Poland’s Lewandowski Misses Penalty In Mexico Stalemate

Mexico's goalkeeper #13 Guillermo Ochoa (bottom) saves a penalty shot by Poland's forward #09 Robert Lewandowski (C) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Mexico and Poland at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)
Mexico’s goalkeeper #13 Guillermo Ochoa (bottom) saves a penalty shot by Poland’s forward #09 Robert Lewandowski (C) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Mexico and Poland at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Robert Lewandowski suffered fresh World Cup misery as the Poland striker’s penalty was saved by Guillermo Ochoa in a 0-0 draw against Mexico on Tuesday.

Lewandowski has never scored at a World Cup and the Barcelona striker had admitted it would be a “huge dream” to finally get off the mark on the global stage.

Instead, the 34-year-old’s dream turned into a nightmare when he won a second-half penalty, only to see Ochoa deny him from the spot.

Lewandowski, Poland’s record scorer with 76 goals, has netted 18 times in 19 appearances for Barcelona, the club he joined in the close-season after bagging 344 goals in eight trophy-filled years at Bayern Munich.

Yet the World Cup has proved hellish for Lewandowski, with this latest goalless outing coming after he failed to score in Poland’s three games when they bowed out in the group stage four years ago.

Saudi Arabia’s stunning 2-1 win over Argentina earlier on Tuesday had blown open the race to progress to the last 16 from Group C.

But this was a frustrating draw for both teams, with Lewandowski wasting the best chance of a cagey game and Mexico ruing their failure to turn territorial dominance into goals.

Mexico boss Gerardo Martino had endured stinging criticism from fans and media following some poor pre-tournament performances, prompting him to dub himself “public enemy number one”.

That didn’t stop thousands of Mexico supporters making the long journey to support ‘El Tri’ in Qatar.

The unique Stadium 974 — whose structure was partially created from a colourful tapestry of shipping containers — overlooks Doha’s port and the area was transformed into a colourful fiesta as green-clad, sombrero-wearing Mexicans partied ahead of the evening kick-off.

It was an even more vibrant scene inside the stadium, with the estimated 40,000 capacity almost entirely filled with vociferous, flag-waving Mexicans.

Lewandowski woe

As the main threat to their team’s hopes, Lewandowski was immediately subjected to ear-splitting jeers from the Mexico fans.

Lewandowski tried to silence the din with an early header but his effort deflected harmlessly wide.

With Poland curiously content to sit back for long periods and Mexico’s energy levels almost matching their raucous fans, it was Martino’s side who carried the greater threat.

Alexis Vega looped his header inches past the far post from Hector Herrera’s cross.

Mexico followed that close shave with another incisive move that ended with Jesus Gallardo’s shot being palmed away by Wojciech Szczesny.

Jorge Sanchez’s deflected effort whistled just over Szczesny’s crossbar as Mexico kept up the pressure.

Isolated by Poland’s conservative tactics, Lewandowski mustered just one touch in the Mexico area and completed only three passes in the first half.

Lewandowski couldn’t be contained forever and his tenacity earned the 57th-minute penalty when he barged into the Mexico area, forcing a crude challenge from Hector Moreno that was ruled a spot-kick after VAR intervened.

But Lewandowski’s World Cup woe wasn’t over as the 37-year-old Ochoa plunged to his left to make a fine save, leaving the striker holding his head in despair.

It was Lewandowski’s second successive penalty miss after he failed to score for Barcelona against Almeria earlier this month.

Henry Martin’s glancing header drew a good stop from Szczesny as Mexico tried in vain to make the most of their escape.

AFP

Bloodshed, Prosperity Meet In Mexico’s Most Violent State

Police officers protect members of the “Hasta Encontrarte” (“Until we find you”) collective during the search for missing relatives in a clandestine grave at the Santa Fe neighbourhood of Irapuato, Guanajuato state, Mexico, on November 10, 2022. (Photo by CLAUDIO CRUZ / AFP)

 

As applause rang out at a nearby international arts festival, Bibiana Mendoza unearthed human remains from a clandestine grave in a Mexican region where prosperity, culture and cartel violence converge.

The 32-year-old woman, who is looking for her missing brother, arrived at the site in the town of Irapuato in Guanajuato state after residents reported seeing a dog carrying a human hand in its mouth.

