Several list members have sent this piece by Alma Guillermoprieto. I
would point out that continuing to repeat the 40,000 number is wrong.
The Mexican government's official tally of "drug war homicides" [as
they define it] was 34,612 at the end of 2010. To think that only
5,388 people have been added to that toll in nearly 11 months is
ludicrous. There have been some months this year when the country-wide
death toll has been more than 1,000. For example, in April 2011: Abril
rompe r�cord con 1,402 ejecutados
The government's own federal statistics show about 24,000 people
killed in 2010 and from 2007-2010, the TOTAL homicide numbers add up
to: 67,050. These are from INEGI and the figures are available here:
the foot of Mexico City�s Angel de la Independencia, which floats
gracefully above a tall column on the Paseo de la Reforma. Around him
dozens of people were adding their own candles to the thousands
already on the monument steps, which were glowing wonderfully in the
chill night. The young man�s name was Diego Enrique Hern�ndez, and
struggling to compose himself, he said that although he had not
himself lost any family members or even friends in the current
violence, he was horrified�and ashamed�to see what had become of his
beautiful home state of Veracruz. That was why, he said, he had joined
one of the numerous peace movements that have sprung up in the last
two or three years and come to leave a candle on the steps.
�The victims they found the other day��he was referring to a late
September incident, in which 35 decapitated corpses were dumped out of
two trucks onto a freeway in broad daylight in the city of Veracruz
��were right near a shopping center I used to go to as a child,�
Hern�ndez said. �And I don�t think it�s right that people can�t leave
their houses for fear, and that I call my friends and they tell me
they just heard bullets nearby.� Like many people at the event, he
blamed President Felipe Calder�n directly for the current horrors.
�Ever since that gentleman�I don�t consider him my president�declared
this thing that can hardly be called a war, because supposedly when
you have a war you have a plan�ever since then, we have seen these
Not far away, a tall grey-haired man with deep-set eyes stood chatting
with his elegantly-dressed friends. I asked him why he had come to the
altar. �Because I believe in what these people are doing, first of
all,� he said. �And because my godson was murdered in Cuernavaca.� As
it turned out, his godson was Juan Francisco Sicilia, son of the poet
and essayist Javier Sicilia, who created the Movement for Peace with
Justice and Dignity last April, following the murder of Juan Francisco
and four other young men, possibly at the hands of police associated
with a local mafia. �Juan Francisco�s death made me aware of how
terrible the situation is that we are living through,� Jorge Gonz�lez
de Leon said.
Grassroots movements against state-sponsored violence, or violence the
state has been powerless to stop, really began some ten years ago, at
a time when women were being murdered at a scandalously high rate in
Ciudad Ju�rez, which lies just across the border from El Paso, Texas.
The murders, often involving mutilation of the victims, were
horrifying enough, but what galvanized many women, particularly, into
action was the evident pleasure local and federal police took in
humiliating the victims� families and obstructing the investigations�
almost, it would seem, as if they were actually in league with the
The drug-trafficking organizations currently at war with the
government and each other have terrorized the country by staging a
careful campaign based on grand-guignol displays of violence�civilians
are persecuted for alerting the police or attempting to organize
resistance movements, for example, and corpses are always displayed
with horrific mutilations. This is powerful dissuasion, along with the
fact that, by Felipe Calder�n�s own admission, most of the various
police corps are corrupt�and increasingly involved in the bloodshed,
to judge from the numbers of police and military personnel arrested
and accused of murder. Consequently, the growth of the anti-drug
violence movement has been slow.
But the murder of Javier Sicilia�s son galvanized first a family, then
a city, and then the increasingly large community of victims�
relatives. Because Sicilia has a column in the most-read weekly
magazine here, and is a well-known poet, and because the government�s
contention that the victims of violence are themselves involved in the
narco war so clearly flew in the face of the murder of Sicilia�s son,
he has been able to mobilize the press in his favor too. Walking from
Cuernavaca to Mexico City, and then travelling north by bus from city
to city, staging small rallies at which victims� relatives have
stepped forth with increasing confidence to denounce the crimes
committed against them, the Caravan for Peace he organized emerged
almost overnight as the moving center of a growing protest movement.
Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity
Photos of the dead in Angel Square, Mexico City
Sicilia, who sees Gandhi as one of his principal inspirations, has
struggled to stay clear of political parties who would love nothing
more than to adopt him. Having seen their efforts grow from a Caravana
por la Paz to a Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad, the
activists are now engaged in a broad, if slightly unfocused, range of
activities. Some are looking for ways to name and, if possible,
provide a photograph and history of each one of the victims (the
movement counts the total number of dead in the last six years as
50,000, not including 10,000 disappeared.) There are also broad calls
for social justice as an antidote to violence, but what has generated
most support is the demand for an end to arbitrary arrests,
disappearances, and the official use of torture, and, in general, an
end to the use of violence by government forces as a means to combat
the drug trade.
Fraught though it is with the divisions and mutual accusations grass-
roots organizations are often plagued by, the movement has managed to
survive and grow in numbers over the last five months, and most of all
in visibility, even if it remains a largely middle-class concern. It
was the sponsoring organization of Monday�s altar.
�I think it�s important that everyone here is participating,� said
Gonz�lez de Leon, Juan Francisco Sicilia�s godfather. �I wish there
were more of us, but even if there were only one, it would count.�
November 2, 2011, 10:45 a.m.
