Mexico's president on Tuesday proposed allowing same-sex marriage nationally, the latest in a series of progressive policies in a traditionally conservative country. The presidency said on Twitter that President Enrique Peña Nieto had "announced the signing of a reform initiative which includes the recognition of the right to get married without any form of discrimination." Same-sex marriage is currently permitted in Mexico City, as well as in several states, including Coahuila, Quintana Roo, Jalisco, Nayarit, Chihuahua and Sonora. Mexico's Supreme Court said last year that laws restricting marriage to a man and woman were unconstitutional and a Supreme Court judge urged states to legalize gay marriage. However, many state legislatures have not changed their statutes to comply, meaning couples must file legal challenges case by case to get married.
Tens of thousands of people across Mexico marched on Saturday to protest against gay marriage, challenging President Enrique Pena Nieto's proposal to recognize same-sex marriage throughout the traditionally conservative country. The marches were called by the National Front for the Family, a coalition of civil society organizations and various religious groups, and continued throughout the day from Mexico's far north to the Yucatan peninsula. Same sex marriage is permitted in Mexico City, as well as in several states including Coahuila, Quintana Roo, Jalisco, Nayarit, Chihuahua and Sonora. Pena Nieto has proposed changing the constitution to allow it nationally. The embattled leader, who is grappling with discontent over a slowing economy, conflict of interest scandals, drug gang violence and a visit by U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump that led to his finance minister's ouster, has opened himself to criticism by asking lawmakers to debate gay marriage.
The U.S. Department of State issued a travel warning Tuesday for Americans traveling to certain parts of Mexico. The advisory cautions citizens to avoid traveling to certain locations due to increased criminal activity. Areas such as Baja California Sur, where the popular tourist destination Cabo San Lucas is, and Quintana Roo, where Cancun and Riviera Maya are located, have seen a spike in homicide rates this year. "U.S. citizens have been the victims of violent crimes, including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery in various Mexican states," the travel advisory states. The advisory notes that resort areas and tourist destinations in the country don't typically have the same level of drug-related violence and crime seen in other parts of the country.
MEXICO CITY – Questions arose on both sides of the border about the decision to relocate convicted drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to a region that is one of his cartel's strongholds, and a Mexican security official acknowledged Sunday that the sudden transfer was to a less-secure prison. The official said that in general the Cefereso No. 9 prison on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, is not as impregnable as the maximum-security Altiplano facility near Mexico City where he had been held. The official wasn't authorized to discuss Guzman's case publicly and agreed to do so only if not quoted by name. The official said, however, that Guzman is being held in a maximum-security wing where the same protocols are being enforced as in Altiplano, including 24-hour monitoring via a camera in his cell. But Michael Vigil, the former head of international operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, wondered at the logic of sending Guzman to a lesser lockup in territory firmly controlled by his Sinaloa cartel underlings.
MEXICO CITY – The northern Mexico prison where authorities suddenly transferred convicted drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is rated as the worst in the federal penitentiary system for inmate conditions. However, the Cefereso No. 9 in Ciudad Juarez, which borders El Paso, Texas, scored well on "conditions of governability," perhaps an indication that authorities believe they can control Guzman's environment there and reduce the risk of him pulling off a third brazen jailbreak. A 2015 report by the governmental National Human Rights Commission gave the Juarez prison a 6.63 rating on a scale of 0 to 10, the lowest for any of Mexico's 21 federal prisons. By comparison, the maximum-security Altiplano facility where Guzman was confined before was 10th best with a rating of 7.32. The Sinaloa cartel boss, who is fighting to stave off extradition to the United States, where he faces drug charges in seven different jurisdictions, was transferred in the predawn hours Saturday in a surprise, high-security operation.