LA JORNADA
One of Mexico City's leading daily newspapers, La Jornada ("The Day") was established in 1984 by Carlos Payán Velver. It is published in seven states of the Mexican Republic with local editions in Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, San Luis Potosí, Puebla and Veracruz (La Jornada de Oriente). The online version was launched in 1995 and the website is hosted by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
Geopolitics
Alidad Vassigh

Mexican Riot Police Training Turns Into A Riot Of Its Own

SAN LUIS POTOSÍ — As Mexican National guardsmen were busy training to learn new methods to limit street violence, they began to, well, fight among themselves.

The National Guard, founded in 2019 as a better-trained, more disciplined gendarmerie corps to fight organized crime, confirmed that videos circulating of the sordid incident were real — and training in San Luis Potosí in northern Mexico, had "gotten out of control," Azteca television and La Jornada newspaper reported this week.

Footage of the session shows it began well enough, with one group of officers acting as rioters and others fending them off with plastic shields. At one point two colleagues appeared locked into a real fight, which led to some flying kicks — and it wasn't clear anymore if this was part of the training — and one officer going to the back of the defensive line to give his peers a piece of his mind.

The two groups then devolved into the kind of mêlée that they were being trained to defuse, with whistling and calls by female officers to call it off. The National Guard stated Internal Affairs would investigate the matter and vowed it would not tolerate any conduct "degrading the institution's image."

Geopolitics

The Latest: Biden’s Vision, Navalny Appearance, 5,000-Year-Old Tombs

Welcome to Thursday, where Biden lays out his vision for America, Northern Ireland leader quits over Brexit and a Navalny mural appears in Saint Petersburg (as he appears gaunt in a remote court hearing). We also turn to Germany, where Die Welt sounds the alarm about the male infertility crisis afflicting the Western world.

• Biden's address to Congress: To mark 100 days in office, U.S. President Joe Biden gave his first address to the nation Wednesday night, unveiling huge investments for jobs, education and care plans, while addressing white supremacy and systemic racism.

• Two Myanmar air bases attacked: Attacks have been launched against two Myanmar air bases on Thursday, as blasts and rocket fires have been reported. No attackers have been identified yet.

• A gaunt Navalny makes first appearance since hunger strike: Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny appeared in court via video link for an appeals hearing, criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government in his first public appearance since he went on hunger strike.

• India maintains state elections despite COVID surge: Residents of the Indian state of West Bengal are voting in the last phase of elections amid a deadly second wave of coronavirus.

• Northern Ireland first minister resigns: Northern Ireland First Minister and majority party leader Arlene Foster has announced her resignation, following protests over post-Brexit borders.

• First step for China's new space station: China has launched a module of a new space station, amid hopes that Beijing will have the new station operational by 2022.

• 5,000-year-old tombs discovered in Egypt: Some 110 pre-Pharaonic tombs have been discovered in the Nile Delta by Egyptian archaeologists, shedding light on major transitional periods in ancient Egypt.

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Rue Amelot
Alidad Vassigh

Sartre, Phil Collins And My Quarantined Neighbors In Mexico City

-Essay-

MEXICO CITY — I notice some are still touching surfaces, grabbing a pole to hold onto on the bus or the handrails on escalators. With reckless abandon. For me, no sniffle nor sneeze nor little cough escapes my notice. On a city bus, you'd think they would make every effort to "swallow" that cough. I see or think I see insouciance on people's faces as they walk past, converse or buy a sandwich. French author Alain Robbe-Grillet wrote a novel about unrelenting, and itself suspect, suspicion, La Jalousie (Jealousy).

In every other way it's a dismal scenario. One is uneasy all day. I'm in the flat 21 hours a day I think. Everyone must be wondering: will softer distancing measures Mexican authorities have opted for so far work, or is Italian-style mayhem heading this way? Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been mocked for not urging general panic, but there are reasons for this. As a health official told Radio UNAM, the state university radio, a lockdown would have been nonsense when there were barely any cases. Curfew fatigue would already have set in (it has in our block).

Millions of people in Mexico absolutely must work, "to eat", metaphorically and literally the very same day. You cannot sell street food or sandwiches online. Millions of other Mexicans are already staying home and taking their distance, to some degree, though 3 out of 10 Mexicans are reportedly continuing as before. Many here know the system cannot really help should the worst occur. Nobody here can forget the 2009 swine flu epidemic, which began in Veracruz.

A woman rides her bike wearing protective gear amidst the quarantine in Mexico City — Photo: Carlos Tischler/Pacific Press/ZUMA

La Prensa reports government has it should be said been quietly acting against another local epidemic: measles. But the La Jornada daily also reports a rise in armed robberies and looting, though it is difficult to know where such acts are increasing or if the media are choosing this particular time to highlight them. I myself notice more drunken and slovenly people wondering around the half-deserted streets — or maybe I'm just highlighting them too?

I am intolerant of anything suggesting a celebration.

