An inquiry published Saturday has revealed that there is virtually no physical evidence to support the Mexican government´s version of the 2014 disappearance of 43 students traveling by bus to Mexico City. Government officials insist that a drug gang kidnapped the students at gunpint, killed them and burned the bodies at a dumpsite near the southwesten town of Iguala, but the report, based on forensic records requested by the Associated Press, revealed no signs of a fire on the night in question.
But the notes of a forensic examination of the Cocula dumpsite in Guerrero state in western Mexico shows that investigators could not confirm a fire on the night that the students vanished on September 26, 2014. The AP obtained the documents under a freedom of information request permissible under Mexican law.
The AP inquiry is the latest in a series of independent investigations that undermines the Mexican government´s version of events. Police say that five suspects have confessed to the crimes but an international panel of experts earlier this year concluded that the confessions were obtained by torture.
Earlier this year the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) found animal and human remains at the dumpsite but said none of the remains corresponded to the government´s allegation that the bodies were incinerated by members of the Guerreros Unidos cartel. The Attorney General’s Office in April presented evidence of a huge fire and the discovery of the remains of at least 17 adults but the bone fragments were too badly burned to identify, the Argentine team said.
The government´s handling of the case has triggered massive protests that include parents and friends of the students, trade unons and grassroots organizations who believe that law-enforcement authorities are complicit in the slayings of the 43 students, who had effectively stolen a bus, ironically enough, to attend the commemoration of a 1968 police massacre of students.
The case has marred the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, who took office promising to reduce violence, curb corruption, and human rights abuses in the country.
Member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas are natural targets for the relentless psychological warfare of Western news media, because they form a resistance front to the foreign policy imperatives of the United States government and its allies. Right now, Venezuela is the most obvious example. Daily negative coverage in Western media reports invariably attack and blame the Venezuelan government for the country’s political and economic crisis. Similar coverage is applied to the governments of Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Cuba’s revolutionary government led by Raul Castro and also to Nicaragua’s Sandinista government led by Daniel Ortega.
By contrast, the permanent economic sabotage, the attacks on democratic process and the cynical promotion of violence by the dysfunctional Venezuelan opposition gets a free pass. Likewise, U.S. and European news media have virtually nothing to report about Argentina’s abrupt plunge into crisis with 40 percent inflation and a dramatic increase in poverty after barely six months of Mauricio Macri’s corruption tainted government. Nor has coverage of the chronic complicity of the Mexican government in covering up the disappearance of of the 43 Ayotzinapa students or the mass murder of striking teachers in Oaxaca matched the hysteria applied by Western media to Venezuela over bogus human rights concerns.
No doubt political scientists could work out the correlation between adverse or downright hostile media coverage and official measures or announcements by U.S. and allied governments. What’s clear in general is that Western media coverage actively and purposefully serves U.S. and allied government foreign policy preparing the ground for otherwise categorically inexplicable measures of diplomatic and economic aggression. For example, the self-evidently absurd declaration by President Obama that Venezuela constitutes a threat to the security of the United States or the anti-humanitarian failure of the U.S. government to lift the illegal economic blockade of Cuba despite President Obama’s duplicitous avowals recognizing the blockade’s political failure.
Venezuela and Cuba are close, loyal allies of Nicaragua, now in an election year. Nicaragua’s Sandinista government has faced a Western media assault over the last month or so with the U.S. government issuing a travel alert. The alert warns U.S. travelers to Nicaragua to be wary of “increased government scrutiny of foreigners’ activities, new requirements for volunteer groups, and the potential for demonstrations during the upcoming election season in Nicaragua…. U.S. citizens in Nicaragua should be aware of heightened sensitivity by Nicaraguan officials to certain subjects or activities, including: elections, the proposed inter-oceanic canal, volunteer or charitable visits, topics deemed sensitive by or critical of the government.” In a video mixed message about that alert, the U.S. Ambassador to the country, Laura Dogu, states that the advisory should in no way deter tourists from the United States visiting Nicaragua.
The travel alert appears to have been provoked by the experiences of a U.S. academic and also two U.S. government functionaries who were asked by the Nicaraguan authorities to leave the country in June. The official U.S. reaction has a lot in common with the mentality described in “Orientalism,” Edward Said’s intricate psycho-cultural map of Western perceptions of Muslim countries. Said writes, “The scientist, the scholar, the missionary, the trader or the soldier was in or thought about the Orient because he could be there or could think about it with very little resistance on the Orient’s part.” Translated to the Americas, the attitudes and behavior of Said’s orientalist are clearly present among U.S. Americanists, both governmental and non-governmental, and their regional collaborators.
