Human Rights: Voices from Mexico Speaker Series

Mexico is “a society that is wracked by high levels of insecurity, disappearances and killings, continuing harassment of human rights defenders and journalists, violence against women, and terrible abuses of migrants and refugees… For a country that is not engaged in a conflict, the estimated figures [of disappearances and killings] are simply staggering.”

- October 2015, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Human Rights: Voices from Mexico

How did Mexico, the new showcase of democracy at the beginning of the millennium, arrive at such a situation?  What is the way out?  What can the people and the government do? The University of Chicago has been hosting a series of speakers and events in Winter Quarter 2016 to bring the discussion of these questions to Chicago. 

This series was sponsored by Pozen Family Center for Human Rights and Friedrich Katz Center for Mexican Studies.


Professor Alejandro Anaya Munoz

Mexican Studies Seminar: 12 noon, Tuesday, January 12, 2016
John Hope Franklin Room; Social Sciences Research Room 224

Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economica / One of Mexico’s leading scholars of human rights.

Carmen Aristegui 

A highly respected journalist appears weekly on her own show on CNN En Espanol and writes for Reforma and other media outlets. Her March 2015 dismissal from MVS Radio, where she had a daily morning show, was widely protested by Mexican and international journalists and human rights organizations. Carmen Arisegui addressed a crowd of 400 people at the University of Chicago's Kent Hall. View her talk here (in Spanish).

Aristegui also spent an afternoon at Chicago's WBEZ, speaking with Jerome McDonnell on Worldview. Listen to the interview here (in English).

Aristegui (And CNN En Español) also used the opportunity to conduct interviews with Susan Gzesh (Pozen Center Executive Director), Emilio Kourí (Katz Center Faculty Director), Jesús G. "Chuy" García (Cook County Commissioner and former Chicago mayoral candidate), and Oscar Chacon (Executive Direcor of the National Alliance of Latin American and Carribean Communities.)

 Santiago Aguirre

Monday, February 3; 12noon-1:15pm
Kelly Hall, Room 114 (5848 South University Ave, Chicago)

Attorney with the Centrol Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez de los Derechos Humanos, Mexico, D.F. Aguirre is part of Centro Prodh’s legal team coordinating a nation-wide coalition of family members and human rights organizations that demand answers regarding the over 26,000 Mexicans who have “disappeared” in the past decade. 

Emilio Alvarez Icaza

Monday, February 15; 12:15-1:15pm
Laird Bell Law Quadrangle, Room D

Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, the official human rights body of the Organization of American States. Alvarez Icaza had a long history in the human rights movement in Mexico before being elected President of the first government Commission of Human Rights of Mexico City which he directed from 2001-2009. Alvarez Icaza was elected General Secretary of the Inter-American Commission in 2012 and has since conducted investigative mission across Latin America. 

Emilio stopped by WBEZ's Worldview to discuss the Commission's work in Mexico. Hear the full interview here.

Jorge Fernandez Mendiburi 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016; 12noon-1:15pm
Pozen Family Center for Human Rights Conference Room

Attorney with Indignacion, an NGO in Yucatan, Mexico, Fernandez represents a Mayan agricultural cooperative in its battle against the Monsanto company whose experiments in genetically-modified plants have contaminated the Mayan’s organic honey and destroyed their access to the European market.  

Gustavo Mohar

Monday, March 2, 2016

Gustavo Mohar served as the head of Mexico's national security intelligence agency (CISEN). He is currently a consultant on security issues and immigration policy. He spoke to Jerome McDonnell about organized crime in Mexico and the U.S.We also discussed immigration. Mohar believes there are alternatives to “building a wall”. He gave a supply and demand labor history on immigration that demonstrates periods where labor demands were met successfully. Hear the full interview here.