karam, the ex-mayor and his wife worked closely with criminal organisation Guerreros Unidos, to whom the students were delivered.

In a press conference, the prosecutor gave a detailed account of what investigations suggest may have happened on the night of 26th September, when the 43 Ayotzinapa students were last seen.

“According to testimonies, the ‘hawks’ —informers for Guerreros Unidos— and members of the Iguala police, report to the Iguala Control Centre the arrival of students from Ayotzinapa and some other people,” said Murillo Karam.

It is believed that both local authorities and members of Guerreros Unidos thought the students were planning to sabotage a ceremony held by the mayor and his wife in the centre of town, something that had already occurred last year.  “Thinking the conflict scenario of June 2013 could repeat itself, [the Iguala police] are ordered to react and to ask the Cocula police for support.”

“Between both police forces, they block the road and stop the buses where the students were travelling,” continued Murillo Karam. “In this first incident, a municipal police officer kills one of the students with a firearm.” Then both the police and the Guerreros Unidos’ thugs mistakenly attacked a bus that was transporting a local football team, killing a football player and the bus driver. “Minutes later, they stop the bus that had got away and which transported the students,” said the prosecutor.

The students were allegedly taken into custody by the Iguala police, and then taken to an area in the border between Iguala and Cocula in a joint operation by both police forces. There, they were given away to Guerreros Unidos.

“At that moment, a group of people in which it is presumed there were some students, are loaded onto a pick a up truck on their knees and they are driven on a gravel road to the Pueblo Viejo area.” It is in Pueblo Viejo where nine clandestine graves holding 30 bodies were discovered.

“We have carried out two forensic examinations on these graves. The first two (…) were based on genetic samples sent by the Guerrero Prosecutor’s Office. The results of this first examination were negative,” said Murillo Karam. “The third examination is being carried out by an Argentine forensics team. They took samples directly from the families of the students and we are awaiting their results. These will be fundamental to confirm or not the sample that was sent by the Guerrero prosecutor.”

In an interview with Mexican publication Animal Político, members of the forensics team indicated that the first two exams carried out by federal authorities lacked the protocols necessary to identify the victims. They are expected to hand in the results of the third examination —which is being carried out in a laboratory in the US— next week.

The prosecutor confirmed that the testimony of Sidronio Casarrubias, leader of Guerreros Unidos, was crucial to the investigation. Casarrubias was arrested on 18th October, two weeks after the General Prosecutor’s Office took over the case from the Guerrero prosecutor.

As the scandal over the missing students took hold of the country, mayor Abarca Velázquez took leave of absence and has never been seen ever since. His wife and the police chief also ran away.

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Mexico: Missing Students Not Among Bodies in Mass Graves


The state of Guerrero in Mexico (photo via WIkipedia)

The state of Guerrero in Mexico (photo via WIkipedia)

The search for 43 students missing since 27th September continues in Guerrero after authorities confirmed yesterday that they were not among the bodies found in mass graves last week.

Federal state prosecutor Jesús Murillo said that DNA tests on the 28 bodies found on the outskirts of the city of Iguala did not match any of those provided by relatives of the disappeared students.

This means that after nearly three weeks there is still no sign of the students, who went missing after being attacked by local police and armed civilians on 27th September. A national security commission set up to investigate the case said that it was not ruling out any theory.

Close to 900 federal police and gendarmerie officers have been sent to Iguala to support the search for the students and prevent any further incidents.

So far 44 people have been arrested, including 22 police officers from Iguala, 14 police officers from the nearby town of Cocula, and eight members of the criminal gang ‘Guerreros Unidos’. Meanwhile, Iguala mayor José Luis Abarca, his wife María de los Ángeles Pineda, and the city’s secretary for public security, Felipe Flores, remain fugitives.

Meanwhile, Benjamín Mondragón Pereda, a Guerreros Unidos leader, yesterday committed suicide after his house was surrounded by police.

The arrest of 14 officers from Cocula was announced yesterday by the director of the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC) Tomás Zerón de Lucio, who said that the suspects admitted to handing the missing students over to members of ‘Guerreros Unidos’. “As a result of intelligence work we were able to show the intervention of Cocula police… they confessed to participating and we were able to verify this,” said Zerón de Lucio.

Earlier today, President Enrique Peña Nieto reaffirmed his promise that the state would “find those responsible and treat them with the full force of the law.”

However, students from the Ayotzinapa Rural College, where the missing youngsters study, said the investigations so far have been “a joke”.

“They are laughing at us,” they told a gathering of other student groups at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) yesterday. “We still hope to be reunited with our colleagues.”

Riot police had been called in on Monday after students and relatives of the disappeared staged a violent protest outside the Guerrero state government building. Some protesters ransacked the offices and set fire to the building, causing widespread damage. The students promised to “radicalise” their protests if there were no advances in the investigation.

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Mexico: Massive Protests Over Missing Students


The state of Guerrero in Mexico (photo via WIkipedia)

The state of Guerrero in Mexico (image: Wikipedia)

Thousands of people marched yesterday across the country and overseas, demanding the 43 students missing from the town of Iguala since 26th September be found alive.

Rallies were held in 27 Mexican states, Mexico City, and in 15 countries, including Argentina, Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Spain, and the US, among others. The largest demonstrations took place in Mexico City and in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Chiapas.

In San Cristóbal de las Casas, state of Chiapas, thousands of members of the Zapatista movement were seen marching alongside other protesters in a silent protest. In other states, there were also roadblocks and strikes.