But I've been doing all I can do limit my time outdoors, on the recommendation of top medical authorities. But that led to an equally frightening prospect: my neighbors. Noise too is contagious, and unlike a virus, it penetrates walls and windows. Some nights ago my neighbor had a girlfriend over, which later led to music. I was hoping it would mean I'd hear nothing more from that flat but he likes to regale his guests with loud television or soft-rock karaoke from the 1990s. I try to understand my rage toward him: is it his refusal to respect confinement, the very sound of his voice, or Phil Collins? As Jean-Paul Sartre reflects through a character in his play No Exit — on three people stuck together forever in a hotel room: hell is other people.

Noise has always been an issue in apartment blocks. Of course, understanding what noises disturb is not a science. I am indifferent for example to the construction noise that has been going on outside our building for over a year, to neighbors' dogs, or to traffic. I am however intolerant of anything suggesting a celebration inside the building, as I see it as brazen indifference to others. (I do not believe people are blissfully unaware of their neighbors. No noise is innocent). For now, in the battle against the tyranny of modern cheerfulness, I have a pandemic on my side.

I can't wait for a full lockdown to begin, for government drones to start patrolling the streets. Taking pictures, fining, shouting instructions at the reckless and the merry. Sir, stop laughing, this is an emergency; Sir, turn off the Phil Collins..

Geopolitics

The Latest: Brazil's Grim Record, Rocket Attack In Iraq, Free Trip To Space

Welcome to Wednesday, where Brazil hits a grim new COVID record, a rocket attack targets Iraqi base hosting U.S. troops, and a Japanese billionaire is looking for people to join him on a trip to space. Die Welt also asks why Morocco is beating Germany and the rest of Europe in the vaccination race.

• COVID-19 latest: Brazil breaks its single day record for Covid-19 deaths that had been reached in July, with the current toll blamed on bad government policy and the spread of a new local variant. U.S. President Joe Biden announces that all American adults will be able to be vaccinated by May. Meanwhile, Austria and Denmark are giving up on the EU vaccination pact and will turn to a partnership with Israel to score additional vaccines.

• Myanmar coup: At least six more people were shot and killed as security forces opened fire again on pro-democracy protesters. The junta also detained half a dozen journalists. Drama is brewing over who will represent Myanmar at the United Nations after Myanmar's U.N. Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun denounced the coup and asked for help in restoring democracy.

• Rockets hit Iraq base: Ten rockets have hit an Iraqi military base hosting U.S. troops. It is not yet known if there are any casualties, and nobody has claimed the attack.

• Dr. Seuss gets cancelled: In the face of concern about racial insensitivity, six books by legendary children author Dr. Seuss will no longer be published. The late author has been accused in the past of racism and anti-Semitism, and his publisher said the books that have been pulled portray "people in ways that are hurtful and wrong."

• Women journalists killed in Afghanistan: Three female radio and television journalists in Jalalabad were killed and a fourth woman wounded in a targeted attack. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack.

• France/Algeria diplomacy: French President Emmanuel Macron officially recognized, on behalf of France, the torture and assassination of Algerian lawyer and activist Ali Boumendjel during the Algerian War of Independence in 1957. The French army had long disguised it as suicide.

• Free trip to space: Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is inviting 8 members of the public to join him for free for a trip around the moon on Elon Musk's SpaceX flight.

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Society

Mexico City Water Shortages Unleash Outpouring Of Anger

MEXICO CITY — The capital of Mexico delivers water unequally to its 20 million people.

While residents of neighborhoods like Cuauhtémoc or Polanco suffer occasional water shortages — everyone does — poorer areas face routine shortages, reports Mexican newspaper La Jornada. One such place is Iztapalapa, where there can be no water for weeks, and driving a city van to deliver water is akin to steering a truck full of cash, the daily notes.

One driver, Mario, recently showed bullet marks on his stomach to a La Jornada reporter, while another, José de Jesús Campos, said that armed kidnappers demanding water take drivers hostage.

Mexico City was built on lakes but has been drinking up its underground water over centuries. Water is now piped from distant reservoirs, although much of it is lost during the transfer, the paper reports.

Piedad Caballero, a resident, told La Jornada, that authorities "don't do anything. They keep saying there is no water." Inevitably, public anger at inaccessible authorities is vented out at the delivery man.

Geopolitics

Mexican Smuggler: Trump’s Wall Is A Business Opportunity

Illegal border crossings won't stop, but prices will rise.

NOGALES From the halls of Washington, D.C. to Mexico City, and everywhere in between, much has been said about Donald Trump's vow to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. But the Mexican daily La Jornada found one interested party who'd not yet been heard from on the matter: an experienced people smuggler along the clandestine border crossings.

Alejandro Moreno, who has been helping people sneak north of the border for 19 years, said the new American president's plans for a wall along the entire frontier is "an opportunity" for Mexican smugglers to hike fees and boost profits from assisting illegals. "We're already rubbing our hands," he said.

Moreno added that "the wall will be no obstacle. On the contrary, it will boost our earnings as we'll charge more for the brinco," he said, using the word "jump" that refers to the illegal crossings.