MURDERS OF WOMEN IN JUAREZ 1993--PRESENT
1993-2007������427 (total 3,538)
2008 ���������.87 (total 1,623)
2009���������.164 (total 2,754)
2010 ���������304 (total 3,622)
2011 (as of Nov 7)��� 180 (est.) (total of 1,777)
Women����.............1,162 (13,314 total victims)
Women are 9 percent of the total murder victims averaged over the past
Statistics from El Diario based on official data from the Chihuahua
State Attorney General
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Decades of global media monitoring, both high street and specialist, as
well as conversations with editors and journalists have shown a desire,
even instruction, to add numbers to articles to lend gravitas.
If it is not their core research interest, the journalist will pick up
the easy number, the accepted or credentialed number, and go.
There is rarely malice or hidden agenda here. Facile mendacity perhaps,
but no malice.
Who better than Molly to post a new updating number that the many
journalists on this list can begin to propagate?
Could your Google list instance put up a ticker that you update? If not,
could FNS take your data and post a ticker? Or some of the academicians
or masthead publications that water here?
Bad data too often chases out good. Until a good new number scheme
emerges [one that states method, data sources, and dates of totals] and
is made easy for writers to pick off, we should expect no change.
I try to post daily or every few days, the homicide data from Ciudad
Juarez only. I know that I cannot do more than this on a daily basis.
The numbers I report come from media sources and those reports come
from the daily communiques from the Fiscalia. I also get those emails
from the Fiscalia, along with a huge number of journalists who are on
the mailing list. These are not very useful in terms of keeping the
count because they are never cumulative. Also, they often come out
with details on killings that happened days earlier. I only got on
that list a few months ago and I save all of the communiques--
something for future archiving and research. I am not sure how to
integrate a "ticker" on a google group... Does someone know? Is
putting the number in a subject line not enough?
What I do in terms of national data is to check Walter's updates and
also keep an eye out for INEGI reports and SESNSP reports that often
are covered in national media in Mexico. I also read and post the data
that comes out monthly from the Transborder Institute at University of
San Diego. The fact that these numbers differ so dramatically from
each other and from other government and media reports requires that
we provide more explanation and analysis than can be provided by a
simple "ticker." One thing I do (Walter does also) is some simple
addition and logical thinking. That is what seems missing in a lot of
media outside of Mexico. To simply repeat "40,000" month after month
when all the media is reporting hundreds of killings every month
across the country is dishonest. When I initially posted my rumination
on the numbers from Mexican government sources back in September, I
expected to get at least a few questions from reporters on the list--
how to follow up on these statistical sources from Mexican government
agencies, etc. I always provide the links to the sources for the
numbers. But, the only comment I got was from one reporter who said
that his publication could not consider these numbers because their
sources inside the Mexican government said different things and that
they were obligated to report what the sources said.
In any case, if someone on the list wants to help me set up a ticker
for the Juarez numbers, I'll try. And perhaps also include the weekly
national updates posted by Walter. See his message below. molly
FROM WALTER MCKAY:
I have the data, which I update daily, and post weekly updates on
mywebsite. If a counter was to be hosted, I am happy to share my
updates(whether daily, weekly or monthly)***Tìoraidh,*
----Walter M. McKay, M.A.*WM C**onsulting*
cell: +011 52 1 55 2773 1597email: wmc...@gmail.comor:
Consulting <http://www.policereform.org/>Follow on Twitter:http://
On Nov 18, 8:07 am, "Gordon Housworth" <ghi...@icgpartners.com> wrote:
> Would suggest redirecting the complaint into something actionable.
> Decades of global media monitoring, both high street and specialist, as
> well as conversations with editors and journalists have shown a desire,
> even instruction, to add numbers to articles to lend gravitas.
> If it is not their core research interest, the journalist will pick up
> the easy number, the accepted or credentialed number, and go.
> There is rarely malice or hidden agenda here. Facile mendacity perhaps,
> but no malice.
> Who better than Molly to post a new updating number that the many
> journalists on this list can begin to propagate?
> Could your Google list instance put up a ticker that you update? If not,
> could FNS take your data and post a ticker? Or some of the academicians
> or masthead publications that water here?
> Bad data too often chases out good. Until a good new number scheme
> emerges [one that states method, data sources, and dates of totals] and
> is made easy for writers to pick off, we should expect no change.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: fronte...@googlegroups.com
> [mailto:fronte...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of pchi...@juno.com
> Sent: Thursday, 17 November, 2011 23:37
> To: fronte...@googlegroups.com
> Subject: Re: [frontera-list] NYRblog : Roving thoughts and provocations
> from ou r writers Day of the 40,000 Dead--Alma Guillermoprieto
> Molly, Your observation is proof that math is big problem in the US.
> People can't add. Or is the problem worst? they don't want to. Peter
> ---------- Original Message ----------
> From: molly <mollymol...@gmail.com>
> To: FRONTERA LIST <fronte...@googlegroups.com>
> Subject: [frontera-list] NYRblog : Roving thoughts and provocations from
> our writers Day of the 40,000 Dead--Alma Guillermoprieto
> Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2011 07:09:21 -0800 (PST)
> Several list members have sent this piece by Alma Guillermoprieto. I
> would point out that continuing to repeat the 40,000 number is wrong.
> The Mexican government's official tally of "drug war homicides" [as
> they define it] was 34,612 at the end of 2010. To think that only
> 5,388 people have been added to that toll in nearly 11 months is
> ludicrous. There have been some months this year when the country-wide
> death toll has been more than 1,000. For example, in April 2011: Abril
> rompe r�cord con 1,402 ejecutadoshttp://www.milenio.com/cdb/doc/noticias2011/94735cf9dc1fc6e1994f97a4425c