“While people from all over the world were celebrating the Cervantino festival, we were digging up bodies, and at the same time I thought it was useless because they were burying more people elsewhere,” said Mendoza, founder of a women’s collective searching for missing persons.

Since that day in late October, they and a group of forensic experts have exhumed 53 bags of remains that the authorities are trying to identify, Mendoza said.

Around 300 victims of gang violence have been found dead in similar circumstances in recent months in Guanajuato, an industrial hub home to factories of foreign auto giants.

Irapuato, located one hour from the Guanajuato state capital, ranks number two among Mexican municipalities where people feel the most unsafe, according to official data.

Cartel turf wars have given Guanajuato the unenviable title of Mexico’s most violent state, with more than 2,400 murders from January to September of this year — almost 10 percent of the national total.

Nearly 3,000 more people disappeared in the same period.

Despite the bloodshed, the once-peaceful state, home to 6.1 million people, is a major tourist destination.

Its colonial-style capital as well as the picturesque city of San Miguel de Allende attract thousands of foreigners each year.

The violence mostly happens out of sight of the tourist trail.

On November 9, nine people were massacred in a bar in Apaseo el Alto, just over an hour away from Irapuato.

Apart from some blood stains on the sidewalk and discarded security tape, life in the municipality continued afterward as if nothing had happened.

Images in the local press showed bodies piled up in pools of blood, broken glass and bottles, and a message from a cartel claiming responsibility for the attack.

Five massacres in Guanajuato have left 50 dead in the past five months, shocking residents who are no strangers to violence.

“Seeing bodies lying in the streets with messages is something new for us,” Mendoza said.

Industrial hub

Mazda’s plant in Salamanca — its largest outside of Japan — runs like clockwork producing around 815 vehicles a day, some for export.

Toyota, Honda and General Motors also have factories in the state.

Transport infrastructure, a supply network and skilled labor are some of the attractions of Guanajuato, which has the sixth-highest economic output of Mexico’s 32 states.

Industry figures say they have seen no impact from the violence on companies’ activities and expansion plans.

“We haven’t heard that any investment has been cancelled or cut due to insecurity,” said Hector Rodriguez, local head of the Coparmex employers’ association.

“Chickens don’t stop laying eggs because they’re afraid of coyotes,” he added.

Crime in the region is the product of a fierce turf war between the Jalisco New Generation and Santa Rosa de Lima cartels.

Guanajuato is an important corridor along drug smuggling routes between Pacific ports and the United States, according to security expert David Saucedo

“It’s part of the fentanyl and cocaine routes,” he said.

The gangs finance their war with local drug sales and battle for control of nightlife venues, Saucedo added.

Nine out of 10 murders in the state are related to drug dealing, according to Guanajuato security official Sophia Huett.

Although the state authorities carry out arrests, it will not be enough if the cartels are not tackled at the national level, she said.

Exhausted by her fruitless search, Mendoza wants no more excuses.

“I hate hearing the (state) governor say that he is going to deliver a safer Guanajuato. I hate hearing the president (Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador) say that what is happening is not his fault,” she said.

Thousands March In Mexico Against Proposed Electoral Reform

 

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Sunday in Mexico City to denounce a proposed reform which they insist will undermine the independent body which organizes the country’s elections.

Protesters chanted “Hands off INE,” or National Electoral Institute, as they made their way along Paseo de Reforma in the city center to oppose the change championed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

“We are gathered here with one clear and important goal: to defend the electoral system that several generations of Mexicans built,” former INE chairman Jose Woldenberg told the crowd in a speech at the close of the procession.

Lopez Obrador alleges that the INE endorsed fraud when he ran unsuccessfully for the presidency in 2006 and 2012, before winning in 2018.

Under his proposal, the INE would be replaced by a new body with members chosen by voters instead of lawmakers and with a smaller budget. Political parties would also receive less money from the government for campaigning.

Lopez Obrador’s critics say he is damaging democratic checks and balances with his attacks on the INE and other institutions.

His proposals, which involve amending the constitution, require support from at least two-thirds of lower house lawmakers.

Many of the demonstrators wore pink — the color associated with the INE.

Graciela Aberel, a 53 year old English teacher, said the proposed change amounts to letting the government organize elections, as was the case before INE was created in 1990.

