Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wikileaks soldier pleads guilty to some charges at U.S. court martial

Publication of confidential diplomatic cables in 2011 stressed U.S.-Mexico relations

Guadalajara -
PFC Bradley Manning today entered a plea of guilty to 10 counts of unauthorized possession of government documents before a military tribunal in Ft. Meade, Md.

But Manning told Colonel Denise Lind, the Army judge presiding over his general court martial, that he's not guilty of a far more serious charge of aiding the enemy, which could land him in prison for life. It's not clear if the government will pursue a dozen remaining counts in the case which carry heavier penalties.

The 26 year old Army private was arrested in May 2010 and accused of uploading thousands of documents to Wikileaks, a controversial whistle-blowing website founded by Australian Julian Assange in 2006.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mexico's drug war disappearances: "official government list" still proves nothing

MGR News Analysis

*Updated May 24*
Guadalajara -
Mexico's new Institutional Revolutionary Party government has been busy for the past week fielding questions about the number of persons who have allegedly disappeared since the drug war was launched 75 months ago, on Dec. 11, 2006. Press reports in the United States have alleged, or strongly suggested, that tends of thousands of missing Mexicans fell victim in the last half dozen years to out of control security forces, including local and state police and Mexican army troops (Mexican officials dispute U.S. press reports on drug war disappearances: claims are based on nonexistent data).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sexual expression in Mexico can carry risks - some petty, some very permanent

*Updated May 24*
Guadalajara -
In Chihuahua, a 23 year old member of Mexico's lower legislative body, the Cámara de Diputados, is taking heat for the snug miniskirt she likes to wear on the floor of the chamber.

In the border town of Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, across from Del Rio, Texas, the garment is outright banned by a local ordinance designed to protect community morals. The prohibition extends to heterosexual and homosexual wearers alike. City fathers maintain that miniskirts provocatively displayed on city sidewalks are an affront to local standards of decency.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Yucatán capital, $32 million in the hole, looks for way out

New PAN mayor blames the city's precarious financial position on previous PRI administration

*Updated Mar. 3*
Mérida, Yucatán -
The White City, capital of this peninsular state due south of America's Gulf Coast, is feeling the same financial pressures affecting many communities north and south of the border. It's worried how it's going to keep the lights on.

Mayor Renán Barrera Concha reports that the city is about 400 million pesos in debt. At today's exchange rate of 12.75 pesos, that represents almost $31.5 million U.S. dollars.

The bills include both immediate payables - sometimes called trade debt - and long term obligations inherited from the previous PRI administration, according to the mayor.

Barrera, who took office late last year, belongs to the National Action Party (PAN). Mérida's former mayor was Angelica Araujo Lara, a member of Mexico's powerful Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which captured the presidency in 2012.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Murder of Belgian national in bustling Acapulco tourist district further damages an already tarnished image

Died at busy plaza where he went to shop

*Updated Feb. 25 - Corrected identification of victim, with details*
Guadalajara -
A 65 year old Belgian citizen was executed at point blank range yesterday afternoon by unknown gunmen in the heart of Acapulco's tourist district.

The victim was identified by two news sources as Sarens Jank Merched, although other press reports listed derivations of that name. No home town or permanent residence was given.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mexico nabs chief executioner for Cartel of Acapulco

*Updated Feb. 24*
Guadalajara -
Mexican authorities have announced the arrest last night of a man they say is the chief executioner for the Cártel Independiente de Acapulco (CIDA).

Ricardo Reza García was taken into custody when he exited a house which was under surveillance and prepared to drive away. He was flown immediately to Mexico City.

A spokesman for Mexico's attorney general told a press conference late this afternoon that "El Reza" was the cartel's jefe de sicarios - the boss of its death squad. He's wanted on numerous kidnapping and murder charges. Five other cartel members were also arrested.