Protesters targeted President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose administration was criticised for not doing enough to find the missing students. In a press conference, the student’s parents, together with social organisations and a survivor of the attack, demanded Peña Nieto assume responsibility for the disappearance, and said: “The Mexican state is responsible for what happened.”

The president condemned the incidents of 26th September and warned that “there will be no room for impunity” in this case. Earlier this week, he instructed the national security cabinet to get involved in the investigation into the disappearances. The government is also preparing a report about the case, to be presented before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in two weeks, that will detail the steps taken to protect the victims and their families.

The students, who had been fundraising in Iguala, state of Guerrero, were attacked on several occasions, reportedly by local police officers and unknown armed men, as their convoy travelled on the main highway leading out of the city. In total, six people were killed – three students and three bystanders – and another 25 were injured in the incidents.

Last Saturday, 28 bodies were found in mass graves in the outskirts of Iguala. Authorities were conducting DNA tests to determine whether the bodies belong to some of the 43 missing students.

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Mexico: Report Shows Alarming Rates of Deforestation


Pine forest in Oaxaca, Mexico (photo: Wikipedia)

Pine forest in Oaxaca, Mexico (photo: Wikipedia)

Data released by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) shows that Mexico has lost almost 35% of its forests and jungles in the last 20 years.

The information was made public yesterday, to coincide with World Habitat Day, which is celebrated on the first Monday of October since 1985. The report states that in the last two decades, between 1990 and 2011, the country lost 353,173 km2 of forests and jungles, which represent 18% of the national territory.

Up until 1990, says the report, “52% of the country’s surface (1,021,375 km2) was covered by forests and jungles. Today, due to the rapid destruction of the ecosystems, only 34% of the national territory (667,105 km2) keeps that condition,” which means a 34.68% decrease in the forested surface.

Despite these numbers, Mexico remains the fifth country in the world in terms of biodiversity, with 25,000 different plant species, surpassed only by Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, and China.

However, Inegi alerted that 10.4% of said species are either endangered (475 of them), threatened (896), subject to special protection (1,085), or extinct (49), but “in average, science registers 899 new species in Mexico every decade, that is, almost 90 species per year.”

 

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Mexico: Fears for Missing Students as Mass Grave Found in Guerrero


The state of Guerrero in Mexico (photo via WIkipedia)

The state of Guerrero in Mexico (photo via WIkipedia)

Authorities in the state of Guerrero have confirmed that 28 bodies have been found in mass graves near the city of Iguala, where dozens of students were reported missing after coming under attack last week.

Guerrero state prosecutor Iñaky Blanco said it would take weeks for the results of DNA tests to confirm if the bodies are those of some of the 43 students that remain ‘disappeared’ since 27th September.

However, he admitted that it was “probable” that some of the students were among the victims, who he said had been found murdered and badly-burned.

“According to the verdict from forensic specialists we can reveal that in the graves the bodies of the victims were laid on top of a bed of sticks and branches and then covered with a flammable substance such as diesel or petrol,” said Blanco.

Police Involvement

The graves were found on the outskirts of Iguala on Saturday, based on information given to police by several suspects with links to organised crime group “Guerreros Unidos”, who were detained after the attacks last week.

According to Blanco, two of the suspects confessed to murdering 17 of the students and dumping them in the mass grave on the instructions of a gang leader known as ‘El Chucky‘.

The investigation has also uncovered more information about members of the Iguala police force who were reportedly behind the attacks on the students on 26th and 27th September, including the city’s security director.

“The instruction [for the gang hitmen] to go to the site where the students were was given by the municipal public safety director Francisco Salgado Valladares, while the order to take the students away and kill them came from a subject nicknamed ‘El Chucky‘, leader of the ‘Guerreros Unidos’,” continued Blanco.

So far 30 people, including 22 police officers, have been arrested for the original attacks on students over a week ago.

Meanwhile, Iguala mayor José Luis Abarca, the focal point for protests by relatives of the student victims, is currently missing after taking a 30-day leave of absence to “facilitate the investigation.”

Abarca and the deputy head of security in Iguala, Felipe Flores, have been summoned to provide testimonies about the case but there whereabouts remain unknown.

No Impunity

Parents and friends of the missing students said that it was not yet a fact that the bodies belong to their loved ones, adding that they doubted the official version of events.

“We don’t believe any of the comments made by the public prosecutors. We still hope our children will return ok, because they were taken alive and they should be returned to us alive. This is a massacre that we cannot allow,” one father told news portal Milenio.com.

The parents said they did not trust the authorities to investigate the case properly and called for a protest march on 8th October.

Amid the confusion as the grisly discovery was made over the weekend, Reuters reported anonymous local officials as confirming that there were 34 bodies in the graves, six more than the number officially reported.

Meanwhile, President Enrique Peña Nieto today ordered his cabinet and national security institutions to find those responsible and bring them to justice.

“Like all Mexicans, as president I am deeply angered and dismayed by the information emerging over the weekend,” said Peña Nieto in an address to the media. “I am very upset by the violence of the actions, and especially because young students have been affected by it… Faced with this violence, there must not be even the tiniest room for impunity.”

This afternoon, local press are reporting that a contingent of the national gendarmerie is being directed to Iguala to take control of security and aid in the search for the missing students.

The National Commission for Human Rights and the UN High Commission for Human Rights in Mexico are also investigating the case for severe abuses, including extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances.

Attacks

The students, who had been fundraising in Iguala, were attacked on several occasions, reportedly by local police officers and unknown armed men, as their convoy travelled on the main highway leading out of the city.

In total, six people were killed – three students and three bystanders – and another 25 were injured in the incidents.

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