Saturday, May 31, 2014

List of Mexican drug war "disappearances" was grossly overstated from the beginning, says its attorney general

"They went out for cigarettes . . ."

Guadalajara -
In the last months of the administration of former president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa and the early ones of president Enrique Peña Nieto, the international press had a field day reporting that over 25,000 persons had supposedly vanished during the first six years of Mexico's drug war (2006-2012). The strong implication was that many if not most had been kidnapped and executed by government police and military forces.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mexican high court: DNA results are but one element in resolving question of legal paternity

Guadalajara -
In a case of first impression, Mexico's Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that a legal presumption of paternity based solely upon the presence of a father's name on the child's birth certificate will not prohibit DNA evidence establishing the contrary.

A five judge panel of the 11 member tribunal found that the admission of DNA results would guarantee a child's "natural right" to the determination of his biological identity, a right which the court said is of "unquestioned constitutional dimension."

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mexican security forces capture Gulf Cartel kingpin

Guadalajara -
Mexican army, marine, and federal police units today arrested Juan Manuel Rodríguez García, a man authorities allege is at the top of the Gulf Cartel's hierarchical structure.

Mexican National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido García called Rodríguez García one of the principal leaders of the cartel in Tamaulipas, in charge of drug and human trafficking and allegedly responsible for the kidnapping of thousands of northbound immigrants, most from Central America. The victims were asked to work for the Gulf Cartel. If they refused, they were executed.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Mexico slashes 2014 growth projection, on sluggish first quarter economic performance

Guadalajara -
Mexico's Finance Ministry today cut its projection for 2014 growth from 3.9% to 2.7%, as the release of first quarter economic data had officials scrambling to paint a bright picture in the face of yet again disappointing results.

The revised forecast - a 31% reduction from the Ministry's previous estimate in December 2013 - had been widely expected for weeks. Today's publication of first quarter economic results by the National Institute of Statistics (INEGI), an autonomous agency charged with compiling such data, required the Ministry to delay no longer.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Los Zetas boss of Ciudad Victoria captured by Mexican troops, government reports

The most wanted narcos continue toppling

Guadalajara -
Moments ago Mexican National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido García announced that the highest ranking member of the Los Zetas drug cartel in Ciudad Victoria, capital of the border state of Tamaulipas, was taken into custody by military units on Saturday (May 17).

Juan Fernando Álvarez Cortez, alias "El Ferrari," was arrested by Mexican marines.

Huge salaries of Mexican Supreme Court judges far outstrip their judicial brethren, north and south

Guadalajara -
Last week the high pay earned by many Mexican public school teachers made national headlines. The story still has not completely died out. On Mexican National Teachers' Day, the sweet racket carved out by their powerful unions is exposed.

Judicial salaries in this country, particularly those of the nation's highest tribunal, could soon join teachers' wages under the public loupe.

Monday, May 19, 2014

In Campeche, the death of a brave forcado

"To show his nervousness was not shameful; only to admit it” - Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon (1932)

Guadalajara -
Eduardo del Villar of Hidalgo state died Sunday afternoon while performing as a forcado in Campeche, a small state on Mexico's western Yucatán peninsula.

Villar, 26, was rushed to a local hospital, where died from a massive injury to the femoral artery in his left thigh after being gored by a bull. He bled to death.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

With an easy majority, Gustavo Madero retains the helm of Mexico's National Action Party

Ernesto Cordero (left) and Gustavo Madero kept the lid on the contest, with victory in 2018 the ultimate goal of both men

Guadalajara -
Gustavo Madero Muñoz has been elected to again lead Mexico's center right National Action Party (PAN), capturing 56.7% of the ballots cast by the rank and file today.

More than 156,000 of the party's 217,000 active members voted. Today's direct election of the party chair was the first ever held by PAN, which was founded almost 75 years ago, in September 1939. Previously the position was filled by committees or party bosses.

Results of the intraparty contest were released by PAN officials Sunday evening, the day on which all Mexican political elections are held.

"I want to open PAN's doors to every Mexican, and make it the strongest party in this country," said Madero after the tally was announced. He will be sworn in for his second term Thursday.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Mexico takes down Guerrero organized crime boss

Two narco kingpins in the same week

Guadalajara -
For the second time this week, Mexican National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido García has taken to the podium to announce the capture of a major drug cartel operative.

