The U.S. locks up the highest percentage of its population in the world—nearly two and a half million people. Latinos now make up the majority of people sent to federal prison for felony crimes, with sentencing for newly defined immigration felonies like illegal border crossing or aiding in border crossing accounting for the increase. This makes the private prison industry very rich.
Juventina Villa knew her days were numbered. A leader of an environmental organization in the mountains of Guerrero, Mexico, she and other activists have been in the crosshairs of organized crime and government forces for years. With the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence come to an end on Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day, organizations of women throughout the world are calling for more protection for women human rights defenders and justice for those who have been assassinated. In most cases, the crimes against them have not been punished.
The official broadcast showed smiling legislators from the Party of the Institutional Revolution (PRI) welcoming the triumphant arrival of the president-elect amid cries of “Enrique, Enrique!” The presidential mantle was passed from one party to the next, the handsome new president delivered a well-polished speech. The official version of the inauguration of Mexico’s 57th president seemed to go off with only minor glitches. But social media and the streets themselves told a different story, as battalions of police faced off with protesters in violent clashes…
Against the sharply contrasting backdrop of violent conflicts in the streets and carefully staged official events, Enrique Peña Nieto took office yesterday. The general outlines of the plan for his six-year term, although still not detailed, reveal proposed changes not unlike the new president–mostly cosmetic and devoted to appearances on the surface. After taking the oath of office in the Chamber of Deputies at San Lazaro and swearing in his cabinet, the newly inaugurated president appeared before guests at the National Palace in the central plaza to deliver his first speech as Chief Executive.
The push to rebrand and re-sell the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez is in full swing. With violence way down as 2012 draws to a close, business and political leaders are extolling the return of security, inaugurating public works and opening new restaurants. According to the electronic industry trade journal maquilaportal.com, upwards of 22,000 workers have been hired this year in the assembly-for-export factories called maquiladoras, with especially strong rebounds in the auto and electronics sectors. But how much of the public relations blitz is hype and how much is real? And who benefits from the new Juárez?