Things That Matter

‘Coco’ Actor Gael García Bernal Accuses Mexican President Of Having A Part In The Mormon Family Slaying

This week, the brutal slaying of a Mormon family in Mexico spurned various discussions the way the situation has been handled by both the Mexican and United States government.

On Monday, nine members of a Mormon family traveling to a wedding in Chihuahua, Mexico were hunted down and massacred by armed men in a cartel. The victims included members of the LeBarón, Rhonita Maria LeBarón (a 30-year-old mother) and six children. According to reports, three mothers and their children were driving from their fundamentalist Mormon community in a convoy of three SUVs when they were attacked, for unknown reasons. Mexico’s top security official, Alfonso Durazo, has said that the men involved in the killing may have assumed that the SUV convoy was a rival gang. While Mexican police have arrested a suspected drug lord behind the massacre, the case is still under investigation and many are calling out the Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador for his comments about the attack that occurred on Monday. 

 Including the Mexican Golden Globe-winning actor Gael García Bernal.

The “Coco” actor called out López Obrador on social media earlier this week, accusing the president of a lack of proper action and playing a part in the attack. 

“Every femicide, every murder, every injustice against children and old people. Terrible what happened yesterday. What happens daily, damn. How sad,” García Bernal wrote in a tweet. 

The  40-year-old award-winning actor has a reputation for of speaking up and out when it comes to matters that are about politics. He’s been vocal in the past about his contempt for President Donald Trump and his attack on minorities and people of color. Back in 2015, García Bernal spoke to the Guardian lambasted the president saying  “I mean, he called Mexicans rapists and drug dealers. How closed-minded and fucking ignorant is that? At first, you don’t listen, but then it reaches a point where you go, OK, now he’s created exactly what he maybe wanted to, which is that people are angry. I’m upset. I’m upset if I listen to anybody talk like that. We started to give Donald Trump so much space, and we started to validate his opinion, as if it’s like, ‘You know, it’s a valid opinion.’ No, it’s not valid. It’s hate discourse, and what follows next is genocide or civil war. I mean, that’s how it begins.”Speaking about the LeBaron murders, Garcia wrote to his Twitter followers that “If the government and [President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador] don’t change the narrative to assume their responsibilities, why the hell did we vote for you guys… You better fully assume responsibility and do the impossible so that this doesn’t happen again.”

As of Thursday, his tweet has generated thousands of comments and 8,600 retweets.

The act of violence has highlighted the different takes that Donald Trump and Manuel have taken on violence in Mexico.

“If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters,” Trump tweeted. “The United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively. The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!”

In a follow-up tweet, Trump suggested it was time for a “war,” saying, “This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth. We merely await a call from your great new president!”

During a daily press briefing, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador rebuffed Trump’s suggestion, saying, “It’s not in agreement with our convictions. The worst thing is war.”

García Bernal became an active voice promoting the Mexican president during his election in 2018 but has since been critical of him. 

In 2018, after the Mexican governor bestowed the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest honor it gives to foreigners, to Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, García Bernal was quick to slam the decision. At the time, Bernal accused Manuel of shaming the honor. “What level of self-inflicted humiliation, demerging any added value that such decoration might have. Shame. Tremendous. And do not say the pissing that causes us,” he wrote in a tweet. Speaking about the LeBaron murders, Garcia wrote to his Twitter followers that “If the government and [President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador] don’t change the narrative to assume their responsibilities, why the hell did we vote for you guys… You better fully assume responsibility and do the impossible so that this doesn’t happen again.”

As of Thursday, his tweet generated thousands of comments and 8,600 retweets.

A 25-Year-Old Woman Was Murdered And Skinned, Then Mexican Newspapers Published Photos Of Her Body

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A 25-Year-Old Woman Was Murdered And Skinned, Then Mexican Newspapers Published Photos Of Her Body

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.

Conservationists At Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Reserve Are Being Murdered And Investigators Aren’t Sure Why

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Conservationists At Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Reserve Are Being Murdered And Investigators Aren’t Sure Why

Alan Ortega / Getty

Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Reserve is one of the world’s most famous wildlife hotspots. Hundreds of thousands come each year to view the annual migration of millions of beautiful butterflies that call Mexico’s Michoacan state home during the winter.

However, this iconic and majestic habitat for one of the world’s most endangered animals is now the backdrop for a dramatic murder mystery that is unfolding in international headlines. Two conservationists have been discovered dead just days apart and investigators still aren’t sure why.

A second victim has been pronounced killed by authorities in Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly reserve.

Credit: Alan Ortega / Getty

One of the world’s most beautiful wildlife spots is now the backdrop for a dramatic double murder after two nature activists are discovered dead at Mexico’s El Rosario monarch butterfly sanctuary.

The deaths of Homero Gomez Gonzalez, manager of the butterfly reserve, and Raul Hernandez Romero, a tour guide at the sanctuary, have sent shockwaves across the world of wildlife conservation.

Hernandez Romero’s body was discovered on Saturday near the highest point of the mountainous sanctuary, which sits 9,000 feet above sea level in the state of Michoacan, about 130 miles west of Mexico City, according to a statement from the Michoacan state prosecutor’s office. Hernandez Romero’s family reported him missing on Friday, officials said.

The new victim was found just days after the first victim’s body was found after being missing for 16 days.

Credit: Alan Ortega / Getty

Authorities discovered his body about three days after the Hernandez Romero’s body was found in a pond near the Central Mexico town of El Soldado, prosecutors said.

An autopsy performed in the presence of State Human Rights Commission representatives determined Gomez Gonzalez died from “mechanical asphyxiation” after suffering head trauma and being submerged in water.

Gomez Gonzalez, whose family reported him missing two weeks ago, was one of the region’s most prominent conservation activists and a vocal defender of the monarch butterflies. He had launched a campaign against illegal logging that threatens the butterflies nesting grounds.

Although petty crime and theft is common in these parts of Mexico, authorities don’t believe this to be the case in Gonzalez’s death. He was found with about $9,000 pesos (or about $500 USD) on him when his body was discovered.

Mexico’s Monarch butterfly preserve is a UNESCO Biosphere reserve that draws hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Each winter, millions of monarch butterflies make their home at the El Rosario reserve in Mexico — one of the best places in the world to see them. Local guides lead tourists up the mountainside on foot and horseback to where the monarchs cluster in fir and pine trees. Their bright orange wings flit amid the mild weather of Michoacán, and signs ask for silence as visitors enter the nesting areas.

The El Rosario sanctuary is part of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, which was enshrined as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, calling the overwintering concentration of butterflies there “a superlative natural phenomenon.” It noted that more than half of overwintering colonies of the monarch butterfly’s eastern population are found in these specific areas of Mexico.

But the same forests that draw butterflies to migrate thousands of miles each winter are under threat from illegal logging and clandestine avocado farms.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Officials in the state of Michoacán said they were unsure if the two deaths were linked – or related to the men’s work in the butterfly reserve. The state has seen a rising tide of violence in recent years, and the region around the monarch butterfly reserve has been rife with illegal logging, despite a ban imposed to protect the monarchs, which winter in the pine- and fir-covered hills.

Some illegal clearcutting is also carried out to allow for the planting of avocado orchards – one of Mexico’s most lucrative crops and an important part of Michoacán’s economy.

The deaths again called attention to the disturbing trend in Mexico of environmental defenders being killed as they come into conflict with developers or local crime groups, who often have political and police protection.