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Fri Mar 27, 2015 at 05:19 PM PDT

Guerrero: The Monster in the Mountains

by roberb7

On September 26, 2014, forty-three students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School​ went missing in Guerrero, one of Mexico’s poorest and most violent states. Six months later, only one student’s remains have been identified. Documentary film by Matt Black of The New Yorker. In Spanish with English subtitles:


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Carmen Aristegui
Carmen Aristegui. Photo by Alexandre Meneghini, AP
Journalist Carmen Aristegui was fired by MVS Radio on March 15. Two other reporters, Daniel Lizarraga and Irving Huerta, were fired last week. Political commentator Denise Dresser, and academics Sergio Aguayo and Lorenzo Meyer, announced the termination of their relationship with MVS Radio in support of Aristegui.

From a story by AP, published in the Washington Post: "The crusading host of Mexico’s top-rated national news radio program has been fired in a case that many fear is a blow to freedom of expression.

"MVS Radio said Sunday that Carmen Aristegui was removed for challenging the firing of two reporters who had misused the company’s name by suggesting it was a sponsor of MexicoLeaks, a website meant to reveal leaked information on corruption in Mexico.

"The company said in a statement that it could not accept 'an ultimatum.'

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Protest at MVS Radio
Protest in support of Aristegui in front of MVS Radio
office. Photo: Octavio Gómez

I published a diary just a few days ago, In the grave of human rights, writers shout “enough”, about the danger faced by journalists who criticize the narco-terrorists or the Mexican government. The subject of freedom of the press in Mexico has come up again, in a big way.

It started with the establishment of a web site, Méxicoleaks. This site is the same idea as Wikileaks, but it's different in one important respect. Instead of being a renegade operation, it is supported by several Mexican heavy hitters, including Proceso magazine and journalist Carmen Aristegui.

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Elena Poniatowska
“Those of us who are here love Mexico and it is impossible to remove ourselves from the disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa students and the mass grave which the state of Guerrero has become.” Elena Poniatowska. Photo: Francisco Canedo, SinEmbargo

This is a translation of an article about the PEN Americas Summit, which took place in Mexico City February 13-24, 2015. This article was written by Monica Maristain, and published in the Mexican online publication SinEmbargo on February 24.

A capricious Sunday morning. A hot sun. Then an afternoon breeze and late evening hail make mischief in the middle of an unexpected storm and national euphoria over the Oscar awards won by our compatriots Emmanuel Lubezki and Alejandro González Iñárritu.

There is something in the air. A ceremonial question period that inflames and a silence that hits as only the absence of thunderous sound spreads among the guests at an awards ceremony organized by PEN International as part of the PEN Americas Summit at Casa Lamm, Roma, Mexico City, Mexico, Planet Earth.

Each and every recipient is there. The Nicaraguan writer Gioconda Belli, Chicano activist and storyteller Sandra Cisneros, editor Braulio Peralta, Argentinean essayist and academic Laura Valenzuela, journalist Carmen Aristegui [CNN México]... the list is long and impressive.

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Marta Beatriz Roque
Marta Beatriz Roque

Marta Beatriz Roque is the founder of the Cuban Institute of Independent Economists, and a prominent Cuban dissident who has been in and out of prison several times.

Robert Broughton: You recently had a visit from a group of Democratic U.S. Senators and Members of Congress: Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vermont), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (Michigan), Sen. Dick Durbin (Illinois), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Maryland 8th), and Rep. Peter Welch (Vermont at-large). What message did you have for them?

Marta Beatriz Roque: I told the Congressmen (Senators and Representatives) that whether I agreed or not [with the Obama announcement on diplomatic recognition], the decision was made, but a retreat from the recent actions of the Obama Administration would be very painful for the Cuban people, so Congress has to be careful on this issue.

RB: One misconception I had about Cuba was that it has a shortage of tourists. Actually, there are a lot of them. And, Havana's better hotels charge $150 to $200 per night, and the all-inclusive resorts charge around $300 per night. Where is all this money going?

MBR: I would be unfair if I said, “into the pockets of Castro”, because I am not aware that this is happening, but I can say that is not used to improve the people's livelihood, which is becoming worse. However, family members of the regime travel like millionaires, as seen with Fidel Castro's son's involvement in expensive golf tournaments and fishing derbies. Most Cubans do not know what golf is, and haven't eaten fish for many years.

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Matthew Heineman, directory of the documentary film "Cartel Land", won the Best Director award at the Sundance Film Festival.

"Cartel Land" is about two vigilante leaders. One of them is Tim “Nailer” Foley of Arizona, but the other is Dr. Jose Mireles of Michoacán. Mireles' group of autodefensas had some success in fighting the Knights Templar narco-terrorists. Instead of giving him a medal, the Mexican government put him in prison. He's still there.