Mexican officials dispute U.S. press reports on drug war disappearances: claims are based on "nonexistent data"

Government challenges existence of alleged database relied upon by Washington Post, L.A. Times

*Updated Feb. 25*
Guadalajara -
Fallout from the latest Human Rights Watch report concerned alleged civilian disappearances during Mexico's drug war is continuing today, as past and present officials say HRW's claims are exaggerated and misleading. Hype is always present in Mexico's drug war, especially when Human Rights Watch comes to town.

Mexico's new PRI government, which has been in office just short of three months, said that recent reports in the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post claiming that those papers had received a huge database of missing persons from officials in this country couldn't be true, because there is none.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hype is always present in Mexico's drug war, especially when Human Rights Watch comes to town

MGR News Analysis -
Press calls HRW report on forced disappearances "false," while PRI admin. admits, "there's no list"

*Updated Feb. 25*
Guadalajara -
Human Rights Watch, which never misses a chance to bash Mexico for trying to defend itself from powerful drug cartels and criminal gangs, filed another one of its fairy tale reports this week.

A month ago it laid into the Mexican armed forces, without which there might not be a Mexico today. More accurately, as MGR recently pointed out, Mexico might be the Somalia of Latin America, and its capital, perhaps, a sister city to Mogadishu. Human Rights Watch's condemnation of Mexican drug war reveals how little it understands conflict.

University researcher charges that neither Mexico nor the U.S. want to eradicate drug trafficking, "only to control it"

Argentine writer Pilar Calveiro says openly what many have quietly suggested for a long time

Guadalajara -
Neither Mexico nor the United States have any real interest in defeating the drug trafficking industry which plagues both nations. They only want to control it for their own purposes.

That's what a respected Argentine researcher and author told a Politics and Violence forum at a Puebla university.

Pilar Calveiro is an investigator for the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP). BUAP, the Meritorious Autonomous University of Puebla, is the oldest and largest university in the city, one of the most important Spanish colonial settlements in Mexico. It was founded in 1587 as Colegio del Espíritu Santo by the Roman Catholic Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). It later became a secular college run by the state.

Speaking this week at an event sponsored by the Dept. of Latin American Social Sciences and the Institute of Critical Studies, Pilar said that both nations seek to exercise a "monopoly on drugs."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Enrique Peña Nieto: "I'm not able to confirm the death of El Chapo Guzmán"

Rumors + rumors ≠ facts

Guadalajara -
Mexican news sources tonight are reporting the possible death of Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán in Guatemala today. Guzmán is the most wanted narcotics trafficker in the world.

Guatemalan security forces killed four men in a shootout near the community of San Francisco earlier Thursday. Authorities there are trying to identify the men, who are suspected of being drug traffickers.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

World Bank: Mexico has 14th largest global economy, but its citizens rank 81st in food purchasing power

Guadalajara -
One of five Mexicans lives in hunger - an aggregate 22 million people. And although measured by gross domestic product the nation holds a respectable 14th place among the world's economies, its citizens are far back in 81st position in their ability to buy food sufficient for daily sustenance.

Such are the conclusions of an end of the year report by the World Bank, the subject of commentary here today.

The Bank, an international financial institution which lends money to emerging nations for capital investment and economic development, and whose primary focus is the reduction of poverty, concluded that only two of every 10 Mexicans is completely free from worry about adequate nutrition. The other eight frequently or periodically experience food shortages. Worse, 20% of the nation is never able to feed itself the minimum established by government standards.

Narco terrorists launch grenade attack against capitol building in border state of Tamaulipas

Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas -
A heavily armed commando squad lobbed two grenades against the Government Palace here last night.

The brazen 6:30 p.m. assault left at least three persons injured and heavily damage several vehicles. There were no immediate reports of deaths.

Tamaulipas adjoins Texas. Its capital, Ciudad Victoria, is a metro area of 325,000, 300 kilometers (185 miles) south of the Matamoros-Brownsville border crossing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New York Times finally figures it out: in Mexican drug war, Enrique Peña Nieto = Felipe Calderón Hinojosa

MGRR News Analysis -
"The media often are the last to know things, because their wishes father their thoughts" - Columnist George Will, in The Washington Post, Jan. 3, 2013

Guadalajara -
In a "major analysis" of the Mexican drug war, and especially of the the much heralded "new" strategy of PRI president Enrique Peña Nieto, the New York Times arrived at an amazing conclusion today: there isn't one.