“What he wants is for all the elections to depend on the government, so as to manipulate them at his whim and be able to stay in power,” said Aberel.

The next presidential election is scheduled for 2024, when Lopez Obrador’s six-year term ends. Presidents here can only serve one term.

Some in the crowd carried banners that read, “I am not corrupt, class-conscious, racist or hypocritical.” This alluded to adjectives the president used last week to describe those who planned to take part in Sunday’s rally.

High profile people from the world of politics also took part in the rally, such as former president Vicente Fox and the speaker of the chamber of deputies, Santiago Creel. Both are members of the opposition conservative PAN party.

The rally, which came on the president’s 69th birthday, was so big that many people did not fit into the area where the closing speech was delivered.

Francisco Videla, a 50 year old merchant, said the protest was not just against the current government.

“It is against any government that, now or in the future, wants to take control of elections,” said Videla.

The president’s proposal would also reduce the number of seats in the lower house of congress from 500 to 300, and those in the Senate from 128 to 96.

Gunmen Attack Bar, Kill 12 In Mexico

File photo: Gun

 

Twelve people were killed in a shooting at a bar in central Mexico on Saturday, local authorities said, with growing cartel violence making the region one of the country’s most dangerous.

Industrial Guanajuato state has become the site of a raging dispute between two rival groups — the Santa Rosa de Lima and Jalisco New Generation cartels — known for carrying out drug trafficking and fuel theft, as well as other crimes.

Police believe Saturday’s attack took place when an armed group entered the bar in the city of Irapuato at around 8 pm (0100 GMT) and opened fire on customers and staff.

At least six men and six women were killed, and three others were injured, the municipal government said in a statement, without specifying the identity of the attackers or their motives.

The body of one victim was found outside next to a motorcycle, while the rest of those killed were discovered inside the bar, police said.

The assailants are being hunted by state police, the army, the prosecutor’s office and the National Guard, the municipal government said.

The attack is Guanajuato’s second mass shooting in less than a month.

In September, armed attackers killed 10 people in a pool hall in the state’s Tarimoro municipality.

And earlier this month organized crime groups massacred 20 people, including the mayor, at the town hall in San Miguel Totolapan, in the nearby state of Guerrero.

Authorities say there have been 2,115 homicides in the region between January and August.

Mexico has recorded more than 340,000 murders, most of them attributed to criminal organizations, since the launching of a controversial military anti-drug offensive in December 2006.

AFP

Two Killed As 6.9-Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Mexico

 

A strong earthquake jolted Mexico on Thursday, leaving two people dead as residents rushed out into the streets of the capital in the middle of the night days after another powerful tremor.

A woman died in Mexico City after falling down some stairs and hitting her head when the quake triggered early warning alarms, while the second victim suffered a heart attack, authorities said.

The epicenter of the 6.9-magnitude earthquake was near the Pacific coast, 84 kilometers (52 miles) south of Coalcoman in the western state of Michoacan, the national seismological agency reported.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) estimated the magnitude at 6.8.

It was the strongest of more than 1,200 aftershocks from a magnitude 7.7 quake that struck the same area on Monday, the national seismological agency said.

That tremor left two people dead in western Mexico, damaged several thousand buildings and sparked panic more than 400 kilometers away in Mexico City.

The latest quake again triggered alarms in the capital shortly after 1:00 am (0600 GMT) and caused buildings to shake and sway.

Many people quickly evacuated their homes when the alarms sounded, some still dressed in pajamas and carrying their pet dogs.

“We had a 6.9 magnitude aftershock with an epicenter in Coalcoman,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Twitter.

“It was felt in Michoacan (and the other states of) Colima, Jalisco, Guerrero and Mexico City. So far there are no reports of damage,” he added.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said official helicopters had flown over the city and that there were no initial reports of destruction.

“So far there is no damage in the city after the earthquake,” she tweeted.

The quake hit at a depth of 12 kilometers, according to the national seismological agency, while the USGS estimated the depth at 24 kilometers, located about 410 kilometers from Mexico City.

 Traumatic anniversary

Monday’s tremor came less than an hour after millions of people in Mexico City participated in emergency drills on the anniversary of two deadly earthquakes in 1985 and 2017.

The timing was no more than a coincidence, the national seismological agency said.

“There is no scientific reason to explain it,” it added.

