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 Media Coverage Analysis on the Mexican Conflict
 

Media Coverage Analysis on the Mexican Conflict

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The love affair between the Catholic Church and Central American Migrants:

The love affair between the Catholic Church and Central American Migrants:
Challenges of Media Coverage on the Mexican Conflict

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     Media Coverage Analysis on the Mexican Conflict Media Coverage Analysis on the Mexican Conflict Document Transcript

    • " Migrants are the famous people. Theyre confronting the obstacles, were here to accompany  them."  Norma
Romero,
coordinator
of
the
group
known
as
Las Patronas
 supported
by
the
Mexican
bishops
human
mobility
ministry
                 
 The
love
affair
between
the
Catholic
Church
and
Central
American
Migrants:
 challenges
of
media
coverage
on
the
Mexican
conflict

 
 
 
 
 
“Migrants are transforming everything and one of the institutions overcoming most changes is the Catholic Church. They are questioning strongly the high hierarchy with just its presence” Father
Alejandro
Solalinde,
migrant’s
advocate
listed
in
Amnesty’s
International
list
of
people
at
risk  
 
 
 
 
 María
Ximena
Plaza

 The
New
School
 

    • This
is
the
opening
image
of
a
2011
National
Catholic
 Reporter
article.
The
photography’s
caption
reads:
 “migrant
carries
a
wooden
cross
on
the
outskirts
of
 Mexico
City,
during
a
symbolic
pilgrimage
to
celebrate
 the
Mexican
Senates
passage
of
new
immigration
 legislation.”

 
 The
news
report
titled“
Mexican
Catholics
working
with
undocumented
migrants
welcome
new
law”
starts
by
explaining
how
the
law
constitutes
an
effort
to
improve
the
treatment
of
migrants
transiting
north
as
they
have
become
target
of
kidnapping
and
ransoms.
The
image,
along
with
the
article,
is
an
example
of
how
U.S.
and
Mexican
catholic
media
coverage
has
presented
stories
about
migrants,
usually
Central
American
born
migrants,
by
making
links
between
the
figure
of
the
Catholic
Church
 and
 this
 vulnerable
 population.
 These
 links
 are
 repeatedly
 found
 as
 well
 across
 U.S.
 and
Mexican
 mainstream
 media.
 This
 paper
 aims
 at
 analyzing
 the
 prominence
 of
 the
 figure
 of
 the
Catholic
Church
in
news
reports
about
migrants
transiting
Mexico
in
the
midst
of
the
current
armed
conflict.
By
drawing
on
Mexican
history
and
2011
media
coverage
on
the
topic,
I
aim
to
demonstrate
that
the
Catholic
Church
has
been
a
recurrent
media
source
as
the
institution
upholds
a
predominant
role
in
the
nation’s
social
and
political
spheres.
However,
this
role
has
gained
greater
visibility
during
the
current
civil
conflict.
In
fact,
the
Catholic
Church
and
some
of
its
representatives
have
risen
as
a
recurrent
 media
 source
 on
 the
 abuses
 faced
 by
 migrants
 in
 Mexico,
 denunciations
 of
 Government
performance
and
recommendations
for
policymaking
improving
the
livelihoods
of
this
population.

 In
my
view,
this
portrayal
of
migration
and
conflict
in
the
country
presents
challenges
to
enable
 media
 as
 a
 tool
 for
 peace
 building
 through
 dialogue
 among
 the
 different
 parties
 of
 the
conflict,
given
that
it
perpetuates
the
same
relations
among
actors:
the
Catholic
church
continues
to
be
 a
 direct
 and
 recognizable
 speaker
 to
 the
 Government
 through
 media,
 while
 voices
 of
 migrants
remain
 under
 the
 church’s
 discourse
 and
 ideology.
 Thus,
 migrants
 are
 represented
 as
 “victims”,
instead
 of
 citizens
 who
 bear
 human
 rights
 and
 have
 political
 agency
 to
 make
 discernible
 claims
 to
Governments
through
public
opinion.
Another
kind
of
media
representation
would
allow
migrants
to
escape
 from
 navigating
 through
 the
 different
 motivations
 and
 actions
 carried
 by
 actors
 influencing
the
conflict.
Central
American
migrants
would
cease
to
be
an
“easy
target”
in
the
conflict
thanks
to
a
greater
visibility
in
public
discourse.

  
    • Migrants as victims of the Mexican armed conflict  
 In
order
to
understand
how
migrants
got
trapped
into
the
dynamics
of
the
Mexican
armed
conflict,
 it
 is
 necessary
 to
 explain
 the
 character
 and
 evolution
 of
 this
 war.
 
 Carpenter
 (2010)
contends
 that
 Mexico
 is
 undergoing
 a
 factional‐
 economic
 conflict.
 Maill
 et
 al
 (2005)
 clearly
explains
 this
 concept:
 “a
 factional‐economic
 conflict
 consists
 on
 fighting
 solely
 about
 the
competing
 interests
 or
 power‐struggles
 of
 political
 or
 criminal
 factions
 whose
 aim
 is
 to
 usurp,
seize
 or
 retain
 state
 power
 merely
 to
 further
 particular
 interests.”
 In
 the
 case
 of
 the
 Mexican
conflict,
Drug
Trafficking
Organizations
(DTO)
spread
throughout
the
country
to
control
significant
territory.
However
these
groups
are
not
driven
by
a
specific
political
ideology
or
aim
at
using
this
territorial
 control
 to
 legitimate
 governance.
 Instead
 the
 driving
 force
 is
 the
 interest
 to
 control
smuggling
routes,
sources,
markets
and
alliances.
Carpenter
(2010)
clarifies
that
“drug
trafficking
organizations
are
not
an
early
autonomous
specialized
social
group,
rather
a
new
class
of
outlaws
that
 depended
 closely
 on
 political
 and
 police
 protection.”
 There
 are
 cases
 reported
 through
media
of
the
close
relationships
between
these
organizations
and
politicians
as
well
as
officials,
who
have
been
accused
of
corrupt
practices
bribery,
nepotism,
and
theft
for
public
money.
Until
2000
 these
 crimes
 were
 committed
 in
 the
 context
 of
 a
 state
 party
 system:
 the
 Institutional
Revolutionary
Party
(PRI),
who
had
control
over
judicial,
legislative
and
executive
branches.
As
it
is
well
documented,
for
many
decades
Mexico
had
in
place
a
highly
centralized
power
structure
that
was
not
only
permissive,
but
also
protective
of
organized
criminal
activities
(Cornell,
2007).


 DTOs
have
used
these
relationships
with
the
state
to
expand
their
monopolistic
behavior
correlated
with
ruthlessness
and
exploitation
(Schelling)
of
populations
such
as
Central
American
migrants.
 The
 Zetas,
 a
 group
 born
 out
 of
 “Cartel
 del
 Golfo”
 DTO
 as
 a
 military
 or
 “enforcement
enterprise”
 specializing
 in
 kidnapping,
 extortion
 and
 human
 trafficking
 have
 been
 repeatedly
accused
 of
 targeting
 Central
 American
 Migrants.
 Alongside
 these
 allegations,
 human
 rights
nonprofits
 and
 migrants
 themselves
 have
 referred
 to
 the
 complicity
 of
 police
 force
 and
 local
authorities
 (Carpenter,
 2010).
 According
 to
 the
 2011
 Human
 Rights
 Watch
 Report,
 hundreds
 of
thousands
of
migrants
pass
through
Mexico
each
year
and
many
are
subjected
to
grave
abuses
en
 route
 including
 physical
 and
 sexual
 assault,
 extortion,
 and
 theft.
 Approximately
 18,000
migrants
are
kidnapped
annually,
often
with
the
aim
of
extorting
payments
from
their
relatives
in
the
United
States.
Around
half
of
them
are
Central
American
Migrants.
A
case
generating
great
commotion
in
the
country
was
the
execution
of
seventy‐two
kidnapped
migrants
originating
from
Central
and
South
America
by
armed
gangs
from
Tamaulipas
in
August
2010
(Mexican
National