That will make big news in The Big Apple. Perhaps in Washington, too, where some in Congress remain confused about what's going on south of the border. U.S. freezes Mérida Initiative funds.

But for anybody who lives in this country, and who's been paying the slightest attention to what the Man himself has repeatedly said and done over the last nine months, the response will be, "O.K., so what else is new?"

Sunday, February 17, 2013

U.S. freezes Mérida Initiative funds promised to Mexico, approved by Congress

MGR's Opinion -
One excuse after another, none with much merit

*Updated Aug. 15 - Sen. Patrick Leahy blocks $95M in Mérida Initiative funds

Guadalajara -
Exactly a year ago president Obama asked Congress to approve a $234 million defense package for fiscal year 2013 under the Mérida Initiative, a 2007 agreement between the United States and Mexico which provides for U.S. training and equipping of Mexican military and police forces, plus intelligence gathering and sharing.

The package included another $10 million to be spent domestically on enhanced U.S. intelligence services.

In his transmittal message to Congress Obama said, "A stable Mexico will enhance the national security of the United States, promote economic development in the country and protect U.S. citizens, especially along our shared border." The 2013 fiscal year began Oct. 1, and will soon be half over. Obama asks Congress for $244 million towards Mexican drug war.

Guatemalan ambassador warns of growing Los Zeta drug cartel presence in his country

"They're all through our territory"

*Updated May 6*
Guadalajara -
Guatemala's ambassador to Mexico has once again warned about the growing threat presented to his nation by the Los Zetas drug cartel. The precarious position in which the country finds itself is the direct result of Mexican military successes against narcotics traffickers and organized crime, according to ambassador Fernando Andrade Díaz-Duran.

"The government of Guatemala is quite concerned about Los Zetas operations, and not just along the border. For the past three or four years they've established themselves throughout our territory, working with smaller local cartels and gangs," said Díaz-Duran in a Mexican press interview last week. "Our border is very porous, with more than 300 locations where people can cross on foot." Murders in the area have skyrocketed, he noted.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A nine year old drug addict dies alone on Jalisco street

"Enrique Peña Nieto will be facing the accumulated effects of the deteriorating lives of Mexicans, especially the most marginalized. That deterioration constitutes a brewing cauldron . . . for crime, resentment and eventually for protest and national mobilization" - The Coming Crisis, June 22, 2012

Guadalajara -
In Acatic, Jalisco, east of this capital city, a nine year old boy disappeared Wednesday afternoon. His mother returned home from the job she seldom leaves - scouring dumpsters in search of junk to be traded for a few pesos, or salvageable food scraps for supper - and found only his school backpack.

The boy was found dead last night on a street corner, a bullet wound to his head. His hand still tightly clutched a small plastic bag that held his only source of comfort in life: glue.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mexico's Supreme Court approves polygraph tests for federal prosecutors, but with some limitations

The device is only one tool which should be used to evaluate employee honesty, ministers rule

Guadalajara -
Mexico's Supreme Judicial Court has authorized the use of lie detector tests as a tool in the ongoing fight against official corruption. But failing one will not automatically mean that government agents who hold sensitive positions can be fired, or will forfeit the chance for promotion in their professional careers.

The ruling came yesterday in an amparo proceeding filed by a former employee of the federal organized crime strike force, the Subprocuraduría de Investigación Especializada en Delincuencia Organizada, or SEIDO.

Mexico's PRI government says 70,000 died in first six years of drug war, but admits, "there's no official data"

More speculation, with a barb at PAN for good measure

Guadalajara -
Mexico's new Secretary of Government today answered a frequently asked question: how many have died in this country's 74 month old drug war, launched by former president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa on Dec. 11, 2006?

About 70,000, said Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, while quickly adding:

"There are no official statistics, no hard data, which allow us to state this with any certainty."