Cartel Land documentary poster
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In this Jan. 4, 2015 photo, Rafael Antonio Broche Moreno talks during an interview with The Associated Press, next to his computer, modem and intranet network cabling at his home in Havana. Disconnected from the real Internet, the intranet network is limi
In this Jan. 4, 2015 photo, Rafael Antonio Broche Moreno talks during an interview with The Associated Press, next to his computer, modem and intranet network cabling at his home in Havana. Disconnected from the real Internet, the intranet network is limited, local and built with equipment commercially available around the world, with no help from any outside government, organizers say. Photo by Ramon Espinosa, AP
Cuba's Stalinist government has a problem: their education system is doing what it should, turning out a lot of smart young people. The problem is, they are going to use that education to counter government efforts to control the information they get. Here's the story from Michael Weissenstein and Anne-Marie Garcia at AP: Cuban youth build secret computer network despite Wi-Fi ban


Home Internet connections are banned for all but a handful of Cubans, and the government charges nearly a quarter of a month's salary for an hour online in government-run hotels and Internet centers.
A small minority have covertly engineered a partial solution by pooling funds to create a private network of more than 9,000 computers with small, inexpensive but powerful hidden Wi-Fi antennas and Ethernet cables strung over streets and rooftops spanning the entire city.
Before Obama moved to restore full diplomatic ties with Cuba, the U.S. made several attempts to leverage technology against the Cuban government. Contractor Alan Gross was sentenced to 15 years in prison after a U.S. Agency for International Development contractor sent him to Cuba to set up satellite Internet connections.
Bill Maher giving commencement speech
Article in the Daily Californian: Bill Maher delivers keynote address at UC Berkeley commencement The article includes a 2 1/2 minute video clip.

Quotes from Maher: “I was born after electricity, after antibiotics and, thank you Jesus, especially after indoor toilets. I was born after those things, but I was born before climate change and environmental destruction could make life on earth a living hell. Unless we solve that issue, there are no other issues.”

“Never forget that we are lucky to live in a country that has a First Amendment. Liberals should want to own it the way conservatives own the Second.”

“Don’t be afraid to be a crazy person and understand that the truth is not always popular.”

And from one of the comments: "Glad to see the earth still standing."


A story from The Real News featuring an interview with John M. Ackerman. a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Editor-in-Chief of the Mexican Law Review and a columnist with both La Jornada newspaper and Proceso magazine.

Click here for the transcript and a larger version of the video.


This video, from Vice News, is the best video so far of the disappearance of the 43 students of the Escuela Normal Rural Raul Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero. With English narration and subtitles. 37 minutes.

Original page (with larger video):


Sun Nov 23, 2014 at 02:28 PM PST

More major protests in Mexico

by roberb7

Protesters walk under a giant net and with their hands painted red during a massive march in Mexico City,Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. Protesters marched in the capital city to demand authorities find 43 missing college students, seeking to pressure the govern
Protesters walk under a giant net and with their hands painted red during a massive march in Mexico City, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.
There were protests throughout Mexico on November 20, which is the 104th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. There will be more of them on December 1, the 100th anniversary of Francisco Villa and Emiliano Zapata's entry into Mexico City with their armies. Story by Homero Aridjis in Huffington Post: We're Mad as Hell, and We're Not Going to Take It Anymore

Excerpts: "On Nov. 7, Mexico's Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam announced in a press conference that the 43 students had most probably been done away with in Cocula, not far from Iguala."
"No one is satisfied with the explanations so far."
"The past 56 days have seen marches, sit-ins, teachers' and students' strikes, looting in shopping centers and supermarkets, ransacking and torching of public buildings, seizing of toll booths, blockading of highways and mass fasting and prayer. During last weekend's three-day holiday, 14,000 hotel reservations were cancelled in Acapulco due to the resort city's recent unrest."

Cartoon from Borderland Beat
"He has a book! He has a book!"
Op-ed piece by "DD" at Borderland Beat: “They wanted to bury us but they didn’t know we were seeds"
It's about protests in support of the 43 disappeared (and probably dead) students of the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero. These protests are happening not only all over Mexico, but at places like Harvard, MIT, Boston University, and Tufts as well.
The massacre also caught the attention of Jonathan Fox of American University, writing on The Hill's Congress Blog (Behind Mexico’s latest massacre: Authorities were warned but didn’t listen): "The U.S. government-funded Merida Initiative was supposed to bolster Mexican government efforts to promote the rule of law and human rights. The accountability failures exposed by the Iguala atrocity suggest that it’s time to take a closer look, to ensure that U.S. taxpayer money is part of the solution rather than part of the problem." Fox also wrote, "Today, in spite of the climate of repression, Guerrero is filled with groups that are ready to be listened to: brave human rights defenders, coffee cooperatives, indigenous rights advocates, grassroots environmentalists, women’s health promoters, cross-border migrant philanthropy clubs, as well as broad-based community-based police forces in the state’s mountain and coastal regions."
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