Dr. José Manuel Mireles Valverde was one of the original leaders of the autodefensa movement in Michoacán that played a central role in confronting the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel (for the history, see my book The New War on the Poor). He was the leading Mexican protagonist in the award-winning US documentary Cartel Land. Mireles … Continue reading Does the Mexican government really want to make Dr. Mireles a martyr?
Yesterday afternoon a light plane carrying four passengers crashed into the sea off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. One of the bodies recovered was that of Teori Zavascki, the Supreme Court judge responsible for oversight of the Operation Carwash (Lava Jato) corruption investigations and judgement of cases against politicians who, by virtue of currently … Continue reading Deepening crisis in Brazil
This first week of January has seen two massacres of inmates in Brazilian prisons. The first took place in Manaus. Fifty-six inmates died, the highest number to be killed since the Carandiru prison complex massacre in São Paulo in 1992. But in that latter case it was the police who did the killing. In Manaus … Continue reading Brazil’s prison crisis
This post is mostly about a recent event in a community in Salvador, the capital city of the state of Bahia, which I began to study in 2006. Bairro da Paz is an irregular settlement with a population of 60,000 residents, formed by a land invasion during the last years of military rule. The remarkable … Continue reading Calling police to account in Bairro da Paz
The legal farce of the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff is set to continue a little while longer. Her defence team has appealed to the Supreme Court for the decision of the Senate to be annulled and Michel Temer returned to his prior status as interim president pending a final decision. It is difficult to imagine … Continue reading Postscript on the Brazilian coup
This morning the supreme court judge responsible for overseeing the Lava Jato investigation ordered the suspension of the PMDB's Eduardo Cunha from his mandate and from his position as president of the chamber of deputies. This decision was ratified in a plenary session later in the day. Cunha, whose patronage powers have won him an … Continue reading The Brazilian STF and Eduardo Cunha
In yesterday's La Jornada newspaper, journalist Blanche Petrich published an interview that the paper conducted with Nestora Salgado, former communal police commander of the community of Olinalá, in the Mexican state of Guerrero. On August 23, 2013, Nestora Salgado was arrested and charged with the kidnapping, on the orders of Ángel Aguirre, the state governor … Continue reading Something rotten in the state…
A judge has now determined that the indigenous autodefensa leader Cemeí Verdía has a case to answer on the murder charges brought against him by the state government prosecutor. He will therefore remain in the Mil Cumbres gaol. Cemeí and his lawyer have argued that the case is "political in nature", and the indigenous leader … Continue reading Cemeí Verdía looks to new governor for support
In his final report to the state congress, outgoing interim governor, Salvador Jara Guerrero, insisted that he was leaving Michoacán in a more secure condition than he found it. "Hoy el estado es otro". Really? The state's public prosecutor has now brought the anticipated murder charges against coastal autodefensa leader Cemeí Verdía, former communal police … Continue reading Michoacán es otro?
The NGO Justiça Global, responsible for a devastating analysis of extra-judicial killings by the police of São Paulo in 2006, has now taken the case of the killing of twelve men in the Cabula neighbourhood of Salvador, Bahia, to the office of the UN special rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns. As I … Continue reading Justiça Global takes the Cabula case to the UN