American expatriate murdered in Mérida had sex with 17 year old boy just before he died, and threatened him

Self-defense alleged after decedent demanded anal sex

*Updated Feb. 15*
Mérida, Yucatán -
Shortly before he was stabbed to death early on the morning of Nov. 12, long time Mérida resident Sam Woodruff had sex with a 17 year old boy.

Woodruff was 63 the day he died. His assailant was born Dec. 3, 1994, according to a press report.

José Raymundo Xool Villamil was arrested by authorities and charged in the case last week. He told police that he was 18, and said the motive was the former Boonville, North Carolina man's request for sex. Suspect arrested in Mérida murder of American expatriate.

"I didn't want to go to bed with him," Xool advised the Public Ministry at this first appearance.

But now Yucatán officials have apparently determined from a check of records that Xool was only 17 at the time. He has prior arrests for drug sales, they said.

Xool gave this account of events during his court declaration, which a local news source published just minutes ago:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

You get what you pay for: a lesson McClatchy Publishing is determined to learn the hard way

MGRR News Analysis -
SELL, recommends The Street, while the Sacramento Bee hunts for digital journalists at $15 an hour

Guadalajara -
MGRR has written before about the long, slow demise of the printed media, which includes many American newspapers. A sign of the times, as another U.S. newspaper proves it can read the writing on the wall.

The death bed vigil is far from over. There will be more. One just might be The McClatchy Company, which owns several dozen newspapers in the United States. Founded in 1857, it was once a powerhouse of American journalism. But like so many other rags, it has fallen upon hard times in recent years. And it's showing increasing evidence of boardroom desperation.

Family of ICE agent murdered by Los Zetas in Mexico sues U.S. government in Brownsville federal court

Plaintiffs allege that defenseless agent was killed by American "guns gone walking," thanks in part to bungled ATF and DEA operations

Guadalajara -
On the second anniversary of his brutal execution, the family of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent Jaime Zapata filed suit against the U.S. government Wednesday, alleging negligence and willful conspiracy.

The action was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, at Brownsville. The plaintiffs are Zapata's parents.

Under federal law, the Zapatas were required to give the government advance notice of their intent to sue. They did so on June 20, 2012, which MGRR reported at the time. Family of ICE agent murdered in Mexico by Los Zetas gives U.S. notice of intent to sue.

A co-plaintiff in the case is ICE agent Víctor Ávila, who was gravely wounded in the Feb. 15, 2011 attack on Mexico highway 57, in northern San Luis Potosí state. The assailants were Los Zetas gunmen.

Chicago calls El Chapo Guzmán "Public Enemy # 1"

Sinaloa boss inherits the title from Al Capone

*Updated Mar. 29*
Guadalajara -
Perhaps the Chicago Crime Commission has been reading MGRR. The Chicago Connection: Sinaloa Cartel moves cocaine from Windy City to Australia. Today it labeled Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán "Public Enemy # 1."

It's the first time the Commission has used that moniker since the Prohibition-era struggle against American gangsters in the early 20th century, reported the Associated Press.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mexican prosecutors announce arrests in Acapulco rapes

Suspects have allegedly confessed

*Updated Feb. 14*
Guadalajara -
The Attorney General of Mexico, Jesús Murillo Karam, this afternoon announced the arrests of six men in connection with last week's rape of six Spanish tourists. Spanish tourists raped, robbed on Acapulco beach front.

In a joint press conference with the governor of Guerrero state, Ángel Aguirre, Murillo said that five were arrested last Wednesday, and one yesterday. A seventh suspect is still being sought, he said.

Mexico moves towards greater recognition of legal rights, with special focus on criminal prosecutions

MGR Legal Analysis -
Amendments to Mexico's Law of Amparo are designed to clarify procedural protections for defendants

*Updated Apr. 1*
Guadalajara -
The lower house of Mexico's congress yesterday approved a bill which, if eventually adopted, will broaden the recognition of constitutional rights in all types of legal proceedings, especially in criminal cases.