Leonor Nava Romero, alias The Tiger, was taken into custody Friday in the southwestern state of Guerrero (Acapulco), his base of operations. Nava Romero was boss of a group known as Los Rojos. He has been transported to Mexico City and turned over to the Organized Crime Strike Force (SEIDO), to be questioned by federal prosecutors.

To dozens of others, Mexico now adds one more National Day - this one against Homophobia

*Updated May 19*
Guadalajara -
It is no exaggeration to say that virtually every week brings one or two "National Days" in Mexico. Almost everybody and everything gets recognized in this country sooner or later. Teachers, nurses, police, doctors, soldiers, sailors, airmen, firemen, and dozens of others. Today a new theme was added - Mexico's first ever National Day Against Homophobia, an event heralded by president Enrique Peña Nieto in a Twitter message earlier today.

"Because we're making Mexico a country of equality and not one of discrimination, today we celebrate for the first time the National Day of the Fight Against Homophobia," wrote Peña Nieto. The executive office of the presidency announced that this date was chosen because on May 17, 1990, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

Guadalajara University students show poor command of English, latest testing reveals

Guadalajara -
English is regarded by most Mexican students as indispensable to career success. It is easily their number one foreign language choice, followed by French in distant third place. Without a firm foundation in English, many doors are closed to young job seeking professionals, especially in technical careers, medicine and science. But while most university matriculants here will readily claim that they "speak English," competency testing conducted by the University of Guadalajara (UdeG) over the past year clearly demonstrates otherwise.

The university reports that of 12,000 students it tested in recent months, 7,000 were at the lowest level, or had virtually no knowledge of English. Of the remaining 5,000, half were rated at the highest level of ability. The other 2,500 fell at different levels, from low to intermediate to advanced.

Survey: Mexicans remain overwhelmingly opposed to marijuana legalization, by a 70% margin

*Updated May 18*
Guadalajara -
A study commissioner by Mexico's lower federal legislative chamber, the Cámara de Diputados, has found that Mexicans remain firm in their opposition to the legalization of any drug, including marijuana, even as the nation carries on its 89 month old struggle against dozens of cartels and organized crime gangs which ship most of their products to consumers in the United States. Who is committed to the drug war?

Seven of every 10 respondents surveyed by the Centro de Estudios Sociales y de Opinión Pública (CESOP) said no when asked if cannabis should be legal, while two said it should be.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Judge frees Michoacán militia leader on murder charges

"There is solid evidence against him" - Federal Security Commissioner Alfredo Castillo, Mar. 11

*Updated May 17*
Guadalajara -
Hipólito Mora, a prominent former autodefensas leader in Buenavista Tomatlán county in western Michoacán state and a well known spokesman for the movement, was freed this evening from a maximum security prison where he had been held since Mar. 11 on homicide charges.

Federal prosecutor: more bodies in narco grave site on Lake Chapala outskirts

"We don't treat these victims as just a number" - Mexican Human Rights Division chief

Guadalajara -
Last November MGR reported on the discovery of 74 cadavers in a so-called narcofosa, a clandestine grave site where drug war execution victims are quietly buried by those who killed them.

Mexico announces capture of another top Zeta, Z-16, in Monterrey

Will the real Z-16 please stand up?

Guadalajara -
Less than 48 hours after revealing its new strategy for combating organized crime violence in the border state of Tamaulipas, the PRI administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto announced yesterday that it had captured one of the 12 most wanted drug traffickers in the country. Feds announce security plan for bleeding Tamaulipas.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

On Mexican National Teachers' Day, the sweet racket carved out by their powerful unions is exposed

70 syndicate members earn more than the President of the Republic

Guadalajara -
A study released yesterday by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO) revealed that nonexistent "phantom" schools pay millions of pesos monthly to persons carried on their books as teachers, while some states are still issuing payroll checks to teachers as old as 102.

At least 70 public school teachers earn more than president Enrique Peña Nieto does, IMCO reported. Those highest paid teachers earn an average of 193,458 pesos a month, or about $15,000 USD at today's exchange rate.

