MARCH 10-16, 2008

1. CONGRESS TO INVESTIGATE MOURIÑO
2. MEXICAN STUDENTS MURDERED DURING COLOMBIAN RAID
3. SUPREME COURT ISSUES PRELIMINARY FINDING IN ATENCO CASE
4. HUNGER STRIKE GROWS IN CHIAPAS PRISONS


1. CONGRESS TO INVESTIGATE MOURIÑO
Congress approved a watered down committee with limited investigative powers headed by a member of the PRI-allied Green Party to investigate a series of Pemex contracts signed by Interior Secretary Juan Mouriño.  Mouriño signed the contracts as a legal representative of his family’s business while he served as an assistant to then Energy Secretary Felipe Calderon and as president of the Energy Commission of the Lower House.  Opposition parties are charging Mouriño with illegal influence trafficking.  The investigative body, composed of nine Deputies, will have only two months to review thousands of Pemex contracts signed since 1997.  Members of the Frente Amplio Progresista (FAP), which includes the PRD, Convergencia and the Labor Party, refused to participate in the commission, calling it a false investigation designed to exonerate Mouriño. “We decided not to participate in a commission when we already know where it’s headed,” said Javier Gonzalez, a FAP leader.  Mouriño released seven contracts this week that he signed with Pemex between 2000 and 2003, claiming his actions were legal.  He sited a series of uninterrupted contracts between Pemex and his family business since 1985, and claimed his responsibilities in public office were not related to the commercial operations of Pemex.  The FAP says it will release more documents implicating Mouriño and possibly President Calderon.


2. MEXICAN STUDENTS MURDERED DURING COLOMBIAN RAID
The families of four Mexican students murdered by the Colombian army during an illegal raid in a FARC encampment in Ecuadorian territory two weeks ago are threatening to take their case to international legal institutions.  To date, the Calderon administration has not condemned the invasion of Ecuadorian territory, instead mounting a witch hunt for Mexican students who were researching the FARC as part of a 40-day visit to Ecuador.  Lucia Morett, the only Mexican student to survive the attack, gave testimony this week that Colombian forces murdered most of the 22 students and FARC members who died during the attack, shooting many in the head at point blank range after they surrendered.  The students were in Ecuador to participate in the Second Continental Bolivarian Conference from February 25-27.  Apparently during the conference they received an invitation to visit the FARC camp.  Since the students were involved in research on Latin American guerrilla movements at the UNAM in Mexico City, they readily accepted.  They arrived at the FARC camp only hours before the massacre.  The families of the victims are charging Colombia with illegitimate acts of war, use of fragmentation bombs (supplied by the US), assassination of prisoners, and abandonment of the wounded.


3. SUPREME COURT ISSUES PRELIMINARY FINDING IN ATENCO CASE
The Investigative Committee of the Supreme Court issued a preliminary finding this week, claiming “possibly grave violations” of human rights in the police initiated riots on May 3 and 4, 2006, in San Salvador Atenco.  The Committee found coordination “at the highest levels between the State Police (ASE) and the Federal Preventative Police (PFP)” in planning the operation that resulted in two deaths and 207 arrests, of which “only nine were unharmed.”  The Committee found evidence that “various elements of the police mounted attacks against demonstrators who were apparently not resisting.”  Many of the arrestees were transported in buses “with people piled on top of each other while they were attacked, and despite the fact that their hands were bound, they were beaten with clubs, kicked and in some cases the police walked on top of them.”  The Supreme Court will mount a full investigation of the incidents.


4. HUNGER STRIKE GROWS IN CHIAPAS PRISONS
At least 47 hunger strikers at five Chiapas prisons rejected a proposal by Governor Juan Sabines to end their protest in exchange for a judicial review of their cases that could last several months.  The political prisoners are demanding immediate release.  Zacario Hernandez, a member of Pueblo Creyente, began his hunger strike five weeks ago and is reportedly in grave condition.  Sabines is clearly concerned about the implications of the hunger strike, which includes supporters from the Other Campaign and international organizations.  The Governor published a series of paid newspaper articles over the past weeks in an effort to convince hunger strikers and supporters that their dilemma was not his responsibility.