    • Commission
 of
 Human
 Rights,
 2009.)
 The
 HRW
 report
 adds,
 “Authorities
 have
 not
 taken
adequate
 steps
 to
 protect
 migrants,
 or
 to
 investigate
 and
 prosecute
 those
 who
 abuse
 them.
Authorities
 rarely
 inform
 migrants
 of
 their
 rights,
 such
 as
 the
 right
 to
 seek
 asylum,
 and
 the
authorities
themselves
are
often
the
perpetrators
of
abuses.”
Since
2007,
the
National
Migration
Institute
has
fired
15
percent
of
its
total
force
for
suspected
links
with
organized
crime
and
crimes
such
as
human
trafficking.
Their
vulnerability
is
increased
by
the
fact
that
the
Federal
Population
Law
 requires
 public
 officials
 to
 demand
 that
 foreign
 citizens
 show
 proof
 of
 their
 legal
 status
before
 offering
 any
 service,
 such
 as
 providing
 medical
 care
 and
 registering
 human
 rights
complaints.
Although
a
new
law
on
migrants
was
passed,
those
who
suffer
abuses
often
choose
not
to
report
crimes
out
of
fear
of
deportation.
(Human
Rights
Watch,
2011)

 During
 the
 last
 decade
 the
 Mexican
 Government,
 especially
 under
 the
 leadership
 of
 the
National
 Action
 Party
 (PAN)
 President
 Felipe
 Calderón,
 has
 pushed
 for
 the
 arrest
 of
 key
 drug
lords,
straining
the
relations
between
DTO’s
and
state.

In
the
absence
of
the
arrested
or
killed
druglords,
a
leadership
vacuum
has
take
place
and
the
stable
relationships
within
the
organized
crime
chain
have
fractured
into
increasing
competition
for
power
and
territory.
Previous
to
these
measures,
 “narcos”
 avoided
 direct
 confrontation
 with
 law
 enforcement
 by
 trading
 social
 order
(refraining
 from
 actions
 of
 wide‐scale
 violence)
 for
 relative
 impunity
 to
 operate.
 As
 the
competition
 among
 DTOs
 and
 narcos
 has
 increased,
 they
 have
 passed
 from
 intercartel
 rivalries
over
 routes
 and
 resources
 to
 winning
 the
 right
 to
 start
 or
 continue
 trafficking
 to
 “hurting
 the
other”.
 In
 this
 struggle
 for
 survival,
 the
 “cartels”
 seek
 to
 preserve
 their
 illicit
 power
 structure
alongside
 the
 state
 (Osorio,
 2011).
 Their
 motivations
 to
 continue
 this
 factional
 conflict
 have
become
greater
as
the
drug
trade
brings
$23
billion
in
revenue
annually,
which
makes
up
for
20%
of
Mexico’s
GDP
in
2007
(U.S.
GAO,
2007).
In
this
scenario
not
only
DTOs
are
profiting,
but
also
groups
 such
 as
 Los
 Zetas
 who
 will
 continue
 to
 expand
 its
 military
 power
 as
 its
 business
 will
increasingly
 become
 the
 conflict
 itself.
 (Cornell,
 2007)
 Furthermore,
 recently
 they
 have
 found
new
 ways
 of
 sustainability
 such
 as
 extortions
 to
 migrant
 families
 and
 human
 trafficking
 of
 this
population
for
prostitution
or
sale
to
DTOs,
among
other
purposes
(El
Universal,
2011).



The political and social influence of the Catholic Church in Mexico  
 Hagopian
 (2006)
 posits
 that
 in
 the
 last
 years
 “the
 Mexican
 church
 has
 assumed
 a
 more
assertive
 tone
 on
 public
 policy
 than
 at
 any
 time
 in
 nearly
 a
 century.”
 The
 author
 adds
 that
catholic
 representatives
 such
 as
 Cardinal
 Norberto
 Rivera
 of
 Mexico
 City
 in
 the
 last
 years
 have

    • actively
denounced
the
plight
of
migrants
in
the
midst
of
the
conflict,
among
other
topics
related
to
 social
 justice
 and
 democracy.
 This
 growing
 influence
 on
 public
 policy
 and
 politics
 has
 been
possible
after
the
1992
constitutional
reform
which
relaxed
the
sharp
constitutional
separation
of
church
and
state
that
had
prohibited
the
Church
from
owning
property
and
priests
from
voting
since
 the
 revolution,
 though
 the
 clergy
 still
 cannot
 speak
 about
 politics
 or
 proselytize
 for
 or
against
any
political
party
or
candidates
(Hagopian,
2006).
Though
the
latter
has
not
refrained
the
church
 to
 support
 certain
 candidates
 or
 parties.
 Why
 would
 the
 church
 cease
 to
 have
 direct
actions
affecting
the
political
sphere
when
the
international
catholic
establishment
exhorted
its
members
 to
 increase
 its
 influence
 in
 political
 actions?
 In
 1992
 Pope
 John
 Paul
 II
 proposed
 the
“new
 evangelization
 project”
 aimed
 at
 “deepening
 church
 influence
 over
 civil
 society,
 and
organizing
the
public
sphere
on
the
principles
of
faith”
(Hagopian
2006)
Tahar
(2010)
posits
that
the
project
necessarily
required
the
church
to
adopt
positions
on
questions
of
public
morality
and
social
 justice
 and
 to
 mobilize
 the
 believers
 for
 political
 action.
 In
 1992,
 the
 Latin
 American
Catholic
Bishops
Conference
(CELAM)
embraced
this
proposal
(Hagopian,
2006).

 However
 authors
 such
 as
 Jean‐Pierre
 Bastian
 (1997)
 have
 insisted
 that
 secularization
 in
the
Latin
America
has
always
had
formal
and
jurisdictional
expressions,
but
not
real
and
practical
ones.
Hagopian
(2010)
adds
that
there
was
an
implicit
pact
between
the
Mexican
state
and
the
church,
 respectively
 responsible
 for
 the
 public
 order
 and
 the
 private
 order.
 In
 other
 words
 the
church
had
been
accumulated
legitimacy
as
moral
authority,
which
would
be
further
reflected
in
the
 public
 sphere
 after
 the
 1992
 reform.
 This
 idea
 is
 further
 explained
 throughout
 the
 2010
survey
and
research
carried
out
by
Mancilla
(2010)
to
minority
religious
groups
in
Mexico.
Some
of
 the
 interviewed
 groups
 argued
 that
 the
 1992
 reform
 was
 thought
 for
 the
 Catholic
 Church,
following
the
“noticeable
preference
of
the
state
for
this
church.”
Mancilla
(2010)
says
that
these
appreciations
shed
light
on
the
perceptions
on
the
nexus
between
public
space
and
Catholicism
in
Mexico
across
several
aspects:
political
participation,
mass
media
and
in
education.
She
adds
that
it
is
difficult
to
deny
that
the
new
constitution
did
not
bring
a
greater
openness
in
the
public
space
 for
 all
 religious
 groups,
 however
 the
 reform
 allowed
 small
 steps
 for
 minority
 religious
groups
compared
to
those
already
taken
and
being
advanced
by
the
Catholic
Church
(Mancilla,
2010).
 Loaeza
 (1996)
 recalls
 that
 when
 the
 Mexican
 President
 Carlos
 Salinas
 de
 Gortari
 won
 in
1988
 presidential
 elections,
 his
 opening
 speech
 covered
 “the
 modernization
 of
 the
 relations
between
state
and
churches.”
The
author
says,
“Despite
referring
to
all
religious
institutions,
the

