Sunday, March 31, 2013

Mexican drug traffickers find ready assistance in mules carrying American passports

MGR News Analysis -

Guadalajara -
Drugs move north, while guns and obscene amounts of cash move south.

That's the way the Mexican drug war - correction, the U.S. drug war being played out on Mexican soil - works.

Mexico and its Central American neighbors contend that 90% of the drugs moving through their sovereign territory are U.S. bound, a proposition with which the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime concurs (Guatemalan ambassador warns of growing Los Zeta drug cartel presence in his country). And it's long been clear that American arms provide the vast amount of firepower in the hands of drug cartels and organized crime (The Second Amendment, NRA leave their mark in Mexico). Some traffickers enjoy such global presence that they conduct operations north of the border like legitimate business entities (Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel has 90% market domination in U.S., even licensing sales territories).

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Washington Post has high praise for Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexican congress

American legislators should take their cue from Mexico's, say editors

Guadalajara -
In a lead editorial published yesterday, The Washington Post praised the policies of Institutional Revolutionary Party president Enrique Peña Nieto, and suggested the U.S. Congress would benefit by emulating Mexico's pragmatic, task oriented federal legislature.

Mexico's Grand Bargaining, which appeared March 29, is being heavily reported in the national Spanish press this weekend.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Confidence checks for local police forces still far behind schedule in 60% of Mexican states

*Updated May 6*
Guadalajara -
One of the hallmarks of Mexico's National Security Strategy, implemented by former president Calderón in December 2006, was the substitution of local police forces with federal military units in the war against drug traffickers and organized crime.

Reliance on troops was necessary because internal corruption in police departments, especially at the municipal level, had reached staggering proportions. Thousands were on criminal payrolls. Mexico has about 450,000 state and local officers, and now all must pass lie detectors and background checks (Weeding out corruption is daunting task in Mexico - polygraphs await half a million). The project has proceeded much slower than anticipated, but it's critical in a country where an average police salary is $300 dollars a month (Honesty checks for Mexican local, state police proceed at a snail's pace).

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Two Canadians, two Mexicans and a bar tab of $9,415

Fraud takes many forms in tourist hot spots

*Updated May 7*
Cancún, Quintana Roo -
The troubles in this city just don't end. Cancún woes.

It began simply enough, as many Riviera Maya escapades do. But it ended with two Canadian tourists and their new Mexican buddies standing before the Public Ministry for the customary perp shot.

The group decided to visit a local watering hole called The Executive Tuesday afternoon. There they freely imbibed, although how much no one seems quite certain. A Spanish press account reports the men ordered "several rounds."

Barack Obama will visit Mexico in May

Guadalajara -
Mexico's Office of Foreign Secretary announced yesterday that president Barack Obama has accepted an invitation from president Enrique Peña Nieto to visit the country the first week of May.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Same sex marriage arrives at the U.S. Supreme Court - and at the Mexican Supreme Court

MGR Legal Analysis -
Same issue, but very different technical questions confront American and Mexican judges

*Updated June 26 - U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage, in a nutshell*
Guadalajara -
The United States Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday and today on gay marriage issues. A summary of the legal questions in the two cases under consideration north of the border can be found in this MGR article: Mexico's Supreme Court takes another step towards nationwide recognition of gay marriage.

Although both countries by chance are grappling with the controversial subject at the same time in history, the issues are decidedly different. American constitutional law and history varies dramatically from Mexico's. The United States is a common law nation, which means it follows the legal traditions and reasoning processes employed in British Commonwealth courts for hundreds of years. Mexico's legal system was inherited from Spain and thus bears all the hallmarks of continental (European) law, which developed along very different avenues while Anglo-Saxon notions of justice were being worked out on the other side of the English Channel. It's logical that the highest tribunals of the two nations would see contemporary social issues in a rather different light.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel has 90% market domination in U.S., even licensing sales territories to other traffickers

Drug cartels utilize modern business models to saturate American markets

*Updated Mar. 29*
Guadalajara -
On Feb. 14 the Chicago Crime Commission named Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán "Public Enemy # 1."

It was the first time the Commission had invoked the term since the Prohibition-era struggle against American gangsters in the early 20th century. The CCC, which follows crime trends, picked Al Capone for its newly created award of dubious distinction in 1930.

