Tuesday 1.11.2016 in Latest Developments in Mexico Country Page
On 13th September Agustín Pavia, a teacher, lawyer and radio announcer for Radio Zapote, was killed in Huajuapan de León, Oaxaca. Pavia was noted for his criticism of the municipal and state governments, his critical stances on public policy and his environmental and anti-mining advocacy. Pavia was shot repeatedly at his home by unknown assailants.
Respect for freedom of expression also continued to be threatened in other parts of Mexico. According to a report by Article 19, government attacks against the press in Mexico State increased by 77% in September-October. Seven such attacks were reported in September, bringing to 16 the total so far in 2016. Of these attacks, two were committed by public servants and four by members of political parties. Three of them were arbitrary arrests, three were acts of intimidation, three physical assaults, two cyberattacks, one act of bullying or harassment, and one was a case of institutional violence.
In the State of Chiapas, staff in charge of the personal security of the mayor of Pichucalco threatened to kill journalist Manuel Morales just two months after he had been arbitrarily detained by the police.
On 10th September, tens of thousands marched across Mexico to protest against the government’s proposal for marriage equality. Equal marriage is currently recognised by ten Mexican states and the country's capital, Mexico City, which pioneered the trend in 2009. The Mexican Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled marriage discrimination as unconstitutional, and LGBT activism has so far focused on bringing the country's remaining states into compliance with its rulings. Opposition, however, built as a result of President Peña Nieto's proposal to amend the constitution to establish marriage equality in all of Mexico’s 31 states. The massive anti-LGBT protests were organised by the National Front for the Family, a coalition of conservative civil society organisations who referred to the movement as "an awakening of society [...] in defence of the family."
In Michoacán State, following 53 days of student demonstrations and the occupation of the University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo, riot police intervened on 21st October. Would-be students were protesting about admissions tests, which they argued discriminated against minority groups, and demanded to be enrolled at the university. Protests were led by a dissident organisation, the Movement of Rejected Students, which has sparked significant violence in recent months – including taking police officers as hostages and burning buses. Multiple arrests were made during this latest incident.
In the State of Oaxaca, section 35 of the National Union of Health Secretariat Workers (SNTSA) marched on 19th October to protest against the regional government’s alleged diversion of money from their retirement funds. Protestors blocked off three main access roads to the city, and launched a strike for an indefinite period of time. All major health facilities however continued to offer emergency and urgent in-patient services.
The government’s support for LGBT rights provided a boost for the public activism of LGBT organisations, which increased notably in recent months, and particularly after Mexico City’s Pride Parade over the summer. Government plans to establish marriage equality through a constitutional amendment provoked tensions within Mexico’s civil society however, as religious and conservative organisations perceived it as an attack. Amidst this surge of political activism and in response to the protest by Mexico’s National Front for the Family against marriage equality, Mexico’s first national pro-LGBT advocacy civil society organisation, the Movement for Equality in Mexico (MOViiMX) was launched.