The latest example of Americanist hubris here in Nicaragua has been a remarkably unscholarly outburst by Evan Ellis, the professor of the U.S. College of War who was expelled by the Nicaraguan government while attempting an unauthorized investigation of Nicaragua’s proposed interoceanic canal. Ellis’ ill-tempered diatribe repeats a familiar litany of downright falsehoods, wild speculation and poisonous calumnies, attacking Nicaragua’s Sandinista government led by Daniel Ortega as a dictatorship. It appeared in Latin America Goes Global, closely associated with the center right Project Syndicate media network. Project Syndicate lists among its associate media right-wing media outlets like Clarin and La Nación in Argentina, Folha de Sao Paulo and O Globo in Brazil and El Nacional in Venezuela.
So it is no surprise that in Nicaragua its associate media outlet should be the virulently anti-Sandinista Confidencial, which published the Spanish version of Ellis’s attack, making Ellis’ accusations of dictatorship look stupid. Addressing Chinese involvement in Nicaragua’s proposed interoceanic canal, Ellis displays his ignorance of Nicaragua’s relationship with both China and Taiwan. His tendentious, ahistorical analysis betrays the mentality of an unreconstructed Cold Warrior in all its inglorious torpor. That ideological straitjacket prevents Ellis from even beginning to appreciate Daniel Ortega’s hard-headed but deep commitment to promoting peace and reconciliation based on genuine dialog. Western political leaders and their media and academic shills perceive that commitment as a sign of weakness, which explains a great deal about repeated failures of Western foreign policy all around the world.
Around the same time as the Ellis affair, Viridiana Ríos a Mexican academic associated with the U.S. Woodrow Wilson Center left Nicaragua claiming police persecution. Ríos entered Nicaragua as a tourist but then proceeded to carry out a program of interviews with various institutions for her academic research. The curious thing about her claims is that she was never actually interviewed by any Nicaraguan official, either of the police or the immigration service. But she claims her hotel alerted her to a visit by police, in fact if it happened at all more likely immigration officials, who presumably left satisfied because otherwise she would certainly have been interviewed. Ríos then supposedly contacted the Mexican embassy who allegedly and inexplicably advised her to leave for Mexico. The upshot is that Ríos visited Nicaragua only to suddenly fear, for no obvious reason, being disappeared by government officials who could easily have detained her had they so wished. Rios then, with no complications, left Nicaragua, the safest country in the Americas along with Canada and Chile, and went home to Mexico, a country with 28,000 disappeared people.
Around the same time, as the reports about Ellis and Ríos, the Guardian published a disinformation scatter-gun attack on the Nicaraguan government also firming up the false positive of Nicaragua under Daniel Ortega’s presidency as a dictatorship. The dictatorship accusations are complete baloney. Neither Ellis nor the Guardian report faithfully that even center-right polling companies agree that support for Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista political party runs at over 60 percent of people surveyed while the political opposition barely muster 10 percent support. Similar polls show massive confidence in both the police (74 percent ), the army (79.8 percent) and satisfaction with Nicaragua’s democracy (73.9 percent). Another common theme in the attacks by Ellis and the Guardian is the supposed suspension of the construction of Nicaragua’s planned interoceanic canal, based on yet another false positive -the bogus hypothesis that the canal has no finance.
The basis for this claim is sheer speculation based on the afterwards-equals-because fallacy, typified by another unscrupulous and disingenuous Guardian article from November 2015 offering zero factual support for the claim that the Canal ‘s construction has been postponed for financial reasons. That report and numerous others reflect the outright dishonesty of the Canal’s critics. From the outset the canal’s critics accused the government and HKND, the Chinese company building the canal, of moving too quickly and failing to take into account environmental concerns and also for an alleged lack of transparency. When the government and the HKND took on board recommendations from the ERM environmental impact study to do more environmental studies, the Canal’s critics changed tack, accusing the government of covering up that the Canal has been delayed because HKND has run out of money. That claim seems to originate in Western psy-warfare outlets in Asia like the South China Morning Post and the Bangkok Post which have consistently run attack pieces on HKND’s owner, Wang Jing.
This standard operating intellectual dishonesty by NATO psy-warfare outlets like the Guardian, omits various inconvenient facts. For example, preparatory work on the Canal route continues with various studies in progress, including aerial surveys by an Australian company, one of whose pilots, Canadian Grant Atkinson tragically died in a crash late last year. This year, the government reached a conclusive agreement with local indigenous groups affected by the Canal after an extensive process of consultation. This year too, Nicaragua has signed a memorandum of understanding with Antwerp’s Maritime Academy to train the pilots who will guide shipping through the Canal and also a cooperation agreement with the UK Hydrographic Office for training and advice in relation to the hydrographic maps the Canal will need. This is hardly the behavior of people managing a project in crisis. That said, the global economic environment right now is so uncertain that investors in any large project let alone one as huge as the Nicaraguan Canal will certainly be wary.
