Weekly updates of important news on Mexico and the U.S.

(Des)Arma Mexico Movement Seeks to End Arms Traffic From U.S.

Posted by jreedbrundage on June 17, 2014

Mexico Institute

06/16/14 Proceso: Denise Dresser – Translated by: Jillian Droste – Mexico Voices

machine gunAs the group behind the “(Des)Arma México” [Disarm Mexico] initiative argues, the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict. Dante Alighieri’s famous saying illustrates what does happen and what is happening to us. Apathetic Mexico faced with violence. Passive Mexico faced with weapons that are produced for them. Paralyzed Mexico faced with a conflict that involves everyone, touches everyone, is everyone’s business. The inarguable fact that more weapons means more murder. And since the United States in 2004 ended the prohibition of the sale of assault weapons, the number of deaths is increasing. Exponentially. Brutally. Tragically.

By 2012 the increase in the percentage of firearm-related deaths since eight years before was already 178%. The number of murders tripled in the face of the authorities’ inability to react and…

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Mexico peace tour: heading into Zetas ‘territory’ –

Posted by jreedbrundage on June 9, 2011

The Caravan for Peace heads into Monterrey – en route to its final destination, Ciudad Juárez – and the streets are deserted.

via Mexico peace tour: heading into Zetas ‘territory’ –

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Supreme Court Passes on Case on Tuition Break for Illegals

Posted by jreedbrundage on June 9, 2011

Supreme Court Passes on Case on Tuition Break for Illegals

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U.S.-Mexico border trade

Posted by jreedbrundage on June 9, 2011

U.S.-Mexico border trade

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Ex-Mexican governor arrested in embezzlement case

Posted by jreedbrundage on June 9, 2011

Mexican police have arrested a former governor on suspicion that he embezzled more than $90 million (about 1 billion pesos) in federal relief funds meant to rebuild hurricane disaster zones.

Prosecutors in the southern state of Chiapas say former Gov. Pablo Salazar was detained in the Yucatan resort of Cancun on Tuesday. He is to be flown to the Chiapas state capital.

Read more:

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The War over Drugs

Posted by jreedbrundage on June 29, 2010

Killing of Mexican governor front-runner stirs concern for democratic process

Rodolfo Torre, the front-runner in this weekend’s gubernatorial election in the … state of Tamaulipas, was ambushed and killed Monday.

A U.S. law enforcement intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Torre killing represented the arrival of a darker and more imminent threat to Mexico in which politicians will increasingly be targeted.

“Targeting politicians in Mexico is not new, but this is a disturbing sign that this will happen on a more systematic level,” said the official, explaining that the killing indicates that the interest of criminal groups goes beyond controlling drug distribution routes and now includes control or influence of key states like Tamaulipas.

“This will only create more anxiety among politicians,” the official said. “It will affect Mexico’s entire political system” as the violence is expected to escalate… June 29, 2010, Dallas Morning News

Mexican state security minister can’t trust her own police

As dozens of gunmen fired more than 2,700 deafening rounds of ammunition, Minerva Bautista crouched on the floor of her heavily armored SUV, screaming into her radio for backup and thinking one thing: “I know help will come.” It was one of the most brazen assaults on a top state official in President Felipe Calderon’s nearly 4-year-old offensive against drug cartels. But there is an even darker side to the story, one that exposes a fundamental flaw in the war: So deep is drug-financed corruption, the lead suspects in the attack on Bautista are the very police she commands. June 28, 2010, LA Times.

Mexican Candidate for Governor Is Assassinated

A popular candidate for governor who had made increased security his prime campaign pledge was killed along with at least four others Monday morning in a brazen attack, rattling a nation already alarmed by surging drug violence. … Gunmen with automatic weapons opened fire on the motorcade of the candidate, Rodolfo Torre Cantú, 46, as he headed to an event in the closing days of the campaign, the authorities said. The murders came during a rise in election-related violence in recent months, including the shooting deaths of a mayoral candidate and of an activist during a get-out-the-vote effort. Explosives have also been thrown at two separate campaign offices this month.

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The War over Drugs

Posted by jreedbrundage on June 25, 2010

More Soldiers in the Streets, More Violence, The Mexican army’s participation in the counternarcotics war led by the government of conservative President Felipe Calderón has triggered a jump in violence in the areas where the troops are on the ground, according to an analysis by a U.S. statistics expert. In the study “Statistical Analysis and Visualisation of the Drug War in Mexico,” published this month on his blog, Diego Valle analyses the homicide rates in some Mexican states and links them to the military operations against the Mexican drug cartels. (However, other experts think differently.) “The violence depends on other factors, such as readjustments in the power of the criminal organisations. It hasn’t been generated by the participation of the armed forces in the fight against crime,” said Mario Cruz, expert from the public Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM). June 25, 2010, InterPress Service

