A statue of Jesus Malverde at a shrine in Mexico City (David Agren).

MEXICO CITY — Alejandro Ruiz Rodriguez, a Mexico City law student, lost a stack of important legal documents last year. Despite searching everywhere imaginable, they never turned up. As a last resort, he asked Jesus Malverde, an unofficial saint beloved by narcotics traffickers, for intervention. Inexplicably, the documents surfaced shortly thereafter. “I don’t know if it was just by chance or if Jesus Malverde was responsible,” the 26-year-old said at a monthly gathering of Malverde adherents in Mexico City. “Either way, I’m here every month to give thanks . . . it was absolutely miraculous.” Like an increasing number of […]

Editor’s Note: Rights & Wrongs is a new weekly column on the world’s major human rights-related happenings. It is written by regular WPR contributor Juliette Terzieff. HUMAN TRAFFICKING A MAJOR GLOBAL PROBLEM: The U.S. State Department released its annual victims of human trafficking report on Tuesday, looking at the situation in 164 countries and ranking countries on their individual efforts to combat the trade. The annual report ranks countries on a three-tier system: Tier 1 includes countries that are extremely active in protecting trafficking victims; Tier 2 countries are those that may be falling short but are making significant efforts; […]

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan — Authorities in Kazakhstan recently passed a constitutional amendment that could allow President Nursultan Nazarbayev to remain in office for the rest of his life, but a Shakespearean drama playing out among members of the country’s ruling family has largely dominated the local media spotlight. At issue is whether Nazarbayev, who has led Kazakhstan since the late 1980s, is running a politically motivated investigation into his son-in-law, who claims to have fallen out of the president’s favor since privately revealing his own interest in running for president in 2012. Actions taken over the past month by Kazakh authorities […]

The latest report by illegal logging watchdog Global Witness has received the highest accolade an investigative NGO’s work can receive from the Cambodian Government: It has been banned. The reason? It exposes the country’s largest illegal logging syndicate and its links to senior government officials, including the prime minister. Plus, it details the way the army has been used as a log courier service for the secret trade with Vietnam and China. Now, as Cambodia’s annual pledge-a-thon approaches, international donors are scrambling to react to accusations they haven’t done enough to protect Cambodia’s forests.Global Witness, the U.K.-based logging and blood […]