The global economic context and the Canal’s geostrategic aspect receive a more rational treatment than Ellis’ self-serving rant in an article by Nil Nikandrov. Even Nikandrov seems to accept as fact the Guardian’s entirely speculative claim that the Canal’s financing is in crisis, but he rightly treats Ellis’s Cold War style anti-Sandinista hysteria with amused scepticism. In fact, neither Nikandrov nor Ellis make the obvious point that the strongest geostrategic reality in relation to the Canal is that, should U.S.-China tensions in the South China Sea accentuate into outright confrontation, China could not defend militarily the strong investment by Chinese companies in Nicaragua’s Canal. In any case, Nikandrov, rightly points out with regard to Nicaragua’s economy, “Nicaragua’s socioeconomic progress, Nicaraguans’ improved standard of living, and the stability and security there (compared to the increase in crime in most Central American countries) can all largely be credited to President Ortega.”
But even that reality can be turned on its head in the hands of a butterfly columnist as Bloomberg’s Mac Margolis demonstrated in his July 4 article “Nicaragua Prospers Under an Ex-Guerrilla.” Just for a change Bloomberg’s editors omitted their trademark “unexpectedly”, usually slipped in to any headline reporting unpalatable news. But the premier U.S. business news site could only finally recognize the incredible progress achieved by Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista government by at the same time smearing and denigrating President Ortega in the process. On the positive side Margolis recognizes, “the Nicaraguan economy grew 4.9 percent last year and has averaged 5.2 percent for the last five. Although three in 10 Nicaraguans are poor, unemployment and inflation are low. Public sector debt is a modest 2.2 percent of gross domestic product.”
That apart, Margolis writes, “Ortega’s critics know a darker side. Consider the ever-accommodating Nicaraguan Supreme Court, which last week deposed opposition leader Eduardo Montealegre as head of the Independent Liberal Party – essentially clearing the way for Ortega to run unchallenged in the November elections.” This is identical to the dishonest argument in Nina Lakhani’s Guardian article. Montealegre’s PLI had around 3 percent support, under the new PLI leader that seems to have crept up to around 5 percent. The Supreme Court decision made no difference to the fact that Nicaragua’s political opposition has been incapable of a serious electoral challenge to Daniel Ortega since before the last elections in 2011. Since then Daniel Ortega’s popularity has grown while support for the Nicaraguan opposition has collapsed. Implicitly contradicting himself, Margolis acknowledges that fact but goes on to make speculative, fact-free accusations of corruption, directly in relation to Nicaragua’s proposed Canal.
Without being specific he hints at widespread opposition to the Canal in Nicaragua, writing “a shadowy project that Ortega farmed out to Chinese investors led by billionaire Wang Jing. Ground has yet to be broken on the US$50 billion development, but Nicaraguans have raised a stink over the lavishly generous terms of the deal”. While opposition to the Canal certainly does exist, 73 percent of people in Nicaragua support it. Evan Ellis mentions an alleged opposition demonstration of 400,000 people, which is simply untrue. The biggest demonstration against the Canal drew about 40,000 people back in 2014 when Nicaragua’s political opposition bussed people to a march from all over the country. Plenty of information is available about the Canal and Margolis has no facts to back up his baseless accusation of corruption “I’d wager a fistful of Nicaraguan córdobas that ‘Presidente-Comandante Daniel’ has something he’s uneager to share.”
Only the crass Americanist mind set could provoke such presumptuous contempt for the opinion of the great majority of Nicaraguans. Margolis really seems to believe Nicaraguans are so stupid as to support a President who he alleges is self-evidently corrupt. In fact, Margolis’ discredited protagonist, Eduardo Montealegre, has precisely the kind of corruption tainted track record so familiar from the U.S. government deregulation of Wall Street. Montealegre was the Nicaraguan Treasury Minister under a U.S. supported right wing government and oversaw a massive bailout of Nicaragua’s rotten banking system from which his own bank benefited directly at the time. Perfectly natural then for a Bloomberg columnist to highlight Montealegre while attacking Daniel Ortega who rescued Nicaragua from precisely that culture of abject corruption. This banal irrational attack on Daniel Ortega deliberately obscures the reasons for Nicaragua’s economic success, which shows up current US and European economic policy as faith based nonsense.