"Since the Commission was founded 94 years ago, no other criminal has so merited the title," said its president J.R. Davis last month. "In my opinion, Guzmán is the new Capone," said Davis. "But by comparison, really, Capone was an amateur." Chicago calls El Chapo Guzmán "Public Enemy # 1."

Sunday, March 24, 2013

American death reported in Guadalajara suburb

Guadalajara -
MGR has learned of the murder of a U.S. citizen in Zapopan in February.

Kyle Eugene Kester, 38, was found shot to death in his partially completed home in Colonia Bosque de la Capilla on Feb. 10. Investigators concluded he had been killed more than two days before.

Zapopan is a sprawling suburban community which encircles most of Guadalajara proper.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Seven Federal Police officers executed in Guerrero

Guadalajara -
Seven Federal Police officers were executed early today in Guerrero state, northwest of Acapulco.

The off-duty officers were drinking in a bar in Ciudad Altamiran when a commando team entered the establishment and opened fire, killing all the men before they could respond. The assailants fled after firing at several houses in the town of about 30,000.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Cancún under first "Red Alert" in its history, while authorities focus on local Los Zetas-Gulf Cartel links

Military units, state and local police will be under integrated control to confront Q.R. regional violence

*Updated Apr. 13*
Cancún, Quintana Roo -
The entire city of Cancún was placed under a municipal security "Red Alert" yesterday morning for the first time in its history. The action followed two drug war murders in the preceding 24 hours, and a brutal machine gun attack at a bar last week which left seven people dead.

The alert means that military forces and federal, state and local police will operate under integrated control.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quintana Roo prosecutor confirms: expanding Gulf Cartel likely behind three recent Riviera Maya atrocities

Los Zeta defections show that endlessly shifting alliances are the only constant in Mexico's drug war

*Updated Mar. 25*
Cancún, Quintana Roo -
The state motto of this tropical Caribbean paradise is the "Free and Sovereign State of Quintana Roo."

And while the words may conjure up patriotic sentiments, some might argue that the name bears little relationship to the reality of daily life in the gateway to Mexico's Riviera Maya.

On May 9, 2012, a 26 year old waitress - a single mom trying to make her way in life - was killed instantly by deadly .9 mm rounds when AK-47 wielding assassins arrived at the Sports Bar Harem 95 at 2:30 a.m. The target of the attack was Graham Anguiano Interián, a Los Zetas drug wholesaler who delivered narcotics to the bar almost every day. There is some evidence that local police might have had advance knowledge of the event. Attack on Cancún sports bar leaves young waitress dead.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mexico's Tourism Dept. expects drop in 2012 rankings

Guadalajara -
Mexico's chief tourism official announced today that her country will likely drop at least one or two places in popularity rankings maintained by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Claudia Ruiz Massieu said she didn't have final figures yet, but that Mexico would probably fall from tenth position, which it held in the last travel year reported by WTO. Ruiz attributed the drop to visitor security concerns.

Drug war, common crime are killing off Mexico's future

Both victims and perpetrators are overwhelmingly under 30, study finds

Guadalajara -
In October 2011 a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime study reported that in Mexico and Latin America, youth itself is the primary risk factor for homicide. Last week the World Bank seconded that conclusion.

Between 2000 and 2010, 38% of murder victims in this nation were 10-29 years old, according to the Bank's report entitled "Juvenile Violence in Mexico."

And in the 24 month period between 2008 and 2010, the homicide rate for the group tripled. For every 100,000 people in that age range, 25.5 end up being another murder statistic.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Venezuelan president warns Barack Obama of U.S. plot to assassinate opposition candidate

Nicolás Maduro promises to protect his political opponent from "ultra right" Washington conspiracy

*Updated Mar. 19*
Guadalajara - Less than two weeks after the death of Hugo Chávez, interim Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro says he is warning Barack Obama of a U.S. backed plot to assassinate an opposition candidate in the nation's upcoming April 14 election.

Chávez succumbed to cancer on Mar. 5 after a two year fight with the illness. Hugo Chávez is dead, Venezuela reports. Maduro, the country's vice president and long time lieutenant of Chávez, was hand picked by the firey leftist leader to succeed him and to continue the "Bolivarian socialist revolution."

