As killings mount, can Mexico save its journalists?

More than 100 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000, rights groups say. (AFP)
More than 100 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000, rights groups say. (AFP)

By Hugo Bachega / BBC News

One was killed while resting in a hammock at a carwash. A second was dragged from his car and shot dead near the newspaper he had co-founded. When another was killed in front of her son, the criminals left a note: “For your long tongue”.

Journalists are being murdered in Mexico and this is nothing new. This is one of the most dangerous countries for reporters, rights groups say, and more die here than in any other nation at peace.

But even for a place so used to drugs-related violence and organised crime, the recent bloodshed has been shocking.

Seven journalists have been killed in the country so far this year, most shot by gunmen in broad daylight. Yet virtually all cases of attacks on the press end up unsolved and, in many, corrupt officials are suspected of partnering with criminals.

As the killings mount, is there anything that Mexico can do to save its journalists?

More families fleeing Central Am are settling in Mexico

AP – A growing wave of refugees from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are resettling in Mexico instead of trying to reach the United States, which many see as increasingly hostile. The rise in refugee resettlement in Mexico has paralleled a decrease in immigration to the United States, with apprehensions by U.S. Border Patrol down sharply at the frontier — especially of unaccompanied children.

DHS Secretary Kelly heads to Mexico

Washington Examiner -Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will meet with Mexican government officials in Mexico City over three days this week.Kelly will discuss building the U.S.-Mexico relationship while working together to combat transnational criminal organizations, enhance regional security and boost economic cooperation.

Roku banned because of pirate thefts

Following a court ruling last week, Roku devices are now banned from being sold in Mexico. The decision comes cable provider Cablevisión, owned by media company Televisa, previously requested a court order to stop the sale of Roku devices in the country because hackers would use it to offer Roku owners pirated content from HBO, ESPN, and Televisa’s channels. Although Roku fought for a suspension of that order, the court’s decision last week upheld the ruling.

Deportees to Mexico helping planeloads of new arrivals

LAT – Every week, Diego Maria, 36, and other migrants deported from the United States in recent months greet planeloads of people sent back to Mexico City. They call themselves Deportees United in the Fight. They help new arrivals phone relatives, figure out how to catch a bus and register for the few government benefits available to former migrants. But mostly, they come to show the new deportees that they are not alone.

Aztec tower of skulls revealing ancient secrets

Aztec skullsBBC – Tales of the tower of skulls which struck fear into the hearts of Spanish conquistadors have been passed down through the generations in Mexico. For the next 500 years, the skulls lay undisturbed underneath what was once the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, but is now Mexico City.

Until, that is, a group of archaeologists began the painstaking work of uncovering their secrets two years ago. What they found has shocked them, because in among the skulls of the young men are those of women and children – bringing into question everything historians thought they knew.

9 dead in shootings involving fuel thieves

AP – Nine people were killed in central Mexico in a series of shootings involving disputes between suspected fuel thieves. It was the latest round of violence in an area east of Mexico City where theives who siphon fuel out of state-run pipelines have fought police, the army and each other.

Could his last act in Mexico City ruin Carlos Slim?

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim on a tour of his Plaza Carso real estate development in 2010. (Bloomberg/Getty Images)
Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim on a tour of his Plaza Carso real estate development in 2010. (Bloomberg/Getty Images)

By Feike de Jong / The Guardian

It is sometimes hard to tell where Carlos Slim stops and Mexico City starts. He controls most of the mobile phone, landline and internet markets. His telecoms company, Telmex, installed the city’s surveillance cameras. Grupo Carso, his flagship infrastructure conglomerate, runs the city’s principle water treatment plant. His bank, Inbursa, is Mexico’s sixth largest. He even owns the city’s only aquarium.

In 2015 Slim’s companies accounted for 6% of the entire country’s GDP, according to the Mexican media outlet El Universal. These holdings run parallel to a vast network of strategically located retail properties. But more than anywhere or anyone else, the 77-year-old tycoon and sometime world’s richest man has grown with the capital. Like a ghost in a shell, Carlos Slim has become part of Mexico City’s urban fabric.

Now, in the autumn of his career, the Valley of Mexico – Slim’s canvas – is running out of space.

The only large open area remaining lies to the east, amid the swampland of Texcoco – almost all that is left of the once-great lake system that filled the basin.

This is where the man known as el Ingeniero, the engineer, will make what is likely to be his last great urban intervention: a massive new airport, expected to be the third-largest in the world.

The stakes are high, and not just for Slim. Should this project be a success, it will be his crowning glory, a symbol of his role in shaping Mexican modernity and a great gateway for the country’s global ambitions. Should it be a fiasco, future generations will see it as an ostentatious monument in an era long on mathematics and short on wisdom, in which natural resources existed to be consumed, megaprojects were a way to keep the poor fed and occupied, and the future was an afterthought.

Wall prototypes to be built by September

The Guardian – Rival prototypes for Donald Trump’s wall on the US-Mexico border should be built by September, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency said. A bidding process for contractors to design and construct prototypes at the south-west border in San Diego, California, the first step towards the multibillion-dollar project, is currently under way.

New species of parrot found in Yucatan

Parrot new speciesSmithsonian – There are about 30 species of vibrantly colored Amazon parrots that soar through the skies of Mexico, the Caribbean and South America. But a new fluffy family member may soon be added to the Amazona genus. A team of researchers believes they have discovered a never-before-seen species of the parrot on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

The beauty and power of Mexico’s volcanoes

NYT – The beauty of Mexico’s volcanoes can be matched by their power. Whether topped by snow or spewing towers of ash and smoke, they are a natural draw for would-be nature photographers. But to Hector Guerrero they are more than subjects for pretty pictures. The 33-year-old photographer sees them as embodying the environmental and social challenges facing his country.