Domestically, President Ortega has prioritized poverty reduction, implementing very successful socialist redistributive policies and extensive infrastructure development. Overseas, his Sandinista government has dramatically diversified commercial and development cooperation relationships, in particular structuring Venezuela’s aid in a way equivalent to deficit spending, whose success contrasts sharply with the mindless futility of current Western economic policy. Contradicting the Bloomberg article, Nil Nikandrov is much closer to reality when he writes that Ortega is, “a faithful defender of Nicaragua’s interests on the international stage and enjoys the support of the vast majority of Nicaraguans.” As the NATO country psychological warfare media crank up their attacks on Nicaragua in an election year, it remains to be seen whether Nikandrov is right when he argues, “the subversive activities of the U.S. intelligence services and their ‘strategy of chaos’ will not work in Nicaragua.”
Amid raging corruption, social pathologies and outright political thuggery, a new gang of vassal regimes has taken-over Latin America. The new rulers are strictly recruited as the protégé’s of US financial and banking institutions. Hence the financial press refers to them as the “new managers” – of Wall Street.
The US financial media has once again provided a political cover for the vilest crimes committed by the ‘new managers’ as they launch their offensive against labor and in favor of the foreign and domestic financiers.
To understand the dynamics of the empire’s new vassal managers we will proceed by identifying (1) the illicit power grab (2) the neo-liberal policies they have pursued (3) the impact of their program on the class structure (4) their economic performance and future socio-political perspectives.
Vassals as Managers of Empire
Latin America’s current vassalage elite is of longer and shorter duration.
The regimes of longer duration with a historical legacy of submission, corruption and criminality include Mexico and Colombia where oligarchs, government officials and death squads cohabit in close association with the US military, business and banking elites.
Over the past decades 100,000 citizens were murdered in Mexico and over 4 million peasants were dispossessed in Colombia. In both regimes over ten million acres of farmland and mining terrain were transferred to US and EU multinationals.
Hundreds of billions of illicit narco earnings were laundered by the Colombian and Mexican oligarchy to their US accounts via private banks.
The current political managers, Peña in Mexico and Santos in Colombia are rapidly de-nationalizing strategic oil and energy sectors, while savaging dynamic social movements – hundreds of students and teachers in Mexico and thousands of peasants and human rights activists in Colombia have been murdered.
The new wave of imperial vassals has seized power throughout most of Latin America with the direct and indirect intervention of the US. In 2009, Honduras President Manuel Zelaya was ousted by a military coup backed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Zelaya’s program of agrarian reform, regional integration (with Venezuela) and constitutional elections was abolished. Zelaya was replaced by a US vassal, Roberto Micheletti who proceeded to murder several hundred landless rural workers and indigenous activists.
Washington moved to organize a constitutional cover by promoting a highly malleable landowner, Porfirio Lobo Sosa to the presidency.
The State Department next ousted Paraguyan President Francisco Lugo who governed between 2008-2012. Lugo promoted a moderate agrarian reform and a centrist regional integration agenda.
With the backing of Secretary of State Clinton, the Paraguayan oligarchy in Congress seized power , fabricated an impeachment decree and ousted President Lugo. He was briefly replaced by Vice President Federico Franco (2012-2013).
In 2013, Washington backed , the capital, Asuncion’s, notorious crime boss for President, one Horacio Castes – convicted for currency fraud in 1989, drug running in 1990, and most recently (2010) money laundering.
The Honduras and Paraguayan coups established (in miniature) the precedent for a new wave of ‘big country’ political vassals. The State Department moved toward the acceleration of banking takeovers in Brazil, Argentina and Peru.
In rapid succession, between December 2015 and April 2016 vassal managers seized power in Argentina and Brazil. In Argentina millionaire Mauricio Macri ruled by decree, bypassing constitutional legality. Macri fired scores of thousands of public service workers, closed social agencies and appointed judges and prosecutors without Congressional vote. He arbitrarily arrested social movement leaders – violating democratic procedures.
Macri’s Economic and Finance Ministers gained millions of dollars by ‘buying into’ multinational oil companies just prior to handing over private options on public enterprises.
The all-encompassing swindles and fraud carried out by the ‘new managers’ were covered up by the US media, who praised Macri’s professional team.
Moreover, Macri’s economic performance was a disaster. Exorbitant user fees on utilities and transport for consumers and business enterprises, increased three to ten-fold, forcing bankruptcy rates to soar and households to suffer light and gas closures.
Wall Street vulture funds received a seven billion dollar payment from Macri’s managers, for defaulted loans purchased for pennies over a dollar, twenty-fold greater then the original lenders.
Data based on standard economic indicators highlights the worst economic performance in a decade and a half.
Price inflation exceeds 40%; public debt increased by twenty percent in six months. Living standards and employment sharply declined. Growth and investment data was negative. Mismanagement, official corruption and arbitrary governance, did not induce confidence among local small and medium size businesses.
