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A Local Police Chief Has Been Arrested In An Alleged Connection To The Murders Of The LeBaron Family In Mexico

It has been almost two months since a group of men, allegedly cartel members, gunned down nine members of the LeBaron family in the state of Chihuahua, in northern Mexico. These nine victims of the November 4 attack were all women and children. The LeBaron family has dual citizenship and is one of the Mormon clans that migrated to northern Mexico and established a community that has connections with important political families in the United States, such as that of the Republican senator and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The massacre was condemned on both sides of the border and led the US government to reconsider the level of involvement it has in the cartel wars that have rocked Mexico since 2006. Just as 2019 comes to a close there has been some progress in the investigations. 

A municipal police chief has been arrested in connection to the LeBaron massacre.

Mexican media reported on the arrest of Fidel Alejandro Villegas, who is the police chief of the municipality of Janos in Chihuahua. The fact that a member of the police has been linked to the killing of six children (two of them merely six months old) and three women is a huge development, as it brings to light the corruption that municipal police often is tainted with then it comes to organized crime. Even though the reports do not specify the degree of Villegas’ involvement, they do point towards ties with the cartels.

As News.com.au reports: “A federal official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the arrest of Villegas, which follows the detention of other suspects earlier in the investigation. Mexican officials believe the women and children were killed after becoming caught up in a dispute between local drug cartels battling for control of the area.”

Under pressure from the Trump administration, the Mexican government agreed to let the FBI aid in the investigation. Villegas is the fourth person to be arrested for the attack after brothers Héctor Mario and Luis Manuel Hernández and another as of yet unnamed individual. 

The LeBaron massacre has had a deep impact on how the new Mexican government is perceived.

When history books are written on the presidency of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the LeBaron family massacre will stand out as the first massive challenge that the administration faced in terms of public relations management in the face of tragedy. These types of massacres happen all the time in Mexico and 2019 is bound to be the most violent year in modern history with up to 35,000 murders, but this case was put on the spotlight internationally and further damaged US-Mexico relationships.

Many fervent AMLO supporters questioned the efficacy of the government’s approach to fighting organized crime while the opposition launched tough attacks. The massacre was one of the main reasons why Donald Trump toyed with the idea of classifying drug cartels as terrorist organizations, which would redefine and broaden the involvement of the United States in Mexican territory. AMLO has called for cooperation but no intervention. US intervention in the country is a touchy subject due to the love-hate relationship that the countries have had historically. 

The LeBaron family had a very different kind of Christmas and further pressured the government to serve justice.

The LeBaron family, which migrated to Mexico fearing persecution from US authorities due to their polygamous beliefs, had a sad Christmas. As reported by CE Noticias Financieras, the patriarch Adrian is still in mourning and probably will always be: “LeBarón, with 35 children, 87 grandchildren and a great-grandson, could not hold back tears as he remembers her 30-year-old daughter Rhonita Miller, whose charred body was found after the massacre in a burned-out vehicle on a terraced road near her home. ‘We thank us for giving us the strength to resist those things that have hurt in our souls,’ said the 58-year-old man, along with Shalom, one of his three wives and Rhonita’s mother”. Mexican-American Mormons are mounting pressure and the arrest of Fidel Alejandro Villegas and three other individuals seems to be a response to this.

As reported by Mail Online, the LeBaron patriarch has been lobbying in Mexico City and Washington for further security measures and binational cooperation. He has also criticized the political structures that, according to his diagnosis, basically put police forces under the control of the cartels: “The Mexican municipal police are not autonomous in this area. They are under the control of the mayors, who are financed by the cartels. The old ways here have to change. We have 20 neighboring municipalities and no district attorney. We have no independent police, and that has to change.”

Mexico Looks To Ban Beauty Pageants For Contributing To Machismo Attitudes And Violence Against Women

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Mexico Looks To Ban Beauty Pageants For Contributing To Machismo Attitudes And Violence Against Women

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Beauty pageants have long been an integral part of Mexican celebrations – from Carnival to fiestas celebrating a Pueblo’s patron saint, they’re extremely common. However, as violence against women soars to new records across the country, Mexico’s newly formed ‘Gender Equality Commission’ has introduced new measures that would effectively ban beauty pageants.

The commission sees beauty pageants as contributing to gender stereotypes, machismo attitudes, and, in turn, endemic violence against women.

However, many Mexicans have already voiced their strong opposition to the proposed rules and intent to fight back against them.

Mexico’s Gender Equality Commission has announced new rules that would ban beauty pageants in the country.

The Mexican Congress has taken up recommendations that the country move to ban beauty pageants. The new bill, based on recommendations from the Gender Equality Commission, would include new provisions to the general law on Women’s Access to a Life Free of Violence.

The commission introduced several new provisions meant to help reduce violence against women, but the one that many Mexicans are talking about is the potential beauty pageant ban – as beauty pageants are a major part of Mexican society.

Members of the commission expressed their objection towards any such form of competition in which beauty or physical appearance of women, girls, or adolescents is evaluated in full or in part based on sexist stereotypes.

“We believe that beauty contests are events which show women through socio-cultural standards and under gender stereotypes as an instrument to maintain the concept of a female body as an object. This limits the personal development of the participants,” the members added.

Under the new guidelines, pageants will not be able to use public resources, official promotion, subsidies and any kind of economic or institutional support for carrying out these kinds of shows. It’s also possible that privately-funded pageants could be subject to the ban.

