AMLO Promised to Create 'Civil Guard' to Combat Violence Instead of Army

Mexican President-elect AMLO announced that the government will create a national “civil guard” to combat violence in the country and curb the army’s role in the civil sphere.

On Saturday, the President-elect of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) promised the citizens of the country that the military will never be used against civilians while paying tribute to the massacred students during the Oct.2, 1968 protest. He also proposed to reform the army to guarantee peace and prevent tragedies like 1968 mass murder.

RELATED: Ayotzinapa 43: Four Years After The Crime That Shocked Mexico

While giving a speech at Plaza Tlatelolco, AMLO said, "In this historical square we commit ourselves never to use the Army to repress the people of Mexico. We are going to suppress the General Staff and create a civil guard that will limit the use of force and guarantee human rights."

50 years ago, the same Plaza witnessed a macabre event on Oct. 2, 1986, when armed forces fired on a peaceful demonstration by the students, leaving at least 300 unarmed students dead, hundreds injured and more than 1000 detained. The students were protesting against the government of President Diaz Ordaz.

A federal court described the massacre as a genocidal event. A Mexican government institution, the Executive Commission for Victims’ Assistance, admitted for the first time in last week that the 1968 massacre was a state crime. In the recent times, Mexico faced the worst wave of violence with at least 85 people being killed per day on an average.

The army will not be returning to the barracks in the near future as the federal police do not have sufficient resources and that would leave the people vulnerable as argued by AMLO. The new “national civil guard” would be composed of members of the police and two military estates.

The Civil Guard will be created on the national level to unify the different security forces such as the army, navy and Federal Police.

The President-elect, who will assume his role and enter office on Dec.1, said during the rally, "in the investigations of the repression of '68, it appears that the General Staff was used" as a shock force against the students.” The details of the massacre have not yet been fully clarified even five decades later.

Obrador also vowed to support Mexican youth and their education by providing a monthly subsidy for students and creating more free public universities. According to him, unemployment and lack of opportunities ate the reasons that attract the youth towards “criminal activities”.

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Mexico: Authorities Detain Suspect in Ayotzinapa Case

The Federal Police, who have been accused by relatives of the 43 disappeared students & human rights groups of being involved, detained the suspect.

Mexico’s National Security Commission announced Tuesday the Federal Police detained a suspect in the disappearance of 43 students of a rural school in Ayotzinapa in September 2014.

RELATED: AMLO to Create Truth Commissions for Disappeared People

The man detained is Juan Miguel “N,” a.k.a. “El Pajarraco,” who is believed to have participated in the crime that claimed the lives of the 43 students by transporting the bodies to a dumpster in Coluca, Guerrero.

El Pajarraco faces two detention orders for his links with organized crime, including his alleged participation in the kidnapping of the students.

According to the attorney general’s investigations, the 43 students “were delivered by municipal police of Iguala and Cocula to members of a criminal gang (Guerreros Unidos cartel), who later killed them, incinerated their bodies in a dumpster and discarded the remains near the San Juan River.”

In January 2015 Mexico’s former Attorney General Jesus Murillo claimed the case had been solved despite a series of inconsistencies in the case, which were denounced by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the relatives of the disappeared.

The investigation by the administration of outgoing president Enrique Peña Nieto has been widely criticized as unreliable due to allegations of forced and false confessions given under torture, contradictory testimonies, incompatible hypotheses and evidence tampering.

Until now 29 people have been charged for their alleged involvement in the case of forced disappearance.

Human rights groups and the students’ relatives have demanded a thorough investigation of the army and the federal police’s involvement in the disappearance, and question the feasibility of incinerating the 43 bodies in the Cocula dumpster.

Only one of the student’s body has been identified through genetic analysis.     

President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who will assume the office of the presidency in December, said he would reopen the case and establish a national truth commission to investigate all cases of forced disappearances.

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Brazil: More Than 1,000 Arrested For Crimes Against Women

A quarter of the arrests, which were made on Friday, were for femicide: the murder of a woman because of her gender.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested on suspicion of crimes mostly against women, including femicide, during a countrywide sweep of Brazil.

RELATED: Brazil: LGBT Leader Killed in Bahia Amid Atmosphere of 'Impunity'

A quarter of the arrests, which were made on Friday, were for femicide: the murder of a woman because of her gender.

So-called 'Operation Cronos' was conducted by some 6,500 police officers. It was carried out ahead of national elections in October. Planning for the sweep began in July.

"What matters to us is protecting lives and above all combating femicide, this terrible and unacceptable crime," said Public Security Minister Raul Jungmann. "Some crimes are more serious and repugnant, especially those against women."

A respected annual report released this month by the non-profit Brazilian Forum for Public Security found a six percent increase in the murders of women in 2017.

These included 1,133 deaths as a result of femicide, or victims being deliberately targeted because they were women. The 60,018 rapes were up more than eight percent compared to 2016.

The status of Black women in Brazil in particular came under the spotlight earlier this year after the execution-style murder of popular Rio de Janeiro city councilwoman, Marielle Franco. 

An activist for human rights and women's causes, she had spoken out against the plight of the country's Black population.

According to statistics from Brazil's Institute of the Black Woman, or Institute Da Mulher Negra in Portuguese, more than 60 percent of all women killed in the country are women of color.

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More than 300 assassinations of Colombian leaders over the last two years

It appears that death has taken over Colombia and is refusing to leave. How many more must die to satisfy the Moloch of greed, opportunism, and ambition?

