Mexico
Mexico City

Mexico: amnesty decree stirs human rights concerns

Mexico’s government added an article to its Amnesty Law in a decree, allowing the head of the Executive Branch to commute sentences and halt criminal proceedings in cases deemed “relevant to the Mexican State,” regardless of the severity of the crime. President AndrĂ©s Manuel LĂłpez Obrador stated that change will contribute to uncovering the truth about such unresolved cases as the collective killings of Ayotzinapa and Tlatlaya. However, the Amnesty Law reform has faced strong criticism. For instance, Mexico City’s Human Rights Commission argues that it lacks clear limits on which crimes qualify, leaving a dangerously vague opening for amnesty in any case the president deems “relevant.” Sen. Patricia Mercado of the opposition Citizen’s Movement also rejected the notion that the decree will aid truth-seeking, pointing out that it lacks conditions such as disarmament, non-repetition, victim reparations, and education requirements found in amnesty efforts such as that in Colombia’s Peace Accords. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Mexico
Mexico

Mexican elections see record number of assassinations

The results are in from Mexico’s presidential election and Claudia Sheinbaum of the ruling left-populist National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) has won by some 60%, handily defeating a rival backed by an alliance of the country’s more traditional political parties. But the ongoing human rights crisis in Mexico that will obviously pose a grave challenge for Sheinbaum was dramatically exemplified by the record number of political assassinations that marred the elections. (Map: PCL)

North America
SCOTUS

Podcast: Trumpism must be smashed

In Episode 134 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg documents the increasingly real threat of a right-wing authoritarian takeover of the United States within the next two years. The recent alarming Supreme Court decisions on reproductive rights, migrant detention and environmental regulation could be a mere prelude to a decision that could effectively mean the end of democracy. In Moore v. Harper, ostensibly about North Carolina’s congressional map, the state’s legislators hope to upend 200 years of election law and give statehouses unfettered authority to make rules and seat electors. This comes as Trump’s scheme to use “fake electors” to throw the 2020 elections has come to light. After the failed coup of 2021, the Republicans are laying the groundwork to do it again in 2024—and this time more methodically. Trumpism needs to be defeated—by any and all means necessary. This includes pressure for a criminal indictment of Donald Trump, readiness to contend with MAGA fascism for control of the streets if it comes down to a physical stand-off—but also voting for the Democrats, however odious it may be. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Central America
roe

El Salvador: warning for post-Roe US

The US Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade comes six weeks after a court in El Salvador sentenced a woman to 30 years in prison after she suffered an obstetric emergency that resulted in termination of her pregnancy, according to a local advocacy group that was assisting in her defense. The Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion (ACDATEE) denounced the sentence and said it would appeal the conviction. The woman, identified only as “Esme,” was held in pre-trial detention for two years following her arrest when she sought medical care at a hospital. She already had a seven-year-old daughter. (Photo: Debra Sweet/WikiMedia via Jurist)

Mexico
madres

Mothers of the disappeared march in Mexico

On Mexico’s Day of the Mother, thousands of mothers and other family members of the disappeared held a March for National Dignity in the capital, calling for action on their missing loved ones. The march, which filled the main avenues of Mexico City, was organized by a coalition of 60 regional collectives of survivors of the disappeared from around the country. In the days before the march, a group camped out at the National Palace, demanding a dialogue with President AndrĂ©s Manuel LĂłpez Obrador. (Photo via Twitter)

The Andes
indulto

Peru: protests over pending pardon for ex-dictator

Protests broke out in Lima, Cuzco and other cities in Peru after the country’s Constitutional Tribunal overruled a lower court annulment of a pardon for former dictator Alberto Fujimori, and ordered his release from prison. Days later, however, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruled that the Peruvian state must refrain from executing the release order while the IACHR weighs provisional measures requested by representatives of the victims of the 1991 Barrios Altos and 1992 Cantuta massacres, for which Fujimori was convicted and sentenced in 2009. Fujimori has also been facing a judicial process over accusations of mass forced sterilizations under his government. (Photo via Twitter)