    • main
 recipient
 of
 the
 elected
 president’s
 proposal
 was
 the
 Roman
 Catholic
 Church.”
 These
historical
 processes
 lead
 Hagopian
 (2006)
 to
 say
 that
 the
 Mexican
 state
 has
 continuously
accommodated
very
well
the
integrating
effect
of
the
foundation
myth
of
the
catholic
nation.
 The
 Mexican
 church’s
 political
 influence
 became
 even
 more
 visible
 during
 the
 2000
 elections,
 when
 the
 Episcopal
 Conference
 gave
 its
 support
 to
 the
 PAN
 candidate
 Vicente
 Fox.
 Through
 written
 documents,
 the
 Conference
 advocated
 for
 a
 “democratic
 change”
 implicitly
 supporting
 PAN
 over
 PRI,
 which
 had
 been
 in
 office
 during
 more
 than
 80
 years.
 Fox
 answered
 with
a
document
called
“Project
to
build
a
nation:
religious
liberty
and
relations
Church‐
State”
 in
 which
 he
 proposed
 to
 include
 unsatisfied
 demands
 by
 the
 church
 within
 the
 Mexican
 jurisdictional
 framework
 and
 also
 posited
 opening
 mass
 media
 spaces
 for
 the
 Catholic
 Church
 (Pérez
 ‐
 Rayon,
 2010).
 Authors
 such
 as
 Perez
 Rayon
 defend
 that
 the
 catholic
 hierarchy
 made
 indirect
and
direct
exhortations
to
the
populations,
specially
located
in
rural
and
popular
urban
 areas,
for
the
support
to
Fox.
Not
surprisingly
Fox
won
the
elections,
as
there
were
88
percent
of
 Catholics
in
the
country
by
2000
(El
Universal,
2011)
Tahar
(2010)
posits
that
“
with
the
political
 change
 in
 2000,
 the
 Catholic
 Church
 recovers
 positions,
 aiming
 at
 taking
 advantage
 of
 the
 democratic
 processes
 for
 its
 own
 purposes.”
 The
 2000
 elections
 were
 very
 symbolic
 also
 for
 public
representation
of
church
and
politics.
The
elected
president’s
campaign
used
the
Virgin
of
 Guadalupe
as
one
of
its
main
images.
A
year
after
the
elections,
news
reports
showed
president
 Vicente
Fox
greeting
Pope
John
Paul
II
while
kneeling
down
and
kissing
the
papal
ring
(see
photo
 below),
 which
 was
 considered
 as
 a
 an
 act
 of
 submissiveness
 toward
 the
 Vatican’s
 authority
 (Pérez‐Rayón,
2010).
Therefore
in
the
last
decade
the
symbiosis
between
the
representation
of
 politics
and
Catholic
church
has
increased
and
is
a
recurrent
element
throughout
media
stories
 about
 the
 current
 armed
 conflict
 and
 civilian
 populations
 threatened
 by
 violent
 acts
 such
 as
 Central
American
Migrants
as
I
will
explain
in
the
following
pages.

 
 
 

 
    • Catholic Church and media in Mexico  A
violent
act
catapulted
furthermore
the
church
as
a
deserving
actor
of
media
attention,
specially
regarding
the
Mexican
civil
conflict.
In
1993
hit
men
killed
the
cardinal
of
Guadalajara,
Juan
 Jesús
 Posada.
 The
 hit
 men
 allegedly
 confused
 the
 prelate’s
 white
 Grand
 Marquis
 with
 the
one
driven
by
“
El
Chapo”,
a
drug
trafficker
that
had
gotten
in
trouble
with
business
associates.
The
 visibility
 of
 the
 fatal
 event
 beyond
 locating
 the
 church
 at
 the
 center
 of
 the
 news
 setting
agenda
 also
 enabled
 the
 institution
 to
 a
 position
 of
 scrutiny.
 Local
 newspapers
 printed
 the
statement
 of
 one
 drug
 lord,
 who
 suggested
 that
 the
 cardinal
 had
 a
 relationship
 with
 his
organization.
 Some
 argued
 that
 these
 organizations
 funded
 projects
 of
 the
 Tijuana
 dioceses.
(Ugarte,
 1997).
 The
 mystery
 of
 the
 death
 of
 the
 cardinal
 remains
 unresolved,
 with
 media
 and
Government
 bodies
 turning
 the
 page
 and
 starting
 a
 new
 chapter
 in
 the
 thriller
 of
 crimes
 and
deaths
left
by
the
conflict.
  As
 the
 drug
 war
 has
 unfolded
 the
 use
 of
 media
 by
 the
 religious
 institution
 and
 its
construction
 of
 narratives
 draws
 on
 elements
 of
 the
 “Cristero”
 conflict,
 as
 it
 will
 be
 further
demonstrated
 in
 the
 media
 analysis
 below.
 The
 “Cristero”
 conflict
 is
 known
 as
 the
 moment
 in
Mexican
 history
 when
 catholic
 factions
 decided
 to
 fight
 against
 the
 Government
 established
 in
1917
as
a
result
of
the
Mexican
Revolution.
At
this
time
suspicions
regarding
church
support
for
the
revoked
regime
led
by
autocrat
Porfirio
Díaz
drove
the
revolutionary
Government
to
create
legal
 dispositions
 concerning
 catholic
 practices.
 The
 reaction
 of
 the
 catholic
 hierarchy
 was
 to
suspend
 masses
 and
 an
 armed
 conflict
 was
 born
 in
 1926
 (López,
 2011).
 During
 the
 “Cristero”
conflict
there
was
an
on‐going
use
of
media
by
the
church
in
order
to
claim
religious
persecution
and
also
to
narrate
a
different
version
on
the
happenings
of
the
conflict.
Beyond
libels,
magazines
and
 letters,
 the
 Catholic
 Church
 made
 use
 of
 mainstream
 media
 as
 the
 institution
 had
 greater
support
 than
 the
 revolutionary
 government.
 As
 censorship
 increased,
 information
 about
 the
catholic
 persecution
 was
 sent
 to
 foreign
 media
 outlets.
 Serna
 posits
 that
 catholic
 media
messaging
was
framed
using
the
tone
of
biblical
texts
and
the
catholic
led
publications
become
a
“diary
of
martyr.”

She
adds
that
this
narrative
consisted
in:

 “Bloody stories and images aiming at capturing the attention of readers. In this way, victims are covered by a saint aura… Journalists and Catholic Journalists achieve greater effectiveness in several fields: agitate the consciences of their followers to gain more supporters in the struggle against the state. At the same time it allowed to strengthen arguments against the Government’s crimes.” (Serna, 2007)

    • The
 conflict
 lasted
 three
 years
 and
 culminated
 with
 a
 negotiation
 between
 state
 and
church,
which
ended
state
intervention
in
religious
practices,
but
did
not
open
the
church
to
have
a
 juridical
 status.
 As
 I
 mentioned
 before,
 it
 was
 until
 the
 1992
 constitutional
 reform
 that
 the
church
gained
this
status.
Rayón
Pérez
(2010)
highlights
that
since
then
“the
church
is
completely
integrated
to
the
political
fora,
has
a
large
presence
in
media
and
has
become
a
direct
and
open
speaker
 to
 the
 Government”,
 allowing
 the
 institution
 to
 recur
 to
 Cristero
 war
 media
 practices:
the
 use
 of
 local
 and
 international
 catholic
 media
 and
 the
 institution’s
 representation
 in
mainstream
media
as
well
with
the
aim
of
showing
persecution
of
catholic
representatives
by
the
Government,
 focusing
 on
 martyrs
 and
 victims
 such
 as
 the
 same
 persecuted
 priests
 or
 migrants
and
denunciations
of
Government
crimes.

 The
new
characters
of
these
media
practices
are
undocumented
migrants.
Regarding
the
interest
 of
 the
 church
 in
 migrants,
 it
 is
 undeniable
 the
 work
 of
 the
 institution
 to
 improve
 the
livelihoods
 of
 this
 population.
 In
 fact,
 since
 1999
 the
 institution
 created
 a
 network
 of
 migrant
shelters,
 which
 are
 close
 to
 50
 and
 are
 extended
 in
 the
 northern
 and
 southern
 frontiers
 of
 the
country
as
well
as
the
capital
(Alvarado,
2009).
However
this
humanitarianism
and
the
demands
of
 the
 church
 for
 changes
 in
 policy
 making
 in
 the
 name
 of
 migrants
 across
 media
 outlets
 has
implications
in
the
conflict,
which
this
analysis
also
aims
at
exploring.
Why
did
the
church
take
on
migrants
 plight
 and
 why
 has
 media
 been
 driven
 to
 focus
 greater
 attention
 to
 this
 aspect
 to
represent
 the
 institution
 in
 the
 midst
 of
 the
 conflict?
 These
 are
 questions
 not
 easily
 answered,
nonetheless
 Alvarado
 offers
 a
 possible
 answer
 by
 pointing
 out
 that
 under
 the
 theology
 of
liberation,
 proposed
 in
 the
 70’s,
 Mexican
 catholic
 church
 has
 increased
 its
 actions
 for
 the
“unprotected”
and
also
has
pushed
for
a
political
incidence
over
state
and
governance
regarding
what
 should
 be
 done
 with
 Central
 American
 migrants
 threatened
 by
 violence.
 She
 adds
 that
catholic
 advocacy
 (I
 would
 add
 media
 advocacy)
 also
 has
 the
 potential
 of
 surpassing
 frontiers.
This
 is
 further
 achieved
 with
 the
 figure
 of
 migrants
 and
 their
 international
 dimensions.
 While
government’s
 actions
 are
 limited
 to
 concepts
 of
 sovereignty
 and
 state
 boundaries,
 the
transnational
character
of
the
church
allows
a
greater
presence
in
international
and
local
public
forums,
while
advocating
for
the
respect
of
migrants’
human
rights
(Alvarado,
2009).

