Shannon K. O'Neil

Latin America's Moment

O'Neil analyzes developments in Latin America and U.S. relations in the region.

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Justice in Mexico

by Shannon K. O'Neil

Behind bars inside a prison in Mexico City (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

CFR just released a very thoughtful report by David A. Shirk, “The Drug War in Mexico: Confronting a Shared Threat,” that explores the Mexican government’s capacity to fight organized crime. In it he argues that the U.S. should help Mexico address crime and corruption by focusing on building its judicial and law enforcement institutions. It can be accessed here.

A vivid take on the challenges Mexico’s justice system faces is presented in the extraordinary and award-winning documentary “Presunto Culpable” (Presumed Guilty). It tells the story of Antonio Zúñiga, who in 2005 was sentenced to twenty years in prison for a murder he did not commit, and two young attorneys turned filmakers, Layda Negrete and Roberto Hernández, who attempt to exonerate him. They bring a camera into the courtroom to expose the injustices, corruption and contradictions of a judicial system that presumes suspects guilty until proven innocent.

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