The respectable media, led by the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post falsified every aspect of Macri’s regime. Failed economic policies implemented by bankers turned cabinet ministers were dubbed long-term successes; crude ideologically driven policies promoting foreign investor profiteering were re-invented as business incentives.
Political thugs dismantled and replaced civil service agencies were labelled ‘a new management team’ by the vulgar propaganda scribes of the financial press.
In Brazil, a phony political power grab by Congressional opportunists ousted elected President Dilma Rousseff. She was replaced by a Washington approved serial swindler and notorious bribe taker, Michel Temer.
The new economic managers were predictably controlled by Wall Street, World Bank and IMF bankers. They rushed measures to slash wages, pensions and other social expenditures, to lower business taxes and privatize the most lucrative public enterprises in transport, infrastructure, landholdings, oil and scores of other activities.
Even as the prostitute press lauded Brazil’s new managers’, prosecutors and judges arrested three newly appointed cabinet ministers for fraud and money laundering. ‘President’ Temer is next in line for prosecution for his role in the mega Petrobras oil contracts scandal for bribes and payola.
The economic agenda by the new managers are not designed to attract new productive investments. Most inflows are short-term speculative ventures. Markets, especially, in commodities, show no upward growth, much to the chagrin of the free market technocrats. Industry and commerce are depressed as a result of the decline in consumer credit, employment and public spending induced by ‘the managers’ austerity policies.
Even as the US and Europe embrace free market austerity, it evokes a continent wide revolt. Nevertheless Latin America’s wave of vassal regimes, remain deeply embedded in decimating the welfare state and pillaging public treasuries led by a narrow elite of bankers and serial swindlers.
As Washington and the prostitute press hail their ‘new managers’ in Latin America, the celebration is abruptly giving way to mass rage over corruption and demands for a shift to the political left.
In Brazil, “President” Temer rushes to implement big business measures, as his time in office is limited to weeks not months. His time out of jail is nearing a deadline. His cabinet of ‘technocrats’ prepare their luggage to follow.
Maurico Macri may survive a wave of strikes and protests and finish the year in office. But the plunging economy and pillage of the treasury is leading business to bankruptcy, the middle class to empty bank accounts and the dispossessed to spontaneous mass upheavals.
Washington’s new managers in Latin America cannot cope with an unruly citizenry and a failing free market economy.
Coups have been tried and work for grabbing power but do not establish effective rulership. Political shifts to the right are gyrating out of Washington’s orbit and find no new counter-balance in the break-up of the European Union.
Vassal capitalist takeovers in Latin America generated publicist anesthesia and Wall Street euphoria; only to be rudely shocked to reality by economic pathologies.
Washington and Wall Street and their Latin America managers sought a false reality of unrestrained profits and pillaged wealth. The reality principle now forces them to recognize that their failures are inducing rage today and uprisings tomorrow.
The country’s state oil company, Pemex, which is one of the federal government’s main sources of revenue, is since May 10 no longer be the country’s only producer of oil, reports revealed Wednesday, after the state-owned company granted the first six licenses for oil extraction since left-leaning Mexican former President Lazaro Cardenas nationalized the industry in 1938.
The country’s oil production will now include the participation of private energy companies in the extracting fossil fuels from designated oil fields across the country.
Mexico’s energy ministry awarded six foreign companies with contractual licences for oil extraction, during the first round of government led energy auction on Tuesday.
The Mexican Secretary of Energy Pedro Joaquin Coldwell said on Tuesday that the signing of contracts generated “great trust” between investors and companies seeking to put their money to work in the country.
International oil companies are keenly interested in the forthcoming bidding processes, which includes the participation of 28 companies are in in the upcoming bidding rounds.
The news takes place as Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto intends to move forward with energy-sector reforms, which will allow foreign participation and financing in the energy sector, with the assumption that these measures will result in a more efficient exploitation of the country’s untapped energy potential.
In their book “Network of Death”, three German journalists revealed illegal arms supplies from Germany to Mexico. However, instead of being praised for their efforts, all three of them may face a court trial on alleged breach of the German Press Act and disclosure of secret information.
The book written by German journalists Daniel Harrich, Danuta Harrich-Sandberg und Jürgen Grässlin revealed illegal arms supplies by German company Heckler & Koch to Mexico. It turned out that the weapons — G36 assault rifles made by the firm — appeared in the Mexican states of Guerrero and Chihuahua, although the supplies to these states were prohibited by German authorities.
In 2005, the German regulatory agency allowed the delivery of 9,000 assault rifles to Mexico between 2006 and 2009 on the condition that they won’t be available in the Mexican states of Guerrero, Jalisco, Chiapas and Chihuahua.
