Things That Matter

Ten Indigenous Musicians Were Ambushed And Shot Dead In Guerrero, Mexico—Authorities Believe The Perpetrators Were Part Of A Drug Cartel

Ten indigenous musicians were shot dead and burned in an ambush in western Mexico.

The horrible crime is believed to have been carried out by a drug cartel, that has been terrorizing indigenous groups in Guerrero Mexico for nearly 20 years.

The members of the Nahua indigenous group were returning from a party when they were attacked in the town of Chilapa in Guerrero state.

The victims, part of the Sensación Musical group, were returning to their Alcozacán community on Friday after playing the day before, said David Sánchez Luna, co-ordinator of the regional indigenous group known as CRAC-PF. Gunmen attacked their vehicle at around 14:00 local time in Mexcalcingo, he said. The victims, all men, were aged between 15 and 42.

The ‘Los Ardillos cartel’, which frequently targets indigenous people in the area, was blamed for the attack.

For over 20 years, Los Ardillos have been trafficking drugs in the mountainous region of Guerrero —throughout this time they have infamously extorted and kidnapped locals to consolidate their power and domain.

The rural ex-cop Celso Ortega Rosas, nicknamed ‘La Ardilla’, was involved in the business of poppy crops in the region of Quechultenango Guerrero, and he is the founder of the criminal group.

According to a 2015 article on El Universal, los Ardillos started kidnapping and extorting people. They gave their victims a 24 hour period to vacate their homes before taking possession of the property.  In 2008, Celso Ortega Rosas was detained for the kidnapping of a woman, the homicide of two agents of the former ‘Subprocuraduría de Investigación Especializada en Delincuencia Organizada (SEIDO)’ a body that has since dissolved and was focused on undercover investigations in the center of Guerrero state.

When the bodies of the victims were found, they were beyond recognition.

After authorities refused to release them to the families, hundreds of indigenous people blocked a road on Friday night, according to La Jornada newspaper.

Authorities shared the names of the deceased victims.

The men who lost their lives were: José Julio y Cándido Fiscaleño Hilario; Crescenciano Migueleño Coapango; Israel Tolentino Ahuelican; Israel Mendoza Pasado; Regino Fiscaleño Chautla; Antonio Mendoza Tolentino; Lorenzo Linares Jiménez; Juan Joaquín; y Marcos Fiscaleño Baltazar.

The Guerrero prosecutor’s office said it was investigating the case.

Guerrero is one of Mexico’s most violent states, where drug gangs fight for control of trafficking routes to the Pacific and other parts of the country. Los Ardillos have been linked to dozens of deaths in recent months, including many indigenous people, according to local media.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has opted for a non-confrontational approach to the cartel.

Focusing, instead, on tackling inequality central to his efforts under a policy dubbed “abrazos, no balazos” – hugs not bullets. But this policy has come under fire after a number of high-profile attacks, including an ambush in which nine members of a Mormon community were killed. The president vowed to create a new National Guard to tackle violence, but few have signed up to the force amid fear of being killed on the job.

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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

Paras Griffin / Getty Images

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.

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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.

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