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A crash of disagreement

THE DEATH OF Mexico’s top federal law enforcement officer in a helicopter crash Wednesday stunned a country already reeling from its battles with organized crime. It also prompted markedly different reactions in two of Mexico City’s largest newspapers.

In an editorial Thursday, the generally conservative El Universal offered a dull reiteration of news accounts of the crash, including the official (though preliminary) finding that the helicopter went down because of bad weather. It then gently recommended that the result of the government’s investigation into the incident be made public, even if it shows the crash was not an accident -- or, in El Universal’s elegant phrasing, even if it “could lead us to other scenarios yet unsuspected.”

Contrast that tepid suggestion with the full-throated editorial Thursday in La Jornada, which decried the government’s “paralysis” and “lack of leadership” in response to the crash. The leftist daily continued: “The premature presidential classification of the fall of the helicopter as a ‘terrible accident’ will do nothing but encourage doubts and uncertainty” about its cause.

In Bogota, El Tiempo weighed in Thursday on the fragile nuclear accord that nearly friendless North Korea signed with five other nations Monday and its implications for the better-connected Iran. With the International Atomic Energy Agency calling for negotiations, and China and Russia ill-disposed to support sanctions, El Tiempo said that “the case of the bearded ayatollahs” may well be “much more complicated than that of the solitary autumn patriarch Kim Jong Il.”

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