On May 30th, the Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto will come to the Netherlands on an official state visit. Civil society organizations are critical of the warm welcome this controversial figure is receiving from the Dutch government. To understand the critique we will listen to the Mexican priest and human rights defender Mario Campos and PhD researcher Evelyn Mejía.
Ever since president Peña Nieto came into power in 2012, Mexico has witnessed a staggering increase in murder rates, drugs related crime, repression against journalists and community organizers, violence against women and migrants, and numerous enforced disappearances like case of the 43 Ayotzinapa students. In spite of this, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs has not spoken out and has nothing but praise for economic collaboration with Mexico, as the country’s second largest European investor.
While Peña Nieto aims to use this visit to celebrate and strengthen the economic ties between the two countries, civil society groups remain critical of the Dutch government’s indifference towards the grave human rights violations that continue to haunt the Mexican people under this president. How are Mexican communities then responding to the human rights violations that permeate their daily life?
This afternoon, we will hear experiences from Guerrero and Oaxaca, both southern Mexican states with a social history marked by rebellion. We will listen to Mario Campos, priest and human rights defender active in indigenous communities in Guerrero and co-founder of community policing organizations. Also, we will hear stories of local resistance against the construction of a windmill park, told by Mexican PhD researcher Evelyn Mejia. In coastal Oaxaca, local communities have laid bare the disturbing consequences of the so-called ‘green economy’ and successfully challenged the plans of multinational companies.
In light of where Mexico is headed today, what can we learn from these experiences of local activists? What conclusions can we draw about Mexico’s human rights situation, and how does this reflect on Mexico’s outward presentation as successful liberal democracy? And in the prospect of the president’s visit, what can or should we expect from the Dutch government?
Join us for this afternoon discussion with Mario and Evelyn.
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