• No More Opium for the Masses
    Part 1 – From the U.S. Fentanyl Boom to the Mexican Opium Crisis

    This report analyzes the socio-political effects of U.S. fentanyl use on the opium and heroin economy in Mexico.

    Drawing on fieldwork conducted in two poppy-producing regions of Mexico – one in the State of Nayarit, one in the State of Guerrero – this report shows that the dramatic upswing in fentanyl use in the United States is generating a parallel and rapid collapse in the price offered for raw opium in rural Mexico. This is already having very serious social and economic effects in the country’s poorest rural regions. Yet, this economic emergency – and the outstanding fact that growing drugs is no longer profitable – might open up a chance of wrestling Mexico’s opium-growing regions from the control of Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs). This report addresses several possible solutions including crop substitution or opium legalization for medicinal use, and evaluates how realistic they are in the Mexican context.

    This report combines data-analysis and archives, with insights taken from original fieldwork conducted by the authors in Mexico. In so doing, it shines an unprecedented light on the local, socio-economic dynamics of the Mexican opium-heroin trade1, allowing us to go beyond most analyses and demonstrate that there is no one, miracle cure for Mexico’s ‘Opium Crisis.’

    Una cartografía de la violencia

    On the night of 26-27 September 2014, students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa were attacked in the town of Iguala, Guerrero, by local police in collusion with criminal organisations. Numerous other branches of the Mexican security apparatus either participated in or witnessed the events, including state and federal police and the military. Six people were murdered – including three students – forty wounded, and 43 students were forcibly disappeared.

    The whereabouts of the students remains unknown, and their status as ‘disappeared’ persists to this day. Instead of attempting to solve this historic crime, the Mexican state has failed the victims, and the rest of Mexican society, by constructing a fraudulent and inconsistent narrative of the events of that night.

    Forensic Architecture was commissioned by and worked in collaboration with the Equipo Argentino de Antropologia Forense (EAAF) and Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez (Centro Prodh) to conceive of an interactive cartographic platform to map out and examine the different narratives of this event. The project aims to reconstruct, for the first time, the entirety of the known events that took place that night in and around Iguala and to provide a forensic tool for researchers to further the investigation.

    The data on which the platform is based draws from publicly available investigations, videos, media stories, photographs and phone logs. We transposed the accounts presented across these sources into thousands of data points, each of which has been located in space and time and plotted within the platform in order to map the incidents and the complex relationships between them. This demonstrates, in a clear graphic and cartographic form, the level of collusion and coordination between state agencies and organised crime throughout the night.

    In 2014, 43 students were massacred. Can digital forensics help solve the crime?

    The project relied on information compiled by the two reports of the International Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) and oral accounts recorded a month after the attack by investigative journalist John Gibler. “What is important is that we have not necessarily found new information. We have visualised the reports, which were actually incredibly inaccessible to anyone who doesn’t have six months to read through it, break it down and understand it,” Laxness says.

    “What you start to see immediately is that attacks happen at different parts of town at the same time and the act of forced disappearing actually happens at two different parts of town with a half an hour window, so almost identical, and the thing is being able to see that movement and see the data points on a map. The platform makes clear that all government forces are communicating by central communication system, everybody is either there perpetuating violence or an observer of violence.”


    THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT’S story goes like this: On the night of September 26, 2014, roughly 100 students from Ayotzinapa, a rural teaching college, clashed with municipal police in the city of Iguala, in the southern state of Guerrero. Rocks were thrown, shots were fired, and 43 students were snatched up by the authorities and handed over to a local drug gang. The students were then driven to a garbage dump where they were murdered, burned to ash, and tossed into a river, never to be seen again. This, Mexico’s attorney general once said, was “the historical truth.”

    Horrific as it sounds, this “truth” is a hollow and misleading narrative, which has been debunked and exploded by independent inquiries. With the third anniversary of the tragedy approaching, a new project by an international team of investigators has taken the most damning of those inquiries and visualized them, offering a means of seeing the night of September 26 for what it truly was: a coordinated, lethal assault on the students involving Mexican security forces at every level, and grave violations of international law.

    The interactive platform, constructed by the research agency Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, and shared with The Intercept in advance of its public release, pulls from a voluminous body of investigations into the crime. In addition to utilizing the most credible evidence available to illustrate how the night unfolded, the platform highlights inconsistencies in the government’s account of the events and tracks individual actors throughout the ordeal.

    Story by Joshua Partlow
    Photos by Michael Robinson Chavez

    “Mexico provides more than 90 percent of America’s heroin, up from less than 10 percent in 2003, when Colombia was the main supplier. Poppy production has expanded by about 800 percent in a decade as U.S. demand has soared. The western state of Guerrero is the center of this business, producing more than half of Mexico’s opium poppies, the base ingredient for heroin. Guerrero also has become the most violent state in Mexico, with more than 2,200 killings last year.

