Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Today's Headlines: Mexican officials take their problem to the United Nations. Two Iguala victims' parents decide to tag along.

Two sets of Mexicans flew to Switzerland for a two-day meeting of a United Nations committee on disappeared persons. One was a delegation of government officials from the Foreign Relations Secretariat, the Attorney General’s Office and other agencies. The other consisted of two parents of the Iguala victims and members of Mexican human rights groups. The two groups probably didn’t share taxis.
    La Jornada leads with Monday’s events in Geneva: “Mexico at the UN: crime and poverty must be faced.” Jornada and others focused on a quote during testimony from Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo, undersecretary for multilateral affairs and human rights in the Foreign Relations Secretariat: “Mexico recognizes without the slightest ambiguity that, despite the enormous advances that have taken place in the country in terms of human rights, we continue to face challenges that must be met.”
    Few doubt that Mexican institutions are ill-equipped to deal with the disappeared. Even the number of victims is unknown. The former head of the National Human Rights Commission mentioned a figure of 24,800 last year. Interior (Gobernación) Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong says it’s more like a third of that. What’s not in dispute is that in most cases almost nothing is being done to find these people.
    Nor is it clear what percentage of the missing are victims of “enforced disappearance,” an international legal category for those whose secret abduction, imprisonment or execution is carried out by the state or a political organization outside the law. That’s the jurisdiction of the UN committee meeting yesterday and today.
     By treaty, international norms are in place for government responses to the problem, and the purpose of this week’s meeting is to evaluate Mexico’s compliance. The assumption is that there's not much compliance to evaluate. The hope is that the committee’s recommendations, expected on February 13, will stimulate improvement.
    The normalista parents were in Geneva to ask for international help in the Iguala case, “because in our country there is no justice for the poor, only the rich.” Whether they have submitted a formal request, or are planning to, wasn’t reported. The parents and the human rights workers say they will take their case to the European Union later in the week. 
THE POWER OF THE PURSE                                                                                            Excelsior’s lead head revisits a known phenomenon: “Organized crime has more power than city governments: PGR.” The reason they have more power is because they have more money,  according to story source Jesús Murillo Karam, who runs the Attorney General's Office, or PGR. And the reason they have more money is because they sell a lot of drugs. “That gives them an economic power that competes with some states in the republic and [almost all] municipalities,” the nation’s top cop told senators from the PRI and its ally, the Green Party.
RED GOLD                                                                                                                                         El Universal’s top story is the result of an investigation carried out in tandem with the Latin American version of Esquire magazine. The topic: poppy cultivation and heroin trafficking based in a five-sided swath of land spread over much of the state of Guerrero. It’s a lucrative business, which is why, as El U’s headline puts it, “10 cartels are fighting over the Poppy Pentagon.” It’s also why most of Guerrero’s municipalities are controlled by organized crime, and why the state’s murder rate is off the charts.

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