Interview on Mexico’s 43 missing students

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Mexico missing: The city where ‘you can feel the fear’

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The only hint that anything is wrong in La Estancia, a leafy suburb of the Mexican city of Guadalajara, are the dozens of “for sale” signs posted outside the houses.

People started leaving in May, when police found a decomposed body in a home on a quiet side street.

Last month, a kidnap victim escaped and directed police to another address on the same road. Inside, they found a corpse and three severed heads.

So far this year, more than 15 murder and burial sites – some holding dozens of dead bodies – have been found within homes in Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco state.

Read the complete article at BBC News

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Meth, murder, and malandros in Guadalajara

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On April 19 last year, the body of the 42-year-old Mexican rapper Mr. Yosie Locote was dumped in an empty lot in the western city of Guadalajara. A note claiming he had been killed because of a connection to an enemy of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel was pinned to his chest with a screwdriver. In a separate case three days later, authorities arrested another local hip-hop star, the 24-year-old Christian Palma, known as Qba, who confessed to dissolving the dead bodies of three film students in sulfuric acid on the orders of that same organization.

Both artists were pioneers of rap malandro (thug rap), a style of hip-hop the Mexican press has cast as the soundtrack to the country’s drug war. With performers rapping about meth abuse and massacres, the media blames the music itself for perpetuating gangland violence. But defenders of the genre argue that rap provides youngsters from poor urban areas with an attractive alternative to drug cartel recruitment.

Young people have taken to this music with enthusiasm in Guadalajara, the capital of the state of Jalisco and Mexico’s second-largest city. Although Jalisco is better known for tequila and mariachi, Guadalajara’s low-income Oblatos sector has become a mecca for the country’s hip-hop scene, spawning numerous stars including Mr. Yosie Locote and Qba.

Read the complete article at The Outline

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Trump has already created a crisis for Mexico’s new president

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Mexico’s new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, rose to power on the promise that he would tackle the country’s rampant corruption and violence.

That will have to wait, as he faces a more urgent matter: the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Thousands of migrants have arrived in the northern city of Tijuana in recent weeks, having trekked through Mexico as part of the caravans from Central America that began forming in October. Most of them have crowded into dirty makeshift shelters. Local officials have complained that they are unable to cover the cost, and humanitarian groups have warned of deteriorating conditions. Last week, UNICEF said it was “deeply concerned for the safety and wellbeing” of more than 1,000 migrant children in Mexico.

Read the complete article at Vice News

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Mexico: All Aboard the Tequila Express!

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I’m offered my first tequila cocktail before the train has even departed from Guadalajara station. It’s the first of many drinks served on the Jose Cuervo Express to Tequila, the colonial town that gave its name to Mexico’s national beverage.

The train, a mock-19th-century-railcar, comes to life and slices along the tracks. Past Guadalajara’s gridlocked main avenues and featureless outer districts, we enter greener terrains that slide by soothingly.

Distant cattle graze in wide, beige fields, and all sorts of alien contraptions loom into view: vast water tanks that look like spaceships, maize harvesters from Mars and other spindly structures that have landed from beyond.

Read the complete article at Travel Mag

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Mexico students v the state: Anniversary of 1968 massacre reopens recent wounds

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Photo by Duncan Tucker

Student leader Myrthokleia González was addressing the crowd in the square from an apartment balcony when she heard the first shots. She thought they were blanks at first and tried to calm the panicking protesters below. But Ms González realised what was happening when she saw the first activists drop.

Fifty years on, the Mexican media is paying tribute to the student protesters who died during the 1968 Tlatelolco protests in Mexico City. The death toll has never been clear: an official report from the time put it at 26, while student leaders estimated it at 190.

However, last week a Mexican government body finally recognised the state was behind the massacre – something many Mexicans had insisted for years.

Read the complete article at BBC News

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Uncertainty clouds NAFTA renegotiations

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Following the announcement of a breakthrough in the trade talks between the United States and Mexico, economists and industry leaders both have been speculating on what the revised deal means for the continent.

On August 27 — more than one year after US President Donald Trump launched the renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) — he said that the countries had reached an “incredible” bilateral agreement.

While Mexican negotiators presented the development as a victory, policy experts expressed concern that Canada — one of the three NAFTA partners — would be excluded from the deal.

Read the complete article at The Centre for International Governance Innovation

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Celebrating cross-border unity in the age of Trump

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The United States and Mexico are more culturally and economically intertwined now than at any point in their histories – even with President Donald Trump clinging to his promise to build an “impenetrable” border wall and make Mexico pay for it.

Two timely new books about this deepening bilateral relationship offer an explicit rebuttal to the recent revival of anti-Mexico rhetoric. Alfredo Corchado’s Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration brings the dramas of immigration to life with a touching autobiographical tale, while Andrew Selee offers expert analysis in Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together.

Read the complete article at Americas Quarterly

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LBC Radio interview about the Aeromexico plane crash

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Prospects for health in Mexico after the presidential election

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The country’s president-elect faces a tough challenge to redress the health system, but his stance on corruption might help.

Read the article at The Lancet (login required)

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