Mexico
machete

Paramilitary violence escalates in Chiapas

Tensions are fast mounting in Mexico’s conflicted southern state of Chiapas following a new outbreak of paramilitary violence. Protests have been held in the state capital Tuxtla Gutierrez over the past weeks to demand the return alive of 21 residents of the highland village of Pantelh贸, who were abducted in July amid raids by a self-proclaimed “self-defense force” in which houses and vehicles were also set on fire. The state prosecutor who was assigned to investigate the case was himself gunned down on a street in the highland city of San Crist贸bal de Las Casas. The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) issued a communiqu茅 warning that Chiapas is at “the brink of civil war.” (Photo: Chiapas Paralelo)

Planet Watch
Fikile Ntshangase

Record number of ecologists slain in 2020

A record number of environmental defenders were murdered last year, according to a report by advocacy group Global Witness. The report, “Last Line of Defense,” counts聽227 activists killed around the world in 2020鈥攖he highest number recorded for a second consecutive year. Many of the murders were linked to resource exploitation鈥攍ogging, mining, agribusiness, and hydroelectric dams. Since the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, the organization found on average of four activists have been killed each week. (Photo via Groundwork)

Mexico
torreon

Mexico: apology for 1911 massacre of Chinese

Mexico’s President Andr茅s Manuel L贸pez Obrador officiated over a ceremony in Torre贸n, Coahuila, where he issued an apology for the 1911 massacre of more than 300 members of the city’s Chinese community at the hands of revolutionary troops. The president said the objective of the apology was to ensure “that this never, ever happens again.” Also on hand was Coahuila Gov. Miguel 脕ngel Riquelme, who said racist ideas fueled “genocidal killings” during a “convulsive” period of Mexico’s history. Also attending the ceremony was Chinese Ambassador Zhu Qingqiao. (Photo of 1911 taking of Torre贸n via Wikipedia)

Mexico
SNITIS

AFL-CIO files labor suit against Mexico factory

The AFL-CIO and other trade unions announced that they have filed a complaint against Tridonex, a Mexican auto parts factory and subsidiary of Philadelphia-based Cardone Industries, located in the city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas state. This case will be one of the first to test the United States-Mexico-Canada Act (USMCA), which supersedes the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The complaint is brought under the new “rapid response” mechanism of the USMCA, allowing complaints of labor violations to be brought against individual factories. The complaint comes after Tridonex workers attempted to organize with an independent union, replacing the co-opted聽“protection union” at the plant. Over 600 workers were fired for their association with the new聽union. Susana Prieto Terrazas, the lawyer representing the Tridonex workers, was also arrested and jailed by the Tamaulipas governor on “trumped-up charges,” and only released after agreeing to leave the state of Tamaulipas. (Photo: Prensa Obrera)

Mexico
Squadron 421

Zapatistas launch symbolic ‘invasion’ of Spain

Seven indigenous Maya members of Mexico’s Zapatista movement set sail from Isla Mujeres, off the coast of the Yucat谩n Peninsula, on a trans-Atlantic voyage meant to symbolically reverse the Spanish聽conquest of Mexico 500 years ago. Sailing in a wooden vessel they built themselves, christened La Monta帽a, the delegation hopes to reach Madrid by Aug. 13, anniversary of the 1521 fall of Tenochtitl谩n, Mexico’s ancient capital, to the conquistador Hernan聽Cort茅s. The delegation intends to land at Vigo, on Spain’s northern coast, and then continue to Madrid, beginning a tour of some 20 European countries. (Photo: Pie P谩gina)

Mexico
Juarez

Northern Mexico: aid efforts struggle to keep pace

Humanitarian response networks in northern Mexico are stretched thin between the growing number of people fleeing violence, poverty, and climate disasters in Central America, the continued expulsion of asylum-seekers and migrants who enter the United States irregularly, and the lingering effects of Trump-era migration policies.聽Nowhere is this pressure being felt more acutely than in Ciudad Ju谩rez, a Mexican city of around 1.5 million bordering El Paso, Texas. Shelters are overwhelmed and underfunded, and more arrive every day鈥攆rom both the north and south.聽(Photo:聽Lu铆s Chaparro/The New Humanitarian)