The opposition candidate on the right is 40 year old attorney Henrique Capriles Radonski, who ran against Chávez in Venezuela's Oct. 7 presidential election. Chávez won handily with 55% of the vote. As Venezuelans head to the polls, Hugo Chávez proves all the prophets wrong.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Quintana Roo governor admits: many Cancún taxi drivers are on cartel payrolls

Roberto Borge also acknowledges that corrupt municipal police may be part of the problem

*Updated Mar. 25*
Cancún, Quintana Roo -
Quintana Roo governor Roberto Borge Angulo has acknowledged something that MGR and the local Spanish press in this state have long reported: taxi drivers in Cancún, Playa del Carmen and other tourist centers often work as salesmen for vicious drug cartels locked in a brutal war for markets.

The 33 year old Institutional Revolutionary Party governor admitted yesterday that many Cancún drivers are in the service of the powerful cartels as street peddlers. He said the state would open a formal investigation. Borge's remarks came less than 24 hours after unknown gunmen launched a bloody attack against a bar where several drivers were gathered Thursday evening, including a syndicate boss. Press sources have reported that the victims had links to the Los Zetas drug cartel. Machine gun attack on Cancún tavern kills seven.

Huge cost of consumer credit in Mexico is going up again

Guadalajara -
It costs a lot to borrow money for ordinary consumer purchases in Mexico. And it will cost even more in the year ahead, according to a study released this week by Banxico, the nation's central bank.

In 2012 the total annual cost of credit, known here as CAT, increased an average one to five percent on most bank cards. Annual interest rates now range from a low of 41.6% to high of 88.3%.

The Mexican CAT is the direct equivalent of the U.S. APR (annual percentage rate). At a 65% CAT or APR - with minimum required monthly payments - consumer debt can double in less than two years.

Those rates, as Banixco pointed out, are for card holders with a very low credit limit of 4,500 pesos - about $360 USD at today's exchange rate.

Among Mexico's largest banks, the Bancomer Blue card carries a 52.9% annual interest rate; the HSBC Classic, 62%; the Santander Light, 41.6%; the Banamex card, 57% and the Banorte card, 52.5%.

Cancún woes: city manager and Google sign $90K contract to promote tourism; and another U.S. coed alleges bar rape, but refuses to swear out complaint

*Updated Mar. 17*
Cancún, Quintana Roo -
The city of Cancún, whose public image has been adversely affected by daily drug war violence and worrisome security reports by respected U.S. consultants, has just signed a six month, $90,000 contract with search engine giant Google.

Friday, March 15, 2013

U.S. splits over marijuana, but Kansas says it's still illegal in Sunflower State

MGR Legal Analysis -
A defendant who found out he was not in Colorado anymore

Guadalajara -
As Mexico's brutal, 75 month old drug war continues on unabated, political leaders in this country always keep an eye on drug related legislation north of the border, where 90% of the product is shipped every month. The drug trafficking industry which is tearing this country apart exists because of U.S. demand, not Mexican. Former president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa correctly analyzed the problem when he remarked (quite frequently) that living next door to the U.S. is like living in the same apartment building with the biggest drug addict in town.

Vatican already defending Pope Francis, as accusations of his support for Argentine military dictatorship swirl

Critics say Cardinal Bergoglio failed to stand up to military junta during Argentina's "Dirty War"

Guadalajara -
Less than two days after the Roman College of Cardinals elected him the first Latin American pope in the history of the Catholic Church, the Vatican found itself forced to defend Pope Francis from growing accusations of silent acquiescence, if not active support, for the brutal right wing military dictatorship which ran Argentina in the 1970s.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a Jesuit priest and former archbishop of Buenos Aires, was chosen Wednesday to be the spiritual leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. Bergoglio is the first member of the prestigious Society of Jesus, one of the Church's many distinct religious orders, ever to be named pope.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Machine gun attack on Cancún tavern leaves seven dead

A "bloody adjustment of accounts," say authorities, with Los Zetas affiliates the target

*Updated Mar. 17*
Cancún, Quintana Roo -
As this gateway city to Mexico's Riviera Maya prepares for the annual pilgrimage of spring breakers, authorities reported six persons were killed in a machine gun assault against a local bar this evening.

Another half dozen or more were seriously wounded during the attack on an establishment known as La Sirenita.

