Friday, February 13, 2015

Today's Headlines: Reforma reveals a murderous psychopath running a kidnapping operation from his desk at the Attorney General's Office. Can the Hollywood screenplay be far behind?

Reforma’s top story gives us another unsettling consequence of the blurry line between law enforcement and organized crime. The chilling lead headline: “He kidnaps from inside the PGR.
    The PGR is the federal Attorney General’s Office, from within whose ranks, Reforma reports, an employee was running a kidnapping ring out of the Guadalajara office.
    Luis Felipe Molina García would attend to citizens filing complaints, screen them based on financial resources and then send out an attractive female member of the gang to reel him in as a victim.
    Reforma described Molina García as “a remorseless killer and a psychopath” who managed to slip through the PGR’s psychological testing of all staff members.
    He would collect ransoms as high as $3.5 million pesos (about $250,000 dollars), and then kill the victim anyway.
    Jalisco state police have captured three members of the kidnapping ring, including the woman who served as bait, and Molina García’s uncle.
    But Molina García himself, tipped off by virtue of his inside position, escaped arrest.
    He’s considered a fugitive from justice.

Excelsior isn’t finished going after protesting teachers from the state of Oaxaca. And if its top front-page story is accurate, the teachers themselves aren’t finished disrupting Mexico City. The headline uses the old trick of taking the offensive by highlighting an adversary’s weak defense: “We didn’t give classes but we left homework: CNTE.”
    That gem came from Rubén Nuñez, head of the CNTE, the militant teachers organization that carried out this week’s three-day action that clogged downtown Mexico City. He made it during a TV interview with Adela Micha of Grupo Imagen, part of the same media empire as Excelsior. The teachers had been blasted for (among other things) abandoning their students for three days to march in a city two or three states away, ostensibly over an issue of back pay that wasn’t especially disputed by the government.
     Excelsior tells us that the teachers are planning to renege on this week’s “insufficient” back-pay agreement, and will refuse to accept docked pay for their absence, called-for by law. The CNTE is making plans to return to the capital and occupy the Zócalo, the main city square.
    Excelsior, a pro-government newspaper, has an interest in making the constantly protesting teachers look bad. But the CNTE doesn’t need much help in that regard. Its repeated inconveniencing of the very everyday people who might be inclined to support their cause may have its rationale in the handbooks of dissent, but in practice it has mostly served to turn public opinion against them and strengthen the hands of conservative education reformers such as Mexicanos Primero.
    The threatened Zócalo takeover and the CNTE’s justification for it epitomize the attitude that has stirred so much resentment, despite whatever legitimacy their cause may contain. “The public squares are the property of the entire nation,” Excelsior quotes Nuñez as saying. “That’s why we see no conflict in our planning to arrive at the Zócalo, and we’re going to do it.”
    It’s hard to imagine a starker example of the language of entitlement. The public square belongs to the entire nation, and therefore we will take it over  for ourselves in the interest of our personal financial gain. The rest of the "entire nation" be damned.

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