By a vote of 360 to 70, the Cámara de Diputados, equivalent to the U.S. House of Representatives, passed a package which amends and clarifies procedural rights. The measure was approved just days after Mexico found itself under a harsh spotlight on the world stage for its treatment of Florence Cassez, a French citizen who spent more then seven years in custody for kidnapping and other crimes. On Jan. 23 the nation's Supreme Judicial Court ruled by a 3-2 majority that her legal rights had been violated, and ordered her freed immediately. The decision created a firestorm of controversy here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

World bookies bet heavily that new Pope will be Mexican, with 33-1 odds from one, 50-1 from another

But some Church officials call it "scandalous"

*Updated Mar. 13*
Guadalajara -
Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera is the Primate of Mexico, the highest ranking Roman Catholic official in a country where over 80% of the citizens regard themselves followers of the Church.

That, apparently, is good enough for some Irish bookies, who have wagered odds of 33-1 that Rivera will become the next Bishop of Rome as well. The Holy Father automatically receives that title upon being elected by the Church's College of Cardinals.

Vatican City announced the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI yesterday. Benedict, who was elected the Church's 265th pope in 2005, turns 86 on April 27. He said that he is no longer able to endure the physical rigors of the job, although his aides were quick to point out that his mind remains sharp and his intellect still tightly focused on the theological issues and debates which have been at the center of his professional life for more than 60 years.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Another Jalisco police officer executed near Manzanillo

From Acapulco to Puerto Vallarta to Sinaloa, Pacific coast has its own domestic security concerns

Guadalajara -
In yet another attack against small town law enforcement, a city policeman in Cihuatlán, Jalisco was executed by an organized crime hit team Sunday night.

The officer was travelling on a motorcycle when he was gunned down by four men dressed in black about 9:00 p.m. They fled in the direction of neighboring Colima state. There are no suspects.

Cihuatlán is a municipality on Mexico's Pacific coast, northwest of the resort town of Manzanillo and southeast of Puerto Vallarta. It has a population of about 20,000.

The Chicago Connection: Sinaloa Cartel moves cocaine from Windy City to Australia, says DEA

*Updated Mar. 29*
Guadalajara -
Mexican drug traffickers have long had a presence in the mid-western United States, including Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. They're particularly strong in Chicago, as MGRR reported more than a year ago (In drug war, "national sovereignty" is antiquated political theory).

But now the Drug Enforcement Administration reports that Mexican cartels in the U.S. are not just focused on local narcotics sales. They're using Chicago as a warehouse and distribution center for drugs headed to every corner of the world, including Australia.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mexican marines arrest chief executioner for El Chapo Guzmán in Sinaloa state

But no sign of the boss himself

*Feb. 24*
Guadalajara -
Mexican marine forces have arrested Francisco Javier Rodríguez Picante, also know as "El Fantasma" - The Ghost. He's accused of being the chief executioner for Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, the unquestioned leader of the Sinaloa Cartel and the most wanted drug trafficker in the world.

Rodríguez was taken into custody in Sinaloa state, in a house in the small town of Costa Rica, along the Culiacán-Mazatlán highway. Costa Rica is a half hour's drive south of Culiacán. Sinaloa is on Mexico's Pacific coast.

Mexico issues January drug war stats and death toll

Guadalajara -
Mexico's Secretary of Government (SEGOB), Secretary of Defense and several other federal agencies have issued a joint report on drug war deaths and narcotics seizures for the period Jan. 1-Jan.31, 2013. The report was released Friday.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

U.S. travelers: a "generalized terror" of northern Mexico

The Bank of Mexico studies declining tourism revenue along the border

Data compiled by Banixco, Mexico's central bank

Guadalajara -
Mexico's central bank, Banixco, reported this week that despite the government's efforts to promote border tourism, the number of travelers willing to visit once highly popular areas declined significantly last year. Banixco is the equivalent of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank.

As always, most travelers who did visit northern Mexico came directly from the United States.

Area police chief executed in Guadalajara Metro Zone

Open season against law enforcement continues throughout Jalisco state and its capital

Guadalajara -
A police chief from the Jalisco municipality of Poncitlán was executed by a commando team in this city Friday night.

