Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has signed a new law designed to help efforts in finding thousands of missing people. The law, signed on Thursday, will add 469 million pesos ($25 million) to assist in search efforts, reports Reuters. According to the National Human Rights Commission, more than 30,000 people have gone missing in Mexico over the last 50 years. More than 100,000 have died in Mexico’s violent drug war, reports Reuters.
Mass graves have become a common occurrence in Mexico in recent years. Authorities are often unable to identify the remains found in the graves, leaving families of the missing in the dark. The law will create a new database to collect forensic information relevant in the cases of the missing people. There are also new rules about the exhumation of victims. Special prosecutors will be appointed to handle missing persons cases.
“The disappearance of people is one of the greatest challenges facing our human rights and one of the most painful experiences anyone can suffer,” Peña Nieto told the press during the signing ceremony, according to Reuters.
Discussions surrounding the epidemic of missing people in Mexico reached international consciousness when 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College went missing from Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico in 2014. The Mexican government’s investigation, which put the blame on municipal police and a local drug gang, was put into question when several holes were found in the “official” story. Families of the students have been demanding answers from Peña Nieto and the Mexican government about their missing loved ones.
Mexico is still recovering from two devastating earthquakes the killed hundreds in September. Despite the recovery effort, Mexican officials have stated that there is enough money and support to implement the program. Reuters reports that the law will go into effect in 60 days.
Protests against police brutality have sprung up around the world. People are tired of police departments killing unarmed citizens and the latest unrest is coming from Mexico after a man was killed by police after being arrested.
Mexican protests against police brutality intensified this week.
Protesters took to the streets through Jalisco to protest the death of Giovanni López at the hands of the police. The 24-year-old was allegedly arrested for not wearing a face mask on May 4 in Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos, Jalisco, near Guadalajara. An autopsy of López revealed that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head prompting protests against police brutality.
A video of the arrest has been spreading all over social media showing López being arrested by a group of police officers.
People at the scene and in the video are shocked at the force used in the arrest. Multiple police officers can be seen surrounding López as they attempt to put him in the police car. The police officers can be heard degrading López and those defending him during the arrest.
“Vanni, we’re coming for you,” a man is heard saying.
“Shut up, you p*ssy,” a police officer responds.
López can be heard begging for help as the police apprehended him.
According to the video, police claim that López was resisting arrest to justify the police presence at the arrest. There are unsubstantiated allegations of government-backed attempts to bribe López’s family for their silence.
López’s death sparked intense protests in Mexico demanding justice and police accountability.
#JusticiaParaGiovanni demonstrations, centralized in Jalisco, cropped up after the autopsy was released. There were already Black Lives Matter protests happening in Mexico to show support for the U.S. movement. López’s death amplified that anger and the result is violent protests.
One video circulating on social media shows a police officer being set on fire.
State Prosecutor Gerardo Octavio Solís claims that López was arrested for “aggressive behavior” but the family disputes that claim. Mexicans have long had a contentious relationship with law enforcement, many of which have been trained by U.S. forces.
“There are long histories of police brutality in both countries,” Tom Long, an expert on Mexican security at the University of Warwick, told The Guardian. “[Militarization] is a recipe for police violence, particularly aimed at those with the fewest monetary and societal resources to hold (them) accountable.”
There are millions of people just itching for a vacation right now, and Cancun wants to welcome visitors with open arms. However, there’s a huge problem with their plan. Most of the country is still in a severe phase of the pandemic – with all 32 states reporting daily increases in confirmed Covid-19 cases.
In cities such as Guadalajara and Mexico City, even locals aren’t allowed to venture far from their homes and restrictions on shopping, dining, and exercising are still in full force.
However, the country’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), has resumed his cross-country travels and is trying to portray a ‘new normal’ – the problem is little has changed to prevent further outbreaks.
Cancun is aiming to open its doors to tourists from June 10 – but it makes zero sense given the actual situation on the ground.
Quintana Roo, home to the famed beaches of Cancun and Tulum, will resume activities next week – according to the governor, Carlos Joaquin Gonzalez. The state, which depends heavily on tourism, has lost over 83,000 jobs in the last few months due to the pandemic, and with reopening the state could see an economic rebound. However, that entirely depends on the success and implementation of safety measures.
In a press conference, the governor said that tourists could start arriving in the Caribbean destination as soon as June 8th. He added that tourism is an essential activity and that there is no other of greater importance in Quintana Roo “and we are going to fight for it to be considered that way.”
He stressed during the public address that for the opening to happen by June 10th, protocols and hygiene measures must be followed to protect workers and tourists from Covid-19.
And he has good reason to reopen. According to a new survey by Expedia, ‘Cancun flights’ is one of the top 5 searches on the platform. In the same survey, Playa del Carmen, Cancun and Isla Mujeres (all located in Quintana Roo) were announced as three of the most internationally sought after destinations.
Meanwhile, AMLO has launched a cross-country tour touting the lifting of Coronavirus restrictions.
President AMLO also held his daily press conference from the state of Quintana Roo to mark the beginning of Mexico’s economic reopening and resume his tours across the country.
But this too makes zero sense. Yes, the government has mandated that states can begin lifting restrictions – if they’re no longer declared ‘red zones.’ However, every state in the country is still in the red, with many seeing peak infection numbers.
It’s just the most recent example of confusing messaging from the president.
While AMLO is eager to get the country reopened and put Mexicans back to work, Coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country. Mexico has now recorded the seventh-highest number of Covid-19 deaths in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins tracker, with nearly 10,000 virus-related fatalities and almost 100,000 confirmed cases. Testing in the country is low and health officials acknowledge that the numbers are likely much higher.
The federal government unveiled a red-light/green-light system to implement reopening procedures state by state. But currently every state is still in ‘red-light’ phase – meaning stay-at-home orders are still in full effect – making AMLO’s messaging extremely confusing.
Time and time again, the president has downplayed the virus outbreak and has criticized stay-at-home orders for harming the economy.
Keep in mind, however, that non-essential travel between the U.S. and Mexico is still largely banned.
Since March, all non-essential travel has been banned between the U.S. and Mexico. However, that ban is currently set to expire on June 22. It’s possible both sides could extend the travel ban, but given AMLO’s rhetoric it isn’t likely he’ll keep the country closed to tourists for much longer.
However, it’s important to point that out even if you technically can travel – right now you really shouldn’t. In much of Mexico, confirmed Covid-19 cases are on the rise with many cities across the country just now entering it’s worst phase.
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