  Media
 advocacy
 led
 by
 the
 Catholic
 Church
 was
 encouraged
 in
 2004
 by
 Mexican
 bishops,
who
argued
that
the
institution
should

“promote
religious
education
in
various
settings
and
have
greater
media
presence”
(Hagopian,
2006).
In
order
to
follow
this
goal,
the
institution
publishes
print
and
digital
media
such
as
the
weeklies
“Desde
la
fé”
or
“
Semanario,
among
others,
which

    • have
 become
 accessible
 to
 Mexicans
 and
 foreign
 readers
 through
 the
 Mexican
 Catholic
Episcopate
 Informational
 System. 1 
Some
 editions
 of
 Desde
 la
 fé”
 are
 cited
 and
 analyzed
 in
mainstream
 media.
 Though
 the
 church
 is
 not
 allowed
 to
 own
 a
 media
 company
 in
 Mexico,
 the
awakening
 in
 the
 use
 of
 technology,
 especially
 Internet,
 by
 religious
 groups
 in
 this
 decade
 has
allowed
religious
media
such
as
the
Catholic
media
to
reach
broader
audiences.
At
the
same
time
the
 emergence
 of
 religious
 online
 platforms
 has
 come
 along
 with
 a
 renewed
 use
 of
 marketing,
branding
 and
 public
 relations
 to
 further
 the
 church’s
 position
 in
 public
 spheres
 and
 has
 also
provided
 avenues
 for
 the
 institution
 to
 provide
 an
 alternative
 discourse
 on
 Mexico
 and
 the
conflict
both
locally
and
internationally
(Moors,
2010).
 News Reports on the Catholic Church and Central American Migrants 

 The
following
media
analysis
includes
2011
news
reports
published
in
US
catholic
media.
I
chose
to
study
the
National
Catholic
Reporter
and
the
Catholic
News
Services
given
their
constant
references
 to
 the
 Mexican
 conflict,
 along
 with
 Central
 American
 migrants.
 These
 media
 outlets
also
 quote
 information
 originally
 created
 for
 Mexican
 mainstream
 media.
 News
 stories
 in
Mexican
catholic
media
such
as
Desde La Fé
and
El Semanario
as
well
as
mainstream
media
such
as
La Jornada
and
Excelsior are
a
key
component
of
this
analytical
exercise.
Though
I
had
some
difficulties
to
access
catholic
media
such
as
“Desde
la
Fe”
online
editions.
In
fact
it
was
easier
to
access
 fragments
 of
 articles
 published
 in
 Desde  la  Fé
 through
 U.S.
 Catholic
 media
 as
 well
 as
Mexican
 mainstream
 media.
 The
 average
 of
 Mexican
 mainstream
 articles
 on
 migrants,
 church
and
conflict
is
1‐2
news
reports
per
month.
Initially
I
will
use
the
Cristero
war
media
practices
as
a
framework
to
assess
2011
media
coverage,
followed
by
other
specific
aspects
of
Catholic
media
advocacy
 such
 as
 the
 case
 of
 Catholic
 Priest
 Alejandro
 Solalinde,
 and
 some
 criticisms
 to
 the
church’s
role
as
an
migrant
advocate
and
within
the
conflict.

Each
of
these
topics
will
be
followed
with
examples
found
in
the
news.


 Both
American
and
Mexican
catholic
media
and
Mexican
Catholic
media
start
many
news
reports
either
by
explaining
a
statement
made
by
a
church
representative,
narrating
the
arduous
journey
of
Central
American
Migrants
in
Mexico
or/and
the
criminal
actions
against
migrants
by
criminal
 gangs
 such
 as
 Los
 Zetas
 or
 even
 state
 bodies.
 However
 quotations
 of
 migrants
                                                        1 This is the link to the Information System of the Mexican Episcopate : http://www.siame.mx/apps/aspxnsmn/templates/?a=7&z=58  
    • themselves
are
fewer
and
have
less
space
than
those
dedicated
to
Catholic
representatives.
An
August
2011
National
Catholic
Reporter
(NCR)
online
article
informs
that
two
police
officers
were
arrested
 after
 detaining
 a
 Guatemalan
 migrant
 and
 handing
 him
 to
 individuals
 accusing
 him
 of
assault.
Citing
the
Mexican
newspaper
Reforma,
NCR
adds,
“Migrant
Julio
Cardona
Agustín
was
beaten,
 struck
 with
 stones
 and
 was
 found
 dead”
 near
 St.
 Diego
 Migrant
 Shelter
 House.
Afterwards
Father
Hugo
Montoya,
who
runs
another
migrant
shelter
in
the
area,
explains
that
the
situation
 took
 place
 due
 to
 xenophobia.
 The
 article
 continues
 with
 Father
 Montoya’s
 narration
about
Cardona’s
previous
days
to
his
fatal
end.
It
remains
unclear
why
the
Father
knew
about
the
details
 of
 the
 case
 and
 the
 news
 report
 is
 only
 based
 on
 this
 version.
 In
 a
 December,
 2011
Excelsior
 news
 report
 points
 out
 that
 boatman
 transporting
 migrants
 across
 San
 Pedro
 de
Tenosique,
 in
 the
 Guatemalan‐
 Mexican
 frontier,
 have
 allied
 with
 organized
 crime
 networks
 to
kidnap,
steal
and
physically
assault
undocumented
Central
Americans.
The
news
report
includes
the
testimonies
of
two
migrants,
who
narrate
in
detail
how
these
boatmen
threatened
them
and
how
they
achieved
to
escape.
It
also
highlights
the
protection
provided
by
the
Migrant
Shelter
led
by
monk
Tomás
González.
These
two
examples
show
how
both
Catholic
Church
and
migrants
are
taken
 into
 account
 when
 sharing
 this
 population’s
 drama
 and
 therefore
 their
 figure
 can
 be
considered
as
the
“victims”
of
the
conflict.


 While
 Catholic
 representatives
 are
 witnesses
 of
 the
 horrors
 lived
 by
 migrants,
they
are
also
portrayed
through
their
life
of
sacrifice
and,
in
 some
 cases,
 of
 state
 persecution.
 Father
 Pedro
 Pantoja’s
 life
 and
 contributions
 is
 narrated
 in
 a
 June
 2011
 Excelsior
 article,
 which
 includes
 the
 portrait
 in
 the
 side,
 which
 is
 not
 a
 common
 element
 in
 the
 visual
 media
 narratives.
 Usually
 journalistic
 photos
 on
 site
 are
 used;
 instead
 this
 image
 follows
 the
 tradition
 of
 recent
 portraits
 of
 martyrs
 and
 saints.
 (Though
 this
 is
 my
 intuition
 after
 searching
 for
 Mexican
martyrs
portraits
in
Internet)2.