However, it recently became known that the arms not only leaked to these territories, but were also allegedly used during the assault on Ayotzinapa students on September 26, where six people were killed, 25 injured and 43 disappeared.
In their book, journalists not only revealed the fact that the German company illegally delivered G36 assault rifles to Mexico, but also accused German authorities of negligence and complicity in the deal.
“In our latest book, […] we’ve published highly sensitive documents as proof for our assumptions that not only Heckler & Koch is responsible for this, but also the Federal Office on Export and the Federal Ministry of Economics,” Grässlin said in an interview with Sputnik.
According to the journalist, both authorities made the deliveries to Mexico possible, although the German Foreign Ministry had initially prohibited the supply of weapons to the country. In 2010, Grässlin filed an application with a request to start an investigation into the case, but as a result only employees of the company, and none of the authorities were prosecuted.
“The Stuttgart public prosecution office still refuses to prosecute those in the Federal Ministry of Economics and the Federal Export Office responsible and co-responsible for it, and this is a scandal,” Grässlin said.
Instead, surprisingly, the Munich public prosecution office is currently considering an option to prosecute journalists themselves.
Under paragraph 353d of the Criminal Code, the journalists might be charged with “violation of professional and special secrecy”. The law prohibits disclosing messages, documents or any other information from a criminal case. The violation is punishable with a fine or imprisonment of up to one year.
A panel of international experts probing the 2014 massacre of 43 Mexican students has accused the government of obstructing its inquiry into Mexico’s most notorious murder case in recent years.
Foreign experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued their final report Sunday, saying the government’s stonewalling stopped them from reaching the truth.
The five-member panel, who has been investigating the case for a year, said Mexican authorities showed “little interest” in moving forward with the probe.
The panel also accused the Mexican government of allowing a smear campaign against its investigation in an attempt to discredit the final report as it prepared to leave the country.
A group 43 students from Ayotzinapa Teacher Training College went missing on the night of September 26, 2014, after they participated in a protest in the south-western city of Iguala, in Guerrero state.
Mexican prosecutors say they were arrested by corrupt municipal policemen and handed over to the local criminal gang of Guerreros Unidos, which apparently massacred them and burned their bodies at a garage dump.
Relatives of the victims dismiss the government version of the incident, accusing authorities of trying to cover up the involvement of senior politicians and army officers in the killings.
The international report also dismissed the government’s narrative, saying there is no evidence that the 43 students were incinerated at the dump.
It said the claim that the students had been burned is scientifically impossible given the heat needed to reduce human remains to ash.
It said the remains of only one student were fully identified after they were found in a nearby river.
“More than a year and a half after the students’ disappearance, we are no closer to knowing what really happened that night but one thing’s for certain: the credibility of the Mexican government is more in doubt than ever,” the report noted.
The case sparked outrage across the country and has led to street protests against President Enrique Pena Nieto.
The report also accused the government of torturing some of the suspects detained in relation to the case.
It said medical report of the suspects shows “significant indications of mistreatment and torture” against 17 of the detainees. More than 100 suspects were detained in the case.
Hillary Clinton’s recent comments on the 43 students for La Opinión show the media’s failure to judge her pandering rhetoric against her actual, substantive actions. When she states she is indignant about the case, she erases her role in the violence engulfing Mexico. The corporate media allows this, because their pages never print about the US-role in Mexico’s War on Drugs.
Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. During that time, State Department officials under her direction continued to vet and clear Mexican security forces to receive arms transfers. When she says rhetorically, “If there was something the US could do to help, I would be the first to offer it”, it is the theatre of faux-naivety. She knows quite well that the US could end support for policies militarizing Mexico. It’s just that she is not concerned with human rights if that means demilitarization.
It was under the Clinton State Department that the Merida Initiative continued passed its original 3-year time frame. The Merida Initiative enables the Mexican government to repress dissent, while at the same time increasing Mexican elite dependence on the infusion of US armaments. She has called for more of this Plan Colombia-style policy in the future, which means that under a Clinton presidency we can expect more violence throughout Central America.
So, when Clinton exclaims that she is indignant about the Mexican government’s role in covering up the Ayotzinapa case, it belies the fact that she would support (and possibly ramp up) policies that enable the Mexican government to do exactly what she says is a “violation of the law”. The evidence is quite clear on this point, and reported by countless others, like Dawn Paley, Greg Grandin, and Jesse Franzblau. The fact that the corporate media has ignored the record is typical. Clinton’s pandering hypocrisy, typical as well.
