Sunday, April 19, 2015

The `New York Times'' Mexican Billionaire Connection Revisited: Part 14

Mexico’’s Human Rights Situation and Mexico’s Oligarchs

Despite the passage in 2013 of an anti-monopoly reform bill that would reduce Slim’s share of the Mexican telecommunications consumer market to below 50 percent, the human rights situation in a Mexico whose economy remains dominated by billionaire oligarchs like New York Times Owner Slim still needed improvement. As a 2014 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, for example, observed:

“Upon taking office in December 2012, [Mexican] President Enrique Peña Nieto acknowledged that the``war on drugs’ launched by predecessor Felipe Calderón had led to serious abuses by the security forces. In early 2013, the administration said that more than 26,000 people had been reported disappeared or missing since 2007…Yet the government has made little progress in prosecuting widespread killings, enforced disappearances, and torture committed by soldiers and police in the course of efforts to combat organized crime, including during Peña Nieto’s tenure….Members of all security force branches continue to carry out disappearances during the Peña Nieto administration, in some cases collaborating directly with criminal groups. In June 2013, Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) said it was investigating 2,443 disappearances in which it had found evidence of the involvement of state agents…From December 2006 to mid-September 2013, the CNDH received 8,150 complaints of abuse by the army, and issued reports on 116 cases in which it found that army personnel had committed serious human rights violations.

“The soldiers who commit these abuses are virtually never brought to justice, largely because such cases continue to be investigated and prosecuted in the military justice system, which lacks independence and transparency…Torture is widely practiced in Mexico to obtain forced confessions and extract information. It is most frequently applied in the period between when victims are arbitrarily detained and when they are handed to prosecutors, when they are often held incommunicado at military bases or other illegal detention sites. Common tactics include beatings, waterboarding, electric shocks, and sexual torture. Many judges continue to accept confessions obtained through torture, despite the constitutional prohibition of such evidence.

“…Between January and September 2013, the National Human Rights Commission received more than 860 complaints of torture or cruel or inhuman treatment by federal officials…Prisons are overpopulated, unhygienic, and fail to provide basic security for most inmates. Prisoners who accuse guards or inmates of attacks or other abuses have no effective system to seek redress.

“Approximately 65 percent of prisons are controlled by organized crime, and corruption and violence are rampant, according to the CNDH. Some 108 inmates had died in 2013, as of November….At least 85 journalists were killed between 2000 and August 2013, and 20 more were disappeared between 2005 and April 2013, according to the CNDH…Independent unions are often blocked from entering negotiations with management, while workers who seek to form independent unions risk losing their jobs...Human rights defenders and activists continue to suffer harassment and attacks…In many cases, there is evidence—including witness testimony or traced cell phones—that state agents are involved in aggressions against human rights defenders…The UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions conducted a fact-finding mission to Mexico in April-May 2013, and stated that extrajudicial executions by security forces were widespread and often occurred without accountability…”

So, not surprisingly, as recently as Nov. 8, 2014 Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director of Amnesty International--in response to the Nov. 8, 2014 statement by Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam about the 43 Mexican students who disappeared in September 2014—noted that “tragically, the enforced disappearance of these student teachers is just the latest in a long line of horrors to have befallen Guerrero state, and the rest of the country;” and “the warning signs of corruption and violence have been there for all to see for years, and those that negligently ignored them are themselves complicit in this tragedy.”

(end of part 14)

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