The German Chancellor said last Friday it was “vitally important” to punish those responsible for the disappearances in México and to have freedom of the press and protection for journalists, two areas in which she promised to help.
At a joint press conference with President Enrique Peña Nieto at the National Palace, Angela Merkel celebrated México’s efforts to ensure the protection of journalists and promised to help in that regard.
Regarding the missing persons, who number in the tens of thousands in this country, she stressed the need to “punish and find the culprits.”
For this reason, Germany cooperates with the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and victim associations, added the head of government at the start of a visit of less than 24 hours to the Latin American country, the second since 2008.
So far this year, at least seven journalists have died in México, one of the most dangerous countries in the world for the practice of the profession, and another, Salvador Adame, disappeared in mid-May in the state of Michoacán.
According to the National Registry of Data on Missing or Disappeared Persons, there are currently more than 30,000 people missing in the country.
PRI wins gubernatorial election in México state
Governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Alfredo del Mazo won the gubernatorial election in México state, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the México City metropolitan area, garnering 33.7 percent of the vote, with 97 percent of the ballots counted, election officials said.
Leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) candidate Delfina Gómez finished second, getting 30.8 percent of the vote, while Juan Zepeda, of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), received 17.8 percent of the vote.
Josefina Vazquez Mota, of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), finished fourth, garnering 11.3 percent of the vote.
Voter turnout was 52.53 percent in the June 3 election.
Del Mazo received 1.94 million votes, giving him a lead of nearly 167,000 votes over Gómez in the race to run México state, the country’s most populous state and a region considered a barometer for the 2018 presidential election.
In Coahuila state, PRI gubernatorial candidate Miguel Riquelme got 38.3 percent of the vote, followed by PAN-PRD coalition candidate Guillermo Anaya, who garnered 36.81 percent, with 85.5 percent of the ballots counted.
Morena candidate Armando Guadiana finished a distant third, with 12.05 percent, while independent Javier Guerrero got 7.4 percent and finished fourth.
Voter turnout was 60 percent in Coahuila.
In Nayarit, Antonio Echevarría, the gubernatorial candidate of a coalition formed by the PAN, PRD, Workers Party (PT) and Revolutionary Socialist Party (PRS), got 38.6 percent of the vote.
Manuel Humberto Cota, candidate of a coalition formed by the PRI, Mexican Green Party (PVEM) and New Alliance, finished second, with 27 percent of the vote.
Hilario Ramírez, an independent, finished third, with 12.02 percent of the vote in an election with a 62.3 percent voter turnout rate.
Morena’s Miguel Ángel Navarro got 11.92 percent of the vote in the Nayarit gubernatorial election.
In the Gulf state of Veracruz, where 212 mayoralties were up for grabs, the PAN-PRD coalition had the best showing, winning control of 112 local governments.
México, Guatemala to facilitate cross-border migrant movement
Guatemala and México, which share a land frontier of more then 595 miles agreed on June 6 to continue working to modernize infrastructure in the border zone to facilitate the safe and humane passage of migrants, as well as cross-border trade.
The presidents of the two nations – Guatemala’s Jimmy Morales and México’s Enrique Peña Nieto – met privately in Guatemala City and later appeared before reporters, although they took no questions, to announce that they will support each other in the fight for dignified and legal migration.
“Our border has potential to be a safe, prosperous and dynamic zone. So, we’re working on priority issues to achieve better Central American integration,” said Peña Nieto, who announced that the pair had agreed “to banish the rhetoric of hatred and discrimination” against migrants.
The two countries are, the presidents said, very similar, possessing extensive cultural roots and diplomatic relations dating back to 1848. They are both nations that are the “origin, transit zones and destination of migrants,” he said, a problem that needs to be combatted in terms of its structural causes while protecting human rights.
“Let migration become ... an option and not a necessity,” said the Mexican leader, who – with his first state visit to Guatemala – is seeking to reaffirm “the ties of brotherhood” with “more fluid ... and frank” dialogue.
Morales, in turn, emphasized that he was ready to deal with irregular migration in a comprehensive way, adding that he had discussed that issue and development, security, trade, investment and the environment with his Mexican counterpart.
He thanked Peña Nieto and the Mexican officials for treating the issue of Guatemalan migrants intercepted in Mexican territory in a “very serious and responsible” way, and he asked that their deportation back to their homeland be facilitated.
The two presidents, who were meeting for the fifth time, also spoke about investment – signing four accords on trade, diplomacy and social security with the aim of increasing cooperation – and announced the opening of a $30 million Lala milk production plant in the southern Guatemalan province of Escuintla that will provide a total of some 16,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Preliminary Bank of Guatemala figures indicate that in 2016 Guatemala exported products valued at about $459 million to México, while the trade flow in the opposite direction totaled $1.94 billion.
Former Mexican governor captured in Panamá
A former Mexican governor wanted on money laundering charges was arrested in Panamá City when he tried to fly to Paris, the Attorney General’s Office said June 5.
Roberto Borge, who served as governor of Quintana Roo from 2011 to 2016, was detained by Panamanian police working with Interpol, the AG’s office said in a statement.
Borge, a member of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), was staying at hotel in Panamá City and planning to travel to the French capital.
“An operation was launched and his capture was made at Panamá City’s Tocumen International Airport,” the AG’s office said.
A judge issued an arrest warrant for Borge on money laundering charges on May 31.
The former governor allegedly used front men to sell state-owned land at below-market prices and was involved in the irregular acquisition of a tourism business.
Quintana Roo Gov. Carlos Joaquín said the arrest warrant for Borge was issued following an eight-month investigation.
Death toll from shootout inside prison rises to 7
Three police officers and four inmates died in a shootout during an inspection at a prison in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, state security officials said June 7.
“Three policemen and four inmates died. Wounded, six policemen and seven inmates,” the Tamaulipas Security Secretariat said in a Twitter post.
A riot broke out at the prison in Ciudad Victoria on June 5 after police entered the facility to conduct an inspection.
State police officers were sent to the penitentiary after prison officials detected rising tensions in the facility and suspected that banned items had been smuggled in.
The operation, which continued late into the night on Tuesday, included Federal Police and army units, which cordoned off the prison.
Mexican media outlets broadcast reports on which long volleys of gunfire could be heard.
Armed guards responded to the shootout, Tamaulipas Public Safety Secretariat spokesman Luis Alberto Rodríguez told Milenio Television.
Inmates’ relatives gathered outside the prison as ambulances arrived to carry away the wounded, raising tensions outside the penitentiary’s walls.
México’s prisons are plagued by overcrowding and gangs that take control of penitentiaries, leading to violence.
On Feb. 11, 2016, 52 inmates died in a fight inside the Topo Chico penitentiary in the northern industrial city of Monterrey.
The fight, which involved members of rival factions of the Los Zetas drug cartel, was one of the deadliest in the past 30 years in México.
Mexican navy seizes ton of cocaine
The Mexican navy said June 2 that its personnel recovered 1.2 tons of cocaine floating off the coast of the Pacific Ocean resort city of Acapulco.
Thirty-two bales of cocaine were spotted in the surf along Barra Vieja beach thanks to a combination of intelligence work and a tip from a member of the public, the navy said.
The drugs are to be turned over to the Guerrero state bureau of the Mexican Attorney General’s Office, according to a statement from the regional naval command in Acapulco.
In July 2016, the navy seized roughly 900 kilos (1,982 lbs.) of cocaine on the high seas off the coast of Chiapas state.