Mexico’s Meth Warriors Mexico’s newest drug cartel, and certainly the most bizarre, is La Familia Michoacana, a violent but Christian fundamentalist narco-gang based in the torrid Tierra Caliente region of western Michoacan state. The group is infamous for methamphetamine smuggling, lopping off enemies’ heads and limbs, and massacring police and soldiers. …U.S. law may have inadvertently aided La Familia’s sudden surge. In 2005, Congress curbed over-the-counter sale of pseudoephedrine, methamphetamine’s main ingredient, causing the number of U.S. meth labs to plummet. But La Familia also controls smuggling at Michoacan’s main port, where massive amounts of illicit pseudoephedrine regularly arrive from Asia. As a result, the cartel could fill the void in the U.S. market for meth. June 28, 2010, Time Magazine

Mexico drug gang threatens Arizona police Police in the Arizona border city of Nogales are on heightened alert after receiving a warning from a Mexican drug cartel that officers may be targeted if they carry out off-duty drug busts, authorities said on Tuesday. June 23, 2010, Reuters

The New Cocaine Cowboys

June 22, 2010, NY Times, OpEd by Robert C. Bonner, senior principal of the Sentinel HS Group, who was administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration from 1990 to 1993 and commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection from 2001 to 2005.…Mexico is in the midst of a battle against powerful drug cartels, the outcome of which will determine who controls the country’s law enforcement, judicial and political institutions. In the last two decades, Mexican drug cartels have acquired unprecedented power to corrupt and intimidate. Three factors account for their rise: pre-existing corruption, the inability of weak law enforcement institutions to counter them, and the demand for illegal drugs in the United States. The situation in Mexico today …is similar to the one that Colombia faced 20 years ago. …There are several lessons to be drawn from Colombia’s successful campaign. First, …A multinational approach, with strong support and assistance from the United States, was essential. Second, the goal must be clear. In Colombia, the objective was to destroy the Cali and Medellín cartels — not to prevent drugs from being smuggled into the United States or to end their consumption. Third, a divide-and-conquer strategy can be effective. …Importantly, Colombia and the United States used the “kingpin strategy” to dismantle the cartels; a strategy that hinged on locating, capturing and incapacitating the kingpins and key lieutenants, while vigorously attacking the vulnerabilities of their organizations, including disrupting their cash flow and sources of supply. In the longer term, law enforcement and judicial institutions must be reformed. ..

Moreover, the limits on the usefulness of the military must be understood. … Militaries are ill-suited to carry out the law enforcement actions necessary to ultimately bring down criminal organizations, including investigations and the use of informants and electronic surveillance to gather evidence. ..Finally, extradition is essential. Imprisonment in the United States was the only thing that Colombian traffickers truly feared. If Mexico takes these lessons to heart and continues to show strong leadership and firm political will, it will rid itself of the cartels for good.     A longer version of this article appears in the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs.

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Migration & the Border

Posted by jreedbrundage on June 25, 2010

Lawmakers across country taking immigration policy into own hands, With widespread attention focused on Arizona’s tough new law against illegal immigration — and a measure approved this week in the small town of Fremont, Neb. — similar proposals are under consideration across the country. Five states — South Carolina, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Michigan — are looking at Arizona-style legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  NDN, a Washington think tank and advocacy group, said lawmakers in 17 other states had expressed support for similar measures.

National Guard to Deploy to Southwest Border, About 1,200 National Guard troops will support the Homeland Security Department in enhancing the security of the nation’s Southwest border, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said here this week. The Guardsmen will assist in ongoing efforts to secure the border and combat cartels, Napolitano said during remarks June 22 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies about ongoing Homeland Security initiatives and new strategies to bolster border security and enforce immigration laws. June 24, 2010, US Dept. of Defense.

Obama administration announces new border security measures, The Obama administration announced Wednesday that it will station an aerial drone in Texas as part of itsstepped-up surveillance of criminal trafficking along the Mexican border….On Tuesday, President Obama asked Congress for $500 million in emergency border security, including two more aerial drones and 1,000 more Border Patrol officers to join 1,200 National Guard troops heading to the region. June 24, 2010, Washington Post

Wall of Hate and PovertyDivides El Paso and Juárez “Sergio, your death will be avenged by the angry, organised people” reads graffiti under the Puente Negro railroad bridge connecting this border city with El Paso, Texas. The message was spray-painted by a few dozen youngsters who gathered in this spot on … Jun. 12. Five days earlier, on Jun. 7, a U.S. border patrol officer had opened fire from the El Paso side of the border on a 15-year-old Mexican boy, Sergio Hernández… The fatal shooting … has galvanised public opinion in Juárez, a city devastated by drug-related violence and nearly two decades of unsolved murders of hundreds of poor young women, as well as a severe recession.  “There is a huge sense of outrage, not only because he was just a boy, but because of the cruelty and the excessive use of force,” Rodolfo Rubio, a researcher at the Colegio de la Frontera Norte, a college in northern Mexico that specialises in migration issues, told IPS.  June 23, 2010, InterPress Service

SPIN METER: Defining ‘border security …(T)he U.S.-Mexico border is more fortified now than it was even five years ago. … Despite those efforts, calls for increased border security are elbowing out cries for an overhaul of U.S. immigration laws and inducing Congress and the administration to spend even more money on border enforcement.  Securing the border remains the prerequisite for any other immigration reforms….  But border security is in the eye of the beholder. There’s no agreed-on definition of what constitutes a secure border and no budget for how much more to spend to achieve it. June 23, 2010, AP