On September 19, 1985, an 8.1-magnitude quake killed more than 10,000 people and destroyed hundreds of buildings.

On the anniversary of that earthquake in 2017, a magnitude 7.1 quake left around 370 people dead, mainly in the capital.

During Monday’s earthquake, a man was killed by falling debris in a shopping center in Manzanillo in the western state of Colima.

A woman later died of injuries caused by a falling wall in the same city.

Mexico sits in the world’s most seismically and volcanically active zone, known as the Ring of Fire, where the Pacific plate meets surrounding tectonic plates.

Mexico City, which together with surrounding urban areas is home to more than 20 million people, is built in a natural basin filled with the sediment of a former lake, making it particularly vulnerable to earthquakes.

The capital has an early warning alarm system using seismic monitors that aims to give residents enough time to evacuate buildings when earthquakes hit seismic zones near the Pacific coast.

AFP

Mexican Journalist Killed Hours After Posting About Disappeared Students

Members of the Mexican Police stands next to the vehicle in which journalist Fredid Román was shot dead, in front of the newspaper La Realidad in Chilpancingo, state of Guerrero, Mexico, on August 22, 2022. (Photo by Jesus GUERRERO / AFP)

 

 

A journalist was shot dead Monday afternoon in southern Mexico, authorities said, shortly after posting online about the disappearance eight years ago of 43 students from a nearby area.

Fredid Roman, who published his work on various social media pages and contributed to a local newspaper, was found dead in his car in the city of Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero state, the local prosecutor’s office said Monday evening.

The case of the 43 students from Guerrero, who went missing in 2014 after commandeering a bus to head to a protest, is considered one of the worst human rights disasters in Mexican history.

The case was forced back into the spotlight last week when a truth commission branded the atrocity a “state crime” that involved agents of various institutions.

A few hours before his death, Roman published a long Facebook post titled “State Crime Without Charging the Boss,” in which he mentioned an alleged meeting between four officials at the time of the students’ disappearance, including former attorney general Jesus Murillo Karam.

Murillo Karam was arrested after the publication of the truth commission report last week, while dozens of warrants were issued for suspects including military personnel, police officers and cartel members.

It was not immediately clear if Roman’s recent post on the missing students or his other journalistic work played a role in his death.

Twelve journalists have been killed in Mexico so far this year, according to the government, while the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) lists nine. Some media outlets have put the figure at 15 or 16.

With about 150 journalists murdered since 2000, according to RSF, Mexico is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for the press.

Most of those murders remain unpunished.

Drug Lord Detained In Mexico After Helicopter Crash Kills 14 Marines

In this file handout picture released by the Mexican Federal Preventive Police (PFP) on January 29, 2005, members of the PFP escort drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero, at the Puente Grande prison in Guadalajara, Jalisco State, Mexico. (Photo by Mexican Federal Police / AFP) /

 

Notorious drug lord, Rafael Caro Quintero, on Friday, was detained in Mexico after 14 Marines who assisted in his capture were killed in a helicopter crash,

Quintero, 69, is accused by the United States of ordering the kidnap, torture and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985.

He was detained by Mexican marines in the town of Choix in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, for “the purpose of extradition,” the navy said in a statement.

The Mexican Navy Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Los Mochis, Sinaloa following the operation to capture him, according to the statement. One other Marine was injured and remains in hospital.
The cause of the crash was unknown and an investigation would take place, the statement added

Caro Quintero had already been arrested in 1985, tried in Mexico and sentenced to 40 years in prison for Camarena’s murder.

But in 2013, a Mexican court ordered his release on a legal technicality after he served 28 years, a move that angered US authorities.

By the time Mexico’s Supreme Court overturned the decision, Caro Quintero had already gone into hiding.

The case plunged US-Mexican relations into a crisis, and it took decades for anti-drug agencies on both sides of the border to rebuild trust.

Caro Quintero, alias “Rafa,” has a $20 million bounty on his head and is described by the FBI as “extremely dangerous.”

He is accused of co-founding the now-defunct Guadalajara drug cartel and currently runs an arm of the infamous Sinaloa cartel, according to US authorities.

The US Department of Justice expressed gratitude Friday to Mexican authorities over Caro Quintero’s arrest, confirming the US plans to seek his extradition.

