Thursday 26 January 2012

Five dead police officers tried to extort money from La Familia Michoacana cartel?

La politica es la politica will post periodic English language translations sourced from the Americas Mexico Blog.

The following come from press reports in English and Spanish:

Prosecutor says 5 police officers shot dead outside Mexico City tried to extort suspects

AP/Washington Post: "Mexican authorities say five police officers fatally shot near Mexico City after stopping a car were trying to extort money when they were attacked.

Mexico State prosecutor Alfredo Castillo says the officers from the town of Ixtapaluca (Ees-tah-pah-lu-ca) asked the four La Familia Michoacana cartel members in the vehicle for 6,000 pesos (about $460) to let them go."

Mexico open to public scrutiny on human rights: Secretary of Interior Poiré

Milenio: "Mexico is open to public scrutiny on the matter of human rights and will attend to the recommendations, criticisms and concerns of the various organizations on the basis of solid, consistent and verifiable information, Interior Minister Alejandro Poire affirmed.

At the opening of the annual National Meeting of Directors of Civil Protection, he acknowledged and supported the efforts made in this regard by the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH), and assured his respect for the efforts of international organizations of all kinds, such as Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Poire said that through the security strategy that the federal government is leading to reduce crime rates "we are sowing the seeds of a more just, prosperous and secure Mexico." Precisely in the pursuit of that justice, he explained, "the Mexican state and the government of President Felipe Calderon shares, has made its own and has so demonstrated, the primary and essential goal of protecting, promoting and defending human rights."

He said that there is no doubt that Mexico has complete conviction that human rights is a task for all, that is, for authorities, civil society organizations and autonomous bodies specializing in the field, both within the country and abroad. Poire said it is a responsibility to so be, "and we remain open to criticism, because that way we can move forward faster in the protection of the rights of our citizens."

Mexico plans five new military bases in Zeta territory

InSight Crime: "Mexico's government upped its offensive against the Zetas with the announcement that five new military bases will be installed in the group's primary areas of operation ... according to the newspaper Excelsior. Four bases will be located in Tamaulipas and another one in Nuevo Leon, which are both among the northern border states most affected by drug violence.

The initiative comes as part of the government's drive to reinstate control in areas where criminal groups have, in some cases, overrun local authorities The Mexican Department of Defense stated that installing greater military presence in these areas will help return the rule of law, reports Excelsior."

Nuevo Leon government demands that police who claim they were tortured present their accusations

CNN Mexico: "The government of the northern state of Nuevo Leon demanded that the Monterrey municipal police who, on Tuesday night made accusations of torture by the State Investigation Agency (IEA), present their evidence to prove or clarify responsibility, the government spokesman for state security, Jorge Domene Zambrano, said at a press conference.

On Tuesday night, three presumed municipal police, wearing hoods, appeared at police headquarters in Monterrey, the state capital, where they held a press conference to make accusations that they were tortured by elements of the State Investigation Agency (IEA).

The complainants say they were tortured during an operation by the State and the Army on January 21 as part of the police security purification process at municipal police headquarters. The state spokesman said that  a total of 109 policemen had been retained that day, of which 60 were released the same day.

Five policemen continue to be held in the facilities of the AEI "because they appear to have links to some previous investigatons," while another 44 were taken that day to the University for Security Sciences, where they are being evaluated, explained Domene Zambrano.

"We reiterate the official position of the state government is to attend to this and, if necessary, punish those responsible, if this is true, or (determine) if it is a falsehood, which the statements of these individuals can turn out to be," he added. ... The spokesman stated that identity of the persons who publicly made accusations of  alleged human rights violations is unknown and demanded that the municipal police department provide their identity.

... The State Ombudsman, Minerva Martinez announced that the Human Rights Commission (CEDHNL) has opened an inquiry to investigate these events, and invited the police to file a complaint with the agency. "I guarantee the safety of these people and their privacy," she said. The attorney general of Nuevo Leon, Adrian de la Garza Santos, reiterated that "total protection" will be provided to the alleged victims and he invited them to approach the authorities to file their complaint."

Romney, Gingrich fireworks over immigration

CBS News: "With Florida's Republican presidential primary just days away ... the campaign took an ugly turn Wednesday, as sparks flew between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich over the issue of immigration.

Gingrich started the day's slug-fest --- sounding incredulous that Romney would say illegal immigrants should -- in Romney's words -- self-deport. In other words, leave on their own. "I think," Gingrich said, "you have to live in worlds of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island accounts and automatic $20 million a year income with no work to have some fantasy this far from reality."

Romney fired back -- saying Gingrich is also on the record for supporting the idea that illegal immigrants will leave the country if they're denied work. Said Romney, "I recognize that it's very tempting to come out to an audience like this and pander to the audience. ... I think that's unbecoming of a presidential candidate."

Immigrant Children Face Uncertain Futures, Foster Care

Huffington Post: "More than 5,000 children of immigrants are languishing in state foster care nationwide because their parents were living in the United States illegally and were detained or deported by federal immigration authorities.

These children can spend years in foster homes, and some are put up for adoption after termination of their parents' custody rights. With neither state nor federal officials addressing the problem, thousands more are poised to enter the child welfare system every year.

A recent report by the Applied Research Center (ARC), a national racial-justice think tank, found that when immigration enforcement methods intersect with the child welfare system, consequences for immigrant families can be devastating and long-lasting."

Mexican actor hopes Oscar nod will help migrants

AFP: "Mexican actor Demian Bichir hopes his surprise Oscar nod for "A Better Life" will raise awareness about the 11 million undocumented migrants in the United States. ... Bichir told reporters in Mexico City on Wednesday that "now more people will know who I am," -- but drawing attention to the difficulties faced by undocumented workers in the United States would be the "real prize", he added.

He expressed hope that "A Better Life" -- the story of a father trying to protect his son from the gang culture and immigration policing of Los Angeles -- would do for illegal migrants what "Philadelphia", the 1993 AIDS drama starring Tom Hanks, did for the gay community in America"

Relative of victim says fear hinders reconstruction of the facts of Casino Royal attack

CNN Mexico: Fear inhibits the reconstruction of the facts of the tragedy in the Casino Royal in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, where, on August 25, 2011, 52 people were killed. So stated Edmundo Jimenez Ramirez, a relative of one of the victims of the attack, to the press during a meeting of families of the victims.

"The problem is the issue of witnesses. We are hopeful. There are people who were present who took notice of everything bad about (the establishment)," he said. "People don't want to get into trouble, because there is fear, which we all have."

This Wednesday afternoon, five months after the attack, a dozen mourners gathered outside the casino to pray for the victims and demand punishment of the authorities for crimes of omission or commission and to require changes to the law to provide more security in this type of establishment.

Without specifying whether the fear is of the authorities or organized crime, Jimenez Ramirez said that, so far, there are three people who are willing to give their statements for the reconstruction of events, including two who lost relatives in the attack.

Samara Pérez Muñiz, a survivor of the attack, estimated that at least 10 people are necessary for a comprehensive reconstruction of the event and to refute the results of the official investigation of the casino fire, which concluded that the tragedy was inevitable."

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