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Stories from and

Ostula and Mexican Army Hold to Clashing Versions of Recent Attack

In Mexico, the independent investigation agency SubVersiones has published a compilation video that chronologically shows what events that took place on July 19, 2015, in the indigenous Nahua community of Santa María de Ostula. That day ended with four wounded and a dead child, after Mexican soldiers allegedly opened fired on civilians during an operation designed to arrest a leader of a local self-defense group.

SubVersiones‘ video starts with footage of villagers armed with sticks, yelling at the soldiers to go look for the runaway drug lord Joaquín El Chapo Guzman, among other things. Soon, shots are fired from army vehicles, in a barrage that likely included the bullets that killed one and injured four.

Some villagers attacked the soldiers with rocks in an apparent attempt to halt their advance:

En varios momentos se puede observar que el ejército se parapeta en posición de tiro. En otras escenas se aprecian los gases lacrimógenos lanzados por la policía estatal. Estas imágenes contradicen la versión oficial que niega las agresiones del ejército que sostiene que los tiros fueron al aire. La magnitud del operativo es también una muestra de que esta acción estuvo dirigida no sólo a Semeí Verdía sino a desestructurar la organización comunitaria.

In various moments, one can observe that the army was standing in a shooting position. In other scenes, one can see tear gas thrown by the state police. These images contradict the official version that denies that the army committed any aggression or fired any shots, other than some into the air. The magnitude of the operation is also proof that this action was not only aimed at apprehending Semeí Verdía, but also had the objective of destroying the community's self-organization.

The description given by Subversiones supports Ostula citizens’ accusation that the military shot openly at civilians.

On the other hand, Michoacan's Coordination Group rejected the claim that soldiers fired at locals protesting that day in Aquila Municipality. General Felipe Gurrola, who is in charge of the Special Security Unit in Michoacan, said at a press conference:

El Grupo Antimotines respondió a la agresión con la activación de gases lacrimógenos y de humo, con el propósito de dispersar a los manifestantes; el caos fue aprovechado por civiles armados que se retiraron del lugar y se ocultaron entre la maleza.

The Antiriot Group responded to the attack with tear and smoke gas in an effort to scatter the demonstrators; civilian armed groups took advantage of the chaos and later retreated and hid in the bushes.

YouTube user Victor Americano uploaded a video showing, from the soldiers’ point of view, the aggression described by General Gurrola.

Civilians were the only ones to suffer on July 19, the military has pointed out. At least one soldier was allegely injured by a piece of shrapnel.

Con ello está claro que sí hubo disparos por parte de civiles armados el domingo anterior, en el puente de Ixtapilla, en contra de elementos del Ejército Mexicano

With this [evidence], it is clear that there were shots coming from armed civilians, last Sunday on the Ixtapilla bridge, against elements of the Mexican Army.

Mexican Indigenous Community Accuses Famous Designer of Plagiarism

French designer Isabel Marant has made a name for herself in the world of fashion, owing to her eclectic style, which blends materials and ethnic influences together in her designs. These creations carry a price tag starting in the hundreds of dollars.

However, for the authorities and citizens of Santa María Tlahuitoltepec, a Mixe community in Mexico, they were more than just a source of inspiration. They accuse Marant of selling her creations as if they were her own take on the traditional dress of the territory.

“Tlahuitoltepec defends its embroidery; accuses Frenchwoman Isabel Marant of plagiarism”.

The famous dressmaker sells this piece for $290, close to 4,500 Mexican pesos, while the price of the garment in the indigenous community is around 600 pesos ($40).

Marant is “hijacking a cultural heritage for commercial benefit, which puts indigenous communities at risk, as well as the originality of the fashion industry”, maintained the mayor, Erasmo Hernández González, who stated that they will be taking legal action.

The Mexican ‘Corrido’ of Feminist Liberation

Junio del 75 en México no te asombres
Se juntaron mil señoras para hablar mal de los hombres […]
Liberación absoluta es meta de la mujer
Pero aquello de que hablamos
Que no lo dejen de hacer aunque sea por favor

In June of '75 in Mexico don’t be surprised
Thousand of women came together to criticize men […]
Absolute liberation is women's goal
But that thing we talked about
Please don’t stop doing it even if it’s as a favor

Lyrics by Óscar Chávez, Corrido de la Liberación Femenina. (Corrido of the Feminist Liberation)

The popular Mexican corridos usually refer to women as wives, girlfriends or lovers, but there was a time in history when feminist liberation was reflected in their lyrics. Angie Contreras, blogging for Mujeres Construyendo (Women Building), explains the double interpretation of feminism in that age which still continues today:

El corrido puede tener un sinfín de lecturas, […] explicare dos:

La primera de ellas, una cultura machista muy arraigada en el mexicano, donde la mujer debe asumirse en un rol de casa, educadora y sobretodo de cuidado, es donde recae la frase “que no lo dejen de hacer”, se nos da la libertad pero deben de seguir haciendo lo que ya sabemos hacer […]

Y una segunda está idea que el feminismo es sinónimo de odio a los hombres “para hablar mal de los hombres”, y esto es una malinterpretación del concepto […] la búsqueda del feminismo es una “liberación absoluta”, cuando se buscaban cosas concretas como el acceso a la educación, el derecho a votar y ser votada, la igualdad de salarios.

