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Top Government Entities Reportedly Mexico's Biggest Rights Abusers

Mexico's Comísion Nacionál de Derechos Humanos released a report last week detailing 22 years of complaints against the government.

Perhaps not a big surprise, but the agencies that Mexicans criticized most often were also the country's most powerful: The Attorney General's Office, the Army, and IMSS, Mexico's public health agency.

First, it should be said that the CNDH, as it's known in Mexico, has generally been a watchdog with few teeth. The agency was rendered independent of the federal government in 1999. Since then it gathers complaints against government agencies and then makes recommendations based on its analyses of the situation.


The closest entity I can think of in the U.S. is the Government Accountability Office. But most of its criticisms and findings have gone ignored by the government; leading the more cynical to believe it's mostly a token agency.

Still, I find its newest report fascinating. Whether Mexico chooses to disregard the commission's findings or not, its comprehensive report is out there for Mexicans (and the world) to see online.

Take this February 2011 case: A breast cancer survivor reported that an airport security guard wanded her and when her breast prosthetic triggered the sensor, the guard ordered her to remove the prosthetic and place it in a metal detector tray.

A September 2011 case: A victim in Coahuila was beaten to death by soldiers from a local barracks. There were at least three witnesses.

June 2010: A victim tells the CNDH they suffered a beating at the hands of Mexican marines who had broken into the home. The marines then tortured the victim to try and extract a confession that they worked for a cartel.


Now most of the complaints I've read so far had little or no resolution. The commission made recommendations that the agencies address the commission's concerns and that seems to be about the end of it.

But Mexico has long been a secretive state, so perhaps for that reason change is slow in coming. But some of those complaints are sure out there now, 22 years worth.

There are 2,266 complaints detailed in the commission's report. Looks like I have some reading to do.