The following come from press reports in English and Spanish:
Police implicated in the Guerrero student deaths say they are "scapegoats"
Milenio: Chilpancingo, Guerrero, "We are scapegoats," Rey David Cortes Flores, a policeman with the Ministerial Investigative Police (PIM), said after the first criminal court (of Guerrero) granted the State Attorney General's Office (PGJE) an extension of 15 days detention for him and his partner, Ismael Matadama Salinas.
The head office of the PGJE, Juan Manuel Herrera Campos announced Sunday he would initiate criminal prosecution against (the two men), as they are found to be the probable perpetrators of the murder of Alexis Herrera Pino and Gabriel Echeverria de Jesus, students at the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa.
In the preliminary reading of the case, a document was released that the Guerrero prosecutor sent to different media in the state, requesting delivery of photographic and video material to strengthen the case against the two policemen. The lawyer for the accused, Antonio Nogueda Carbajal, said the prosecutor does not have sufficient evidence to support his accusation.
At the end of the hearing, Rey David Cortes Flores addressed the reporters covering the proceedings and expressed his dissatisfaction with the performance of the PGJE. "We are scapegoats, both my companion and I. We owe this to the director of criminal investigations, Nicholas Marciano Peñaloza Agama, who wants to be state attorney general, with the support of Governor Ernesto Aguirre. Many friends have told us this," he charged.
He regretted that he was being kept under arrest even though the state does not have strong evidence to bring to trial and he repeated the popular maxim: "He who owes nothing, fears nothing." He said there was a team of investigators from the federal Attorney General's Office (PGR) that tested them with negative results.
He admitted he pointed his gun at the students but did not fire; he raised the gun only to scare the students who were hurling rocks and sticks. "If I shot, it was towards four boys who were 20 meters away and I did it with my eyes closed," he said.
He regretted that, to date, no member of the Federal Preventive Police (PFP), has been subpoened, which he said is because they have the full backing of the federal government. Instead, he said, he and his companion find themselves totally alone.
"Our attorneys are paid for by our families. We have requested help from all the government agencies; we are completely alone," he said. With red eyes and broken voice, he said that he expected that no one in the state government will be punished for the death of the normal school students. "As always, the rope always breaks at the thinnest point, we are the rope, completely defenseless."
(For new from La politica es la politica, go here.)
Movement for Peace with Justice plans caravan to the U.S. capital
CNN Mexico: In August, Mexican poet Javier Sicilia will lead a new caravan, this time to the United States, to call for the U.S. Government to put an end to the illegal arms to Mexico, which “has only left pain and many dead.”
Sicilia announced that the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD), which he leads, will prepare a protest in the U.S. capital, in which he hopes various Mexican and U.S. civil organizations will participate.
At the event, protestors will ask the U.S. to stop aid to Mexico earmarked through the Merida Initiative, a plan devised in 2007 by the George W. Bush Administration to contribute to the fight against organized crime, since “it’s not working,” said Sicilia.
Will Washington be ready for Javier Sicilia?
The Caravan seeks “to raise awareness within the American, Mexican, and Central American populations of the pain and suffering that this violence has caused us,” that has caused more than 47,000 deaths since December 2006, added Sicilia, who did not specify the route.
“The U.S. should take responsibility for the violence that endures in Mexico, because in a certain way it has contributed to the thousands of deaths caused by weapons which came to our territory illegally,” he said.
The United States, “the number one consumer of drugs” in the world, “has a legal industry, that of arms, which is arming the Mexican criminal,” contended the poet at the end of a press conference presenting Marcel Sisniega’s latest film based on his novel “A través del silencio” (Behind the Silence)
According to Sicilia, the wave of violence unleashed in the country as a result of the dispute between drug cartels for territorial control and their confrontation with security forces has left around “50,000 dead, 10,000 disappeared, and 120,000 displaced.”
PRI devises new plan to eliminate corruption in elections
Justice in Mexico: "Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI) announced on Monday that it has created a plan to reduce organized crime infiltration in the next elections which will be held on July 1. Political contenders will have to meet certain requirements in order to qualify to run for a position. The party has proposed having federal authorities conduct background checks on potential candidates to ensure that they do not have a record of being associated with any cartels. The national PRI president Pedro Joaquín Coldwell added that if it turns out that a candidate is associated with criminal organizations, he will be denied his right to continue in the race and his illegal doings will be reported to the proper authorities immediately."
(For analysis from La politica es la politica, go here).
Guerrero Students: 9 police that shot their guns remain free
Milenio: "Studies conducted by the federal Attorney General's Office (PGR) indicate that at least nine police officers fired their guns during the confrontation with the Ayotzinapa normal school students on December 12.
Among the list of names of those officers, from both federal and state ministerial and preventative police, neither the name of Rey David Cortes Flores, nor that of Ismael Matadama Salinas occur. Both were detained yesterday by court order for 15 more days at the request of the Attorney General of Guerrero, Juan Manuel Herrera Campos.
The nine listed include a federal policeman who has not been summoned before authorities. In addition, four state ministerial police are named who were released from custody by the Guerrero attorney general on Saturday (for lack of evidence against them). Four state preventative police are also named.
... "The presence of lead, barium and antimony, elements from the firing of cartridges, when shots are fired with a firearm, were found on nine policemen" according to the preliminary investigation by the PGR, carried out under the leadership of the federal prosecutor, Abelard Camacho Reyes, head of the team on the case.
