Mexico News and Analysis: November 22-28, 2010

1 - PUBLIC CONSIDERS DRUG WAR A FAILURE
2 - ORGANIZERS CANCEL MEXICO OUTSOURCING CONFERENCE IN SEATTLE
3 - JEFE DIEGO FREE - OR NOT?
4 - DIGNA OCHOA CASE OFFICIALLY CLOSED
5 - FEDERAL POLICE ACCUSED OF HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
6 - DEATH THREATS AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS

1 - PUBLIC CONSIDERS DRUG WAR A FAILURE

A recent survey by the Mitofsky polling agency found that 49% of Mexicans consider President Calderon's "war on drugs" a failure, while 33% judge it a success.  An earlier survey conducted in March found almost opposite results, with 47% considering Calderon's signature initiative a success while 36% found it a failure.  The change in public opinion could have something to do with the fact that over 30,000 people have been killed since December 2006 when Calderon began to militarize eleven of Mexico's 32 states.  Former President Carlos Salinas de Gotari, one of the most disliked public figures in Mexico, found himself in the minority supporting Calderon's crusade: "President Calderon's strategy has been brave.  Any government has to continue a decided frontal attack against cartels."  Salinas discredited an idea supported by former Presidents Vicente Fox and Ernesto Zedillo to decriminalize narcotics.

2 - ORGANIZERS CANCEL MEXICO OUTSOURCING CONFERENCE IN SEATTLE

Facing protests by union aerospace workers, MexicoNow canceled a conference in Seattle this week to promote outsourcing aerospace jobs to Mexico.  Boeing's two main unions threatened to protest local companies that participated in the event.  MexicoNow organizers were perplexed: "It seems paradoxical that organizations would want to suppress the free exchange of information in the aerospace industry global value chains," said Mexico Now Editor Sergio Ornelas.  "It is sad that such threats take place in a free market where the focus needs to be on long-term competitiveness and lower prices for consumers."  Seattle news outlets reported no counter-protests by enraged aerospace consumers.  Ornelas noted, "production sharing or outsourcing in low cost countries help global firms to conserve higher paying jobs in developed nations."  Apparently union workers on production lines - as opposed to CEOs, lawyers or lobbyists in corporate headquarters - did not pick up the logic in Ornelas' comments.

3 - JEFE DIEGO FREE - OR NOT?

One major Mexican newspaper reported early Saturday morning that "Jefe" Diego Fernandez de Cevallos, a former PAN presidential candidate and wealthy lawyer who made much of his money suing the government, was freed after six months in the hands of mysterious kidnappers.  The family reportedly paid a ransom of US$20 million in October, accepting a promise to liberate Jefe Diego during the last half of November.  One family member confirmed his release early Saturday morning and claimed he was resting comfortably at home, but other family members and government officials quickly denied the report.  This left reporters scrambling for the facts, which are still unclear as of this writing. 

4 - DIGNA OCHOA CASE OFFICIALLY CLOSED

Mexico City's Attorney General officially closed the controversial investigation of human rights defender Digna Ochoa this week, calling her 2002 death a "suicide."  Miguel Angel Mancera continued a line of reasoning put forward during the initial investigation in which officials claimed Ochoa killed herself, but tried to make it look like an assassination.  Ochoa was a highly respected human rights attorney who tackled some of Mexico's most controversial cases.  The new official findings will likely convince no one.

5 - FEDERAL POLICE ACCUSED OF HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES

During the past three years, the internal affairs department of the Federal Police received 1,252 formal complaints for human rights abuses by officers.  Only 212 have been investigated, and of these, 205 were declared inadmissible while five were rejected as "administrative" matters.  Only two cases were resolved, while an additional 828 cases remain "under investigation."

6 - DEATH THREATS AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS

Margarita Martinez, a human rights defender at the Fray Bartolome Human Rights Center in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, was the target of death threats this week shortly after she met with staff from the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights.  Martinez is already the subject of a court order issued by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission providing her with police protection because of previous threats; however, on the afternoon in question her police custodian conveniently "disappeared."  The man who accosted Martinez delivered a letter that also threatened Diego Cadenas, Director of the Fray Bartolome Human Rights Center.  The threats are apparently related to their human rights work in Mitziton, center of a dispute over land and the construction of a new highway that would increase tourism in Chiapas.  In February, Martinez was kidnapped and received death threats, part of a long-standing campaign of intimidation directed against human rights workers in Chiapas.

The Fray Bartolome Human Rights Center requests that letters be sent to the following officials denouncing the continuing threats and harassment:


Lic. Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente de la República
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos
Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec,
C.P. 11850, México DF
Tel: (52.55) 2789.1100 Fax: (52.55 ) 5277.2376
Correo: felipe [dot] calderon [at] presidencia [dot] gob [dot] mx (felipe.calderon@presidencia.gob.mx)

Lic. José Francisco Blake Mora
Secretario de Gobernación
Bucareli 99, 1er. Piso, Col. Juárez,
Del. Cuauhtémoc,
C.P. 06600 México D.F.
Fax: (52.55) 50933414
Correo:  secretario [at] segob [dot] gob [dot] mx, contacto [at] segob [dot] gob [dot] mx (contacto [at] segob [dot] gob [dot] mx)

Lic. Juan José Sabines Guerrero
Gobernador Constitucional del Estado de Chiapas
Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas
Av. Central y Primera Oriente, Colonia Centro, C.P. 29009
Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
Fax: +52 961 61 88088 ? + 52 961 6188056
Correo: secparticular [at] chiapas [dot] gob [dot] mx (secparticular [at] chiapas [dot] gob [dot] mx)

Dr. Noé Castañón León
Secretario General de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas
Palacio de Gobierno, 2o. piso, Colonia Centro, C.P. 29000
Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
Conmutador: + 52 (961) 61 2-90-47, 61 8-74-60
Correo%3Asecretario [at] secgobierno [dot] chiapas [dot] gob [dot] mx (Correo:secretario@secgobierno.chiapas.gob.mx)

Lic. Raciel López Salazar
Procuraduría General de Justicia de Chiapas
Libramiento Norte Y Rosa Del Oriente, No. 2010, Col. El Bosque
C.P. 29049 Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas
Conmutador: 01 (961) 6-17-23-00. Teléfono: + 52 (961) 61 6-53-74, 61 6-53-76, 61 6-57-24,
61 6-34-50
Correo: raciel [dot] lopez [at] pgje [dot] chiapas [dot] gob [dot] mx (raciel [dot] lopez [at] pgje [dot] chiapas [dot] gob.mx)

Dr. José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez
Unidad de Defensores
Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos
1889 F Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
Fax 1-202-458-3992
cidhdenuncias [at] oas [dot] org, cidhdefensores [at] oas [dot] org (cidhdefensores [at] oas [dot] org)