Drug war terror muzzles much of Mexican press

Some newspapers abandon coverage of organized crime violence to protect staff members

Guadalajara -
No one enjoys immunity from organized crime violence in this country, even if they wear a press ID. In fact, especially if they wear a press ID. And though Mexico made crimes against journalists a federal offense almost a year ago, it hasn't deterred the drug cartels in the least.

On Monday the Mexican news group Zócalo, which owns media outlets in several northern states, announced that it would immediately cease publishing drug war news and stories dealing with organized crime, since "there's no guarantee of protection for the robust exercise of journalism." The decision was made by its editorial board, for the "safety of 1,000 employees and their families."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, former archbishop of Buenos Aires, elected first Latin American pope

Jorge Bergoglio, S.J., will be first non-European to lead Roman Catholic Church

Guadalajara -
The Roman Catholic College of Cardinals today chose Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, as the next pope. He succeeds Benedict XVI, who resigned and retired Feb. 28.

Bergoglio, 76, is an ordained priest of the Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits. The Jesuits are perhaps the most prestigious of all the Roman Catholic orders. They serve principally as educators around the world, at the preparatory, college and university levels. (The Ugly American - and the Jesuits).

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Huge cancellations in Acapulco, as spring breakers go elsewhere and Spain issues new warning for Mexico

Regional violence exacts worrisome economic toll on local commerce

*Updated Mar. 13*
Guadalajara -
Spring Break 2013 in Acapulco is over before it started.

The Guerrero state secretary of tourism said today that based upon information obtained from innkeepers, 80% of spring breakers have canceled their reservations, most of which were for later this month.

Officials reported that at least 4,000 confirmed reservations have been canceled. Another 700 unconfirmed but expected student visitors failed to secure their places in recent weeks. Three hundred spring breakers still plan to visit the world famous resort, which has been besieged by security issues in the past six weeks.

Mexicans divided on drug war effort of new government

Forty percent say organized crime violence has increased since Enrique Peña Nieto took office

*Updated Mar. 21*
Guadalajara -
In a domestic security survey conducted last month by the influential Mexico City newspaper El Universal, 51% of respondents said the new Institutional Revolutionary Party government should continue its struggle against drug cartels and organized crime. But 26% said the effort should be abandoned or reduced, in order "to avoid more violence."

Monday, March 11, 2013

Enrique Peña Nieto's three smart decisions

MGR News Analysis -
At 100 days, new president says PRI is "not going just to administrate Mexico, but to transform it"

*Updated Mar. 21*
Guadalajara -
Shortly before midnight on Friday, Nov. 30, in the first stage of an orderly change of national authority, Felipe Calderón presided over a brief ceremony which transferred control of Mexico's fuerzas armadas to Enrique Peña Nieto. From that moment on, the new president was in charge of all military authority in this country of 112 million. It was a courtesy which Calderón's own predecessor, Vicente Fox, had extended to him exactly six years before.

About 12 hours later, Peña Nieto took the formal oath of office before senators, deputies and others in the lower legislative chamber, the Cámara de Diputados, and the passing of the baton was complete.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Jalisco Tourism Secretary assassinated in Guadalajara

Murder could have devastating impact on Jalisco's reputation for visitor safety

*Updated May 14*
Guadalajara -
The State of Jalisco Secretary of Tourism, José de Jesús Gallegos Álvarez, was assassinated about 3:15 p.m. today in the suburban community of Zapopan.

Gallegos was shot at the intersection of Acueducto and Avenida Patria. The area is northwest of central Guadalajara and Colonia Americana.

Initial reports from the scene indicate that Gallegos, who was in his car, was chased by multiple assailants traveling in "luxury SUVs," a type of vehicle commonly used by drug cartel and organized crime operatives.

They fired several times at Gallegos' car, according to police and witnesses, and blocked his path. A reporter said 25 or 30 ejected shells were on the ground close to where Gallegos' car came to a halt.

Hugo Chávez' cancer was caused by "imperialist poisoning," alleges Bolivian president Evo Morales

MGR's Opinion -
They're chewing way too much cooca leaf in La Paz

*Updated Mar. 16*
Guadalajara -
Funeral services for late Venezuelan president Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías concluded yesterday, and most world leaders who attended have left Caracas or are winging their way home today.

Chávez died Tuesday afternoon after a two year bout with an officially undisclosed form of cancer. Sources have reported that an aggressive prostate cancer eventually spread to his lymphatic system, colon and bones. Hugo Chávez is dead, Venezuela reports.