“There is no hiding place for anyone who kidnaps, tortures, and murders American law enforcement,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

– Denial of guilt –

In 2016, in an interview published by news magazine Proceso, Caro Quintero denied killing Camarena, whose story was depicted in the Netflix show “Narcos: Mexico.”

“I did not kidnap, did not torture and did not kill him,” Caro Quintero said, adding that he wanted to “live in peace” and work as a cattle rancher.

“I apologize to the society of Mexico for the mistakes I made, to the Camarena family, the DEA, and the US government. I apologize,” he added.

Camarena’s murder was considered a vendetta for investigations by the DEA agent that led to the seizure of a massive marijuana field in Chihuahua.

Last year a Mexican court ruled that Caro Quintero could be extradited to the United States if caught, rejecting an appeal from his lawyers who argued that he had already been tried in his home country.

The Guadalajara drug cartel, powerful in the 1980s, is considered the forefather of modern Mexican drug cartels.

It was one of the first to establish contacts with Colombian drug lords to transport cocaine from the South American country to the United States.

The cartel’s other founders, Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo and Ernesto Fonseca Carillo were also handed long prison sentences in Mexico for Camarena’s murder.

The organization’s disappearance led to the rise of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

In 2017, Mexico extradited Guzman to the United States where he is serving a life sentence.

A wave of cartel-related violence has left more than 340,000 people dead in Mexico since the government deployed the military in the war on drugs in 2006.

Americans Seeking Abortion Get Help From Mexico

A medical assistant checks a patient's pregnancy test result at the Women's Reproductive Clinic, which provides legal medication abortion services, in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, on June 17, 2022. Robyn Beck / AFP
A medical assistant checks a patient’s pregnancy test result at the Women’s Reproductive Clinic, which provides legal medication abortion services, in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, on June 17, 2022. Robyn Beck / AFP

 

Facing high medical costs and pressure to reconsider, a single mother living in California turned to activists across the border in Mexico who helped her have an abortion.

“We’re supposed to be in a free country, in a state where you can smoke marijuana, but abortion is still somewhat taboo,” the 31-year-old said, shortly before the US Supreme Court ended the nationwide right to the procedure.

The woman, of Mexican descent, believes terminating a pregnancy will now become ever harder, although the liberal West Coast states of California, Oregon and Washington jointly vowed to defend abortion rights.

The Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to overturn the nationwide right to abortion gives all 50 states the freedom to ban the procedure, and nearly half are expected to do so in some form.

READ ALSO: From New York To California, Liberals Create Abortion Sanctuaries

Even before the ruling, accessing a safe abortion in the United States was already “complicated if you don’t have money,” said the mother of three, who works in a restaurant in San Diego.

She initially visited two clinics in the United States, but at both the cost of the procedure was almost $1,000, which she could not afford.

At one of the facilities, which had religious links, she was discouraged from having an abortion.

“They told me there were other options, that I could give it up for adoption. But I was determined, desperate,” she told AFP by telephone, explaining that she got pregnant because contraceptives failed.

‘Huge setback’

Through a friend, the woman learned about Colectiva Bloodys, a non-government organization in Tijuana just south of San Diego that is part of a cross-border network providing free assistance to women in the United States who cannot access an abortion.

“I was surprised that they helped me from Mexico. I thought that we were more liberal here,” she said.

“Everything moved very quickly there. In less than a day they said ‘here’s the solution,'” the woman said.

She was sent a combination of medication that ends a pregnancy by causing the uterus to contract, a method considered safe by the World Health Organization (WHO), mainly for up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The NGO responded quickly to any follow-up questions and “was always supportive,” she added.

Colectiva Bloodys has sent these treatments to conservative-led US states such as Oklahoma, Texas and Georgia for a few years and expects more requests following the Supreme Court ruling, said one of its members, Crystal Perez Lira.

“It’s very unfortunate, a huge setback; but we are going to have the capacity and the will” to offer support, Perez Lira said.

Mexican activists had already been surprised by the amount of interest from women in the United States in the cross-border network, launched in January in the face of obstacles to accessing a safe abortion.

“As of May, we had assisted 200 women who crossed the border and sent 1,000 sets of medicine. We didn’t expect so many,” said Veronica Cruz, founder of Las Libres, one of some 30 groups in the network.

