New York Times, By Randcal C. Archibold * Pauline Villegas, June 14
Mexico City – His church turned him away, his family discouraged him from a public fight and the government of the state where he lives vowed it would never happen.
But it did. Hiram Gonzalez married his boyfriend, Severiano Chavez, last year in the northern state of Chihuahua, which, like most Mexican states, technically allows marriage only between a man and a woman.
Mr. Gonzalez and dozens of other gay couples in recent months have, however, found a powerful ally: Mexico’s Supreme Court.
In ruling after ruling, the court has said that state laws restricting marriage to heterosexuals are discriminatory. Though the decisions have been made to little public fanfare, they have had the effect of legalizing gay marriage in Mexico without enshrining it in law.
The carnage isn’t just in border town Juárez, with the largest number of victims in province of Mexico state.
Al Jazeera, By Judith Matloff, January 4
Atizapan De Zaragoza, Mexico — José Diego Suárez Padilla has converted his home into a shrine to his daughter, Rosa Diana. Windows fashioned after her blue eyes stare out on the street. A painting of the girl in a white party dress covers a living room wall, overlooking an altar with offerings of chicken and chewing gum. The food has lain there so long that the red chili sauce has congealed.
Suárez Padilla explains to a visitor that he normally puts out fresh food but lately hasn’t had time. That’s because he’s busy all day consulting with lawyers and politicians to seek justice for her death.
According to the National Citizen Femicide Observatory, a coalition of 43 groups that document the crime, six women are assassinated every day.
Yet only 24 percent of the 3,892 femicides the group identified in 2012 and 2013 were investigated by authorities. And only 1.6 percent led to sentencing.
“Femicides are a pandemic in Mexico,” asserts Ana Güezmes, the local representative of United Nations Women, the agency devoted to gender issues.
GlobalPost, By Ioan Grillo, October 24
Mexico City — The fathers of the disappeared students took to the stage one by one. They spoke of their sons’ hopes of becoming teachers, of the last time they saw them, of their agony in going almost a month with no news after they vanished.
As one dad described his son’s dreams, he could not hold back his tears in front of the tens of thousands of protesters in Mexico City’s central square. As he wept, the protesters shouted in his support, “You are not alone!” and, “Justice!”
The demonstration on Wednesday night was one of dozens that have been taking place across Mexico in response to the disappearance of 43 trainee teachers and the shooting death of three more by police and drug cartel gunmen on Sept. 26.
Global Post: Governor of Mexican state where 43 students disappeared quits
Religion Dispatches, By Ruth Chojnacki & Jennifer Scheper Hughes, June 24
Late last month Mexican Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel announced that after a 14 year church-ordered suspension of the rite, indigenous deacons would again be ordained in the Diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas—where the local church serves a largely Maya population.
A rare reversal in church policy, resumption of deacon ordinations in Chiapas appears to signal an end to official ecclesiastical suppression of liberation theology and practice.
In a striking statement, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the current head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (the Vatican organization that once spearheaded the Vatican attack on liberation theology under then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) recently placed liberation theology in context with the work of the “great Doctors of the Church like St. Augustine and St. Thomas.”
Cardinal Müller also edited a collection of essays on liberation theology—including one by its founder, Peruvian Gustavo Gutiérrez—published with a preface by Pope Francis and presented to the public this past February.
Pope Francis welcomed Gutiérrez to the Vatican during his stay in Rome for the presentation. In his first official teaching document, The Joy of the Gospel, Francis exhorts Catholics to “overcome suspicion” and embrace “a church with many faces.”
Still, until now, Francis had not rescinded the actions of two predecessors who censured liberationist theologians and dismantled institutions that promoted liberationist thinking and practice. But the Pope’s approval of Bishop Arizmendi’s plan to ordain 100 new indigenous deacons to serve the Maya populations of Chiapas is a game changer.