Southern Cone
mapuche

Chile: Boric faces Mapuche challenge

Gabriel Boric, a young leftist lawmaker and former student protest leader from Punta Arenas, is celebrating his victory in Chile’s presidential run-off election. He was the candidate of a new coalition that came together to press for progressive reforms under Chile’s new constitution. The constitutional redrafting process was set in motion by incumbent President Sebastian Piñera in response to a wave of popular protest two years ago. But Boric will face an immediate challenge from the mounting armed resistance movement of the Mapuche indigenous people in Chile’s south. Following his victory, the group Lavkenche Mapuche Resistance issued a statement claiming responsibility for arson attacks on trucks and equipment of timber and mining operations on traditional indigenous lands. The statement said: “The struggle will not cease. Neither with Piñera nor with Boric.” (Photo via Twitter)

Central America
Mélidas

Feminist, humanitarian groups raided in El Salvador

Agents of El Salvador’s FiscalĂ­a, backed up by police troops, raided seven non-governmental organizations, ostensibly on the grounds of investigating “corruption.” The Salvadoran popular movement describes the raids as the latest in an escalating campaign of political persecution by President Nayib Bukele against voices critical of the regime. Among the groups targeted were Las MĂ©lidas, a long-standing women’s rights organization, and PRO-VIDA, a humanitarian association that works in areas of healthcare, ecology, and strengthening of democratic institutions. In a statement following the raids, a representative of Las MĂ©lidas condemned them as “unjustified” and meant to “criminalize” the group’s initiatives, which include literacy, violence prevention, sexual health campaigns, and other programs serving the country’s most marginalized women. (Photo via Twitter)

Central Asia
Uyghur

Uyghur Tribunal in UK hears testimony on abuses

The Uyghur Tribunal, an “independent people’s court” convened by exile and human rights groups, concluded after months of hearings in London. Following a request from the World Uyghur Congress, the Tribunal was organized last year by Sir Geoffrey Nice­, the lead prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The Tribunal heard testimony from some 500 witnesses, including survivors of the detention camps in Xinjiang, on torture, sexual abuse, coerced labor, and forced sterilization. (Photo via Coda)

Central Asia
uighur women

‘Genocide’ seen in PRC Uighur birth-control policy

An Australian think-tank released a report on the declining birth rates among the Uighur population in China’s western Xinjiang province, concluding that birth-control policies imposed on the Uighurs by the People’s Republic of China may constitute genocide. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) analyzed the publicly-available data on birthrates in China from 2011 to 2019, and found that birth rates among the Uighur ethnic minority dropped precipitously starting in 2017. The birth rate fell by almost half in the predominately Uighur province of Xinjiang, where a campaign to eliminate “illegal births” is being carried out. (Photo of Uighur women in Xinjiang: mikepryan via Wikimedia)

The Andes
castillo

Peru: electoral upset portends polarization

Peru seems poised for polarization following surprise results in first-round presidential elections that saw a previously unknown leftist candidate, Pedro Castillo, taking 19% of the vote in a very crowded field—more than any of his rivals. In a June run-off, he will face his runner-up—hard-right candidate Keiko Fujimori, who took 13%. The two candidates represent the extremes of Peru’s electoral spectrum. Fujimori is the daughter of imprisoned ex-dictator Alberto Fujimori—and had herself been imprisoned as corruption charges were pending against her last year. Her Fuerza Popular party is the paradoxical populist vehicle of the most reactionary sectors of the country’s elites, and has actually been assailed as a “mafia organization.” Castillo, in vivid contrast, is a former school-teacher and trade unionist of campesino background from the poor and rural Andean region of Cajamarca. His successful grassroots campaign is seen an upsurge from such forgotten parts of the country, in rejection of the Lima-based political class. (Photo of Pedro Castillo in Lima via Twitter)

Central Asia
Uighurs

Huawei ethnicity-recognition tech tracks Uighurs

Top Chinese technology firms have registered patents for tools apparently designed to detect, track and monitor Uighurs, according to research by the Pennsylvania-based video surveillance watchdog group IPVM. A 2018 patent filed by Shenzhen-based tech giant Huaweiwith the State Intellectual Property Office lists attributes by which an individual may be targeted, including “race (Han, Uighur).” IPVM also released details of a document issued by Huawei and its Beijing-based corporate partner Megvii, dubbed an “Interoperability Test Report,” which boasted of a “Uighur alarm” among the “basic functions of Megvii’s facial recognition system.” Said Rushan Abbas, executive director of the DC-based Campaign for Uyghurs: “We cannot ignore the fact that these technologies have been developed in order to be able to efficiently carry out…brutal oppression.”  (Photo: Mvslim.com)