Financial constraints

While the activists had expected mainly Latinas to seek their help, they have also been approached by non-Spanish speakers.

“Most turn to us for financial reasons. Over there the medication costs about $600 or they have to wait weeks to get it from organizations. We give it for free,” Cruz said.

Some of the women seeking assistance in Mexico are reluctant to go to a clinic in the United States because they lack the necessary immigration documents.

“We don’t invade their privacy. We don’t question their legal status or their nationality,” said Perez Lira.

In contrast to the US ruling, Mexico’s Supreme Court last year declared the laws criminalizing abortion unconstitutional, authorizing it de facto throughout the conservative Latin American country.

In Mexico City, which decriminalized abortion in 2007 and provides free care regardless of place of residence, authorities pledged to support women from the United States following the court ruling.

“It’s truly regressive, sad and outrageous that in a country where these rights had been recognized they are going backwards. We’ll be ready to help,” the city’s health secretary, Oliva Lopez Arellano, told AFP.

“We have the capacity for around 25,000 legal terminations a year and now we’re at half that,” she said.

One in 10 of the 247,000 abortions carried out in the city in the past 15 years have been for migrants heading to the United States, most of them Central Americans, she added.

In addition to Mexico City, eight more of Mexico’s 32 states have decriminalized abortion.

 

AFP

20 Containers Stolen In ‘Unprecedented’ Mexico Heist

File photo of containers seen in a port.

 

 

Heavily armed attackers stole 20 freight containers, some carrying gold and silver, from a port in western Mexico in a heist of “unprecedented” proportions, authorities said Monday.

The burglary, described by local media as “the theft of the century,” took place on June 5 in a private compound of a commercial port in the city of Manzanillo on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

After incapacitating the port’s security teams, the assailants used cranes and trucks to move the containers, said state security spokesman Gustavo Adrian Joya.

“This is unprecedented. We had seen sporadic thefts of containers before, but not in such a quantity,” he said, adding that the heist took eight to 10 hours.

“They were very selective in the type of goods they stole: precious metals and other things, like air conditioning units,” the spokesman told reporters.

National customs head Horacio Duarte Olivares said the area where the burglary occurred was not under the jurisdiction of the Navy, which is in charge of port surveillance.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office said it was opening an investigation, but did not give details of the quantities of gold and silver stolen.

Gunmen Kill Mayor In Southern Mexico

Mexico flag

 

Gunmen killed a town mayor in southern Mexico on Wednesday, the local prosecutor said, taking the number of such officials murdered in the country since 2000 to 94.

Ruben de Jesus Valdez Diaz, mayor of Teopisca in Chiapas state, was attacked by shooters on a motorcycle while leaving his home by car, according to an official report.

According to local residents and reporters, an as yet unidentified armed group arrived in the town after the murder and started searching homes.

The killing came just two weeks after videos circulated on social media of another armed group, suspected of drug trafficking links, staking out the same town.

READ ALSO: US Military Aircraft With Five Onboard Crashes In California

The public prosecutor announced the opening of an investigation into the mayor’s death.

Etellekt consultancy wrote on Twitter that “17 mayors have been murdered” in Mexico since December 2018, when President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office.

Etellekt said there had been 94 murders of mayors since 2000.

Valdez had served as mayor of Teopisca since June 2021.

Cesar Valencia, mayor of Aguililla in western Michoacan state, was murdered in March.

Aguililla has been badly hit by drug-related violence.

AFP

More Than 100,000 People Officially Missing In Mexico

Workers of Mexico’s City government move a fence with photos of missing persons from the Glorieta de la Palma on Paseo de la Reforma Avenue, after relatives and members of search groups proposed to rename it ‘Glorieta de Las y Los Desaparecidos’ (Roundabout of the Disappeared), in Mexico City, on May 17, 2022.  (Photo by Pedro PARDO / AFP)

 

 

More than 100,000 people are now listed as missing in violence-wracked Mexico, a grim milestone that the United Nations rights chief on Tuesday called “a tragedy of enormous proportions.”

Rights groups appealed for urgent action to tackle disappearances that have skyrocketed during years of spiraling drug-related violence.

The National Registry of Missing Persons, which has been tracking disappearances since 1964, said that as of Monday, the whereabouts of 100,099 people were unknown. About 75 percent are men.