Sadly, Clinton is using the tragedy of the 43 to justify and continue policies that brought it about. That is why I am indignant. That is why we should all be indignant.
President Peña Nieto opened Tuesday´s session of the U.N. Drug Policy Summit by announcing a move towards legalizing marijuana.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto started off the special session of the U.N. Drug Policy Summit by announcing a stark policy change: the need to move towards legalizing marijuana for medical and scientific purposes. Even though he had previously been a vocal opponent of drug legalization, he now has moved toward legalization.
Stating that Mexico has paid a high price for its problems with drug trafficking, he recognized the limitations of the prohibitionist paradigm. Citing the suffering, loss of life and violence as a result of this phenomenon, he said that drug trafficking is still one of the most profitable activities of organized crime in Mexico.
He further stressed the need for greater collaboration between U.N. agencies in order to address all aspects of the global drug problem. Peña Nieto also addressed the need to look at social harms related to the illicit drug market and finding solutions through alternative education and other policies that could promote social cohesion.
The president said he plans to hold an event on Thursday in order to discuss this drug policy change.
Two Mexican federal police officers allegedly participated in the disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa students, the National Human Rights Commission said Thursday, implicating national agents in the 2014 case for the first time, Agence France-Presse reports.
Jose Larrieta Carrasco, a commission official investigating the case, said the authorities should now look into a “new route in the disappearance” of the students.
Prosecutors have already charged municipal police officers in connection with the mass abduction in the southern city of Iguala on September 26-27, 2014.
But the governmental rights commission said it found an eyewitness who saw two federal agents near Iguala’s courthouse, where municipal officers had stopped a bus carrying 15 to 20 students.
The commission also said another local police department, from the town of Huitzuco, had a previously unknown role in the disappearance.
Many in Mexico, including the families of the disappeared, suspect that the police force was ordered to kill the student protesters by high level members of a local cartel.
See Part I
The defeat of the Kirchnerists in the recent presidential elections in Argentina was largely due to the publicity and propaganda advantages held by Mauricio Macri, the leader of the Republican Proposal party. Those advantages were provided by the Clarín media group that dominates public communications in Argentina. Macri was called the «US candidate», and this has proven true since he took office. Barack Obama came to Buenos Aires on an official visit and was full of optimism when he spoke of the upcoming golden era in the US-Argentine relations.
In order to earn this relationship, Macri took a confrontational tack toward Venezuela and what’s more, made it clear that he was carefully «studying the consequences» of the Kirchners’ 12-year rule. Now the accusations are growing louder against Cristina Fernández de Kirchner over her involvement in the murder of Special Prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who had been investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires. Nisman was planning to accuse Fernandez as well as Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman of conspiring to «safeguard the impunity» of the Iranians who were involved in the bombing, according to one version …
The tabloids have published the «revelations» of Miriam Quiroga, who was Néstor Kirchner’s secretary as well as his alleged mistress. Her disclosures have sparked rumors that now proliferate about corruption, money-laundering, and the involvement of Cristina Fernandez and her family. It is entirely possible that the NSA will manufacture yet more materials in order to prevent Christina from taking part in future presidential elections. It does not matter to the orchestrators of this dirty war that the materials obtained through «bugging» are always fragmentary, superficial, and must be extensively cross-checked. Provocateurs are focused solely on spreading scandalous accusations that can feed a media frenzy lasting for years.
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Bolivian President Evo Morales, with whom the US embassy in La Paz has a long history of grievances (if for no other reason than the 2008 expulsion of Ambassador Philip Goldberg), was not immune to the exposés that US intelligence agencies concoct in order to undermine the credibility of politicians. The Feb. 21 referendum on amendments to the Bolivian constitution allowing the president to run for a third consecutive term ended unfavorably for Morales. Voters were swayed by the story of the president’s former partner, Gabriela Zapata. The president had stated that they had had a son who died in infancy, but Zapata claimed otherwise – that the boy was supposedly alive and being cared for by her family. This electrifying news is now being thoroughly milked by the tabloids.
The media has also publicized information about the help provided by Morales in order to secure Zapata, who lacks a higher education, an executive position at the Chinese company CAMC. The multi-million-dollar contracts won by that company are attributed to Morales’ influence. The CIA’s hand is clearly visible in the scandal, because this news was publicized by the journalist Carlos Valverde Bravo, who has in the past headed the intelligence service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, while earning a living on the side by cooperating with the biggest drug cartel in Bolivia (in the 1990s). Some members of the cartel used authorization documents issued by Valverde when transporting cocaine abroad. After a lurid story about sending drugs to the US inside decorative figurines, he was arrested and sentenced to several years in prison. After his release, he began a career as a radio journalist and is now regularly invited to receptions at the US embassy, where he is provided with the subjects for his «targeted exposés».