The
 article
 describes
 how
 Father
 Pantoja
 overcame
 a
 childhood
 and
 youth
 in
 poverty,
 how
 he
assisted
prisoners
with
his
mother
and
also
his
preparation
as
a
priest.
Finally
the
report
narrates
his
work
with
migrants,
the
establishment
of
a
shelter
under
his
leadership
and
his
assessment
on
                                                        2 The Internet search carried for this media analysis can be found here: http://bit.ly/sI7rXh  
    • a
new
modality
of
kidnaps
of
migrants.
Several
US
catholic
media
and
Mexican
media
report
on
the
 detention
 of
 Father
 Alejandro
 Solalinde,
 a
 renown
 activist
 for
 Central
 American
 migrants,
while
 leading
 the
 caravan
 “
 A
 step
 towards
 peace”
 with
 more
 than
 500
 hundred
 migrants.
Reports
argue
that
Solalinde
was
detained
under
the
suspicion
that
one
of
his
bodyguards
had
a
long
 weapon.
 Both
 Amnesty
 International
 and
 the
 Mobility
 Pastoral
 of
 the
 Mexican
 Episcopate
denounced
 the
 arrest.
 Solalinde
 was
 arrested
 one
 afternoon
 and
 shortly
 after
 local
 authorities
apologized
 to
 Solalinde
 for
 the
 inconvenience.
 Other
 news
 reports
 refer
 to
 threats
 and
persecution
 of
 criminal
 parties
 to
 catholic
 representatives.
 In
 a
 September,
 2011
 La
 Jornada
article,
 the
 Executive
 Secretary
 of
 Human
 Mobility
 Pastoral
 of
 the
 Mexican
 Episcopate
Conference
 states,
 “despite
 the
 increase
 in
 intimidation
 acts
 and
 threats
 against
 defenders
 of
migrant
 rights,
 “pastoral
 agents
 are
 still
 standing
 and
 are
 not
 going
 to
 take
 a
 step
 back.
 In
 this
way,
 these
 representatives
 are
 represented
 as
 martyrs
 for
 their
 life
 of
 sacrifice
 to
 the
 cause
 of
migrants.”


 Pantoja,
Solalinde,
Montoya,
among
other
priests,
also
denounce
Government
and
DTOs
actions.
They
also
propose
changes
in
government
bodies
and
their
actions
as
well
as
policies
and
laws
 concerning
 migrants.
 A
 July,
 2011
 National
 Catholic
 Reporter
 article
 informed
 that
 Father
Pantoja
questioned
the
new
Mexican
immigration
law
“would
make
much
of
difference
and
if
the
federal
government
truly
wanted
to
fix
the
migration
issue.”
While
a
2011
Excelsior
news
report
focused
 on
 Solalinde’s
 argument
 against
 the
 Mexican
 National
 Institute
 of
 Migration
 (INM),
because
“it
had
been
the
best
ally
of
the
organized
crime
group
Los
Zetas
in
the
kidnapping
of
undocumented
in
the
southern
states
of
the
country.
In
the
light
of
cases
of
corruption
of
INM
staff,
the
priest
argued
that
the
organization
had
lost
prestige
in
the
face
of
citizens
and
migrants;
therefore
 it
 was
 better
 for
 the
 INM
 to
 disappear.
 Another
 July
 2011
 Excelsior
 article
 includes
Solalinde’s
 petitions
 to
 Congress
 on
 eliminating
 visas
 for
 Central
 American
 and
 South
 American
born
 family
 members
 of
 disappeared
 migrants
 in
 Mexico.
 The
 same
 newspaper
 published
 in
January
 a
 report
 based
 on
 the
 Catholic
 weekly
 “Desde
 la
 Fé”,
 which
 pointed
 out
 omissions
 of
Mexican
authorities
“
who
shine
due
to
their
irresponsible
absence”
regarding
justice
to
migrants
who
 have
 been
 victims
 of
 kidnappings
 and
 extortions.
 The
 common
 elements
 between
 the
“Cristero
war”
and
the
current
armed
conflict
such
as
media
portrayal
of
victims,
martyrs
and
the
denunciations
 of
 the
 church
 regarding
 Government
 actions
 can
 also
 be
 explained
 through
 the
concept
of
trinity
proposed
by
Nietzsche.
In
fact,
Gonzalez
(1999)
uses
this
concept
to
analyze
the
current
 state
 of
 Mexican
 Catholic
 Church
 (In
 this
 analysis
 we
 will
 use
 the
 trinity
 to
 further

    • understand
the
representations
embedded
in
media
discourse
on
the
Catholic
Church,
migrants
and
 the
 conflict.
 According
 to
 Nietzsche’s
 view,
 the
 trinity
 stands
 for
 a
 god
 that
 acts
 as
 tyrant,
victim
and
savior.
The
trinity
is
a
victim,
because
it
carries
others
sins;
tyrant,
because
it
points
out
other’s
sins;
and
savior,
because
saves
others
from
their
faults.
Following
this
line
of
thought,
media’s
 portrayal
 sheds
 light
 on
 how
 the
 Catholic
 Church
 by
 advocating
 for
 migrants
 and
providing
them
shelters
carries
the
faults
or
consequences
of
the
acts
that
Government
officials
and
 DTOs
 have
 committed
 against
 this
 population,
 holding
 the
 position
 of
 “victim”
 or
 “martyr”
(González).
 The
 church
 is
 a
 tyrant
 because
 it
 denounces
 the
 faults
 of
 state
 and
 criminal
organizations
 against
 migrants,
 assesses
 when
 Government
 actions
 are
 working
 or
 not
 and
proposes
 how
 the
 state
 can
 change
 its
 behavior
 through
 institutional
 changes
 or
 policymaking.
Finally
 the
 institution
 acts
 as
 savior
 because
 no
 matter
 the
 grievances
 caused
 to
 migrants,
 the
church
still
works
to
improve
the
situation
of
violence
in
which
state
and
DTOs
take
part.
Also
the
church
is
source
of
a
sanctified
world,
while
outside
the
Mexican
territory
lives
in
chaos.
A
June
2011
Catholic
News
Agency
article
reports
that
the
Xalapa
Archidiocese
in
Mexico
warns
that
the
abuse
 suffered
 by
 Central
 American
 Migrants
 traveling
 through
 Mexico
 is
 “an
 evident
 sign
 of
societal
decay”.
The
agency
adds
that
the
archdiocese
thanked
the
priests,
religious
and
laity
who
“as
good
Samaritans,”
offer
food,
shelter
and
clothing
“to
those
most
in
need.”
To
conclude,
the
holy
 trinity
 concept
 allows
 us
 to
 notice
 that
 the
 ideological
 thought
 of
 the
 Catholic
 Church
underlies
 Catholic
 and
 mainstream
 media
 coverage
 on
 Central
 American
 migrants
 and
 the
conflict.

The
case
of
Alejandro
Solalinde
 The
most
outstanding
catholic
figure
in
media
coverage
is
Father
Alejandro
Solalinde,
who
is
usually
included
on
reports
about
Central
American
migrants.
He
is
the
Director
of
the
Shelter
Brothers
 in
 the
 Road
 located
 in
 Ixtepec,
 Oaxaca
 and
 Coordinator
 of
 the
 Catholic
 Pastoral
 Care
Centre
for
Migrants
in
southwestern
Mexico.
Solalinde
is
part
of
the
list
of
“
individuals
at
risk”
by
Amnesty
International,
given
that
“gangs,
officials
and
intolerant
community
have
threatened
his
life”
 (Amnesty
 International,
 2011).
 Solalinde’s
 portrayal
 differs
 between
 catholic
 media
 and
mainstream
 media.
 The
 former
 just
 referring
 to
 his
 contributions
 and
 claims
 toward
 the
Government,
 instead
 the
 latter
 refers
 to
 Solalinde’s
 controversial
 criticisms
 to
 the
 Catholic
Church
 itself,
 the
 U.S.,
 political
 parties,
 among
 others.
 A
 July
 2011
 Excelsior
 article
 is
 based
 on
Solalinde’s
 considerations
 about
 the
 Catholic
 Church
 and
 its
 role
 to
 help
 migrants.
 He
 says,
 “
Referring
 to
 the
 Catholic
 Church,
 with
 its
 honorable
 exceptions,
 the
 institution
 has
 not
 really

    • cared
about
the
situation
of
migrants,
that
is
the
sad
reality.
The
institutions,
dedicated
to
serve
the
human
being,
have
become
indifferent
to
people,
they
are
not
interested
in
anything,
only
in
political
 favoritism.”
 Instead
 in
 a
 September
 2011
 Jornada
 report
 the
 priest’s
 opinion
 on
 U.S.
policy
is
highlighted:
“We
are
outraged
regarding
how
the
DEA,
Pentagon
and
CIA
are
having
their
way
here
(Mexico),
this
is
not
a
novelty;
but
the
Mexican
National
Institute
of
Migration,
through
the
 Mérida
 Plan,
 is
 completely
 being
 used
 as
 an
 instrument
 for
 Washington
 in
 detriment
 of
national
 sovereignty,
 but
 also
 in
 prejudice
 of
 our
 transmigrant
 brothers,
 who
 are
 cornered
 by
Washington,
 who
 considers
 them
 as
 a
 danger
 and
 as
 persons
 unwanted
 in
 the
 U.S.”
 He
 has
become
such
a
prominent
source
that
Mexican
mainstream
media
ask
for
his
opinion
regarding
political
 issues
 not
 directly
 related
 to
 his
 cause.
 An
 October
 2011
 Jornada
 report
 is
 based
 on
Solalinde’s
perspectives
on
the
2012
presidential
elections.
He
proposes
a
national
candidacy
for
the
Presidency,
however
it
should
be
isolated
of
political
parties,
who
have
lost
credibility.