The Movement for Our Disappeared warned that the figure was “certainly well below the number” of actual cases, calling for the government to deal with the crisis “in a comprehensive and immediate manner.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said the disappearances represented a “human tragedy of enormous proportions.”

“No effort should be spared to put an end to these human rights violations and abuses of extraordinary breadth, and to vindicate victims’ rights to truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition,” she added.

Only 35 of the disappearances recorded have led to convictions — a “staggering rate of impunity” that is “mostly attributable to the lack of effective investigations,” Bachelet’s office said.

– ‘Pattern of impunity’ –
The UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances described the situation as “heart-breaking.”

Enforced disappearances are a daily occurrence in Mexico, “reflecting a chronic pattern of impunity,” they added.

The UN committee, which is made up of independent experts, warned in April that Mexico was facing an “alarming trend of rising enforced disappearances.”

Organized crime groups were mainly responsible for these disappearances, “with varying degrees of participation, acquiescence or omission by public servants,” it said.

The committee’s report was rejected by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who said his government would not tolerate impunity or corruption.

Frustration at slow progress in official investigations has led families of the disappeared, especially mothers, to form groups that search for clandestine graves using picks and shovels.

The crisis is fueled by the state’s apathy, said Cecilia Flores, the leader of one such group in the northwestern state of Sonora who is looking for her sons Alejandro and Marco Antonio.

“If the authorities did their job, not so many would have disappeared,” she told AFP.

“For them, a disappeared person is one less criminal and one more statistic,” Flores said.

– ‘Staggering number’ –
Authorities say some 37,000 unidentified bodies are being held in forensic services, though civil organizations warn the number could be much higher.

Authorities are working to consolidate a database of the disappeared with genetic samples, though many corpses have been buried without being identified because morgues are overflowing.

The International Committee of the Red Cross described the 100,000 missing as “a staggering number that underscores the immediate need to strengthen prevention, search, and identification mechanisms for those who are missing and their families.”

However, it recognized “important progress” made by Mexico in some areas including identifying the dead and easing the pain of families of the missing.

“The first few hours are the most important,” said Marlene Herbig, head of the ICRC’s missing persons program in Mexico.

“When someone disappears, their relatives have the right to know what has happened. Knowing the fate of disappeared persons is primarily a humanitarian act.”

The first reported disappearances in Mexico date back to the authorities’ so-called “dirty war” against leftist movements from the 1960s to 1980s.

Mexico has also registered over 340,000 deaths — mostly attributed to organized crime groups — since 2006, when a major anti-drug military offensive was launched.

Over 100,000 People Missing In Mexico – Data

 

The number of people reported missing in violence-wracked Mexico has exceeded 100,000, according to official data, with rights groups calling for “immediate” action from the government to locate the disappeared.

The country’s National Registry of Missing Persons — which has been tracking disappearances since 1964 — said that as of Monday, the whereabouts of 100,012 people are unknown. About 75 percent are men.

Disappearances have skyrocketed in the wake of mounting drug violence that has rocked the country for 16 years.

The Movement for Our Disappeared warned Monday that the figure was “certainly well below the number” of cases that are reported daily, calling for the government to “deal with this crisis in a comprehensive and immediate manner.”

Last April, the UN Committee against Enforced Disappearances warned that Mexico was facing an “alarming upward trend” in missing people cases.

Organized crime groups were mainly responsible for these disappearances, the UN body said, with “varying degrees of acquiescence or omission” on the part of public officials.

The lack of official help in investigating the cases has led families of the disappeared, especially mothers, to form groups that search for clandestine graves in the hope of finding their relatives.

The Mexican government has reported that around 37,000 unidentified bodies are being held in forensic services, though civil organizations warn the number could be much higher.

Authorities are working to consolidate a database of the disappeared with genetic samples, though many corpses have been buried without being identified due to the country’s overflowing morgues.

The UN’s top human rights body said the disappearances represented a “human tragedy of enormous proportions.”

“No effort should be spared to put an end to these human rights violations and abuses of extraordinary breadth, and to vindicate victims’ rights to truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

The first reported disappearances in Mexico date back to the authorities’ so-called “dirty war” against leftist movements from the 1960s-1980s.

Mexico has also registered over 340,000 deaths — mostly attributed to organized crime groups — since 2006, when a major anti-drug military offensive was launched.