The corrido has unlimited interpretations, […] I'll explain two of them:

The first one, a sexist culture deeply rooted in Mexicans, in which woman should assume the role of a housewife, a teacher and caregiver, that is what the phrase “let's hope they don't stop doing it” refers to, that liberty is given to us but they must continue doing what we already know how to do.

And a second one is the idea that feminism is synonymous with hating men “to criticize men,” and this is a misunderstanding of the concept […] the search for feminism is an “absolute liberation”, when concrete things were requested such as access to education, the right to vote and be voted, equal wages.

Continue reading Angie Contreras’ post here and follow her on Twitter.

This post was part of the 49th edition of #LunesDeBlogsGV  (Monday of blogs on Global Voices) on April 13, 2015.

Photo of a Mexican Revolutionary Who Looks Like Pacquiao Goes Viral

A photo of a Mexican revolutionary who looks like Manny Pacquiao has gone viral few days before the Filipino boxing icon's fight today against Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas for three champions belts (OMB, CMB y la AMB) in the welterweight division.

In Twitter there were many tweets related to the picture:

So Pacquiao's grandfather participated in the Mexican revolution… Mexico supports Pacquiao

On Facebook, Latin Post uploaded the photo which has more than 50,000 shares and 150,000 comments.

“Besides being a boxer, Manny Pacquiao also participated in the Mexican revolution,” was the most common phrase among the comments, which also refers to the men in the picture as “Pacman” grandfather, according to the web portal Infobae.

Mexican Rescue Team Asks for Help to Go to Nepal

Donations are needed urgently for 25 rescuers paypal: donativos@brigada-rescate-topos.org CLABE Santander:01418092000709294 tel.5554160417 #ToposANepal (Topos to Nepal)

The Rescue Brigade Topos México Tlatelolco has started a fundraising campaign to be able to join rescue efforts there after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook Nepal last Saturday, leaving more than 4,000 people death and 7,000 injured.

The group was born when volunteers spontaneously showed up to help in the aftermath of 1985 Mexico City earthquake. The group was formally organized as a civil association in February 1986 and for more than three decades, they have assisted rescue and recovery efforts in the Mexican states of Tabasco, Chiapas, Oaxaca, State of Mexico, Veracruz and Mexico City, and in countries all over the world including Haiti, Indonesia, El Salvador and Chile.

Topos México doesn't receive any payment for their work since it is entirely based on volunteers. Most of the time, local authorities or Mexico's federal government cover their travel expenses and the countries they go give them visas and access to the disaster zones.

The following video shows a summary of the Topos’ work.

Global Voices Partners with Sin Embargo México

Global Voices Latin America recently join forces with Mexican news site Sin embargo.

Global Voices Latin America recently join forces with Mexican news site Sin embargo.

Global Voices Latin America and Mexican news site Sin Embargo recently agreed to join forces to spread original stories form Mexico and Latin America to a global audience.

Sin Embargo is a Spanish language news site based in Mexico that produces original journalism and investigative stories. The site was founded in 2011, under the slogan “rigorous journalism”, and is among Mexico's top news sites. Every month the site averages 4.6 million unique users and 10 million page views.

While many digital news operations aggregate content from other sites, founder and publisher Jorge Zepeda Patterson believes that “the only possibility for generating significant traffic is by creating your own content.”

Starting July, Global Voices will translate and publish stories from Sin Embargo on its Spanish and English language sites. Some stories may get translated into up to 30 languages through our Lingua translation project. This is the first story Global Voices published as part of the cooperation: Mexico Was Hacking Team's No. 1 Client for Spyware.

#IFellAsleepToo: Sleeping Latin American Doctors Go Viral

It's a trending topic under the hashtag  #YoTambienMeDormi (#IFellAsleepToo). In one week, there have been 17,500 comments on Twitter. The stories of tens of thousands of doctors in Mexico and Latin America who are sharing pictures of them sleeping during their long hospital shifts have gone viral.

It all started when a blogger criticized a physician whose photo showed him sleeping, according to the BBC.

“We know this work is tiring, but they have the duty to fulfill their responsibilities while there are dozens of sick people who need their attention at any moment,” Noti-blog site reports, showing the photo of a medical resident at General Hospital 33 in Monterrey, México, who fell asleep at 3 am while filling out the records of that night's patient number 18.

I Fell Asleep Too, because we are not machines but human beings like everyone else

In addition to showing solidarity, the spontaneous campaign has also been a way to put a face the sacrifices people in the profession must make, including long meal-less, sleepless shifts, which are not always financially compensated nor always provide the necessary basics for the job.

