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Why do millions of fish keep dying in Mexico’s Lake Cajititlán?

August 27, 2015

Nearly 50 tons of dead fish have been removed from Lake Cajititlán in the last 10 days.

Great swathes of the surface of Mexico’s Lake Cajititlán were obscured last week as hundreds of thousands of dead fish surfaced and drifted toward the shore.

Over 100 local fishermen and conservation workers have removed almost 50 tons of freshwater fish from the lake in the western state of Jalisco in the last 10 days, after Cajititlán was struck by the latest in a string of mysterious mass deaths.

The putrid smell of rotting fish hung over the lake where workers have been busily scooping the fish from the surface, then wheeling them away, prior to shovelling them into the mouths of diggers more commonly used in construction work.

More than four million fish weighing 156 tons were hauled from the same lake last September in the worst such incidence to date. In total, 290 tons of dead fish surfaced in the lake throughout all of 2014…

Click here to read this article in full at Latin Correspondent.

Desperate relatives denounce forced disappearances in Jalisco

August 23, 2015

Relatives of the disappeared demand justice at a demonstration in Guadalajara.

Antonio Reynoso was last seen alive when masked police officers dragged him out of a children’s birthday party in front of his six-year-old daughter.

His mother, Mayra Hernandez, arrived just in time to witness him being violently hauled into one of seven police cars with obscured license plates that had pulled up outside.

“They say they didn’t take him away, but I saw it. They were beating him. He was handcuffed and bleeding,” Hernandez told Al Jazeera.

Jalisco state police officers arrested four en accused of stealing cars, she said, but only three were later charged. Reynoso disappeared without a trace.

That incident took place in Guadalajara, capital of western Jalisco state, on August 30, 2013.

Two years on, Reynoso, an unemployed 23-year-old who harboured dreams of becoming a chef, has become just another statistic in a state where forced disappearances have grown increasingly common.


Maria Vazquez has searched tirelessly for her daughter since she went missing last November.

According to the Mexican government, federal and local registers, 26,029 people were missing across the country as of April 30.

Jalisco officially accounted for 2,160 of these disappearances, but analysts say the actual figure is likely much higher…

Click here to read this feature in full at Al Jazeera English.

Mexican Mecca: Luz del Mundo church draws 500,000 pilgrims to Guadalajara

August 18, 2015
Luz del Mundo spokesman Eliezer Gutierrez denied allegations that past church leaders engaged in sexual abuse.

Luz del Mundo spokesman Eliezer Gutierrez denied allegations that past church leaders engaged in sexual abuse.

Over half a million pilgrims from over 50 countries descended upon the western Mexican city of Guadalajara last week to participate in an annual ceremony at the spiritual home of the little-known Christian denomination: Luz del Mundo.

Mexico’s second largest religious denomination after the Catholic Church, the Luz del Mundo (Light of the World) was founded in Guadalajara in 1926. It now claims to have approximately five million members, the majority spread across the Americas and Europe.

Luz del Mundo’s national spokesman, Eliezer Gutierrez, told Latin Correspondent that the purpose of last week’s celebrations, known as “La Santa Convocación,” was for devotees to “renew their pact with the lord”.

The culmination of the week-long event was a reenactment of the Last Supper, in which the pilgrims, all dressed in white, broke bread and sipped wine to symbolize their continued commitment to their faith, Gutierrez said.

The church claimed the event drew 537,000 devotees from five continents this year, 177,000 more than in 2014…

Click here to read this article in full at Latin Correspondent.

Activist who led search for missing students is found murdered in Mexico

August 13, 2015

Almost a year on from the forced disappearance of 43 students in southwest Mexico, an activist who helped lead efforts to find them has been brutally murdered.

Police in the troubled state of Guerrero found Miguel Angel Jimenez Blanco’s bullet-ridden body in the taxi he owned near his hometown of Xaltianguis on Saturday night.

Jimenez, 45, was a prominent activist who organised community search parties to find missing people, including the 43 students who disappeared and are believed to have been massacred near the town of Iguala last September. He was a vocal critic of the local authorities, whom he accused of hiding evidence related to the case.

Jimenez also led one of many community police groups that have sprung up in rural Mexican towns in recent years in response to the threat of violent drug cartel and the lack of protection provided by the government.  In a tribute video posted online after his death, he confirmed that he had been receiving death threats as a result of his work…

Click here to read this article at Latin Correspondent.

Half a million pilgrims flock to Mexico’s Luz del Mundo church

August 12, 2015

Inaugurated in 1992, the Hermosa Provincia Temple stands 270 feet tall and seats 12,000 worshippers.

Out of Guadalajara’s working-class Hermosa Provincia neighbourhood rises the 270ft Hermosa Provincia Temple. It is, for millions of devotees, a stairway to heaven.

This week, half a million religious pilgrims from 53 countries will descend upon the Mexican city to celebrate the birthday of Aaron Joaquin Gonzalez, the deceased founder of the little-known Christian denomination Luz del Mundo (Light of the World), a colourful institution with cult-like leaders that was founded in 1926.

With grandstanding architecture and a growing global reach, Luz del Mundo is a Pentecostal church that claims five million members worldwide. Inaugurated in 1992, the 14-sided Provincia Temple is formed of seven blindingly bright white and gold layers, each meant to symbolise steps towards the perfection of the human spirit…

Click here to read this article in full at The Independent.


A Luz del mundo devotee prays inside the vast Hermosa Provincia Temple.

Masked gunmen abducted and pistol-whipped Uber drivers in Guadalajara

August 8, 2015

From the streets of Paris and Brussels to Mexico City, Uber drivers the world over have come under attack from irate taxi drivers in recent months.

But few, if any, outbreaks of violence have been as extreme as in Guadalajara on Wednesday night, when masked gunmen assaulted and abducted several Uber drivers and then stole their vehicles.

Jose Eseverri, Uber’s chief spokesman in Mexico, confirmed to VICE News that five Uber partners were attacked in separate incidents close to Guadalajara’s international airport between 11pm and 12:30am on Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.

Wearing masks and carrying handguns, the five assailants demanded to know the locations of other Uber drivers and proceeded to pistol-whip several of the victims.

According to Uber, the attackers took four of the drivers hostage aboard their own vehicles for approximately an hour before dumping them on the outskirts of the city and driving off in the stolen cars. The attempted theft of the fifth victim’s car was thwarted by the vehicle’s security features…

Click here to read this story in full at VICE News.

Veracruz is a hell on earth for Mexican journalists

August 6, 2015
Months before they were both murdered, Ruben Espinosa's friend Nadia Vera said she held Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte responsible for anything that might happen to her.

Months before they were both murdered, Ruben Espinosa’s activist friend Nadia Vera said she held Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte responsible for anything that might happen to her.

The murder of 31-year-old photojournalist Ruben Espinosa has drawn international attention to the dangers that reporters face in Mexico in general, and in the troubled eastern state of Veracruz in particular.

Espinosa, who had fled to Mexico City after receiving threats in Veracruz, the state where he had been covering social movements, was tortured and murdered alongside four women aged 18 to 40 – three of whom were also raped – in an apartment in the capital last Friday.

Ruben Espinosa was the seventh Mexican journalist to be killed in 2015, meaning on average one reporter has been murdered every month so far this year.

Espinosa was also the 14th journalist who lived or worked in Veracruz to have been killed or disappeared since state governor Javier Duarte of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) took office in December 2010…

Click here to read this article in full at Latin Correspondent.


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