Father Oscar Prudenciano Gonzalez opened his arms wide to his congregation on a recent Sunday morning in the San Gerardo church of Iguala, in the state of Guerrero.
“We are going to pray for those families who have missing people,” he said. “That God gives them the strength, the peace and the well-being so that they can carry on searching without tiring, but also with the understanding and support of everyone.”
Father Oscar, 43, might do well to pray for himself, too.
In the last three years, 11 priests have been violently killed in Mexico, and two more remain missing. Last week, the body of Father Erasto Pliego de Jesus, which bore signs of torture, was found on a country road in Puebla state. He had been missing for three days, according to local news reports, after he was seized by a group of armed men who stopped his truck.
Violence against Catholic priests has been on the rise since President Enrique Peña Nieto took power in 2012, according to Mexico’s archdiocese. Omar Sotelo, who works for the Catholic Multimedia Center, said that the jump in violence is “significant” and that priests working in Guerrero state are among the most vulnerable.
Breitbart – Mexican authorities recently announced they have confiscated 11 planes, eight vehicles and six houses belonging to notorious kingpin and Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán in the past five months. However, concern is growing in Mexico over why the government can’t—or won’t—seize even more of the drug lord’s considerable assets.
Independent – McDonald’s Mexico has vowed to prosecute the person who they say planted a mouse’s head in one of its patron’s hamburgers, causing authorities to shut down one of its restaurants near Mexico City.
AP – Nearly 5,000 unaccompanied immigrant children were caught illegally crossing the U.S. border with Mexico in October, almost double the number from October 2014, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.
Vice News – Last September, the appointment of Arturo Escobar as head of crime prevention in Mexico caused uproar thanks to his Green Party’s reputation for being politically opportunistic and ethically dubious. Now Escobar has left his post to face possible charges for electoral crimes.
In an ongoing femicide crisis in Mexico, seven women were killed every day on average across the country in 2013 and 2014 and dozens more faced other forms of gender violence, according to the national statistics institute known as Inegi.
According to Inegi statistics, 63 percent of Mexican women over 15 years of age have experienced some form of gender violence, which could include physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological violence as well as economic forms of abuse such as discrimination in the workplace.
Perpetrators of violence against women are strangers or people known to the victims, as in the case of abuse between partners, which is usually where physical violence occurs, according to Inegi. Economic abuse and economic control of women also often happens within a partnership or marriage.
The highlighted gender violence statistics come ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women today, Wednesday.
Despite more than 44,000 women murdered in the past three decades, according to official statistics, few perpetrators have been brought to justice. An impunity rate of more than 95 percent in femicide cases fuels violence against women.
In some Mexican states, femicides are 15 times higher than the global average.
National Catholic Reporter – Pope Francis has confirmed he plans to visit four cities in Mexico in February including the U.S. border town of Ciudad Juarez, from where he says he will end his trip to the country.
Fusion – The United Nations is urging Mexico to outlaw child marriages. Although Mexico recently passed a federal law setting the legal minimum marriage age at 18, U.N. officials say this isn’t being enforced in some states, where civil codes allow girls as young as 14 and boys as young as 16 to marry.
AP – Authorities in Mexico say the country has suffered one-third as many forest fires so far this year as it did in 2013. The council said there were 10,406 fires in 2013, 5,325 in 2014 and 3,720 so far this year.
Director – Mexico City is Mexico’s electrifying capital. It is a world away from the polluted, crime-ridden conurbation it was 20 years ago. Before doing business here, check out Director‘s city guide to where to stay, where to eat and what to look out for when building relationships.
Reuters – A fire broke out at Mexico’s biggest oil refinery on Tuesday and some staff were evacuated, the latest in a string of incidents to hit the company’s refineries. The Red Cross said nine people were injured, while Pemex said eight people suffered minor injuries and were being treated.