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Think militarizing the police is still a good idea?

20 September 2014

… here, the military have been used as pólice, and the pólice militarized, with the results one might expect. Via The Pan American Post

… When authorities announced that 22 people had been killed by army personnel in a June 30 shootout in the state of Mexico, the Associated Press noted with skepticism that all but one soldier had miraculously escaped injury, and that “the warehouse where many bodies were found showed little evidence of sustained fighting.”

Despite the questions over the incident, Mexican authorities have persistently stuck to the official version of events. On July 17, Mexico State Attorney General Jaime Gomez Sanchez assured reporters that there was “no evidence whatsoever” that the 21 victims were executed.

But this story became harder to defend this week, when Esquire Mexico published an investigation into the incident featuring exclusive testimony from a witness who offered a disturbing description of the events. According to alias “Julia,” who officials identified as a kidnapping victim freed in the operation, only one suspect was killed in a shootout, which broke out after soldiers opened fire first. The rest surrendered, but were then killed after being interrogated. A medical examiner who carried out an autopsy on one of the victims, a 15-year-old girl, told Esquire that her wounds were the result of a point-blank execution.

[...] the incident casts further suspicion on President Enrique Peña Nieto’s decision to continue the military-heavy security policies of his predecessor. Relying on the army for law enforcement, after all, was initially sold to the public as a necessary measure to compensate for the relative corruption among local police forces. But with the military potentially responsible for abuses like those described by the witnesses mentioned above, it’s worth questioning just how incorruptible the Mexican armed forces really are.

“Corruption, in the usual sense of the world, has Little to do with it. A military is designed to fight enemies, foreign and domestic. By turning the military into a pólice forcé, it has made the citizens of this country the “enemy” and this type of incident has probably been much more common than is admitted. Turning those meant to “serve and protect”, even when the service and protection has been traditonally those who prey upon the citizenry into a military unit has the same effect.

Friday Night Video

19 September 2014

Danzón N° 2 by Mexican composer Arturo Márquez Navarro, performed by the Venezuela’s Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar.

16 de Septiembre

16 September 2014


15 September 2014

Why Mexican History matters.  From our friend, Bill Beezley, the dean of Latin American history academics:


Friday Nite Videos (yeah, they’re back)

12 September 2014

I’ve usually heard El Cascabel performed by mariachis… but this is a choral version, sung by the Niños Cantores de Morelia and El Coro Infantil San Luis Gonzaga, two of the best known children’s choirs in the country:

11 September…

11 September 2014


Ecuadorian E-money

10 September 2014

hA5967D46Economist Bill Black on Ecuador’s implementation of a digital currency.  Ecuador adopted the U.S. dollar as its own currency back in the early 1990s, which … while it brought stability to what at the time was an untenable economic situation… has some drawbacks, which economists (like President Rafael Correa) are right to consider.

As Black argues, there’s nothing particularly radical about the plan (which, despite the “Socialist” label hung on Ecuador, is dependent on the private market), and — despite some  media reports — is Ecuador in any sort of economic trouble which would suggest this is either a plan born out of desperation.  One of the sillier articles I’ve seen (by some guy named Paul Tullis, who apparently writes for the New York Times and National Public Radio, so presumably knows how to do a news story) quotes one Johns Hopkins economist… not mentioning his ties to the “libertarian” (i.e., neo-liberal) Cato Institute, who worries that having a currency NOT controlled by the United States might mean Ecuador could make economic decisions based on their own interests.   Which would seem to be the point.


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