Not true, says Bolivian president Evo Morales, one of Chávez' closest personal friends and among his staunchest allies. The leader of the "Bolivarian revolution" was, in net effect, murdered, he claims.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Another bridge hanging in Mexico, this time in Saltillo

On Peña Nieto's 99th day in office, acts of terror and intimidation continue unabated across Mexico

Guadalajara -
Three men "wrapped like mummies," according to local press accounts, were found hanging from a bridge early this morning in Saltillo, in the northeastern Mexican state of Coahuila.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

U.S. security consultant Stratfor urges tourist caution in Acapulco, Cancún, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and others

Drug traffickers, cartels and local gangs pose risk for travelers to Mexico's most famous destinations

"This worsening security situation already has caused problems for expatriates in Mexico in 2013"
- Stratfor Global Intelligence, March 7, 2013

Guadalajara -
In language which mirrors dozens of recent MGR reports, the U.S. security consulting firm Stratfor today included four of Mexico's once most prestigious tourist resorts as locations suffering from highly compromised security. It warned travelers to be on special guard when visiting them, due to the spillover effect of regional narco violence as well as ordinary street crime carried out by local gangs.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Peña Nieto's drug war czar says no to Mexican militias

MGR News Analysis -
Rise of citizen "self-defense" units presents headache for new PRI administration

*Jan. 31, 2014 - Mexican prosecutor: Jalisco drug cartel armed Michoacán autodefensas*
*Jan. 24, 2014 - Enrique Peña Nieto's top domestic security adviser resigns*

Guadalajara -
Although president Enrique Peña Nieto has been in office for almost 100 days, we've heard surprisingly little from one of his key advisers who was much in the news in the days following the Institutional Revolutionary Party's July 1 victory.

That man is former Colombian general Óscar Naranjo, whose official title is national security adviser to the president.

In reality Naranjo is, or was supposed to be, Peña Nieto's primary drug war strategist. MGR first wrote about him a week after EPN was elected, pointing out that his plan of action offered little distinction from former president Felipe Calderón's. Security consultant elaborates on "new" Mexican drug war strategy - but is it?

Mexican Supreme Court: anti-gay comments are hate speech, not free speech, and are not legally protected

Mexico agrees with Canada, disagrees with the United States on critical constitutional issues

Guadalajara -
In an important case of first impression, Mexico's Supreme Judicial Court today declared that anti-gay comments and "homophobic" speech are not protected by the nation's federal charter, the country's core law.

The landmark ruling made it clear that there are limits on free speech. Article 6 of the Mexican constitution provides, "The free expression of ideas shall not be the subject of judicial or administrative inquiry or trial" - language which is quite similar to guarantees found in the U.S. constitution's First Amendment. But in today's ruling, Div. 1 of the nation's highest tribunal said crude comments suggesting homosexuality is an inferior lifestyle are inherently discriminatory, and find no legitimate defense in that constitutional provision.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

All the President's Men

MGR Opinion -
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
- Edmund Burke, 1729-1797

*Updated Mar. 7*
It's not MGR's practice merely to link stories written or posted by other websites or news services. Nor does MGR usually comment on non-Latin affairs.

But for every rule there is an exception, and this is most assuredly one of them.

Hugo Chávez is dead, Venezuela reports

A long goodbye in Caracas

Guadalajara -
Venezuelan president Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías has died in Caracas after a two year bout with cancer, the government reported this afternoon.

The fiery leftist leader and impassioned critic of U.S. foreign policy had led his country since 1999, and was handily reelected last October.

In June 2011 Chávez acknowledged that he was ill with an undisclosed condition. Reports quickly surfaced that he suffered from aggressive prostate cancer which eventually spread to other organs, including his lymphatic system, colon and bones.

Chávez received virtually all of his medical care, which included multiple surgeries and repeated chemotherapy treatments, in Havana. Many predicted he wouldn't live long enough to participate in last fall's presidential election.

Mexican deputies strip office holders and public servants of immunity from criminal prosecution

Politics make strange bedfellows, but two parties agree: no more indefinite delays for dirty politicians

*Updated Mar. 6*
Guadalajara -
Mexico's Cámara de Diputados, the nation's lower legislative chamber, is today debating a measure to strip federal representatives of temporary immunity from criminal prosecution while they hold office.