 Solalinde’s
 apology
 to
 los
 Zetas
 was
 the
 news
 that
 caused
 most
 polemic.
 A
 July
 2011
Jornada
article
quotes
the
father
asking
forgiveness
to
“Los
Zetas,
criminals
and
all
the
brothers
who
we
have
failed
and
that
are
victims
of
a
sick
society
that
did
not
know
how
to
provide
them
support,
 did
 not
 teach
 them
 values.”
 In
 a
 July
 2011
 Excelsior
 report,
 Solalinde
 argues
 that
 Los
Zetas
 are
 “marginalized
 and
 victims
 of
 a
 corruption
 system.”
 In
 the
 article,
 the
 Government
Subsecretary
 of
 Population,
 Migration
 and
 Religious
 Issues
 expressed
 his
 concern
 regarding
Solalinde’s
 statements,
 which
 in
 his
 opinion
 give
 the
 impression
 of
 exalting
 violators
 and
assassins,
 making
 them
 look
 as
 victims
 when
 they
 are
 criminals.”
 In
 this
 same
 month,
 another
news
report
was
published
by
Excelsior
in
which
members
of
the
Senate
pointed
out
that
there
are
 thousands
 and
 thousands
 of
 victims
 left
 by
 Los
 Zetas,
 who
 carry
 the
 guilt
 of
 mutilating
families,
 therefore
 Congress
 does
 not
 consider
 that
 these
 families
 would
 agree
 with
 Solalinde’s
statement.

 Such
is
the
influence
of
priests
like
Solalinde
that
their
constant
meetings
with
officials
are
also
reported.
An
August,
2011
National
Catholic
Reporter
article
informed
that
Church
officials
had
discussions
with
Tultitlan
and
Mexico
state
governments
to
find
land
for
a
new
shelter.
While
a
 July
 2011
 Excelsior
 report
 informs
 that
 Solalinde
 will
 not
 continue
 to
 participate
 in
 the
negotiations
 table
 carried
 by
 poet
 Javier
 Sicilia
 and
 businessmen
 Alejandro
 Marti,
 whose
 sons
were
 murdered
 as
 part
 of
 the
 conflict,
 and
 Mexican
 President,
 Felipe
 Calderón.
 His
 reasons
 to
leave
the
negotiation
table
consist
in
the
denial
of
the
Government
regarding
the
facts
and,
that
“
instead
 of
 helping,
 the
 Government
 is
 undermining
 the
 persons
 defending
 human
 rights.”
 An

    • August
 2011
 Excelsior
 article
 reports
 that
 Senators
 of
 the
 opposition
 received
 members
 of
 the
caravan
“Step
by
step
toward
peace”.
Despite
that
the
article
mentions
an
event
participating
all
caravan
 members,
 the
 claims
 made
 by
 Sicilia
 and
 Solalinde
 to
 the
 Senate
 are
 the
 only
 ones
included.
 Another
 August
 2011
 Jornada
 article
 reports
 the
 agreement
 between
 the
 Migrant
Secretary
 of
 the
 State
 of
 Michoacán
 and
 the
 Civil
 Association
 Brothers
 in
 the
 Road,
 led
 by
Solalinde,
to
promote
the
respect
for
migrants’
rights
and
transforming
their
reality
by
the
means
of
justice,
opportunities
and
equality.


 
 The
national
section
of
newspaper
Reforma
includes
an
article
about
the
International
Detention
Coalitions,
along
with
 an
update
on
the
encounter
with
mothers
of
disappeared
Central
American
Migrants.
 
Criticisms
to
the
Role
of
the
Catholic
Church
in
the
Conflict

 In
the
2011
media
analysis,
there
were
some
criticisms
to
the
role
of
the
Catholic
Church
in
 the
 conflict.
 Written
 by
 the
 author
 of
 the
 book
 The  Last  Narco:  Inside  the  Hunt  for  El  Chapo Malcolm
Beith, the World’s Most Wanted Drug Lord, a
January
2011
NCR

article
points
out
that
the
church
hierarchy
admitted
that
some
of
the
“dirtiest
and
bloodiest”
money
in
Mexico
could
well
 have
 been
 used
 to
 build
 chapels
 and
 other
 facilities.
 This
 was
 “immoral,”
 the
 church
declared.
“Nothing
can
justify
allowing
this
sort
of
situation
to
occur.”
However,
Beith
says,
the
papal
 Mexican
 nuncio
 did
 not
 denounce
 drug
 trafficker
 Ramón
 Arellano,
 who
 had
 visited
 the
nuncio
to
receive
his
blessing.
The
priest
never
considered
turning
Arellano
in,
because
“
this
was
a
matter
of
conscience,
my
work
as
a
priest
is
one
thing,
but
to
act
as
an
authority
is
another.”
Written
by
Ricardo
Alemán,
a
September
2011
Excelsior
Op‐ed
questions
how
the
church
defends
its
particular
interests
in
the
context
of
the
conflict.
He
asks,
“What
does
it
mean
for
the
Mexican
Episcopate
Conference
to
require
DTOs
a
truce
in
order
for
the
parishioners
to
venerate
the
relics

    • of
Pope
John
Paul
II?”
 
Regarding
 controversies
 related
 to
 the
 destination
 of
 public
 resources
 for
 activities
related
 to
 the
 Catholic
 Church,
 the
 President
 of
 the
 Center
 of
 Studies
 of
 Religion
 in
 Mexico,
Bernardo
Barranco,
warned
in
Jornada
that
the
commission
of
officials
travelling
to
assist
to
the
beatification
of
laic
Juan
de
Palafox
and
Mendoza
carried
in
Borga
of
Osma,
Spain
misused
public
resources
 and
 Government
 time
 for
 this
 event.
 In
 a
 July
 2011
 Excelsior
 article
 senators
 are
quoted
saying
that
they
are
aware
that
the
decision
to
close
the
shelter
of
San
Luís
de
Potosí
was
made
by
the
Catholic
Church
due
to
lack
of
space
and
a
need
for
renovation.
Still
they
contend
that
the
state
should
not
have
accepted
this
decision
and,
instead
had
the
obligation
of
providing
the
required
resources.


 The
most
recent
case
of
criticism
came
from
Congress
regarding
an
editorial
published
in
Desde  La  Fé
 against
 the
 actions
 of
 the
 legislative
 branch.
 Congress
 members
 asked
 the
Government
to
initiate
a
process
against
the
publication
due
to
its
denigrating
discourse
against
one
of
the
state’s
main
bodies.
A
PRI
senator,
Enoé
Uranga,
claims
the
lack
of
power
of
the
laic
state
 in
 Mexico.
 He
 goes
 further
 to
 say
 that
 the
 Catholic
 Church
 and
 followers
 among
 other
religious
 groups,
 hidden
 in
 its
 moral
 hypocrisy,
 are
 open
 to
 pressure
 and
 challenge
 elected
powers
by
the
people.

