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Rage One (blog)

domingo, agosto 24, 2008

Mexico Week In Review: 08.18-08.24

Mexico Week In Review: 08.18-08.24
Published since 1994, 'Mexico Week In Review' is a service of the
Committee of Indigenous Solidarity (CIS). CIS is a Washington, D.C.
based activist group committed to the ongoing struggles of Indigenous
peoples in the Americas. CIS is actively supporting the struggles
of the Indigenous peoples of Mexico while simultaneously combating
related structures of oppression within our own communities.

To view newsletter archives, visit:

"Para Todos, Todo; Para Nosotros Nada"


Mexican President Felipe Calderon met with the nation's governors and
security officials and proposed steps to counter a wave of violent
crime that has angered citizens and threatens the president's
popularity. Among the steps Mr. Calderon announced are separate
prisons for kidnappers, a reward system for tips that lead to the
capture of criminals and a national database for cellphones to track
which ones are used in crimes. Politicians were forced to confront
the issue after a series of high-profile crimes, including the recent
kidnap and murder of the son of a prominent businessman. Civic,
business and victims' groups are planning a march in Mexico City at
the end of the month to protest the government's efforts at fighting
the wave of kidnappings and drug-related violent crime.

The crime wave is a setback for Mr. Calderon, who made law and order
his priority after taking power in December 2006, proposing tougher
sentencing for criminals and sending as many as 40,000 army troops to
confront drug traffickers. An estimated 4,900 Mexicans have died in
crimes related to the drug trade since Mr. Calderon took power. Most
of the dead are members of feuding drug gangs, but the list also
includes top law-enforcement officials, scores of police officers,
and judges, journalists and bystanders. The number of kidnappings
also has risen, from 276 in 2005 to 432 last year, according to
Mexico United Against Crime, a citizens group. Since Mr. Calderon
took office, crime has risen to 1,454 crimes per 100,000 people from
1,330, according to federal statistics.

The public's anger was stoked earlier this month when the body of
Fernando Marti, 14 years old, the son of a wealthy entrepreneur, was
found stuffed in the trunk of a car. The young Marti had been
kidnapped months earlier and was killed despite his parents having
paid a ransom. Two of the three suspects arrested were Mexico City
police detectives. Every week brings grim news. This week, gunmen
from a suspected drug cartel burst into a party in northern Mexico
and gunned down 14 people, including a 1-year-old. A recent poll
showed 80% of Mexicans believe the country's crime problem is "very
serious," said Jorge Buendia, head of polling firm Ipsos-Bimsa. Some
42% think the government is losing the war against drug traffickers.

The crime problem could do political damage to Mr. Calderon and his
conservative National Action Party, or PAN, which faces midterm
elections next year. "There will be a stiff political price to pay in
the 2009 legislative elections," said Bruce Bagley, a Latin American
expert at the University of Miami. Analysts said the big winner could
be the country's former ruling party, the Institutional Revolutionary
Party, or PRI, which governed Mexico for seven decades until it was
unseated by the PAN in 2000. Sensing Mr. Calderon's weakness, PRI
leaders are taking Mr. Calderon to task for what they said are his
"failed" security policies. A weak president will do little to help
the country break out of its drift. Mexico has been a laggard among
big emerging markets in areas such as economic growth for years. But
Mr. Calderon has accomplished little in pushing through reforms
needed to face such problems as declining oil production and the
virtual monopoly that a handful of companies hold on many business

Basic to tackling Mexico's crime problem is cleaning up deep-rooted
corruption of the country's police forces, which consist of some
420,000 local and state police and only 20,000 federal police.
"Traditionally, the central government is less corrupt than municipal
or state governments," said political analyst Jorge Castaneda, a
former foreign minister. He said Mexico should get rid of its local
and state police forces, replacing them with a national police force.
At the very least, said Alberto Islas, a security consultant for
Mexican security agencies, Mexico must enact basic reforms, such as
using a comprehensive computer database that would prevent crooked
cops fired in one state from getting jobs in the police force of a
different state, a situation that isn't uncommon.

Source: Wall Street Journal: 08/22


Red Cross workers stopped treating gunshot victims for several hours
in a violent city across the border from Texas after receiving death
threats over their radio frequencies, officials said. Two voices were
heard over Red Cross radios threatening to kill emergency workers who
cared for gunshot victims in Ciudad Juarez, local Red Cross chief
Jorge Diaz said. The Red Cross ordered its personnel to stop treating
shooting victims while it decided on additional security measures,
Diaz said. City government spokesman Jaime Torres said service
resumed Wednesday afternoon, after police were sent to accompany
ambulances. The first voice used a vulgar expression to threaten
emergency workers and the second warned that Red Cross personnel
"will fall one by one." The identities and motives of the speakers
were unknown.