The fuero, as it's called, is an historic and highly controversial protection enjoyed by legislators and government functionaries for generations. Under the fuero, which has its foundation in the country's constitution, senators, deputies, governors and other officials in Mexico have been immunized from prosecution during their tenure in office. By the time they resigned, retired or lost a reelection bid the evidence against them might be so stale that successful prosecution was no longer possible, or key witnesses might have died or disappeared. The fuero has protected many a Mexican politician who wanted to delay a courtroom appearance indefinitely, or avoid it altogether.

Canadian tourists, 60 and 65, injured in Acapulco assault

Crimes against foreigners continue

*Updated Mar. 6*
Guadalajara -
A Canadian couple on vacation in Acapulco was robbed and assaulted last night in the famous resort city's Zona Dorado.

They had just left a restaurant called El Zorrito when three young men approached them. The motive was robbery.

The 60 year old female victim sustained a stab wound to the left leg, according to a press account. Her husband, said to be about 65, suffered a similar injury to his head. Both were transported to a hospital by emergency personnel.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Cancún prepares for influx of spring breakers with strong display of military muscle - and "zero tolerance for crime"

"Special forces on Cancún streets"

*Updated Mar. 22*
Cancún, Quintana Roo -
This world famous gateway to Mexico's Riviera Maya says it's ready to protect tens of thousands of spring breakers who will be flooding into town later this month. Or so city and state authorities hope. Cancún, no longer an oasis for most.

Four police officers kidnapped, executed in Sinaloa state on Mexico's Pacific coast

Local law enforcement personnel remain prime targets of Mexican sicarios nationwide

Guadalajara -
Seven persons were kidnapped early this morning in the municipality of El Rosario, 50 kilometers southeast of the Pacific coast resort city of Mazatlán.

All were later found shot to death near the town of Ojo de Agua. Four of the victims were municipal police officers in Rosario. Mayor Edgar González Satarain confirmed their deaths.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Enrique Peña Nieto to PRI: "There are no untouchable interests; the sole interest is protecting all Mexicans"

EPN charts new political course while fat cat labor leader, a former PRI boss, awaits her legal fate

*Updated Mar. 5 - no bail for Elba Esther Gordillo*
Guadalajara -
Less than a week after Mexican federal prosecutors charged a powerful and once well connected labor leader with embezzlement, tax evasion and organized crime activity, president Enrique Peña Nieto today told the 21st national assembly of the Institutional Revolutionary Party that PRI's "only interest is the national interest."

Peña Nieto's comments had special significance coming just days after the arrest of teachers' union boss Elba Esther Gordillo, who today sits in jail awaiting preliminary legal proceedings in a case which could land the 68 year old woman in prison for life. Gordillo was once a popular PRI insider.

Friday, March 1, 2013

100 police officers and soldiers killed in PRI's first 90 days

"Enrique Peña Nieto will have no option other than to leave the army on the streets for the indefinite future; he has very little flexibility" - U.S. security consultant firm Stratfor, in a December 2012 report

*Updated Mar. 10*
Guadalajara -
In the first three months of president Enrique Peña Nieto's new Institutional Revolutionary Party government, 100 police officers and soldiers lost their lives across the country.

Seventy percent of the cases were in just five of Mexico's 32 separate jurisdictions. The states and the number of officials (federal, state or local) who were killed are: Michoacán (17), Jalisco (16), Chihuahua (13), Durango (12) and Edomex (11). Edomex is the State of Mexico, just beyond Mexico City.

Mexican drug traffickers murder two Guatemalan National Police agents near Chiapas border

Guadalajara -
Two agents of Guatemala's National Civil Police force (PNC) were ambushed and killed Wednesday by gunmen who authorities say were Mexican drug traffickers. A third officer was gravely wounded.

The PNC unit was on routine patrol in Huehuetenango department, near the border with the Mexican state of Chiapas, when it encountered a convoy of vehicles traveling down the Inter-American highway. Guatemala is divided into 22 regional departments, which are smaller than U.S. states but larger than most of its counties. The area is directly south of the Yucatán peninsula (map below).

Police say the number and type of vehicles driven by the heavily armed men, together with the caliber of weapons they used in the assault, leaves no doubt as to the nature of their business. Cartel operatives are thick in the region.