Stories written by Daniela Pastrana
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A Mexican State Armed to the Teeth

“The army decided to open fire on the people,” Estanislao Beltrán, a spokesman for the self-defence forces of Michoacán, said in a radio interview after the government’s attempt to disarm the vigilante groups in the state of Mexico, in which at least two people were killed.

The Hurricanes Didn’t Bring the Hunger

A month after Hurricanes Ingrid and Manuel caused the worst destruction from a natural catastrophe in Mexico in 30 years, another disaster has come to light: hunger in communities that are supposedly served by a rural food supply programme.

Schools in Mexico: Funding but not for Phys Ed or Desks

On his first day of fourth grade, Efraín found there were no desks or benches in the classroom in his Mexico City school. His parents had to help the teacher haul in furniture from other rooms so the children wouldn’t have to start the new school year sitting on the floor.

Q&A: “Media Concentration Is an Attack on Democracy”

"We have to understand that information, above all else, is a social service. If we lose sight of that dimension we begin to regulate it as merchandise, but the state has many other obligations, such as to guarantee freedom," said Frank La Rue.

Mexico’s Institutions Overwhelmed by Scale of Forced Disappearances

Mexican police officer Luis Ángel León Rodríguez disappeared along with six other officers and a civilian on Nov. 16, 2009, in the western Mexican state of Michoacán. Six days later, his mother, Araceli Rodríguez, began her ceaseless search.

Mexico’s Institutions Overwhelmed by Scale of Forced Disappearances

Mexican police officer Luis Ángel León Rodríguez disappeared along with six other officers and a civilian on Nov. 16, 2009, in the western Mexican state of Michoacán. Six days later, his mother, Araceli Rodríguez, began her ceaseless search.

Mexico’s Community Radio Stations Fight for Survival and Recognition

Radio Totopo was founded in February 2006 in the Pescadores neighbourhood, the oldest and poorest part of the city of Juchitán in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. But the authorities closed it down in late March, even though Congress is debating a constitutional reform that would recognise community radio stations.

Mexico, Strong on Human Rights Abroad, Not at Home

Mexico has been a prominent defender of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in the battle being waged by some members of the Organisation of American States to curb its authority.

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Mexican Victims Get Law That “Should Not Have to Exist”

"We will not stop fighting until there is justice for our children," says Araceli Rodríguez, the mother of a young federal police agent in Mexico who disappeared along with seven other people in the western state of Michoacán on Nov. 16, 2009.

Prisons in Mexico on Verge of Collapse

Edgar Torres Castillo, 21, has spent two years in the prison of Gómez Palacio, in the Lagunera district between the northern Mexican states of Durango and Coahuila – an arid zone known as one of the most dangerous parts of the country.

A Memorial of White Scarves Protests Calderón’s Legacy

Each scarf represents a life cut short. Each stitch, a tear. Each thread, a cry of frustration about death and impunity.

Veracruz – a Black Hole in Mexico

Something smells rotten in the state of Veracruz. In Xalapa, the capital of this eastern Mexican state, known as the “Athens of Veracruz” because of its strong cultural tradition, fear is in the air.

People’s Tribunal Defends Native Villages from Dams

"What do we stand to lose because of the dam? We will lose everything!" said Maria Abigail Agredani, a member of the committee for this indigenous community in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, reporting the damage that will be caused by the hydroelectric complex being built nearby.

Low Wages, No Labour Rights the Norm in Mexico

Miguel* is one of millions of Mexicans scraping by on a meagre income – he earns 60 dollars a week working 11 hours a day in an electronic products store in the northern city of Mexicali.

Immigrants’ Fear Palpable in Arizona

Fear stalks the streets in the U.S. state of Arizona. Seven-year-old Matthew feels it when his mother crosses the line permitted by the guards of the Tent City - an extension of the Maricopa County Jail - to be photographed with a sign protesting the imprisonment of immigrants.

Drug War Threatens Democracy, Mexican Peace Caravan Warns in US

"The war on drugs is endangering the best thing that the United States has given the world: democracy,” Javier Sicilia, the Mexican poet who heads the movement of victims of the violence unleashed by the war on drugs in his country, said upon reaching the United States this week.

MEXICO: Whatever It Takes to Win the Poor Vote

"It's like the parties are competing with each other to see who spends the most money. In a state as poor as ours, that's indecent," Alex, a 30-year-old taxi driver in this city of the southern state of Chiapas, just 30 minutes from the Guatemalan border, told IPS.

Poet Javier Sicilia, carrying a white flag, at the end of the last caravan, in September 2011. Credit: Lucía Vergara /IPS

Mexican and U.S. Activists Join Forces Against Arms Smuggling

Another Caravan for Peace is being organised in Mexico, but this time it will travel through the United States and call for action against weapons smuggling, as part of a bi-national initiative aimed at attracting the attention of President Barack Obama.

No Celebration for Mothers of the Missing in Mexico

Emma Veleta and Toribio Muñoz were married 40 years ago and had seven children, four boys and three girls. They lived in the town of Anáhuac, 100 km from the capital of the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. But on Jun. 19, 2011, as they were celebrating Father’s Day, tragedy struck.

Demonstrator holds up photo of Agnes Torres. Credit: Felixe/CC BY-SA 2.0

Institutionalised Homophobia Encourages Hate Crimes

Agnes Torres, a transsexual psychologist and gay rights activist, left her home in the central Mexican state of Puebla on her way to a party. The next day, her body was found in a gully, naked from the waist down. Her throat had been slit.

Verónica Galicia is among those in charge of La Voladora’s social network accounts. Credit: Daniela Pastrana/IPS

Community Station in Mexico Conquers Airwaves and Internet

It’s always cold in this city in Mexico’s Sierra Nevada mountains, more than 2,400 metres above sea level, at the foot of the Popocatépetl volcano.

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