Things That Matter

Border Patrol Murdered A 15-Year-Old Boy In Mexico And Now The Supreme Court Will Hear The Case

The Supreme Court of the United States will hear a Mexican family’s case. In 2010, Sergio Hernandez was murdered by a United States border patrol agent — on Mexican soil along the southern border. His parents want to sue the man who shot and killed their teenage son, Jesus Mesa. 

SCOTUS will hear the case to decide if the family can sue, which will just begin the beginning of an uphill battle as the family will still have to prove Sergio’s constitutional rights were violated. Mesa, on the other hand, has claimed immunity as a government officer at work. He argues that there is no law that makes him liable and that foreigners murdered on foreign soil cannot sue U.S. officers for damages that occur abroad. 

Sergio Hernandez is killed by a U.S. border patrol agent in 2010.

The 15-year-old was shot to death by the agent as he hid behind a pillar in Mexico, according to CNN. Hernandez was hanging out with friends on a cement culvert that separates El Paso, Texas from Cuidad Juarez, Mexico. 

His parents claim he was playing a game where you cross the border, touch a fence, then run back onto Mexican soil. They believe Mesa arrived during the game and fatally shot their son. 

According to Messa, the boy was throwing rocks at him and he shot him when Hernandez when he refused to stop. The Justice Department did not bring a criminal charge against Mesa in 2012. 

“I want justice. This officer cannot be allowed to continue, because there’ll be another young victim, then another and another,” Maria Guereca told NPR in 2017

According to El Paso Times, the shooting was recorded on a video with a cellphone. There was a great public outcry, including protests in 2010. 

“We are very concerned about the message and the precedent it is sending throughout the border and the nation,” Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights said. “It might be telling us that the actions by the Border Patrol, not only mistreatment and killings, go unpunished and there is no accountability.”

Hernandez’s family says his constitutional rights were violated.

According to Quartz, the family believes his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unconstitutional governmental searches and seizures was violated — his death being the “seizure” in this case.  

The first time the family tried to have their case heard by SCOTUS it was remanded to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court ruled that the family could not sue citing “special factors” like national security and diplomatic concerns. However, the family petitioned again and got it. They argued that suing the agent would not challenge law enforcement policies, immigration law or affect the United States’ diplomatic relationship with Mexico. 

Lawyers of Mexico filed a “friend of the court brief,” according to CNN, where they argue that US border agencies have killed dozens of individuals at the border and pled the justices to take the case. 

“When agents of the United States government violate fundamental rights of Mexican nationals and others within Mexico’s jurisdiction, it is a priority to Mexico to see that the United States has provided adequate means to hold the agents accountable and to compensate the victims,” they wrote. 

The solicitor general insists the family cannot sue. SCOTUS will finally weigh in. 

Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued in court briefs that, “imposing a damages remedy on aliens injured abroad by US government officials would implicate foreign-policy considerations that are committed to the political branches” and that inserting the courts into matters of international diplomacy would, “risk undermining the government’s ability to speak with one voice in international affairs.”

While Francisco believes the court should hear the case because lower courts have been split on the matter, he is hoping SCOTUS will affirm the lower court’s decision to block the family from suing. 

Mexico argues SCOTUS must take the case to address excessive force at the border. In a brief, they remind of the justices of international human rights obligations. 

“The decision below failed to take account of the binding international human rights obligations that the United States has undertaken by treaty to Mexico and its nationals. Those include, among others, the obligation to respect the fundamental right not to be arbitrarily deprived of life and the right to an effective remedy when fundamental rights have been violated,” the government stated.

“A nation’s obligations to respect human rights do not stop at its borders but apply anywhere that the nation exercises effective control.”

While it has taken nearly a decade, SCOTUS will now decide if the actions of individuals carried out abroad have consequences on American soil. The outcome will set a new precedent and will have serious outcomes for how agents treat immigrants in the future. 

Diego Luna Talks The Importance Of The Storytelling In ‘Narcos: Mexico’ And Why Mexico City Will Always Be His Home


Diego Luna Talks The Importance Of The Storytelling In ‘Narcos: Mexico’ And Why Mexico City Will Always Be His Home

Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix’s “Narcos: Mexico” Season 2 comes back to continue the story of enigmatic drug lord Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo and the subsequent rise and fall of the Guadalajara cartel he founded in the 1970s, with Diego Luna reprising his role as the mysterious Félix Gallardo.

The show depicts how Félix Gallardo’s eloquence and strategic thinking helped him attain a swift rise to the apex of the Mexican drug cartels. 

For a man of which not much is widely known about, Luna reveals in this exclusive interview with mitú how he was able to dive into his character.

When preparing for this role, Luna said there wasn’t as much research material about El Padrino (Félix Gallardo’s alias) compared to the personal stories of other real-life personalities, such as El Chapo. 

“The good thing for me in playing this role is this man was a very discreet person, he understood the power of discretion,” Luna says.

It was important to see what people said about him—what people say or feel when they were around this character, this perception of him helps a lot. I had to do research and see what was a common answer—people talk about how intelligent and precise and strategic he was, and that’s how I wanted to portray and build this character,” Luna told mitú over the phone. 