Mexico has long suffered from gender-based violence but the issue is getting worse year after year.

Credit: Toyo Sarno Jordan / Getty Images

In Mexico, the rallying cry “Ni Una Menos” has been on the tips of everyone’s tongue as violence against women has spiraled out of control in 2020. Before the Coronavirus pandemic forced people to stay home, hundreds of thousands of Mexicans took part in some of the largest protests ever seen across the country, denouncing the growing violence epidemic.

So far, an average of 10 women are killed everyday in Mexico. And 911 calls for domestic violence are up more than 60%, as women are forced to stay home with their abuser.

Meanwhile, the country’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has brushed off the killings as being sensationalized by his opposition to make him look bad. In fact, after news broke of a recent woman’s murder, AMLO was asked about her death at a press conference. However, he told reporters that he did not want to talk about gender-motivated killings of women because he did not want “femicides to distract from the raffle,” referring to a raffle his administration had organized around the sale of the presidential airplane.

The country has a long history of competing in international beauty pageants.

Credit: Miss International Queen

Beauty pageants have been popular in Mexico for several decades and many Mexicans have preformed well at both national and international competitions. So it’s no surprise that many have come out against the announcement and expressed their sadness about the end of pageants.

Several Mexican women have won big at international competitions, including: Vanessa Ponce De Leon (Miss World 2018), Sofia Aragon (2nd Runner Up Miss Universe 2019), and Andrea Toscano (1st Runner Up Miss International 2019).

A Mexican transgender woman also won out over contestants from 21 countries, at Thailands Miss International Queen. Valentina Fluchaire was crowned queen in 2019 at the annual pageant for transgender women in Thailand.

New Arrest Warrants Have Been Issued In The Case Of Mexico’s Missing 43 And Families Hope For Justice

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New Arrest Warrants Have Been Issued In The Case Of Mexico’s Missing 43 And Families Hope For Justice

Brett Gundlock / Getty Images

For six years, Mexico has been desperately trying to uncover the truth behind Mexico’s Missing 43. After a botched initial government response, a corrupt follow-up investigation and years of agony, the current administration has committed itself to laying out the truth for the victim’s families.

Thanks to a new investigation, the Attorney General has announced several new arrest warrants for suspects related to the case and announced that they have one key suspect already in custody.

Now, families of the missing students have a glimmer of hope as authorities say that justice for their missing loved ones is closer than ever before.

Mexico’s Attorney General has requested 46 arrest warrants related to the 43 missing students.

Mexico’s Attorney General, Alejandro Gertz Manero, issued a statement saying that his team of prosecutors have requested 46 warrants for the arrest of municipal officials in Guerrero state, in connection with the disappearance and presumed murder of 43 teaching students in September 2014.

Gertz said in a video message that the officials are sought for the crimes of forced disappearance and organized crime in relation to the kidnapping of the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College students.

In his statement, he also singled out the previous presidential administration for dropping the ball on the investigation.

“It’s necessary to make it very clear that these crimes weren’t even investigated” let alone prosecuted by the former government’s prosecutors, he said.

Mexico’s Missing 43 disappeared after attending a protest in the nearby town of Iguala. As they were travelling back from Iguala to Ayotzinapa, they were confronted by municipal police who opened fire on the buses they were travelling in. An official government report published during the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto said the students had been seized by the municipal police officers who handed them over to the Guerreros Unidos drugs gang.

The new arrest warrants come after the government also announced warrants for officials from the previous presidential administration related to the case.

Credit: Brett Gundlock / Getty Images

The attorney general said the 46 new arrest warrants sought are in addition to warrants obtained in March against former Attorney General’s Office officials, including the ex-head of the Criminal Investigation Agency, Tomás Zerón, who has reportedly fled Mexico.

Gertz said that an Interpol red notice had been issued against Zerón, who is wanted on charges of torturing people detained in connection with the students’ disappearance, forced disappearance, evidence tampering and altering a crime scene.

The attorney general said the location of Zerón is known but didn’t disclose it. It is believed he might be in Canada but authorities are also searching for him in the United States, Guatemala, Belize and Europe.

Prosecutors also announced that they had a prime suspect in custody.

In addition to the new arrest warrants, authorities also announced that they had a prime suspect already in custody. Police arrested Ángel Casarrubias, who has extensive connections with the Guerreros Unidos cartel – his brother is its leader.

Casarrubia’s brother was detained shortly after the students went missing and allegedly confessed to the crimes, saying that his cartel had killed the students and burned their bodies.

However, he later said his confession had been extracted under torture and filed an official complaint. A judge dismissed the charges brought against him over the disappearance of the missing students arguing that his confession had been extracted under duress. But he remains in prison on separate charges of links to organised crime.

Ángel Casarrubias had eluded police until last week. He was finally captured on Wednesday in Mexico state but his detention was only made public on Monday.

Families are cautiously optimistic that there could soon one day be justice for their missing loved ones.

Credit: Brett Gundlock / Getty Images

For more than six years, families of the missing students have mourned the uncertain loss of their loved ones. Their story has been the subject of countless documentaries and art projects, including one by famed Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei.

Although these are major developments in the case, Felipe de la Cruz, a spokesman for the parents of the missing students, said he and the other parents would “wait and see” if Ángel Casarrubias could contribute fresh information about what happened to their children.

He added that what the parents would like to see is the arrest of Tomás Zerón, the former head of investigations for the Prosecutor-General’s office who led the probe into the students’ disappearance.