Keeping Minors Safe Online Is Everyone's Responsibility

We live in an age in which dizzying technological advances sometimes put minors in danger. In a post on blog Mujeres Construyendo (Women Building), Gloria Serrato delves into society's responsibility to protect them and teach them the appropriate use of new technologies:

Diferentes organismos han emitido iniciativas para defender a los menores de edad con respecto a la protección de su información confidencial, […] para buscar la regulación pertinente que no lesione los intereses del acceso a la información ni a los menores.

El acceso a las redes sociales en internet es una oportunidad para el ejercicio de los derechos de las personas y es una herramienta para el aprendizaje y el conocimiento. Sin embargo es imprescindible saber que los […] adultos deben ser una guía que pueda orientar en los usos adecuados.

Several organizations have launched initiatives in order to defend minors and preserve their confidential information, […] looking for the pertinent regulation that does not harm the accessibility of information or underage children's interests.

Access to social media sites is an opportunity for the exercise of people's rights and a tool for instruction and knowledge. But is essential to know that […] adults should be a guide to direct them in proper use.

The writer states that such an education should take place in schools and family environments. She also lists the lines of work from the Montevideo Memorandum on protection of minors’ data:

a)    Recomendaciones en materia de prevención y educación
b)    Recomendaciones para los Estados sobre el marco legal
c)    Recomendaciones para la aplicación de las leyes
d)    Recomendaciones en materia de políticas públicas
e)    Recomendaciones para la industria.

a)   Recommendations in terms of prevention and education
b)   Recommendations to states on the legal framework
c)   Recommendations for the application of law
d)   Recommendations for public policy
e)   Recommendations for the industry

Continue reading Gloria Serrato's post here and follow her on Twitter.

This post was part of the 49th edition of #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on April 13, 2015.

The Quest for the Mexican Miracle

Against the backdrop of elections scheduled for 7 June 2015 in Mexico, Fernando Vazquez blogging on Futuros Anticipados reflects on the quest for a miracle in development, growth and honesty, at times hindered by apathy and inaction of some.

 […] se firmó el TLC, se adelgazó al estado, se privatizó la industria pública. Creció la economía, pero no bajó la pobreza. Al contrario: cuando llegó el quiebre en el error (horror en realidad) de diciembre, la miseria se disparó a más de seis de cada diez mexicanos.

Ahora se ha reformado mucho, pero el impulso se ahogó en la pestilencia de la corrupción, la frivolidad, el abuso, la inmoralidad.

No habrá reforma exitosa sin código de ética. Ni inversiones sin ley. Ni democracia sin sanciones ejemplares a los partidos que han decidido violar la ley sistemáticamente con el cinismo absoluto que garantiza la impunidad.

Hay con todo, un signo alentador. Hay una minoría que no está dispuesta a seguir tolerando el abuso, la grosería, la arbitrariedad y la arrogancia. Esa minoría se ha unido en torno a un puñado de periodistas honestos, se ha autoorganizado, viraliza sus demandas en redes sociales.

[…] the free trade agreement was signed, the state was reduced, public industry was privatized. The economy grew, but poverty did not decline. On the contrary: When the breakdown came with the December error (indeed horror), misery soared to more than six in ten Mexicans.

Numerous reforms have been made these days, but the urge choked on the stench of corruption, frivolity, abuse, immorality.

Reforms will not be successful without an ethics code. Nor will investments without law. Nor democracy without exemplary punishment for parties who have decided to break the law consistently with complete cynicism which guarantees impunity.

Despite everything, there is an encouraging sign. There is a minority who are not willing to tolerate abuse, rudeness, arbitrariness and arrogance. This minority has grouped around a bunch of honest journalists, who are self-organized, making their demands on social media go viral.

Continue reading Fernando's post here and follow him on Twitter.

This is part of the 46th #LunesDeBlogsGV (#MondayOfBlogsOnGlobalVoices on April 13, 2015.

Mexican Women Are Being Called on to Help Transform Their Portrayal in Mexican Media

WACC, SocialTIC, WITNESS, La Sandía Digital, and Subversiones have called on women interested in telling the stories of strong women in their communities with the purpose of changing the way women are represented in the media.

As one of the representatives of the project told Global Voices, in Mexican media there is not only a lack of production and distribution of content produced by women, but lack of nuanced content, which only serves to replicate dominant stereotypes that do not reflect or promote diversity.

Voces de Mujeres, fotografía extraída del Perfil de Facebook de SocialTIC, utilizada con autorización

Women's Voices. Photo take from SocialTIC's Facebook page. Used with permission.

What does the project consist of? 

The project consists of an audiovisual laboratory caravan where women will learn about photography, video, and text creation. The laboratory caravan will last six months, holding four three-day sessions in different Mexican communities during May, June, July, and August.

What are the participation requirements? 

Women must be 18 and over, residing in central Mexico, involved in community projects, capable of dedicating 8 hours a week from May to September, available for travel during the scheduled dates, commited to sharing with the commuity what has been learned, and have access to a portable computer. Twenty applicants will be chosen.

The registration period for this project expired on March 27, 2015. Organizers are selecting the eligible entries from the ones received from all over Mexico and will soon publish the results. If any questions or inquiries please direct it to voces.mujeres@gmail.com.

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