Season 2 picks up after the murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena, with Félix Gallardo enjoying political protection at his palatial home in Mexico.

It’s evident in the beginning scenes of this second season that his rags-to-riches story is starting to unravel and a bit of paranoia is starting to set in that he may have a knife (or gun) at his back at any moment. 

A running allegory used by the characters’ dialogues of the Roman Empire’s eventual collapse and Julius Caesar’s ultimate end foreshadows what we all know will happen to Félix Gallardo—his drug empire will eventually collapse in a smoke of cocaine dust. 

From crooked Mexican politicians and cops to ranch hands trying to make extra money delivering cocaine across the border, the show demonstrates the complicity among the cartels and how far the cartels’ reach.

“Narcos: Mexico” attempts to show that good and evil isn’t always black and white. The story highlights the gray area where even those committing corrupt acts are victims, Luna explained. 

“Some of the characters that take action are victims of the whole system,” Luna said in Spanish. 

The side of Mexico shown in “Narcos: Mexico” has been criticized by some as a side of Mexico stereotypically seen in the media.

However, Luna sees it as a side of the country that is real and must be discussed in order to move forward.

“When this season ends, I was 10 to 11 years old [at the time.] That decade was actually ending. It’s interesting to revisit that decade as an adult and research that Mexico my father was trying to hide from me [as a child],” Luna explained.

Luna says that this type of storytelling is important to understanding the fuller picture of Mexico.

The need for this type of storytelling—the stories that put a mirror up to a country to see the darkest side of itself—is vital, regardless of how complex it is to write scripts about all the facets of a country marred by political and judicial corruption. 

“In this case the story is very complex, it’s talking about a corrupt system that allows these stories to happen. We don’t tell stories like that—we simply everything. With this, I had a chance to understand that complexity. The journey of this character is a presentable journey. Power has a downside, and he gets there and he thinks he’s indispensable and clearly he is not,” Luna said. 

Outside of his role on “Narcos,” Luna is a vocal activist and is constantly working to put Mexico’s art and talent on an international stage through his work, vigilantly reminding his audience that Mexico has culture waiting to be explored past the resort walls of Cancún and Cabo. 

“The beauty of Mexico is that there are many Mexicos—it’s a very diverse country. You have the Pacific Coast that is beautiful and vibrant and really cool. By far my favorite beach spots in Mexico are in Oaxaca, and all the region of Baja California. You also have the desert and jungle and Veracruz and you have all the Caribbean coast and the city is to me a place I can’t really escape. Home is Mexico City, and it will always be where most of my love stories are and where I belong,” Luna said in a sort of love note aside to his home country. 

As much as Luna can talk endlessly about his favorite tacos in Mexico City (Tacos El Güero for any inquiring minds) and the gastronomic wonders of its pocket neighborhoods such as la Condesa, he also wants the dialogue around Mexico’s violence to be shown under a spotlight, as searing as it may be. 

“We can’t avoid talking about violence because if we stop, we normalize something that has to change,” Luna said. 

Perhaps “Narcos: Mexico” can bring some introspection and change after all. Let’s hope the politicians are watching.

READ: ‘Narcos: Mexico’ Season 2 Picks Up Where We Left Off With Félix Gallardo And The Guadalajara Cartel

Mexican Newspaper Slammed After Publishing Graphic Photos Of Woman’s Tragic Death

Things That Matter

Mexican Newspaper Slammed After Publishing Graphic Photos Of Woman’s Tragic Death

SkyNews/ Twitter

In Mexico, the recent brutal mutilation and slaying of a 25-year-old woman are spurning conversations about the country’s efforts to prevent femicide and laws that protect victims from the media.

On Sunday, Mexican authorities revealed that they had discovered the body of Ingrid Escamilla.

According to reports, Escamilla was found lifeless with her body skinned and many of her organs missing. At the scene, a 46-year-old man was also discovered alive. His body was covered in bloodstains and he was arrested.

As of this story wasn’t troubling enough, local tabloids and websites managed to bring more tragedy to the victim and her family by splashing leaked graphic photos and videos of the victim’s body. In a terribly crafted headline, one paper by the name of Pasala printed the photos on its front page with the headline “It was Cupid’s fault.” The headline is a reference to the fact that the man found at the scene was Escamilla’s husband.

According to leaked video footage from the arrest scene, Escamilla’s husband admitted to stabbing his wife after a heated argument in which she threatened to kill him. He then claimed to have skinned her body to eliminate evidence.

Mexic City’s mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, revealed that prosecutors will demand the maximum sentence against the alleged perpetrator.

“Femicide is an absolutely condemnable crime. It is appalling when hatred reaches extremes like in the case of Ingrid Escamilla,” Sheinbaum wrote in a tweet according to CNN. According to reports, Mexico broke records in 2018 when its homicide record reached over 33,000 people that year.

The publication of Escamilla’s mutilated body has sparked discussions regarding the way in which reports about violence against women are handled.

Women’s rights organizations have lambasted the papers that originally published photos of Escamilla’s body and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also expressed criticism of the media’s response to the brutal slaying.

In a press conference on Thursday, President López Obrador expressed his determination to find and punish anyone responsible for the image leaks. “This is a crime, that needs to be punished, whoever it is,” he stated.