Implications of media coverage of church and migrants for the conflict    The
media
analysis
shows
how
the
Mexican
Catholic
Church
is
leveraging
its
prominence
as
a
source,
stemmed
on
its
historical
social
and
political
position
in
the
country,
to
speak
about
migrants
frequently
undergoing
human
rights
abuses.
The
Catholic
Church
portrayal
has
emerged
as
 the
 expert
 and
 the
 advocate
 of
 Central
 American
 migrants
 as
 most
 of
 the
 articles
 refer
 to
representatives
 of
 the
 Catholic
 Church.
 The
 institution
 speaks
 out
 in
 order
 to
 engage
 in
policymaking
 for
 migrant’s
 wellbeing,
 however
 there
 are
 no
 recognizable
 voices
 coming
 from
migrants
themselves.
The
lack
of
their
voice
might
be
explained
by
the
fact
that
migrants
usually
are
 undocumented
 and
 are
 precisely
 the
 target
 of
 violent
 acts.
 However
 recent
 migration
 laws
include
 the
 right
 to
 medical
 services,
 judicial
 bodies
 and
 also
 recognize
 the
 jurisdictional
personality
of
legal
migrants,
according
to
international
treaties
signed
by
Mexico
(Secretaría
de
Gobernación,
 2011).
 Though
 there
 is
 a
 large
 amount
 of
 undocumented
 Central
 American
migrants
in
Mexico,
the
passing
of
this
law
would
make
these
migrants
entitled
to
a
voice
given
that
by
law
their
jurisdictional
personality
must
be
respected.
The
approval
of
this
new
law
took
place
 by
 the
 end
 of
 April,
 therefore
 a
 larger
 time
 frame
 of
 its
 application
 would
 be
 needed
 to

    • further
evaluate
whether
migrants
are
stepping
as
advocates
across
media
outlets.
In
the
mean
time
organized
crime
will
continue
to
refrain
from
committing
violent
attacks
to
the
insitution’s
representatives
 thanks
 to
 their
 image
 of
 “sanctity”,
 opening
 a
 door
 for
 them
 to
 be
 quoted
 by
media.
But
one
can
wonder
if
the
church
were
to
be
stricter
with
the
actions
of
its
parishioners
by
turning
 in
 people
 allied
 to
 the
 organized
 crime
 chain,
 the
 institution
 would
 have
 the
 same
position
 of
 privilege
 to
 freely
 speak
 about
 current
 migration
 issues.
 An
 argument
 against
 this
thought
 would
 be
 that
 the
 church’s
 representation
 in
 the
 public
 discourse
 consists
 in
 a
 civil
society
organization
deepening
and
furthering
the
protections
for
migrants,
instead
of
having
a
direct
 judicial
 or
 political
 involvement
 in
 the
 conflict.
 Many
 civil
 organizations
 in
 conflict
 prone
areas
 draw
 this
 line
 and
 continue
 to
 keep
 a
 strong
 influence
 in
 the
 country,
 even
 when
 the
conflict
persists
and
illegal
actors
approach
these
organizations,
without
necessarily
contributing
financially
to
these
civil
society
members.
But
this
representation
for
the
church
and
other
civil
society
organizations
is
always
problematic.


 At
this
point,
the
question
regarding
whether
the
Catholic
Church
can
be
portrayed
as
civil
society
 arises.
 Walzer
 (1992)
 defines
 civil
 society
 as
 "dense
 network
 of
 civil
 associations
promoting
 the
 stability
 and
 effectiveness
 of
 the
 democratic
 polity
 through
 both
 the
 effects
 of
association
on
citizens
habits
of
the
heart
and
the
ability
of
associations
to
mobilize
citizens
on
behalf
of
public
causes.”
In
this
sense
Foley
(1996)
questions
whether
interest
groups
or
religious
bodies
 should
 be
 included
 in
 the
 definition,
 due
 to
 their
 intermittent
 mobilization
 in
 pursuit
 of
political
goals.
In
my
view
the
Catholic
Church
in
Mexico
should
not
be
portrayed
as
part
of
civil
society,
 because
 it
 is
 currently
 not
 promoting
 migrants
 as
 citizens
 bearing
 political
 agency
 and
and
it’s
authority
does
not
come
from
bottom
up.
But,
in
general,
civil
society
is
characterized
to
be
a
heterogeneous
landscape,
allowing
a
weave
of
organizations
to
call
themselves
in
media
or
for
journalists
to
call
them
as
such.
Based
on
the
concept
of
“holy
trinity”
proposed
by
Nietzsche,
fellow
advocates
or
followers
of
the
catholic
migrant
cause
would
rely
on
thoughts
on
the
matter
and
whether
the
institution
agrees
their
message
relevant
to
be
included
in
public
discourse.
At
the
same
time
given
the
highly
catholic
culture
in
Mexico,
the
considerations
of
the
church
have
to
 be
 prioritized
 than
 those
 of
 migrants
 and
 even
 advocates
 from
 other
 religious
 groups.
 The
portrayal
as
a
civil
society
actor
is
also
a
source
of
dilemmas
when
there
are
public
resources
in
between.
As
I
previously
showed,
there
is
a
public
understanding,
except
from
one
article,
that
the
 state
 must
 support
 financially
 catholic
 related
 events
 and
 the
 church’s
 work
 towards
migrants.
 But
 one
 could
 wonder
 whether
 other
 religious
 groups
 or
 civil
 society
 organiations

    • receive
the
same
media
treatment,
when
they
are
in
need
of
financial
support.
 
If
the
church
is
considered
as
part
of
civil
society,
this
status
also
implies
another
set
of
challenges
 in
 terms
 of
 media
 advocacy.
 Luyendick
 proposes
 that
 NGOs
 frame
 their
 messages
through
media
in
ways
in
which
they
can
manage
to
keep
support
from
international
donors.
In
the
 case
 of
 the
 Catholic
 Church
 in
 Mexico,
 the
 church
 requires
 to
 uphold
 its
 public
 moral
authority
and
support
among
its
parishioners.
A
“positive
public
image”
and
having
good
public
relations
has
become
increasingly
important,
as
recent
scandals
such
as
priests’
pedophilia
cases,
use
of
condom
and
aids,
among
others,
have
surfaced
on
media.
Therefore
the
church
will
not
enable
 media
 spaces
 to
 question
 the
 closing
 of
 migrant
 shelters,
 corruption
 and
 its
 nexus
 with
the
 institution
 and
 the
 dilemma
 about
 its
 moral
 role
 to
 support
 all
 people,
 including
 drug
traffickers,
without
bringing
them
to
justice.
This
is
predictable
for
any
civil
society
organization,
however
 in
 the
 case
 of
 the
 Catholic
 Church
 journalists
 refrain
 from
 doing
 tough
 critics
 as
 they
follow
 traditional
 media
 practices
 in
 Mexico,
 established
 through
 historical
 milestones
 such
 as
the
Cristero
War.
Also,
because
commercial
and
mainstream
media
companies,
due
to
economic
interests,
will
not
portray
a
point
of
view
that
can
be
unpopular
among
90%
of
catholic
believers
and
even
the
PAN
Government,
elected
for
two
consecutive
terms
with
support
by
the
Catholic
Church.


 On
the
other
hand,
migrants
also
follow
the
catholic
discourse
because
there
is
definitely
a
trade
off
for
them
with
the
visibility
of
the
Catholic
Church.
Migrants
can
use
elements
of
the
catholic
imaginary
such
as
migrants
carrying
a
cross
and
the
quotations
of
migrants
in
Catholic
–
ran
shelters,
among
other
examples.
I
did
not
find
alternative
media
ran
by
migrants,
as
I
did
with
the
 case
 of
 Nepali
 migrant
 workers
 in
 the
 Middle
 East.
 Therefore
 there
 might
 be
 potential
 for
both
 migrants
 and
 the
 Catholic
 Church
 to
 lead
 migrant
 news
 outlets,
 with
 the
 church
 having
 a
special
 role
 in
 endorsing
 migrant’s
 voices.
 In
 the
 light
 of
 security
 issues,
 their
 names
 and
identities
 could
 not
 be
 revealed,
 but
 if
 they
 are
 part
 of
 the
 advocacy
 led
 by
 the
 church,
 their
opinions
could
be
referred
as
a
migrant
of
a
civil
society
group.
Though
security
concerns
might
still
refrain
migrants
to
have
an
increased
visibility
as
migrant
workers
in
the
Middle
East.
In
this
scenario,
 diaspora
 media
 from
 sending
 countries
 such
 as
 Guatemala,
 Honduras
 could
 be
supported
by
civil
society
and,
in
this
sense;
the
Catholic
Church
could
also
take
a
part
of
it.
U.S.
catholic
media
have
also
contributed
to
raise
awareness
on
the
issue,
while
I
only
found
The
New
York
Times
and
Al
Jazeera
only
published
one
article
regarding
violence
against
Central
American
migrants.
 Nonetheless,
 US
 catholic
 media
 refer
 and
 repeat
 the
 stories
 already
 covered
 by

    • Mexican
mainstream
media.


