On the same day this week that President Obama announced a measure that could give legal protection to 5 million undocumented immigrants, massive protests raged across Mexico against the impunity and corruption that led to the horrific massacre of 43 students. From Mexico City, Sergio Sarmiento, Elena Poniatowska and Homero Aridjis chronicle the events and ponder what's next. Anthropologist Claudio Lomnitz examines the causes behind Mexico's corrosive impunity. Meanwhile, as Xin Chunying writes from Beijing, China is also seeking to establish the rule of law through steadily boosting the role of the National People's Congress. While stifling dissent, China's President Xi is taking on both "tigers and flies" in his no-holds-barred assault from the top down on corruption. Can China's effort succeed without active public engagement? Can Mexico learn from China and move from angry protest to systemic change? (continued)
The government is now afraid to use public force to prevent demonstrators from blockading roads and streets, stealing buses and trucks, ransacking supermarkets and torching government buildings. President Peña Nieto has claimed that his patience has limits, but so far the Ayotzinapa movement appears to have forced him into a corner.
The community has developed the first forest offset project under the Reserve's Mexico Forest Protocol. The project will help provide clean water, an improved standard of living and improved habitat conditions.
The mood in Mexico is so depressing that even Elena Poniatowska, the novelist-journalist who chronicled the 1968 massacre of students in Tlatelolco, feels a chill when she talks about the murder of 43 students in Ayotzinapa, who were found burned to death in a municipal trash dump. At 82, Poniatowska keeps on exposing social injustice in Mexico in memorable books like Here's to You, Jesusa, Nothing No One: The Voices of the Earthquake and thousands of journalistic articles in newspapers and magazines all over the world. This year, she won the prestigious Premio Cervantes, the equivalent of the Nobel for Spanish language writers.
When Iguala, Guerrero municipal police and masked men in unmarked black uniforms opened fire on unarmed students from the Ayotzinapa teachers college last September, killing six people and kidnapping 43 students, they lit the fuse of a national crisis.
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The impunity enjoyed by some has tarnished the police, prosecutors and politicians as a whole, whether honest or dishonest. To prevent another Iguala -- or another Villas de Salvárcar or another San Fernando -- Mexican leaders must show that rule of law prevails, especially for those required to uphold it.
There is a deep history behind Mexico's current horrors of crime and impunity that only Mexicans can deal with. A weak state, the informal economy and lack of accountability because of a low tax base all play key roles -- but U.S. drug and gun policies are also responsible.
The disappeared students of Iguala have served to lend voice to the stories of a country that has been silenced for far too long. Ayotzinapa may be Mexico's long anticipated turning point.
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