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Migration & the Border

Posted by jreedbrundage on June 22, 2010

Mexico challenges Arizona’s immigration law Mexico has waded into a legal challenge to a new immigration law in the US state of Arizona. In papers submitted to a US federal court, the Mexican government argues that the law is unconstitutional and would damage bilateral relations. It says it is concerned that it could lead to unlawful discrimination against Mexican citizens. June 23, 2010, BBC News

Lethal Force on the Border, The growing criminalization and dehumanization of Mexican undocumented immigrants has fomented a legal limbo where human rights, including the right to life itself, fall prey to ill-defined national security concerns. It has fostered a political climate where security forces and vigilantes argue openly that fatal attacks on citizens from other countries in a non-war context are justified simply because they lack a visa. Such governance without respect for basic human rights is nothing but a dangerous lie. June 21, 2010, Americas Program

Arizona’s immigration law: Washington should stay out of it, The Obama administration is considering suing Arizona to block implementation of its harsh new immigration enforcement measure, SB 1070. …  SB 1070 is an abomination, no doubt about it, and the White House is under intense pressure to act. But a Justice Department lawsuit would be a horrendous mistake — one that could end all hope of passing comprehensive immigration reform as long as Barack Obama is president. June 21, 2010, OpEd, LA Times, by Tamar Jacoby, President, Immigration Works.

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Migration & the Border

Posted by jreedbrundage on June 20, 2010

On Border Violence, Truth Pales Compared to Ideas, (T)hose who support stronger enforcement of  immigration laws and tighter borders often make (the case that ) rising crime at the border necessitates tougher enforcement. But the rate of violent crime at the border, and indeed across Arizona, has been declining, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as has illegal immigration, according to the Border Patrol. June 19, 2010, NY Times.

Clinton says Ariz. to be sued over immigration law, but Justice Dept. won’t confirm plan

, The Obama administration has decided to sue Arizona over the state’s controversial immigration law, according to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. TheJustice Department declined Thursday to confirm such a plan. June 18,2010, Washington Post

Gangs, corrupt officials make illegal migrants’ trip through Mexico dangerous…Illegal migrants passing through Mexico are routinely robbed, raped and kidnapped by criminal gangs that oftenwork alongside corrupt police, according to human rights advocates. Immigration experts and Catholic priests who shelter the travelers say that Mexico’s strict laws to protect the rights of illegal migrants are often ignored and that undocumented migrants from Central America face a brutal passage through the country. June 18, 2010, Washington Post.

Rebranding at ICE meant to soften immigration enforcement agency’s image, By streamlining and renaming several offices, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials hope to highlight the agency’s counterterrorism, money laundering and other complex criminal investigations and in the process “re-brand” ICE, turning the public — and political — spotlight away from its immigration work. June 17, 2010, Washington Post.

FBI opens civil rights probe into border shooting The FBI has opened a civil rights probe against a Border Patrol agent who shot and killed a 15-year-old Mexican boy at the boundary with Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a U.S. official told The Associated Press on Friday. Mexican prosecutors, meanwhile, are investigating the case as a homicide, raising the possibility that the agent could also face charges in Mexico, although it is unlikely the U.S. would agree to extradite him. June 11, 2010, AP.

Appropriate Use of Force? Not on our Border, Statement by the Latin American Working Group. Just days ago, Sergio Adrián Hernandez Güereca, a 15-year-old from Ciudad Juárez, was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent on the banks of the Rio Grande, not far from downtown El Paso. (This shooting came) on the heels of the death of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, a longtime San Diego area resident and father of five U.S.-born children, who died from injuries suffered when Border Patrol and other federal officers responded with a baton and taser gun when he resisted deportation.  … These tragedies illustrate too clearly how our current immigration system fails to meet the realities of our nation’s families and contributes to an increasingly divisive, inhumane, and charged atmosphere for migrants and border communities alike.  Driven by rhetoric and rooted in fear, Congress and recent administrations have turned their backs on real immigration reform and instead chosen to throw more resources in an ill-defined attempt to “secure” the border. June 10, 2010, LAWG.

Mexican Soldiers Point Rifles at Border Agents After Teen Shooting, Mexican security forces chased away U.S. authorities investigating the shooting of a 15-year-old Mexican by a U.S. Border Patrol agent on the banks of the Rio Grande, the FBI and witnesses told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The killing of the Mexican by U.S. authorities – the second in less than two weeks – has exposed the distrust between the two countries that lies just below the surface, and has enraged Mexicans who see the death of the boy on Mexican soil as an act of murder. June 10, 2010, AP.

Government study finds U.S. side of Mexico border area low on violent crime (E)ven as politicians say more federal troops are needed to fight rising violence, government figures show (that) the U.S.-Mexico border…isn’t so dangerous after all. The top four big cities in America with the lowest rates of violent crime are all in border states: Austin, El Paso, Phoenix and San Diego , according to a new FBI report. And a U.S. Customs and Border Protection report shows that Border Patrol agents face far less danger than street cops in most U.S. cities. June 7, 2010, Dallas Morning News.

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