 Media
coverage
on
the
Catholic
Church,
migrants
and
the
conflict
is
not
clear‐cut
and,
in
fact,
many
contradictions
can
be
found.
First,
mainstream
media
as
well
as
catholic
media
follow
the
discourse
of
the
“holy
trinity”,
but
not
in
all
circumstances.
When
Father
Alejandro
Solalinde
asks
forgiveness
to
Los
Zetas,
criticisms
from
officials
and
Congressmen
arise.
Still
for
them
it
is
unrecognizable
that
the
church
is
acting
both
as
victim
and
tyrant,
because
it
is
carrying
with
the
DTOs
 faults
 and
 asking
 for
 forgiveness,
 and
 at
 the
 same
 time
 it
 is
 pointing
 out
 the
 corrupted
government
and
the
system
as
the
ones
to
blame.
Secondly,
it
is
very
possible
that
Government
officials
 meeting
 with
 Solalinde
 and
 other
 prominent
 figures
 such
 as
 business
 man
 Alejandro
Martí
are
aware
that
these
conversations
will
be
part
of
media
coverage.
Implicitly
these
public
acts
are
endorsing
the
figure
of
the
Catholic
Church
as
a
governance
pole
above
other
actors
and
having
a
direct
intervention
in
policymaking.
Nonetheless,
at
the
same
time,
editorials
of
Desde
la
Fé
are
criticized
due
to
claims
against
the
legislative
branch.
If
the
church
has
been
acknowledged
publicly
 as
 a
 permanent
 actor
 contributing
 to
 Mexican
 state
 governance,
 how
 can
 the
Government
refrain
the
institution
from
having
a
say
in
how
governance
is
working
in
Mexico?
Thirdly,
 media
 reports
 have
 focused
 on
 mass
 events
 advocating
 for
 migrants’
 rights,
 such
 as
caravans,
 at
 the
 same
 time
 these
 have
 reinforced
 the
 need
 for
 personalities
 throughout
 media
coverage
 of
 the
 conflict.
 New
 Yorker
 writer
 and
 author
 of
 the
 book
 “The
 Years
 we
 were
 not
happy:
chronicles
about
the
Mexican
transition”
Alma
Guillermoprieto
further
explains
this
in
a
2010
 New
 Yorker
 article
 when
 she
 points
 out
 that
 “Mexican
 drug
 clans
 and
 organizations
responsible
for
so
much
bloodshed
have
acquired
a
liking
for
public
attention”,
she
adds,
“
and
the
story,
like
the
murders,
is
endlessly
repetitive
and
confusing:
there
are
the
double‐barreled
family
names,
the
shifting
alliances,
the
double‐crossing
army
generals,
the
capo
betrayed
by
a
close
associate
who
in
turn
killed
by
another
betrayer
in
a
small
town
with
an
impossible
name,
followed
 by
 another
 capo
 with
 a
 double‐barreled
 last
 name
 who
 is
 betrayed
 by
 a
 high‐ranking
army
officer
who
is
killed
in
turn.”
From
this
quote,
I
understand
that
media
stories
have
been
framed
according
to
certain
personalities;
accordingly
the
representatives
of
the
church
have
not
been
the
exception.


 All
 these
 entangled
 contradictions
 seem
 conflicting
 when
 thinking
 whether
 media
 can
contribute
 toward
 peace
 building.
 A
 plethora
 of
 characters
 are
 included
 and
 each
 one
 plays
separate
 roles.
 Luyendick
 argues
 that
 beyond
 contrasting
 the
 version
 of
 contending
 parties,
 an
article
 should
 include
 pro‐peace
 organizations
 and
 opponents
 to
 government
 policies.
 In
 this

    • sense,
the
church
would
achieve
to
perform
as
the
latter.
In
my
perspective,
for
all
dimensions
of
an
issue
related
to
the
conflict,
such
as
Central
American
migrants,
to
be
covered
in
media,
there
is
 a
 need
 for
 media
 to
 become
 a
 platform
 for
 dialogue
 among
 all
 parties,
 not
 only
 the
personalities,
 but
 those
 who
 have
 been
 marginalized
 and
 can
 have
 a
 crucial
 effect
 in
 the
outcomes
of
the
conflict.
This
“fair
play”
among
sources
is
not
easily
attained
within
a
state
with
a
weak
government
and
a
nation
with
highly
tense
power
relations.
If
this
dialogue
were
to
be
possible,
it
would
lead
to
creating
open
public
spaces
for
media
advocacy
for
migrants,
instead
of
only
registering
the
meetings
between
officials
and
catholic
representatives.
At
this
point
I
should
clarify
 that
 mothers
 of
 disappeared
 Central
 American
 migrants
 have
 started
 to
 become
 other
source
of
media
attention,
due
to
their
public
acts
such
as
caravans
and
also
with
the
support
of
international
non‐profit
organizations.
This
is
definitely
a
sign
towards
a
more
inclusive
approach
by
media.
Greater
visibility
of
migrants
as
political
agents
with
access
to
justice
and
prosecution
processes
(illegal
migrants
can
also
bear
political
agency
due
to
their
categorization
as
vulnerable
population
by
members
of
the
international
community)
is
required
in
order
for
them
to
not
be
subjected
to
the
will
and
actions
of
any
of
the
actors
influencing
the
conflict.
Finally,
analyzed
as
a
crisis,
the
conflict
has
allowed
the
reinforcement
of
relations
among
visible
actors
such
as
state
and
 the
 Catholic
 Church,
 while
 the
 opportunity
 of
 challenging
 relations
 between
 state
 and
migrants
in
the
midst
of
the
Mexican
conflict
is
something
I
hope
media
explores
in
a
near
future.


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News
articles


 La
Jornada.
Articles
quoted
were
retrieved
from:


 http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/10/27/politica/023n1pol


 http://www.lajornadasanluis.com.mx/2011/07/26/pol1.php
 http://www.lajornadamichoacan.com.mx/2011/08/10/index.php?section=politica&article=005n1 pol
 http://www.lajornadasanluis.com.mx/2011/11/07/pol3.php
 http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/08/02/sociedad/033n2soc
 http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/07/30/politica/011n3pol
 http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/08/13/estados/028n1est
 http://www.lajornadamichoacan.com.mx/2011/08/10/index.php?section=politica&article=005n1 pol
 http://www.jornadaveracruz.com.mx/Noticia.aspx?ID=110918_142403_36 http://www.lajornadadeoriente.com.mx/2011/08/02/puebla/mun304.php http://www.lajornadamichoacan.com.mx/2011/08/10/index.php?section=politica&article= 005n2pol http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/11/09/politica/020n1pol http://www.lajornadasanluis.com.mx/2011/07/13/pol1.phpExcelsior.
Articles
quoted
were
retrieved
from:
 http://www.excelsior.com.mx/index.php?m=nota&id_nota=756591 http://www.excelsior.com.mx/index.php?m=nota&id_nota=748329 http://201.175.36.245/index.php?m=nota&seccion=seccion-adrenalina&cat=2&id_nota=778385 http://www.excelsior.com.mx/index.php?m=nota&id_nota=757194 http://www.excelsior.com.mx/index.php?m=nota&id_nota=702415 http://www.excelsior.com.mx/index.php?m=nota&id_nota=704662 http://www.excelsior.com.mx/index.php?m=nota&id_nota=757717 http://www.excelsior.com.mx/index.php?m=nota&id_nota=757321 National Catholic Reporter. Articles quoted were retrieved from: http://ncronline.org/news/immigration-and-church/migrant-murder-comes-amid-rising-tensions- mexican-shelter http://ncronline.org/news/immigration-and-church/mexican-catholics-working-undocumented- migrants-welcome-new-law http://ncronline.org/news/immigration-and-church/migrant-workers-face-dangers-trying-find-work http://ncronline.org/news/global/mexicos‐drug‐war‐church‐caught‐storm


    • Catholic
News
Agency

 http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1103944.htm http://www.uscatholic.org/news/2011/11/mexican-groups-governments-resolve-situation-guatemalan-farmers http://www.catholic.net/index.php?option=dedestaca&id=6341