Two months ago, the Red Cross was forced to restrict service in
Ciudad Juarez, a city of 1.3 million that is home to the powerful
Juarez drug cartel. The local Red Cross hospital stopped providing
24-hour emergency service after gunmen killed four people then being
treated for gunshot wounds. Emergency service there now ends at 10
p.m. Police protection for ambulances further strains a city police
force that is already under siege. Many officers in Ciudad Juarez
have been killed? Some after their names appeared on hit lists left
in public.

Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz announced a plan to recruit soldiers with at
least three years of army experience to serve on the city's depleted
police force. Under an agreement with the Defense Department, the
city will try to draw soldiers with higher salaries and more benefits
than they now receive. Thousands of army troops are already battling
drug gangs in hotspots across Mexico under a campaign started by
President Felipe Calderon. But relentless bloodshed has prompted
opposition leaders to question the effectiveness of the government's
fight. More than 780 people have been killed in Ciudad Juarez this
year, making it one of the worst-hit cities in a national wave of
violence. Most of the killings have been drug-related.

On Monday, Mexican motocross champion Rene Tercero Reyes was killed
along with a friend and brother-in-law when gunmen stormed a home in
Ciudad Juarez, said Alejandro Pariente, spokesman for the regional
deputy attorney general's office. The motive for the attack was
unknown. Tercero Reyes, a five-time national champion, lived in the
city of Chihuahua but had traveled to Ciudad Juarez for a weekend
competition. More than 200 people on motorbikes protested his death

Source: Associated Press: 08/21


Contractors began work on a 3 ˆ mile border wall that will separate
the US and Mexico in an environmentally fragile area south of San
Diego. The construction is expected to cost US$57 million, in large
part because it requires filling a deep canyon that carries water
runoff from the region. Construction began after 12 years of legal
challenges by environmental groups. The project threatens the
Tijuana River estuary, home to more than 370 migratory and native

Source: Mexico Solidarity Network Weekly News Summary: 08/10-17


At least 43 people died in violent attacks in the last three days in
the northern Mexico state of Chihuahua, the scene of ongoing drug
gang turf wars, police said. Thirteen males, aged between 18 and 41,
died in separate attacks on Monday, mostly in the flashpoint city of
Ciudad Juarez on the US border, local police said. Assassins killed
nine people overnight Sunday in the city, following the slaying of 21
people the previous night, including 14 in a massacre at a family
gathering in the western Chihuahua town of Creel.

Violence has escalated throughout the country since President Felipe
Calderon, who took office at the end of 2006, launched a military
crackdown on drug trafficking. A baby was one of the 14 murdered in
the shooting in Creel, believed to be part of a drug gang feud.
"Armed men, traveling in at least three vans and carrying heavy-duty
weapons, fired on some 20 people who were leaving the town's dance
hall," local police said.

Creel, in the Sierra Tarahumara mountains near Mexico's Copper
Canyon, is on the main drug route from Mexico to the United States,
but had previously registered only one violent death this year. The
assassins used AK-47 rifles, often used by drug gang hitmen, but
authorities gave no motive for the crime. Seven others were killed
overnight Saturday, including five in Ciudad Juarez, one in the state
capital Chihuahua and another in the town of Guadalupe.

Ciudad Juarez -- across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas -- has the
highest murder toll of the country this year, with some 800 killed,
according to an AFP count. The Juarez drug cartel is fighting a turf
war for control of Chihuahua state and its key drug routes to the
United States with the Sinaloa cartel, from the neighboring state
further south. More than 3,000 families have fled Ciudad Juarez for
the United States this year, a border expert said last week,
following a deadly attack on a mass in a drug rehabilitation center
in which gunmen killed nine people. Drug-related violence throughout
Mexico has killed 2,682 people since the start of the year -- nine
more than in all of 2007 -- with nearly half in Chihuahua state,
daily El Universal reported Saturday.

Federal authorities have deployed more than 36,000 soldiers across
the country since early 2007, including 2,500 in Ciudad Juarez, as
part of efforts to combat drug trafficking and related violence. The
US government has approved a 1.6-billion-dollar, three-year package
of anti-drug assistance to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean
known as the Merida Initiative, a large part of which is expected to
strengthen Calderon's efforts.

Source: Agence France Presse: 08/17

The above articles were originally published and copyrighted by the
listed sources. These articles are offered for educational purposes
which CIS maintains is 'fair use' of copyrighted material as
provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

end: Mexico Week In Review: 08.18-08.24

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