Mexico's Own Pandemic: Normalization Of Horrific Violence

If murder and kidnappings in Mexico were a contagious disease, the country's feeble response and impunity rates would already have turned them into the most destructive of pandemics.

Relatives of people missing protest last year in Mexico City
Relatives of people missing protest last year in Mexico City
Luis Rubio


MEXICO CITY —​ The man of the house threatened his wife in no uncertain terms, even insufferably: get me a little girl as a "present" or I'll rape our daughters. The mother brought him a girl. It may have been an existential dilemma but the woman obeyed, condemning a little girl to death in the process. We know what happened next: the girl was the seven-year-old Fatima, who was later found dead.

The real pandemic overwhelming Mexico is not the coronavirus, but impunity; and its most destructive impact is on girls, boys and women. Impunity is rampant, and has allowed violence to take over the life of Mexican society, and even come to appear as normal.

What kind of country would tolerate its society suffering this level of violence while doing nothing? What kind of country allow the intolerable to become a day-to-day reality, without anyone daring to say anything? Is there another country where the government is offended by society's protests against the murders of women and children, and their impunity? Where else are people denounced and discredited for protesting crimes that should not be happening? This can only happen in a country that has lost all sense of civility and its very civilization.

The information revolution, the 21st century's defining trait, has transformed all public activities, but especially relations between government and society. It has given both sides tools that were not previously accessible. The ubiquitous nature of information obliges everyone, both citizens and governments, to act differently. Society is informed and communicates and acts without the government mediation that characterized the 20th century. Bereft of its former monopoly on information which shaped social relations, the Mexican government is playing the victim and refusing to adapt to the new reality.

Today, crises create a rupture. They become a moment of change when rulers and society align to build a new paradigm. Today our government is consciously and systematically choosing confrontation, as it cannot conceive of a society functioning harmoniously. It seems unable to understand the challenge the murders of women have brought to the very gates of the presidential palace.

In the 21st century, a serious and realistic government would be leading a veritable social response to the killing of women and children, and turn these into a common cause to transform the country. But in the 4T (President López Obrador"s Fourth Transformation of the state) where everything must be different, the government is the victim and disparages anything and anyone thinking and acting differently, starting with the First Lady who had to retract certain remarks.

If the evil were a coronavirus, we would have been wiped off the map by now.

In 21st century Mexico, it is the victims who are considered guilty, those who denounce muggings, rapes, murders and other social evils. The conservatives are guilty, and those who dissent from the government's truth are traitors. We're back to the authoritarian past of the 20th century.

The murder of women is an evil created and tolerated by a Mexican society that has lost its compass on what is acceptable or intolerable. The horror of a father demanding to be "gifted" a girl and threatening his own family is irrefutable proof of the destruction of the essence of civility in our country.

To put things in perspective: If the evil in question were a coronavirus, we would have been wiped off the map by now, for our absolute inability to organize ourselves in the face of daily reality. An epidemic that is not contained becomes a pandemic, and pandemics, be they in health or politics, put an end to societies and their rulers.

The murders of women and children should not just be denounced but used to question our ideas on conducting public affairs. That is the way to end them for good. But the absence of this moral compass in government and society has led us to view the most intolerable situations as somehow natural.

This "damned reality" has fallen into the lap of a government unable to deal with it. Instead of recognizing its duty, its response has been phantasmagoric: how dare this wretched reality sabotage our cherished 4T plans?

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"The Truest Hypocrisy" - The Russia-NATO Clash Seen From Moscow

Russia has decided to cut off relations with the Western military alliance. But Moscow says it was NATO who really wanted the break based on its own internal rationale.

NATO chief Stoltenberg and Russian Foregin Minister Lavrov

Russian Foreign Ministry/TASS via ZUMA
Pavel Tarasenko and Sergei Strokan

MOSCOW — The Russian Foreign Ministry's announcement that the country's permanent representation to NATO would be shut down for an indefinite period is a major development. But from Moscow's viewpoint, there was little alternative.

These measures were taken in response to the decision of NATO on Oct. 6 to cut the number of personnel allowed in the Russian mission to the Western alliance by half. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the removal of accreditations was from eight employees of the Russian mission to NATO who were identified as undeclared employees of Russian intelligence." We have seen an increase in Russian malicious activity for some time now," Stoltenberg said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called NATO's expulsion of Russian personnel a "ridiculous stunt," and Stoltenberg's words "the truest hypocrisy."

In announcing the complete shutdown in diplomacy between Moscow and NATO, the Russian Foreign Ministry added: "The 'Russian threat' is being hyped in strengthen the alliance's internal unity and create the appearance of its 'relevance' in modern geopolitical conditions."

The number of Russian diplomatic missions in Brussels has been reduced twice unilaterally by NATO in 2015 and 2018 - after the alliance's decision of April 1, 2014 to suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation between Russia and NATO in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea. Diplomats' access to the alliance headquarters and communications with its international secretariat was restricted, military contacts have frozen.

Yet the new closure of all diplomatic contacts is a perilous new low. Kommersant sources said that the changes will affect the military liaison mission of the North Atlantic alliance in Moscow, aimed at promoting the expansion of the dialogue between Russia and NATO. However, in recent years there has been no de facto cooperation. And now, as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has announced, the activities of the military liaison mission will be suspended. The accreditation of its personnel will be canceled on November 1.

NATO told RIA Novosti news service on Monday that it regretted Moscow's move. Meanwhile, among Western countries, Germany was the first to respond. "It would complicate the already difficult situation in which we are now and prolong the "ice age," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters.

"Lavrov said on Monday, commenting on the present and future of relations between Moscow and the North Atlantic Alliance, "If this is the case, then we see no great need to continue pretending that any changes will be possible in the foreseeable future because NATO has already announced that such changes are impossible.

The suspension of activities of the Russian Permanent Mission to NATO, as well as the military liaison and information mission in Russia, means that Moscow and Brussels have decided to "draw a final line under the partnership relations of previous decades," explained Andrei Kortunov, director-general of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs, "These relations began to form in the 1990s, opening channels for cooperation between the sides … but they have continued to steadily deteriorate over recent years."

Kortunov believes the current rupture was promoted by Brussels. "A new strategy for NATO is being prepared, which will be adopted at the next summit of the alliance, and the previous partnership with Russia does not fit into its concept anymore."

The existence and expansion of NATO after the end of the Cold War was the main reason for the destruction of the whole complex of relations between Russia and the West. Today, Russia is paying particular attention to marking red lines related to the further steps of Ukraine's integration into NATO. Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov previously stated this, warning that in response to the alliance's activity in the Ukrainian direction, Moscow would take "active steps" to ensure its security.

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