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Mexico City Violence: Three Human Rights Activists Shot, Murder Rate At Highest Since 1998

Monday 9 November 2015, by Comité Cerezo México

Violence is still rife in Mexico’s Federal Capital, Mexico City, where three human rights activist were shot Saturday. The men were injured and transported to hospital after an attack that has been condemned as an “attempted extrajudicial killing,” as reported by Comité Cerezo.

Police are reviewing security cameras footage to try and determine who the gunman was. According to news reports from the area, the perpetrator was dressed in plain clothes and sported a military-style haircut. He shot his victims as he shouted that the attack was in retaliation for them “running their mouths.”

The three men, Matias Flores, Jesus Hernández Reyes, and Rubicel Hernández García, from Michoacán and Hidalgo states, were in Mexico City to file complaints with human rights groups and Amnesty International about abuses suffered by indigenous communities in their areas.

Flores, a Nahuatl Indian, belongs to the CODHHSQ human rights group – the Human Rights Committee of Huasteca and Eastern Sierra. Hernández Reyes and Hernández García are members of the National Front for the Struggle for Socialism (FNLS). Both organizations condemned the attack as an “attempted extrajudicial killing,” and released an urgent call for all social movements to keep fighting against state repression.

“We call on our fellow organizations to close ranks against the repression, the terrorism of the state,” wrote the FNLS in a statement on Saturday.

The attack comes on the eve of a national day of struggle organized by social movements to protest against state repression, human rights abuses, paramilitary attacks and crimes against humanity.

An investigation has been opened by Mexico City’s Human Rights Commission. Mexico is going through a grave crisis, with widespread violence, torture and forced disappearances plaguing the country on a regular basis.

#CDHDF abrió investigación de oficio por agresión a defensores en Iztapalapa ocurrido esta mañana

— CDHDF (@CDHDF) November 7, 2015

Translation: Mexico City’s Human Rights Commission opened an official investigation into this morning’s attack on the human rights defenders in Iztapalapa.

The homicide rate in Mexico is at the highest it’s been since 1998. Corpses hanging out from bridges and forced disappearances, such as the 43 Ayotzinapa students who went missing in 2014, are way too common occurrences nowadays. Although some of the country’s states are deemed more dangerous than others, Capital City Mexico is sometimes considered less violent due to its international population and the presence of so many of the political and business elite.

But since the body of a 25-year-old man was found hanging off a bridge in October in the capital itself, it seems even Mexico City isn’t such a safe haven after all. Recent killings, including an increase of violence in jails, where inmates form their own gangs, have meant a terrible year for the Federal District Capital.

In the first nine months, there were 642 murders inside the Federal District, a 22 percent increase on the previous year, and the highest number since 1998 – as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera keeps denying the presence of drug cartels in the capital, but with increasing numbers of executions and cadaver discoveries, it seems pretty obvious the capital city isn’t safe from the narcos any more. These tactics, previously used by drug cartels in the states of Tamaulipas, Chihuaha and Veracruz, are now being employed in Mexico City.

The government of the capital, run by the PRD opposition leftist party, has been denying that drug cartels are ruling the city. In October, after the body was discovered hanging off the bridge, Mancera said: “No cartels are based in Mexico City.” Although it’s been true that in the past, gangs have avoided turning D.F into a warzone, things look like they are changing.

[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]

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