Eyes on Mexico: Pozen Center WBEZ Series

This Spring, Pozen Center Executive Director Susan Gzesh curated the Eyes on Mexico lecture series in conjunction with her course Human Rights in Mexico (Winter 2019). WBEZ Public Radio in Chicago's World View program (Jerome McDonnell, host: Steve Bynum and Julian Hayda, producers) hosted a corresponding series of interviews with each of the presenters. Follow the links below to access the four-part series on WBEZ's website.


Eyes On Mexico: Is The New President Upholding His Human Rights Promise?
"Just a couple of months since taking office, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has come under the scrutiny of civil society organizations and human rights advocates who believe he is not doing enough to combat crime and prevent human rights abuses. In light of continuing violence and homicides across the country, López Obrador’s government announced this month a new security plan through which it claims it will search for tens of thousands of people who have disappeared during Mexico’s drug war. Previous governments have passed similar legislation with little real-world impact, however. Critics are particularly eager to see if López Obrador’s government will be able to explain the fate of 43 disappeared students in Ayotzinapa. They were kidnapped in 2014 while aboard a bus also had hidden narcotics destined for Chicago. Joining us is Santiago Aguirre, the Mexican attorney representing the families of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, as well as Susan Gzesh, the executive director of the Pozen Center for Human Rights at the University of Chicago."

Eyes on Mexico: Treatment of Central American Migrants
"Organized crime and violence in the Central American “Northern Triangle” countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador has resulted in thousands of migrants fleeing their homes and journeying north into Mexico. Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala and Belize was historically porous, but an increase in Central American migrants crossing through Mexico and seeking asylum in the US in 2014 and 2015 prompted the Obama administration to work with the Peña Nieto administration in Mexico to step up security. Mexican civil rights groups have organized to assist the migrants as they arrive, helping them navigate asylum frameworks and decide whether to continue on to the US or stay in Mexico. Helena Olea, an international human rights lawyer who serves as Alianza Americas’ Human Rights Adviser, joins today’s Eyes On Mexico to discuss the situation at the southern Mexican border and what’s changed under the new Mexican president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador."

Eyes on Mexico: Indigenous Communities Facing Down Foreign Extractive Industries
"The human rights and lands of Mexico’s indigenous communities have come under threat from international mining and agricultural companies in recent years. In just one example of the tension between these groups, activists have been fighting against the proposed Morelos Comprehensive Project, which would include two thermoelectric plants, a gas pipeline to supply the plant with natural gas from Tlaxcala state and an aqueduct. Local indigenous communities have raised serious concerns about health and safety, and an anti-pipeline activist was killed last month, just days before a scheduled referendum on the energy project. To discuss, we are joined in studio by Mexican attorney Jorge Fernandez Mendiburu, who works with Mayan communities."

Eyes on Mexico: The Drug War’s 2,000 Clandestine Graves
"Many of Chicago’s Mexican-Americans trace their roots to the state of Michoacan. That’s where Mago Torres, an investigative reporter, found the first of 2,000 unmarked graves belonging to victims of Mexico’s drug war. While many argue that the War on Drugs has cooled down in recent years, the effects of this decades-long conflict are still being understood. Torres argues, too, that the violence hasn’t gone away because accountability is still sorely lacking. Torres helped create an online catalog of the graves called “A Donde Van los Desaparecidos” (Where Have the Disappeared Gone?), and co-authored a piece in The Intercept titled “2,000 Clandestine Graves: How A Decade Of The Drug War Turned Mexico Into A Burial Ground.”"