The survey, conducted by the Laboratory of Forensic Chemistry of the PGR, indicated that samples taken from the hands of the remaining individuals (108 more), "did not identify the presence of elements from the firing of the cartridges when shots are fired with a firearm."
Border Patrol to toughen policy
The Associated Press: "The U.S. Border Patrol is moving to halt a revolving-door policy of sending migrants back to Mexico without any punishment. The agency this month is overhauling its approach on migrants caught illegally crossing the 1,954-mile border that the United States shares with Mexico.
... The Border Patrol now feels it has enough of a handle to begin imposing more serious consequences on almost everyone it catches,.... The "Consequence Delivery System" — a key part of the Border Patrol's new national strategy to be announced within weeks — relies largely on tools that have been rolled out over the last decade on parts of the border and expanded. It divides border crossers into seven categories, ranging from first-time offenders to people with criminal records."
Young U.S. Citizens in Mexico Up Early to Learn in the U.S.
NYTimes.com: "In the raging debate over immigration, almost all sides have come to agree on tougher enforcement at the border. But nearly unnoticed, frustration is focusing locally on border-crossers who are not illegal immigrants but young American citizens, whose families have returned to Mexico yet want their children to attend American schools.
Called “transfronterizos,” these students migrate between two cultures, two languages and two nations every day, straining the resources of public school districts and sparking debate among educators and sociologists over whether it is in American interests that they be taught in the United States."
U.S. gun industry appeals new rifle reporting rules
chicagotribune.com: "The gun industry on Monday appealed a U.S. judge's decision to uphold new Obama administration regulations requiring gun dealers in four states bordering Mexico to report the sales of multiple semi-automatic rifles.
Judge Rosemary Collyer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on Friday the reporting requirements ordered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) last year were sufficiently narrowly tailored. Because the reporting demand "was limited to only certain sales of certain guns in certain states, ATF did not exceed its authority," she wrote in a 21-page ruling."
Author Carlos Fuentes sees Mexico as trapped between big problems and mediocre candidates
CNN Mexico: "Mexicans find themselves trapped between their grave problems and “mediocre candidates” for the presidency of their country, asserted writer Carlos Fuentes this Monday.
“What alarms me most this year (…) is that I see the problems here and the candidates over there,” said Fuentes in an interview with journalist Carmen Aristegui, on CNN en Español. “A large discrepancy between the country’s challenges and the candidates that we have,” he said.
Fuentes, winner of the Cervantes and Prince of Asturias Awards for Literature, declared that the nation needs “intelligent political media” in order to escape the “extremely grave internal and international situation” in which it finds itself almost six months away from the elections which will renew the presidency, governorships of 15 states, and the Congress.
“We are stuck with a terrible disproportion between the problems of the country and candidates who appear to me to be fairly mediocre,” he contended. Fuentes considered the violence derived from the fight against organized crime to be the main problem for Mexico and the current government of President Felipe Calderón.
“I believe that, in this sexenio, (six-year presidential term) a grave error was committed, which was immediate and, perhaps, had the purpose of legitimizing the (2006 presidential) election, which was so hotly contested. . . . I am under the impression that we have lost this war,” continued Fuentes.
Among other problems, Fuentes referred to infrastructure, education, and healthcare as issues in which “we’ve been left behind,” and that needed the attention of those who aspired to the presidency.
Fuentes reiterated his proposal to legalize drugs as an alternative form of combating narcotrafficking, of which he accused the United States as being responsible and of doing too little to eradicate it.
The author of La region más transparente and Terra Nostra dismissed the possibility of a victory for the National Action Party (PAN) in the presidential election next July due to the discontent it caused over 12 years of governance.
“It seems to me that no one wants to reelect the PAN. I sense that there is a feeling of exhaustion with the PAN governments and their style,” said Fuentes, who believes the party of President Calderón has no popular support, only opposition. “I don’t believe that one can give a PAN candidacy a second chance,” he said.
Regarding the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), whose candidate leads the latest polls, Fuentes believed that they offered a candidate of “very small character” in comparison with the “enormous” problems and challenges of the country.
Enrique Peña Nieto, ex-governor of the central state of México and the candidate of the PRI “is not prepared to be president” claimed Fuentes, who reiterated his condemnation of Peña Nieto’s “public demonstration of ignorance,” after his failure to mention his three favorite books during the the most recent Guadalajara International Book Festival.
“The only possibility of renewal, despite the candidate himself, is with López Obrador and a left which, hopefully, will achieve a degree of unity which it hasn’t yet achieved,” said Fuentes of the candidate for the coalition of leftist parties.
However, everything depends on who will support López Obrador in his quest for the presidency, said Fuentes. “If some of the best minds in Mexico associate themselves with him, there is hope,” he added, referring to people like the ex-rector of UNAM, Juan Ramón de la Fuente, or the current head of government of Mexico City, Marcelo Ebrard, whom López Obrador not long ago considered for the position of Ministry of the Interior, which is charged with domestic policymaking.
“We have a poor and quite uneven presidential race, over against a country with gigantic problems, as many internally as internationally,” contended Fuentes. “Everyone is being tested, because the country is being tested, because the problems are so large,” he added."
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