Bernardo García Zetina was attacked in a quiet residential neighborhood in Colonia El Briseño, in Zapopan, about 7:00 p.m. Zapopan is a sprawling suburban community just beyond Guadalajara city limits. It's the scene of frequent organized crime violence. Organized crime hit claims four lives in Guadalajara metro.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Serial rapists may be responsible for Acapulco attacks

But do authorities have the right men in custody?

*Updated Feb. 13 - Six arrested*
Guadalajara -
The rapes of six Spanish tourists in an Acapulco beach house early Monday morning may have been committed by the same assailants who terrorized the famous resort community in late 2012, according to authorities and witnesses familiar with those cases.

News sources report that federal and state prosecutors have known for at least two months that a band of robber-rapists was operating in the vicinity of Punta Diamanate, where the six women, ranging in age from 24 to 38, were attacked and terrorized for three hours.

Today could bring arrests in Acapulco rape case, as more disturbing details emerge

MGRR Legal Analysis -
"Grave violations of human rights, the wholly corrupting effect of which destroyed the constitutionally guaranteed presumption of innocence, thus entitling defendant to her immediate liberty" - an opinion of the Supreme Judicial Court in Republic of Mexico vs. Florence Cassez (Jan. 23, 2013)

*Updated Feb. 13 - Six arrested*
Guadalajara -
At least eight men continue to be detained as "material witnesses" in the attack on six Spanish women early Monday morning. They've been under questioning in the case throughout the week, although Guerrero state prosecutor Martha Elva Garzón emphasized Wednesday evening that they've not been charged with anything. Spanish tourists raped, robbed on Acapulco beach front.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Suspect arrested in Mérida murder of American expatriate

Defendant "confessed a crime of passion," reports The Yucatan Times

"Lo maté porque no quería acostarse con él - I killed him because I didn't want to go to bed with him" - José Raymundo Xool Villamil, in Mérida courtroom

*Updated Feb. 15 -new revelations below*
Mérida, Yucatán -
Police have arrested a suspect in a brutal knifing attack which left a long term resident of the city’s foreign community dead.

Neighbors found Sam Woodruff, 63, originally from Boonville, North Carolina, gravely wounded in his Colonia Itzimina home early on Nov. 12. He had been stabbed five times, and died a short time later at a local hospital

Although details of the case are still unfolding, investigators have said that the murder was sex related, “connected to persons in the gay community” and may have been committed by a male prostitute. As The Yucatan Times and MGRR reported on Nov. 13, police theorized from the outset that Woodruff knew his killer, and had invited him into his home.

U.S. press reports murder of American woman in San Miguel Allende, Guanajuato - identified as "Joyous Heart"

Details suggest a familial homicide

Guadalajara -
U.S. press sources, including the Washington Post, Fox News and others, have today reported the murder of an American woman in the expatriate popular community of San Miguel Allende, in Guanajuato state.

All of the stories are based upon an Associated Press account.

The woman was identified as Joyous Heart. Her hometown or place of birth were not given. Her body was found on or about Feb. 1. She was stabbed to death and her throat was slashed, according to English news accounts.

Mexico's case against former Survivor producer Bruce Beresford-Redman in jeopardy over technical errors

Defendant may walk, says local paper

*Updated Aug. 10, 2013* - No exit for Survivor producer Bruce Beresford-Redman

Cancún, Quintana Roo -
Bruce Beresford-Redman, a former associate producer of the popular U.S. television series Survivor, is on trial in a district court here for first degree murder. But a local news service monitoring the case reports the state's prosecution may be in serious jeopardy due to clumsy mistakes by prosecutors, and predicts the judge will be forced to free him. "He's got one foot out of jail," it wrote today.

Drug war tally at day 70 of new Peña Nieto administration is 2,097, says Milenio, with slight improvement in January

Guadalajara -
Just after midnight, Mexico's Milenio network reported drug war statistics for president Enrique Peña Nieto's first 70 days in office: a total of 2,097 homicides, or an average of about 30 a day.

