Mexico: Covering up for r a pist cops?
A horrifying case of police torture has exposed the failings of Mexico’s corrupt justice system, said Álvaro Enrique in El Universal. Ten years ago, police in the town of San Salvador Atenco broke up a protest by flower sellers in the most violent way, rounding up dozens of women and then raping and beating them. No officer was ever punished. Now the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has referred the case to the Inter-American Court—an independent judiciary with legal authority over Mexico. The court could force Mexico to investigate the entire chain of command, right up to President Enrique Peña Nieto, who was governor of the State of México at the time. Peña Nieto surely didn’t order the police to rape the women, but the commission’s investigation “leaves no room for doubt that his administration failed to pursue” the officers responsible for this act of barbarism. Why are we talking about this now? Because The New York Times, “the most powerful newspaper in the world’s most powerful country,” last week devoted several pages to the victims’ stories—their photographs, their words, their pain. “I have not overcome it, not even a little,” said one of the women, Maria Patricia Romero Hernández. “It is something that haunts me.”
The government insists it has been doing all it can, said Carlos Quiroz in Excélsior. More than 30 people have been arrested in connection with the accusations, and officials say they have taken “structural measures” to ensure that police will never again commit such shocking crimes. But not one of the people arrested in connection with this case has been convicted of anything, said Julio Hernández López in La Jornada San Luis. That’s because Peña Nieto’s regime has a pattern of obstructing justice and covering for police brutality. Just look at the 43 student protesters who vanished in 2014 after being stopped by local police in the southwest city of Iguala. The Peña Nieto administration “prevented a thorough investigation, manipulated records and proceedings,” and refused to allow “reliable international bodies” access to evidence. What are they hiding? There is no justice in Peña Nieto’s Mexico.
The president is fast becoming an international pariah, said Raymundo Riva Palacio in El Financiero. The Times story appeared just as Peña Nieto landed in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly. “Nobody wanted to talk to him.” The only bilateral meeting he managed to schedule was with Aung San Suu Kyi, foreign minister of Myanmar, a country “with which Mexican relations are practically nonexistent.” But the president can’t blame the Times alone for his woes. Corruption scandals and a surge in drug violence had already sunk his approval rating at home to a record low of 23 percent, and his meeting in August with virulently anti-Mexican Donald Trump further damaged his standing in Mexico and abroad. We are watching a presidency self-destruct in slow motion.