La Jornada reported that Moreno's network alone has smuggled more than 300,000 people into the U.S. over the years. The city of Nogales, in the Mexican state of Sonora, borders Arizona, and is not far from Tucson. Moreno notes that the frontier fence that already exists is 10 meters high, equipped with sensors, surveilled by 24-hour patrols and drones hovering over it.

"If Trump increases the security, the only thing that will happen is that we'll charge more ... for the risk. Also because we'll have to pay more bribes to officials, more to the police and the migra," referring to migration authorities he did not identify.

His service typically costs a migrant between $2,000 and $4,000, with Central Americans paying more as they were moved over a longer distance. Moreno revealed that since 2004, drug cartels had restricted crossing times as they needed to keep certain hours free for drugs, which were always "the priority." Smugglers now coordinated their crossings with the cartels, he said.

Moreno, who referred to his smuggling operations as "services," doesn't consider himself a criminal. He said migrants were only charged once they had reached a safe house inside United States territory, after often walking across 80 miles of desert. La Jornada quoted the trafficker as saying the border crossings help lift migrants "out of ruin" by leading them to where they can find work: "There are people who call to say "thank you.""

Though Moreno himself doesn't necessarily have the same message for Trump, he sounds neither sorry nor worried about any wall that might be built.

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Mexican Newspaper On Trump Deportation Plans

La Jornada, Nov. 14, 2016

As U.S. president-elect Donald Trump begins to reveal if and how he will follow through on his campaign promises, Mexico is keeping a close eye on his immigration plans.

In an interview with CBS "60 Minutes" program on Sunday night, Trump indicated that his pledge to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico will include "fencing," and he would quickly move to deport any illegal immigrants with a criminal record. He added that other undocumented immigrants included "terrific people," apparently reserving a decision on whether they too would be deported.

Monday's edition of the Mexican paper, La Jornada, featured a front-page headline: "Trump: I will deport 3 million undocumented workers," accompanied with a photograph of protestors in New York holding signs reading: "We Are all Immigrants."

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Subcomandante Marcos, Will Iconic Mexican Rebel Remove His Mask?

MEXICO CITY â€" Will the mask come off? A Mexican judge has ruled that sedition and terrorism charges have expired against 13 rebels of the Zapatista Liberation Army (EZLN), including those filed against the group's masked enigmatic former leader, Subcomandante Marcos, La Jornada and other media reported.

The EZLN rose in revolt in 1994 to defend indigenous people in the southern state of Chiapas against a range of government rights abuses, and soon, the group became an admired force in Mexico and beyond, representing a leftist, non-violent, anti-capitalist lifestyle.

Having survived the state's initial bid to crush their revolt, the Zapatistas have in recent years become less focused on guerrilla tactics and more involved in civilian protests, which has bolstered their popularity in Mexico. They have never espoused the brutality of other major rebel armies in Latin America, such as communist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Forced into hiding since the 1990s, former EZLN leader Marcos decided to cover his face with a black balaclava, a move that quickly turned him into an iconic â€" even fashionable â€" figure, not unlike Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevara. The pipe-smoking Marcos always gave interviews masked, though he may have revealed his face once to CNN correspondent Carmen Arístegui.

Marcos in 1996 â€" Photo: Jose Villa

He systematically denied the identities state officials attributed to him, likely in a bid to strip him of his mystique; members of the family alleged to be his corroborated the denials, but in any case, confusion and mystery were part of the game, as they so often are in Mexico.

In 2014, after stepping down as head of the EZLN, Marcos declared his persona "dead" and said he was henceforth to be called Galeano, after an EZLN activist murdered by an armed gang. In theory, his retirement from the limelight means that Marcos (or Galeano) can now walk, shop and cycle as publicly as he pleases. Whether such newly gained freedom would risk losing his iconic status remains to be seen.

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Singing 'Without A Permit' In Mexico, Metaphor For Police Corruption

SALTILLO â€" An alleged "illegal singing" case last week this city in northern Mexico might have wound up as a light source of laughter in the pages of a local newspaper. But when police in Saltillo tried to arrest a man for singing as he walked on the street, telling him he had no permit to sing in public and was disturbing the peace, the incident became a public source of outrage for people all over Mexico.

The police decided not to arrest the man, a young physician, when he took out his cellphone and locals gathered to film the incident with their mobile phones, La Jornada reports. The video was viewed more than 100,000 times within the first two days of appearing online.

The incident shows Mexicans' pervasive concerns about corrupt police and the possibility of being "disappeared," as there is no assurance that a person arrested will actually be properly tried in a courtroom â€" or even make it home. Reports put the number of missing people in Mexico at about 22,000.

César Ruiz Carrillo, a radiologist, stated after the incident that two policemen intercepted him with their patrol car, and without identifying themselves, said "show me your permit" for singing, La Jornada reported. The physician was told to stop filming the incident and one policeman threatened to get the city regulations forbidding his singing from his car, but "came back with nothing."

A discussion took place as Ruiz said he had a right to sing and was no criminal but a "working citizen." He later thanked witnesses for filming the incident and assuring his freedom, but specified he did not "receive at any moment any physical or verbal aggression" from the agents.