    “These groups have transformed themselves into a super-criminal power,” said Ricardo Mejia Berdeja, the head of the security committee in the Guerrero state congress. “The anchor for organized crime is heroin poppy.”

    Guerrero has produced marijuana and poppies for decades. But organized crime used to be more organized, with one main cartel in the state quietly paying off police and officials and moving drugs. The booming heroin business has encouraged the rise of new gun-toting trafficking bands, which in turn has triggered the rise of citizen militias.”

  • Mexique : le crime de trop ? | ARTE Info

    Un slogan créé après la disparation et le probable massacre de quarante-trois étudiants en septembre dernier dans l’Etat de Guerrero. Le crime de trop pour les Mexicains ? 
    Cette affaire a révélé l’ampleur de la collusion entre les autorités et le crime organisé. Le 26 septembre 2014, le maire de la ville d’Iguala a demandé à la police d’arrêter une manifestation d’étudiants, la police les a livrés à un cartel qui les a fait disparaître. L’émotion puis l’indignation ont été telles que le pays s’est embrasé, avec dans les rues des manifestations inédites depuis cinquante ans. Le divorce est semble-t-il consommé entre le peuple et ses représentants.
    Dans l’Etat de Guerrero, l’un des plus pauvres et des plus violents du Mexique, la société se prend en charge et s’organise. Des villages et des villes ont chassé la police, corrompue et complice, pour créer des milices d’auto-défense. La population assure désormais la sécurité, armes à la main, et les résultats sont spectaculaires. Les criminels ainsi arrêtés sont ensuite jugés par des tribunaux populaires. La défiance envers les institutions est à son comble.


  • El México #Guerrero: #Ayotzinapa’s Defiant Struggle for Justice

    On the night of September 26th, 2014, in the western Mexican state of Guerrero, #43 students of the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College of Ayotzinapa were intercepted and shot.....

    #LATIN_AMERICA_IS_A_COUNTRY #Guerreros_Unidos #Iguala #Mexico #PHOTOGRAPHY #Tomás_Ayuso

  • Massacre : Le Mexique dans tous ses démons

    « Au Mexique, c’est tous les jours le jour des morts », affirmait une banderole lors d’une manifestation d’étudiants, profs et parents des 43 normaliens disparus le 26 septembre à Iguala, dans l’état du Guerrero. Le cadavre d’un des jeunes a été retrouvé le lendemain des faits avec la peau du visage et les yeux arrachés. L’ultra-violence endémique qui déchire le pays – avec ses dizaines de milliers de morts au nom de la « guerre au narcotrafic » –, a pris ce jour-là un tour démentiel. Comment expliquer que des policiers municipaux abattent six personnes et en fassent disparaître 43 autres pour « donner une leçon » à des élèves de l’école normale rurale d’Ayotzinapa qui manifestaient ? Quel intérêt ont les narcos – qu’on accuse d’avoir pris livraison des 43 étudiants des mains des policiers pour ensuite les trucider et les enterrer dans des fosses clandestines – à se mêler du maintien de l’ordre dans une ville de province ?

    #Mexique #Guerrero

  • Gouverner par la mort - Récit détaillé de la tuerie d’Iguala au Mexique

    John Gibler, journaliste indépendant, s’est rendu dans l’État du Guerrero, quelques jours après le massacre d’Iguala en septembre dernier, et a interviewé les étudiants survivants d’Ayotzinapa. Le texte qui suit est la traduction en français d’une conférence qu’il a donnée en octobre 2014 au café zapatiste de Mexico. Source : Jef Klak

  • MEXIQUE • 57 étudiants disparus après des heurts avec la police | Courrier international

    Le 26 septembre, la police a violemment réprimé une manifestation d’étudiants faisant six morts et près de 20 blessés dans l’Etat de Guerrero. Le lendemain, 57 jeunes étaient portés disparus. La presse dénonce le climat de violence dans la région.

    #Mexique #manifestation #violence #étudiants

  • Police communautaire dans le Guerrero, au Mexique, la société contre l’État

    Jean-Pierre Petit-Gras

    Dans les jolies régions du sud de l’État du Guerrero, la Montaña et la Costa Chica, de nombreuses communautés tlapanèques et mixtèques mènent depuis des temps immémoriaux (du moins pour notre mémoire d’Occidentaux, courte et sélective) une vie tranquille. Elles cultivent le maïs, le haricot et la courge, qui leur assurent une autonomie alimentaire bien maîtrisée, et un peu de café, pour couvrir les dépenses des familles et des collectivités. Quelques animaux de basse-cour, des chèvres et des moutons, des ânes, chevaux et mulets complètent l’ordinaire, ou aident aux transports vers le marché de San Luis Acatlán.

    Mais, vers 1995, cette tranquillité a été brutalement remise en cause. Des agressions, attaques à main armée et viols se sont multipliés contre les habitants. La terreur dans ce petit paradis. Deux éléments ont amené les communautés à prendre d’importantes mesures d’autodéfense. (...)