Peña Nieto's 2014 pay is about $20,500 USD per month, but that does not include extensive benefits beyond base salary.

IMCO identified one teacher in the southwestern state of Oaxaca whose 2013 monthly salary was 603,000 pesos, more than $46,000 USD.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Andrés Manuel López Obrador: "Peña Nieto is the new Calderón"

In Tamaulipas: "They confront violence with violence, but never address the root causes" - AMLO

Guadalajara -
The voice of Mexico's ultra-Left - two time presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador - was quick to respond yesterday to the administration's announcement that the federal government will greatly expand its role in fighting organized crime near the Texas border, where narcotics traffickers have rendered the region a virtual war zone. Feds announce security plan for bleeding Tamaulipas.

Referring to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) government of president Enrique Peña Nieto, and its predecessor, the National Action Party (PAN) administration of president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa (in office 2006-2012), López Obrador said, "they're the same thing."

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Feds announce security plan for bleeding Tamaulipas

Michoacán, déjà vu

Guadalajara -
One hundred and fifty days ago today, Mexico's Secretary of Government Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong stood before a packed press conference in Morelia, Michoacán and announced an emergency plan to save the state, which was bordering on civil war.

This afternoon he delivered a similar speech, but this time from a podium in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, the latest ground zero in Mexico's 89 month old drug war. On the border: Tamaulipas, now a virtual Michoacán II.

Matazetas ambush, kill four Mexican soldiers in Jalisco

Guadalajara -
Presumed members of Mexico's violent Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), commonly known as Los Matazetas, or the Zeta Killers, ambushed a Mexican army convoy west of Guadalajara early Monday evening, killing four soldiers, Two others were seriously wounded.

The unit was on patrol near Guachinango, about half way between the Jaliscan capital and Puerto Vallarta, when it was fired upon just before 5:00 p.m. Monday.

Guachinango, which is both a county and county seat, lies near the Jalisco-Nayarit border (Mexican Federal Police and military units capture 26 Zetas in Nayarit).

Monday, May 12, 2014

On the border: Tamaulipas, now a virtual Michoacán II

A fierce regional drug war rages on near Texas, as locals implore Mexico City for help

Guadalajara -
Just as the administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto can claim with some degree of credibility that things have finally taken a turn for the better in Michoacán, where self-armed citizens managed to evict a violent drug cartel which held a stranglehold over many communities for years, the border state of Tamaulipas is now demanding his full attention. A rising security crisis there may be every bit as severe, if not worse.

Over the past month drug war violence has exploded in Tamaulipas, which lies minutes away from places like Brownsville and McAllen, Texas. The main participants are Los Zetas - still Mexico's most feared organized crime group, for its outrageous atrocities - and the Gulf Cartel. Los Zetas dump 49 bodies in Nuevo Léon.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Rural Defense Force, to the rescue in Michoacán

Guadalajara -
More than 20,000 citizen militiamen in Michoacán went out of business today - at least in theory - as the troubled state's new Rural Defense Force (RDF) replaced them and officially began operations.

In a symbolic ceremony, Federal Security Commissioner Alfredo Castillo handed over uniforms and weapons to the first 100 members of the civilian force. The firearms included .9 mm semiautomatic pistols and Bushmaster AR-15 combat rifles.

"All of you are an example to other communities throughout Mexico. In Michoacán we are showing that we're bigger than our problems, and that citizens and the government are stronger when they work together," said Castillo.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mexico says insecurity costs it $16.6 billion USD annually, and 50 lives a day

"We're not able to say that things are good, but there is reason to say they are getting better" - SEGOB undersecretary

Guadalajara -
In statements which will cast further doubt on claims by the 18th month old administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto that homicides have dropped precipitously since he took office on Dec. 1, 2012, an undersecretary of government acknowledged this week that the country is still recording 50 murders a day, or about 1,500 monthly.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Michoacán's agony continues, as a new cartel may have emerged to replace Templarios on the run

Guadalajara -
Mexican press sources are reporting today that a new cartel has surfaced in troubled Michoacán state, where federal security forces and citizen militias have all but decimated the once omnipotent Los Caballeros Templarios.

