Obama urged to speak up for murdered journalist in meeting with Calderon

January 12, 2009

Obama urged to speak up for murdered journalist in meeting with Mexican President Calderon
and to reject as an “impractical continuation of a failed policy” Bush’s Merida Initiative

(Washington, D.C.) Friends of Brad Will urged their members to contact President Elect Obama’s Transition Team today to urge the President Elect to bring up the case of murdered U.S. journalist Brad Will in his meeting with Mexican President Calderon in D.C. Monday afternoon.

Obama: Opposes human rights abuses in Latin America

The organization, which was established two and a half years ago when the journalist was killed by Mexican paramilitaries while covering a teachers’ strike, has called on Congress and the Bush State Department to aid in obtaining justice for their murdered friend. They described the Obama-Calderon meeting as “an important opportunity to move forward not only on Brad’s case but also on many Mexican political prisoners’ cases.”

They asked callers to Obama’s transition team to urge Obama to ask explicitly about Brad’s case and those of other innocent people arrested, raped or killed (in Atenco, Juarez, Chiapas, Oaxaca and elsewhere).

Manuel Red Pebble Perez, Coordinator of Binational Indigenous Peoples’ Outreach for Friends of Brad Will, declared “(t)he United States should not be supplying lethal aid to unaccountable ‘security’ forces in Mexico or Latin America that have shown themselves incapable even to bring to justice the Mexican government paramilitaries witnessed in broad daylight killing our colleague, Brad Will”. He pointed reporters to the report by Reporters without Borders (see: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=19485) and to the International Physicians for Human Rights forensic team’s findings which sited culpability of Mexican government paramilitaries for Mr. Will’s and others’ murders as ignored by Mexican State and Federal prosecutors.

Under pressure from the U.S. government for resolution of the case, the Mexican authorities have arrested and put out arrest warrants for 11 innocent people, at least 4 of whom courageously stepped forward with Brad’s parents to provide their eyewitness testimony to the Mexican govt. The Mexican government is now scapegoating these innocent people in a travesty of justice labeled by Kathy Will, Brad’s mother, as ‘absurd.’

Joy Ophelia, a spokeswoman for Friends of Brad Will said that “(t)he notorious corruption and lack of accountability of Mexican security forces and their widespread human rights abuses makes Bush’s Merida Initiative (aka Plan Mexico) a terrible, impractical idea, which Obama should discontinue.”

Background information:

Plan Mexico Backgrounder: http://americas.irc-online.org/am/5118

Witness to Brad Will’s Murder Denounces Recent Arrests

“. . .Juan Manuel has been falsely charged with the homicide of U.S. journalist Bradley Roland Will. (H)e is . . .an active individual, committed to his community through his parish and municipality.”

Video: A Call to Action from the Family of Juan Manuel (one of the wrongly accused)

President-elect Obama to Meet with President Calderón

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President-elect Barack Obama will meet with
Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón on Monday, January 12. The meeting
will be in Washington, DC at the Mexican Cultural Institute. There is
a long-standing tradition, since 1980, of U.S. presidents meeting with
the Mexican president prior to being sworn in to underscore the
important relationship between the United States and Mexico. This
meeting is in keeping with that tradition.


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