Mexico
CFE

Mexico: court suspends new electricity law

A Mexican court issued a suspension of the new electricity law that aims to strengthen the state-run company, Comisi贸n Federal de Electricidad (CFE). The law is supported by President Andr茅s Manuel L贸pez Obrador, who wants to increase state control of the energy market. L贸pez Obrador claimed that under the previous administration, the electricity market was skewed in favor of private operators. Grupo Bimbo, Walmart Inc and two unnamed companies filed challenges against the law. The US Chamber of Commerce expressed concern that the new law violates the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and may create a monopoly in the electricity sector. The injunction will be in place until the case is decided on its merits. The judge asserted that the injunction was necessary “to prevent economic damage to the electricity sector, to ensure competition, and to protect the environment.” (Photo of power lines in聽Ixtapaluca via Wikimedia Commons)

Central America
Hurricane Eta

Villagers abandoned in Eta’s deadly aftermath

Some 150 are dead, with remote indigenous and campesino communities left stricken and without aid, a week after Hurricane Eta tore through Central America. Eta made landfall south of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, as a Category 4 storm. Two g眉iriseros, or artisanal gold-miners, were among the first killed, as a landslide inundated the mining camp of Tigre Norte in Bonanza municipality of Nicargua’s North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region. Far worse was follow in Guatemala, where officials have called off the search for dozens believed to have been buried when a mountainside collapsed, engulfing the hamlet of Queja. Ovidio Choc, mayor of San Cristobal Verapaz municipality, said the site of Queja will probably be declared a cemetery. Elsewhere in Guatemala’s Maya Highlands, villagers have had to mobilize their own rescue and recovery efforts, effectively abandoned by the government. (Map: National Hurricane Center)

Mexico
Oscar Eyraud Adams

Water protector slain in Baja California

Oscar Eyraud Adams, a community activist in the Mexican border town of Tecate, Baja California, was assassinated in an attack on his home by what local accounts described as an “armed commando.”聽The following day, his brother-in-law was gunned down in a convenience store along the Tecate-Ensenada highway. Adams had been a prominent advocate for the Kumiai (also rendered Kumeyaay) indigenous people in their struggle for irrigation concessions for their remote communities in outlying rural areas of Tecate and Ensenada municipalities, which have been denied by the National Water Commission (ConAgua). Friends and supporters of Adams are blaming the assassinations on the “narco-state” and demanding that authorities investigate them as political crimes. (Photo:聽@AguaParaTodxsMX)

Mexico
Bloque Negro

Mexico City: militant protest for reproductive rights

A march for abortion rights turned violent in Mexico City as a group of women wearing ski-masks and armed with hammers clashed with police. Members of the Bloque Negro feminist collective joined the protest after departing from the headquarters of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), which they had been occupying for weeks and had turned into a shelter for victims of gender violence. With their path to the city’s historic center blocked by riot police, some threw Molotov cocktails聽and charged the police lines. Some of the women also bared their breasts, even as they wore goggles and helmets. Authorities said 11 police were injured in the confrontation. The demonstration was part of a Day for Decriminalization of Abortion in Latin America & the Caribbean on the eve of International Safe Abortion Day. In Mexico, abortion is only legal in the Federal Distriact and southern state of Oaxaca during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. In the rest of the country, it only permitted under limited circumstances, such as if a woman has been raped. (Photo via聽Mexico News Daily)

Mexico
ocosingo

Mexico: Zapatista community attacked in Chiapas

A communal coffee warehouse in one of the rebel Zapatista base communities in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas was burned down in an attack by a rival campesino group that operates a paramilitary force in the area. The New Dawn of the Rainbow Commercial Center, maintained by small coffee cultivators loyal to the Zapatista rebel movement, was attacked by followers of the Regional Organization of Ocosingo Coffee Growers (ORCAO), according to a statement from the National Indigenous Congress. In response to the attack, a group of prominent Mexican cultural and intellectual figures, including popular singer Julieta Venegas, issued a聽statement, protesting: “This new aggression is part of the intensification of the war of attrition in the state of Chiapas, characterized by an increase in violence by paramilitary groups and organized crime.” (Photo via EspoirChiapas)

Mexico
Yaqui

Mexico creates justice commission for Yaqui people

Mexican President Andr茅s Manuel L贸pez Obrador聽signed a decree that sets up a Justice Commission for the Yaqui People, seeking to resolve problems of land, water, health, education and infrastructure faced by the indigenous group. The decree was signed during a visit by L贸pez Obrador to the Yaqui community of V铆cam, in Sonora state. The decree seeks to redress a long history of oppression, massacres, slavery and land theft faced by the Yaqui. L贸pez Obrador said that the Yaqui are Mexico’s most persecuted indigenous group, stating, “All the original inhabitants suffered robbery, but no people suffered as much as the Yaqui.” The president also said that he had agreed to modify the route of the planned Guaymas-El Oro gas pipeline that was supposed to run through Yaqui territory.聽(Photo via Articulo 19)