Mexico News and Analysis, Dec 8-14, 2009

1. 81 femicides this year in Ciudad Juarez
2. Narcos hang banners condemning Garcia Luna
3. Festival of Dignified Rage

1. 81 femicides this year in Ciudad Juarez
Ciudad Juarez registered 81 femicides so far in 2008, more than doubling the worst years of 1996 and 2001 in which the city recorded 37 women murdered.  El Diario de Juarez provided the following accounting of femicides since 1993, when Esther Chavez Cano, a local human rights activist, first called attention to problem:

Year                       Femicides
1993                                19
1994                                19
1995                                36
1996                                37
1997                                32
1998                                36
1999                                18
2000                                32
2001                                37
2002                                36
2003                                28
2004                                19
2005                                33
2006                                20
2007                                25
2008                                81               

Of the 81 cases so far this year, 55 deaths resulted from organized crime, while the Special Investigator for Deaths of Women (FEIHM) is handling the other 26 cases.  Sixteen of these 26 cases remain under investigation while the other ten cases have been declared resolved.  Two twelve-year-old girls are among the victims.

2. Narcos hang banners condemning Garcia Luna
Mexico’s leading drug cartels continued their very public media battle this week, hanging huge banners in a dozen major cities in at least six states.  The most popular message targeted Secretary of Security Genardo Garcia Luna, who is under suspicion of links to the Sinaloa Cartel.  In the border city Reynosa, at least four banners accused Garcia Luna of being “the most powerful narco-trafficker” and of protecting the powerful Zambada family.  Over the last few months, Mexico’s two major cartels have carried out a virtual media war using banners as large as 30 feet hung from bridges, pedestrian walks, and even Catholic church steeples.  The most recent barrage was probably the work of the rival Gulf Cartel under the control of the Beltran Leyva family, widely believed to be aligned with the recently deposed head of the Federal Preventative Police Gerardo Garay.  Garay is currently in federal prison without the possibility of bail as he awaits trial on charges of abuse of authority, links to organized crime and robbery.  Banners appeared simultaneously in Neuvo Leon, Tamaulipas, Morelos, Tabasco, Guerrero and Veracruz.  The banners accused Garcia Luna of being responsible for the September 15 Independence Day grenade attacks in Morelia and of managing a group of kidnappers and assassins as part of the Grupo de Reaccion Gopez within the Federal Preventative Police.

3. Festival of Dignified Rage
At least 236 national and international collectives are registered to participate in the Festival of Dignified Rage, according to an update by the Comision Sexta of the Zapatista National Liberation Army.  Some 154 national groups are registered from 26 states, while at least 82 international organizations will attend.  Formal registration is open only to invited groups, but the Festival is free and open to the general public.  The Festival kicks off December 26-30 in Lienzo Charro, part of the Pancho Villa movement’s facilities on the south side of Mexico City in Iztapalapa, near the Cabeza de Juarez.  The Festival moves to Oventic, Chiapas, on December 31 and January 1, then winds up at the Universidad de la Tierra in San Cristobal de las Casas on January 2-5.