The network said in January there were 957 narco executions nationwide, down exactly a dozen from December 2012 (Narco violence stats after first month of PRI administration not encouraging: 982 executions, 32 a day).

Ten of the January victims were police officers. Numerous Jalisco police officers were the targets of narco squad and organized crime hits in late December and January (stories below).

On Tuesday, nine Guerrero police officers were killed in a single attack in a community northeast of Acapulco. Gunmen ambush police patrol in war torn Guerrero state, leaving nine officers dead.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Acapulco's tearful mayor begs Peña Nieto for federal help

*Updated Feb. 13 - Six arrested*
Guadalajara -
Desperate to solve the case of the six Spanish tourists raped in his city early Monday morning, and reeling from the sting of relentless criticism arriving from every corner of the world, Acapulco mayor Luis Walton today implored Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto for help - with tears in his eyes.

Two lynched in Edomex, as Mexicans resort to self-help

Angry locals take the law into their own hands

Guadalajara -
In a nation which at times seems a footstep away from civil meltdown, two suspected criminals were killed by a mob this afternoon. The Mexican press headlined it a "lynching."

The events occurred in Ecatepec de Morelos, a city in the State of Mexico (Edomex). Edomex is just beyond the limits of Mexico City. Enrique Peña Nieto served as governor of Edomex from 2005 to 2011. He was elected president July 1, and assumed national office Dec. 1, 2012.

Gunmen ambush police patrol in war torn Guerrero state, leaving nine officers dead

What next in besieged state?

*Updated Feb. 9*
Guadalajara -
The news just keeps getting worse for the Mexican state of Guerrero.

Forty-eight hours after disaster befell six Spanish tourists in Acapulco, news services report that an armed commando squad ambushed a local police patrol and killed nine officers Tuesday evening. The attack occurred about 9:30 p.m. near the small town of Tepoztepec, in the municipality of Apaxtla de Castrejón. The area is northeast of Acapulco and south of Mexico City.

International press bombards Acapulco: "a death zone"

Acapulco hotels are "almost vacant, the boardwalks are empty and waiters in restaurants pass their time rearranging tables and chairs for guests who never arrive" - Spanish newspaper ABC

*Updated Feb. 13 - Six arrested*
Guadalajara -
In the wake of Monday's brutal attack against six young Spanish tourists who had just arrived in the city on vacation, the world press, especially in Europe, is showing Acapulco no quarter.

The women were repeatedly raped by a gang of heavily armed, hooded men over a period of three hours. A Mexican companion with them was spared the sexual assault, but was robbed of all her belongings, as were the Spaniards. Spanish tourists raped, robbed on Acapulco beach front.

Body of Ukrainian murder victim remains in Mérida, nearly six weeks after his death

Search continues for the prime suspect - his wife - who may have fled Mexico through Belize

Mérida, Yucatán -
The body of a Ukrainian man killed in late December near the historic town of Valladolid and the famous Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá has yet to be claimed, a local news service reports.

Oleksandr Batychko, 25, was found next to his rented car on an isolated rural property Jan. 7. He'd been dead for days, according to state forensic investigators, and his remains were in an advanced state of decomposition. Batychko was eventually identified by DNA analysis, with test samples submitted by family members in the eastern European nation.

The victim and his wife arrived on the Yucatán peninsula in late 2012, renting a car in Play del Carmen. Items found in the vehicle suggested they were headed west to visit the ruins, and perhaps to Mérida, which is but two hours away.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"Image of Acapulco" is on the line, admits its mayor

"Guerrero cumple" - Guerrero does its job - is the state's motto; but Spain's Foreign Ministry warns its citizens against travel to Acapulco, calling it a "zone of special danger"

*Feb. 13 - Six arrested*
Guadalajara -
City and state officials in Acapulco are scrambling this morning to reassure the world that their town is safe for visitors, while they try to track down the men who brutally attacked a group of young Spanish women early Monday (Spanish tourists raped, robbed on Acapulco beach front).

