MAY 5-11, 2008

1. SUPREME COURT TO INVESTIGATE ATENCO POLICE ACTIONS
2. PRD NEAR COLLAPSE
3. CALDERON ACCEPTS MEDIATION, EPR REJECTS CONDITIONS
4. POLICE OFFICIALS KILLED


1. SUPREME COURT TO INVESTIGATE ATENCO POLICE ACTIONS
A Supreme Court commission determined there is sufficient evidence to indicate grave human rights violations and excessive use of police force during the May 3 and 4, 2006, police riots in San Salvador Atenco.  The commission interviewed 301 people, including 228 police, ten high ranking federal and state officials, nine immigration agents and 45 people arrested during the two days of police violence.  However, doubts exist concerning the extent to which the report implicates political leaders, including Mexico State Governor Enrique Peña Nieto and former Public Security Secretary and current federal Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora.  Both men are widely believed to be the intellectual authors of police repression unleashed on residents of Atenco that resulted in over 200 beatings, at least 26 women sexually assaulted and two assassinations.  The Supreme Court may now order a full investigation of the Atenco police assaults.


2. PRD NEAR COLLAPSE
The PRD neared complete collapse this week as battling factions claimed widely divergent results for inter-party elections held in March.  The Federal Election Tribunal (TEPJF), a federal judiciary that oversees elections, ruled on Friday that election results released by the PRD counting only 84% of polling sites are invalid, and ordered the National Commission of Guarantees, a party oversight body, to tabulate all polling sites.  The party had 72 hours to finish the recount, and then 48 hours to publish the results.  The original partial count, which did not include dozens of irregular polling sites, gave Alejandro Encinas, who is closely aligned with former PRD presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a victory in the contest for party president.  Late Friday night, the PRD’s Technical Electoral Commission announced results from all polling stations, leaving Ortega with 557,729 votes and Encinas with 541,515.  The results were immediately questioned by the National Commission of Guarantees and members of the Technical Electoral Commission who were not involved in the new computations.  Only one of the four members of the Electoral Commission supports the new tabulation.  On Saturday, the party’s National Executive Committee (CEN) quickly published the newly computed results, though only nine of the 21 CEN members participated in the decision.  Guadalupe Acosta, the current president of the CEN, is an outspoken supporter of Ortga and was appointed in a contested meeting earlier in the week that is being challenged by Encinas.  At question in the election is the computation of dozens of irregular polling sites that included more ballots than issued and polling sites that were never officially opened.


3. CALDERON ACCEPTS MEDIATION, EPR REJECTS CONDITIONS
The Calderon administration accepted the mediation of a group of intellectuals proposed by the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) to “establish principles of understanding and a process of dialogue” to reach “a solution regarding differences utilizing our institutions.”  However, the government set conditions, including a direct dialogue in which the intellectuals would act only as “social witnesses” and the discussions would lead to the EPR disarming.  The EPR quickly rejected the conditions, calling for a mediated negotiation limited to the discussion of two disappeared EPR members.


4. POLICE OFFICIALS KILLED
Three high ranking police officials were murdered this week, presumably by drug cartels.  Government spokesmen attributed the murders to cartel hit-men responding to Calderon’s increasingly violent and largely ineffective war on drugs, but some experts attributed the murders to cartels aligned with particular police officials competing for lucrative markets.  On Thursday, the acting federal police chief, Edgar Millan Gomez, was gunned down in front of his Mexico City home.  On Friday, the head of the anti-kidnapping unit in Mexico City was killed outside his home.  And on Saturday, the second ranking commander in Ciudad Juarez was murdered.  Since taking office in 2006, President Calderon has sent 25,000 soldiers and federal police officers into central and northern states, ostensibly to combat drug gangs.  To date, few cartel leaders have been arrested, though recently in the state of Chihuahua federal agents arrested activists who publicly criticized the massive deployment on human rights grounds.  At least 2,500 people died last year in drug-related violence, much of it due to battles between cartels for control of lucrative markets, and the toll so far this year is over 1,100.