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Among the Latin American politicians causing unease in Washington is Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a moderate nationalist and the most likely contender for victory in Mexico’s 2018 presidential elections. It is possible that he could be transformed into a «Mexican populist». Obrador has repeatedly jockeyed for that highest state office, but the backroom machinations and manipulation of the vote counting affected the final outcome. Particularly questionable was the defeat from the Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, in 2012. Obrador’s newest bid is predicted to be successful, and it will be difficult for his enemies to block it using their old tricks. Political associates and bloggers who are sympathetic to Obrador constantly warn him that his life is in danger – because that is how political rivals are traditionally disposed of in Mexico.
Obrador is often asked if he is afraid of being assassinated and why he does not request a more substantial security detail. Without downplaying the dangers, he answers imperturbably, «He who owes nothing, fears nothing. If criminals are intent on doing something, they will corrupt every institution of power in order to realize their objectives. Thus, the only way to prevail over violence is through peaceful social mobilization. And it’s best if that takes the form of voting, because that shows that citizens are sick of the corruption that plagues their country».
Is Obrador sufficiently aware of the threat US intelligence agencies might pose to him? No question. Evidently this is why he has always distanced himself from Hugo Chávez. When the Venezuelan leader died on March 5, 2013, Obrador tweeted, «I had no ties to Chávez. My enemies used his image to attack me». Will this help him to dispel Washington’s mistrust and once again vie for the presidency? That’s doubtful. The US intelligence community has plenty of ways to bulldoze Obrador’s political career …
Ahead of a February 12 visit by Pope Francis to Mexico, around 30 indigenous communities in Michoacan, Mexico, have released a statement demanding that he apologize for killings of some 24 million aboriginal inhabitants, committed with the complicity of the Catholic Church during the colonization of the Americas.
The Supreme Indigenous Council of Michoacan, Mexico, accused the Catholic Church of being involved in mass genocide, which started with the Spaniards’ arrival to the Central American region in the 16th century.
The statement noted that, by the beginning of the 17th century, there were less than 700,000 native inhabitants left alive, from an original population of about 25.2 million, which makes the Spanish intervention and invasion of the Americas one of the largest acts of genocide in history.
“For over 500 years, the original people of the Americas have been ransacked, robbed, murdered, exploited, discriminated and persecuted,” the statement reads. “Within this framework, the Catholic Church has historically been complicit and allies of those who invaded our land.”
The communities also emphasized that colonizers’ abuses included the forcing of European culture, language and Catholicism on the native peoples of Central America, and using the Bible as an “ideological weapon.”
“The arrival of the Europeans meant the interruption and destruction of various original civilizations, which had their unique ideas and concepts of the world, our own government, writings, languages, education, religion and philosophy,” they said.
Various Purepechas communities from Michoacan demanded that the Pope officially apologize for the church’s role in the genocide of some 95 percent of the indigenous population of Central America within about a century following the beginning of the “European invasion.”
During his visit to Mexico, Pope Francis will issue a decree authorizing the use of indigenous languages in mass celebrations. The controversial move is aimed at protecting the rights of native people in the country.
In 2015, the Pope apologized for “grave sins” committed against the native people of the Americas during an encounter in Bolivia with indigenous groups and in the presence of Bolivia’s first-ever indigenous president, Evo Morales.
Goldman Sachs is set to invest in Mexico’s newly opened energy sector, Reuters reported Tuesday.
The company’s private equity arm has teamed up with Ainda, a Mexican consulting firm, to invest in energy and infrastructure, signing a deal to “identify, pursue, evaluate and make investments jointly,” according to a filing seen by Reuters.
Ainda would invest up to US$1.15 billion in projects with Goldman’s Merchant Banking Division, with the latter putting up at least 50 percent of the total equity amount in joint projects, a source told Reuters.
The Mexican government approved a comprehensive, neoliberal reform of its energy policies in August, 2014.
The energy reform allows private companies to participate in the oil and gas industries for the first time since 1938, when President Alvaro Obregon nationalized the oil industry.
The decline in the price of oil has also negatively affected the income of the state-oil company, Pemex, reducing its capability of investing in production, leading government to pursue private investment even more vigorously.
As such, in September Mexico’s finance ministry unveiled a new vehicle in September similar to a real estate investment trust called a Fibra E.
Reuters reported in November that Ainda plans to raise US$1.15 billion through a public offering of certificates for an infrastructure energy investment vehicle, and that vehicle can subsequently be converted into a Fibra E.
The filing specifying the joint investment between Goldman and Ainda is expected to be submitted to the Mexican stock exchange shortly.