Also at RD: Jesus’ Language More Complicated Than Experts Claim
Business Insider, By Michael Kelley, January 13
An investigation by El Universal found that between the years 2000 and 2012, the U.S. government had an arrangement with Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel that allowed the organization to smuggle billions of dollars of drugs while Sinaloa provided information on rival cartels.
Sinaloa, led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, supplies 80% of the drugs entering the Chicago area and has a presence in cities across the U.S.
There have long been allegations that Guzman, considered to be “the world’s most powerful drug trafficker,” coordinates with American authorities.
But the El Universal investigation is the first to publish court documents that include corroborating testimony from a DEA agent and a Justice Department official.
(The Guardian) – The National Rifle Association has suffered a rare setback in its crusade to block new gun regulations after a federal appeals court allowed the US government to go ahead with a plan to reduce the smuggling of semi-automatic weapons across the Mexican border.
The new rules, introduced by Barack Obama under his executive powers in July 2011, require gun dealers located in states abutting the border to report to federal officials any multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles such as AK-47s to individuals within a five-day period. The administration presented the requirement as a justified move to “detect and disrupt the illegal weapons trafficking networks” operating in Mexico.
The obligation to report such multiple sales would apply to all gun dealers in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas in an attempt to cut off the supply of military-style weapons being smuggled into Mexico. The north of Mexico is being sapped by a virtual war between law enforcement and drug cartels.
I haven’t written much of late. Between a hectic schedule and a feeling of helplessness/uselessness it hardly seems worth the time. That’s not to say that important matters have not arisen.
Among those is the recent passing of my friend Oscar Cabello. Those of you that have read Contrabando should remember the name.
Washington Post, By Dana Priest, April 27
Mexico City — For the past seven years, Mexico and the United States have put aside their tension-filled history on security matters to forge an unparalleled alliance against Mexico’s drug cartels, one based on sharing sensitive intelligence, U.S. training and joint operational planning.
But now, much of that hard-earned cooperation may be in jeopardy.
The December inauguration of President Enrique Peña Nieto brought the nationalistic Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) back to power after 13 years, and with it a whiff of resentment over the deep U.S. involvement in Mexico’s fight against narco-traffickers.
The new administration has shifted priorities away from the U.S.-backed strategy of arresting kingpins, which sparked an unprecedented level of violence among the cartels, and toward an emphasis on prevention and keeping Mexico’s streets safe and calm, Mexican authorities said.
Some U.S. officials fear the coming of an unofficial truce with cartel leaders. The Mexicans see it otherwise. “The objective of fighting organized crime is not in conflict with achieving peace,” said Eduardo Medina Mora, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States.
The Guardian Exclusive:
For three years it has chronicled Mexico’s drug war with graphic images and shocking stories that few others dare show, drawing millions of readers, acclaim, denunciations – and speculation about its author’s identity.
Blog del Narco, an internet sensation dubbed a “front-row seat” to Mexico’s agony over drugs, has become a must-read for authorities, drug gangs and ordinary people because it lays bare, day after day, the horrific violence censored by the mainstream media.
The anonymous author has been a source of mystery, with Mexico wondering who he is and his motivation for such risky reporting.
Now in their first major interview since launching the blog, the author has spoken to the Guardian and the Texas Observer – and has revealed that she is, in fact, a young woman.
When looking at the comments at The Guardian and Texas Observer, one can’t help notice that one site’s commenters are pretty complimentary of Blog del Narco and the other site’s commenters accuse the site of plagiarism.
by Christine Ahn and Erika Guevara-Rosas
(Originally posted by Foreign Policy in Focus, republished under a Creative Commons license)
With the U.S. elections now over, many are speculating over who will succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State to oversee U.S. foreign policy and the $47-billion U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) annual budget. While a significant chunk of USAID spending goes to education and health programs, pockets of aid enlarge the already bloated military budgets of recipient governments. The result: less security and more violence against women, particularly women human rights defenders.