Monday, February 4, 2013

Mexican Attorney General: Pemex explosion an accident

"No evidence of a bomb" at the scene where 37 lost their lives

Guadalajara -
The Attorney General of Mexico is conducing a press conference at this hour concerning the cause of last week's devastating blast at Pemex Tower B2 in Mexico City (Huge explosion at Pemex offices in Mexico City).

The explosion has claimed 37 lives as of today. Many other victims remain hospitalized. Some are in critical condition.

Spanish tourists raped, robbed on Acapulco beach front

Victims had arrived on vacation less than 24 hours before

*Updated Feb. 13 - Six arrested*
Guadalajara -
Six Spanish women vacationing in Acapulco were attacked on a beach front rental property early this morning by unknown assailants who raped and robbed them. A Mexican woman with them suffered a similar fate.

The assault occurred about 1:30 a.m. in Acapulco's Diamond Zone.

The seven women were lodging in a bungalow on San Ándrés Playa Encantada. The location on the map above is approximate.

An expanding U.S. presence in Latin drug wars, says AP

"Key focus area" is now just beyond Mexico's southern frontier

Guadalajara -
An Associated Press report monitored by Spanish language news agencies, including this one, concludes that the U.S. is enlarging its presence throughout Latin America as it seeks to bolster fledgling regimes which face threats to their very existence at the hands of organized crime.

Most of those regimes are in Central America, where international narcotics traffickers have partially shifted operations after enduring years of heavy pressure from Mexican military forces. Former president Felipe Calderón launched the drug war in this country on Dec. 11, 2006, and soon adopted a National Security Strategy based upon the use of combat troops, especially crack marine units. In two reports published in 2012 the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) noted that the approach was working, pushing criminals southward across Mexico's border with Guatemala. New president Enrique Peña Nieto, who took office on Dec. 1, has indicated that he'll stick with the strategy, even promising to ratchet up the pressure by adding 75,000 units to federal paramilitary forces (Human Rights Watch's condemnation of Mexican drug war reveals how little it understands about conflict).

Crime with "impunity" still the norm in much of Mexico

"There is a generalized lack of confidence in Mexico that justice will be done" - Guadalajara's Roman Catholic archbishop, José Francisco Robles Cardinal Ortega, from the pulpit Feb. 3.

Guadalajara -
Justice is blind is a common saying in Anglo-American courts. Determined only to carry out the mandate of the law, she does not concern herself with the wealth, political power or station in society of those standing before her.

In the case of many Mexican courts, justice is blind, too, in the most literal sense of the word. In almost 90% of criminal complaints filed by citizens, the guilty parties are never identified by law enforcement officials, or receive little or no punishment when brought before local tribunals with penal jurisdiction.

The striking data, reviewed by news agencies here, is drawn from the 2012 Encuesta Nacional de Victimización y Percepción de la Seguridad Pública - the National Survey of of Victimization and Perceptions of Public Security.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Gay alliance charges that Yucatán legislature has shelved its petition for approval of same sex marriages

Rumbles of litigation, as state representatives straddle the fence

*Updated Feb. 10*
Mérida, Yucatán -
A coalition of 16 organizations here is demanding that the state legislature immediately authorize same sex unions.

But the Colectivo Matrimonio para Todos y Todas - which can be rougly translated as the "Marriage Collective for All Men and All Women" - says legislators are ignoring them.

The coalition delivered its request to the legislative body on Nov. 27, but has heard nothing since. "We're worried the proposal is in the freezer," a spokesman said yesterday.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Human Rights Watch's latest condemnation of Mexican drug war reveals how little it understands conflict

MGR Opinion
Ivory tower - n. A place or attitude of retreat, especially preoccupation with lofty, remote or intellectual considerations rather than practical everyday life.

Guadalajara -
Thank God for the Mexican army. Thank God for Mexican naval and marine forces. All are at the forefront of the brutal drug war, which today entered its 74th month. Without them, Mexico in 2013 might look more like Somalia did in the 1990s. Guadalajara, more like Mogadishu. A failed state.