In April 1948, the popular uprising known as “El Bogotazo” broke out in Bogotá, protesting the assassination of Presidential candidate and likely winner Jorge Eliécer Gaitán. The rioting and subsequent repression cost more than 3,000 lives and resulted in the destruction of entire neighborhoods of the Colombian capital.

“The assassination of the liberal leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, in 1948, produced an organization of thugs affiliated with the police and the army... These henchmen of the conservative regime spread throughout the national territory with the aim of killing liberals and communists, atheists and Masons.”(1)

Belisario Betancourt – president of Colombia from 1982 to 1986 – referred to the persistent patterns of social, economic and political exclusion as “objective factors” of violence.(2) This sister South America nation became the battlefield of drug cartels, closely linked to U.S. secret services, which were complicit in the extermination of social and political leaders that could constitute a threat to imperialist interests and the Colombian oligarchy.

During the Belisario Betancourt administration, despite peace agreements reached with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the April 19 Movement (M-19), and the Popular Liberation Army (EPL), paramilitary groups and political and Armed Forces sectors opposed to the agreements provoked a new escalation of violence that culminated in the Palace of Justice siege by M-19 guerrillas, at the end of 1985.

The government of Virgilio Barco (1986-1990) announced the continuity of the peace process initiated by the Betancourt government, on the basis of the reintegration of guerrillas into civilian life, but the surge in crimes against the Patriotic Union (political party formed by the FARC/UP) intensified barely a month after the new Congress began its sessions.

On August 30, 1986, the first of the elected UP leaders, Leonardo Posada Pedraza, was assassinated in Barrancabermeja (Santander), while UP Senator Pedro Nel Jiménez Obando suffered the same fate in Villavicencio (Meta).

The advance of paramilitarism and drug trafficking later added further victims: Judge Gustavo Zuluaga in October; the Director of the Anti-Narcotics Unit, Colonel Jaime Ramírez, in November; and the Editor of El Espectador, Guillermo Cano, in December.

With the breakdown of the peace talks and agreements, the UP became a direct target for paramilitary groups. On Sunday, October 11, 1987, UP leader and former Presidential candidate, Jaime Pardo Leal, was shot dead by hit men when returning to Bogotá with his wife and three children.

The year 1988 went down in history as “the year of the massacres,” as paramilitary groups acted with extreme violence and total impunity against anyone suspected of being of the left. The culmination was the assassination, on March 22, 1990, of the UP Presidential candidate, Bernardo Jaramillo Ossa, and on April 26, the murder of the M-19 candidate, Carlos Pizarro, while traveling on a plane to Barranquilla.

Some point out that there are differences between those events and the recent incidents that have befallen the long-suffering land of Colombia, especially in the years in which attempts have been made to build peace. Although some elements may appear to be different, in essence what was sought then and now is to deprive social movements of leadership, and exterminate everything considered to be leftist, or that simply opposes the interests of pro-Yankee oligarchic power in Colombia.

Following the process that culminated in important agreements in Havana, it appeared that – at long last – an end to so many years of war was in sight. The Colombian people breathed a sigh of relief, but the hope didn’t last long, as the violence against left leaders was unleashed once again and the crime wave grew exponentially.

BLOCKING THE WAY FOR THE LEFT

The latest report from the Colombian Ombudsman’s Office revealed that between January 1, 2016, and June 30 of this year, 311 human rights defenders and social or community leaders were killed, while 35 cases were reported in 2013.

This is a daily massacre, in which extreme right organizations seem to enjoy carte blanche, and the assassinations revive the specter of terror that hung over the country years ago.

Gustavo Petro, the 2018 leftist Presidential candidate, has demanded that President-elect Iván Duque speak out against the murders of those who supported his “Colombia Humana” movement in the recent elections. “His silence permits the empowerment of the murderers,” he stressed.

Only a few days ago the assassination of Ana María Cortés, secretary of Petro’s campaign in Cáceres, was made known. Alberto Brunori, Representative of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to Colombia, has stated that the defense of human rights in the country is practiced under siege.

There are already thousands of dead and disappeared, and the figure increases daily. The “condor” that bloodied Latin America seems to have spread its wings over Colombia, and the current criminal offensive attempts, without a doubt, to eliminate any opposition.

During the recent elections, the mass private media unleashed a strong smear campaign against the left, demonizing progressive leaders, former guerrillas, unscrupulously deceiving and sowing fear among the population. The objective was to block the way for the left.

The judicial persecution and subsequent accusations against former guerrilla leader Jesús Santrich is part of the neo-fascist offensive on the continent.

And as if that were not enough, President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos announced in a televised address to the entire country on May 26, as a great achievement, the imminent formalization in Brussels of the Colombia’s entry into NATO as a global partner. “We will be the only country in Latin America with this privilege,” Santos declared. The announcement became a reality on May 31.

In a region declared a “Zone of Peace,” some right-wing governments seem to be playing with something as sacred and necessary as life itself. The United States is attempting to turn Colombia into its South American aircraft carrier, a NATO missile against Venezuela, a bastion of its hegemonic interests, covering it with military bases. To achieve its aims, it needs to be able to act with complete calm, without any obstacles, which is why it is building Yankee pax, in a scenario in which social leaders are also a hindrance.

(1)From: Fidel Castro Ruz, La Paz en Colombia, (Havana: Editora Política, 2008): 67
(2)Marc Chernick, U.S. political scientist and researcher at Georgetown University, Washington, in his recent book Acuerdo posible. Taken from: Fidel Castro Ruz, La Paz en Colombia, (Havana: Editora Política, 2018): 257.

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