The new group is purportedly called La Tercera Hermandad - the Third Brotherhood, or H3 for short. It allegedly consists of Templarios survivors, members of the powerful Guadalajara based Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), which hopes to replace the Templarios, and militia defectors who decided to cast their lot with organized crime.

In Cancún, Peña Nieto bets on tourism, health services

Federal government will invest $14 billion USD in the industry during the next four years

Cancún, Quintana Roo -
While analysts continue to deliver widely divergent opinions on how much Mexico's shaky economy will grow this year, with forecasts changing weekly, the president of the Republic is focused on an economic mainstay: tourism, including the medical variety.

Speaking to businessmen from 60 nations this afternoon in Cancún, Enrique Peña Nieto said that Mexico is well positioned to become a world tourism powerhouse. He promised that the Institutional Revolutionary Party administration would invest 180 billion pesos in the industry during his term in office, the equivalent of almost $14 billion dollars.

MORENA opens campaign to repeal PEMEX reforms

Guadalajara -
Mexico's ultra left National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) announced Monday that it will begin an effort to collect the two million signatures needed to place an energy reform recall petition on the ballot in June 2015. The party hopes to repeal constitutional amendments passed by overwhelming congressional majorities last December, and ratified by Mexico's 32 states in less than a week. Those amendments abolished Mexico's 75 year old state monopoly over Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), and opened the underperforming and chronically cash starved hydrocarbon producer to foreign capital investment and technical partnerships.

Monday, May 5, 2014

On Cinco de Mayo, PRD celebrates its 25th birthday

But the party's ambitious political goals may prove difficult to achieve, as it gambles on PEMEX issues and faces strong dissent from the ultra left wing

Guadalajara -
Mexico's far left Democratic Revolution Party is 25 years old today, and will celebrate the milestone with musical performances this afternoon in Mexico City's enormous Zócalo, the spiritual heart of the sprawling national capital.

National PRD chair Jesús Zambrano said that his party's goal - and admitted challenge - is to "unite the Left, renew its political agenda and create a nation of opportunities for all citizens. PRD is determined to carry out real democratic change" in Mexico, Zambrano added.

"Today the party continues as strong as ever. With firm conviction that Mexico must be fundamentally remade, I hereby declare myself a radical reformist, a revolutionary reformist," said Zambrano in a prepared statement.

In 2014 Mexico's Left finds itself badly divided, despite impressive placings in the presidential contests of 2006 and 2012. Moreover, many Mexicans regard PRD and the other major leftist parties - all of which are far more radical in their proposals and platforms than the former - as anything but reformist oriented. Mexico's Left determined to shackle the nation to the past.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Chapala records 4th murder of foreign resident in 2014

Once again robbery is the motive, with a U.S. national the victim

*Updated June 2 - Chapala in "critical condition," advocacy group claims*
Chapala, Jalisco -
A 90 year old American resident of the Lake Chapala region has died after being severely beaten during an April 22 robbery at his home.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

At Tijuana, Mexican army makes record cannabis seizure

*Updated May 18*
Guadalajara -
Mexico's Dept. of National Defense (SEDENA) announced yesterday the largest drug decommission to date during the 16 month old administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto.

Federal military units deployed in Baja California, assisted by BC state police and Tijuana municipal officers, confiscated over 41 tons of marijuana in a neighborhood just blocks from the international border. "This seizure is the most important yet during the present administration," a SEDENA press release noted, which added that all of the cannabis was destined for the U.S. market.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Jalisco wage earners average $15 per day

"They cannot live with dignity" - State Secretary of Labor

Guadalajara -
The Jalisco Secretary of Labor reported yesterday that six out of 10 employed state residents earn an average of 200 pesos per day. At the current exchange rate of 13 pesos to the dollar, that represents about $15 USD.

"It's not enough for them to live with dignity," said Secretary Eduardo Almaguer, who noted that the demand for local jobs greatly exceeds availability. Mexican unemployment stats paint a bleak picture for the most well educated.

"We are aware of many places that pay only 500 or 700 pesos a week," added Almaguer. "But even better paid manufacturing or industrial sector jobs which average 900 or 1,000 pesos a week are not sufficient."