Attacks against journalists continue unabated
On 28th April, a journalist with El Sol del Bajio was severely injured after he was allegedly detained and assaulted by police in Celaya. Ángel Baltasar Galindo says he went to cover a reported incident but was instead questioned and attacked by police officers even after he identified himself as a member of the press. He was later taken to the police station where he says he was tortured by officers, including being water boarded. Although he was released without charge, a preliminary medical evaluation revealed he had broken ribs and other serious injuries. The journalist says the officers also took his backpack which included his work materials. Galindo has been threatened by officials before and filed a complaint with the State Attorney General's Office and is waiting to hear from the federal mechanism.
On 18th April, work equipment of Atl Eduardo Yener de los Santos Matías, a reporter for Quadratin Guerrero, was stolen after his house was burglarized. Among the items taken were three cameras, a video camera, a telephoto lens, a computer and a hard drive. He believes the theft was related to his work as other valuables were not taken. He also filed a complaint with the Guerrero State Attorney General's Office, and the Federal Protection Mechanism granted protection measures to his home.
On 13th April, Gabriel Aguilar Ay of Esquema Cozumel and Silvia Peraza Azueta of Código Rojo were allegedly improperly detained by police in Quintana Roo after photographing an accident on a public street. The two journalists were handcuffed after police accused them of crossing police lines. They were taken to the police station and released after about four hours.
On 10th March, Natalie Hoyos López and Michelle Hoyos López, a reporter and photojournalist respectively for Enlace Noticias, were allegedly improperly detained and assaulted by police after covering a women’s-rights event in the Zócalo de Izúcar de Matamoros. They say police followed them home and arrested them, and that they were later sexually assaulted by officers at the station. They were held for several hours and were only released after paying a fine of $1,900.00 each.
In March, a government official allegedly made threatening comments to Guadalupe Martínez and América Juárez from ABC Michoacán at a public event in Mexico City. Deputy Anabet Franco Carrizales, president of the Political Coordination Board of the Michoacán State Congress, is accused of making intimidating comments to the reporters after all media members were asked to leave the event. Some of the comments were captured on video, including one of the reporters asking the official, “are you threatening me?”.
Jesús Esquivel, a correspondent with Proceso, says a government employee who used to be a journalist is harassing him because of his work exposing local corruption and crime. Esquivel says his Twitter account was suspended following complaints made by Azucena Pimentel, director of "Aprende" for the Ministry of Public Education, a former journalist known for her participation in the alleged setup of the Florence Cassez case when she was a producer of a news programme. Esquivel denies any wrongdoing.
On 3rd April, a car belonging to a journalist was set on fire by an unknown assailant outside his home in Ciudad Acuña. Video shows a person approaching Fernando Rodríguez González’s car and setting it on fire with gasoline. The reporter has previously received threats from government officials because of his work and has filed complaints with local authorities.
⚠️ #Alerta— ARTICLE 19 MX-CA (@article19mex) May 3, 2023
Elementos de la @SecretariaSeg detienen ilegalmente y torturan al periodista Ángel Baltasar Galindo, del periódico @SOLDELBAJIO en Celaya, #Guanajuato.
🗣️ Exigimos a la @FGEGUANAJUATO investigar estos hechos
⬇️ Aquí más detalles: https://t.co/pnNUB8VibT pic.twitter.com/eKB9c1bc1V
In April, about 3,000 people participated in a mass protest in southern Mexico to demand the closure of unsafe detention centres near the border, like the one that recently caught fire and killed 40 people and injured many others. “It could well have been any of us,” one migrant said of those killed in the fire. “In fact, a lot of our countrymen died. The only thing we are asking for is justice, and to be treated like anyone else.” In March around 40 people died in a fire at a government-run migrant centre in Ciudad Juárez during a large protest against deportation. Around 70 people from Central and South America were inside the centre when the fire started, and many who died were from Honduras and Venezuela. Activists have frequently raised concerns over poor conditions and overcrowding in the country’s detention centres. Several officials, including the head of the country’s immigration agency, were arrested and charged with crimes related to failing to protect those in custody.
On 25th March, more than 200 people in Puerto Morelos formed a human chain to protest the environmental damage caused by the construction of the Tren Maya railway project. Activists belonging to several environmental groups, including Selvame del Tren and Voces Unidas Puerto Morelos, called for ending the project because of the damage it is doing to nearby cenotes, mangroves, reefs and other wildlife. “We have taken up all legal means to defend our brother trees, grandmother ocean, and all beings that have the right to life,” one activist said.
Ambientalistas realizaron cadena humana en Puerto Morelos, Cancún, en protesta por los daños ambientales causados por las obras del Tren Maya. Exigen protección en cenotes, manglares y arrecifes. pic.twitter.com/CHLxX7YhWc— Adela Micha (@Adela_Micha) March 26, 2023
Throughout the reporting period, multiple independent unions at manufacturing facilities either negotiated for better pay and working conditions for their members or won the right to bargain collectively to negotiate their next contracts. In many cases the old industry-supported unions which kept wages low have been replaced with a new generation of unions that are more pro-worker. Transformation Union, for example, at the Unique Fabricating de Mexico auto parts plant in Querétaro said they recently won the right to bargain after replacing the pro-company union with an independent one. In late March, a new independent national union, La Liga Sindical Obrera Mexicana, announced it had signed a tentative agreement with the employer at a 3M factory in San Luis Potosí that makes Post-It notes and N95 masks. If ratified by its members, the agreement will provide an increase in the base salary of 8%, plus a 3% increase in monetary benefits. Union leaders say these victories are the result of educating workers on their rights under the new labour laws in the USMCA agreement.