2 new CRS reports on Mexico

See links below to two new Congressional Research Service Reports (CRS) on
Mexico.  These are generally a good baseline for publicly available,
published information…and the research is fairly objective as noted by
Gordon, who sent me these links.
Word on Frontera List—I’m going to be traveling for the next week to a
conference outside of the US. I may not be able to post things or keep up
on the news. Feel free to post to the list and when I’m able to be online,
I can send your postings.  If you send an article, please also include the
LINK so that readers can go to the source. molly

Mexico’s Drug Trafficking Organizations:
Source and Scope of the Rising Violence

Mexican Migration to the United States:
Policy and Trends

 

Columbus, New Mexico- On the border: Guns, drugs — and a betrayal of trustvia CNN

A long CNN story on Columbus.  I don’t know exactly what to say since the
very premise seems a bit of a fabrication…that there is big cartel
corruption in the town and that is what is behind the Federal raid and
guilty pleas of town officials in the gun smuggling case… First, the
violence in Palomas did not begin in 2009 when mayor Tanis Garcia was
murdered. Some of the most violent incidents in Palomas occurred in late
2007 and early 2008. As far as the town being  “a lovely town that had
lived off some farm and ranch exports and tourism,” as described by Josiah
Heyman in the CNN piece, people who have been going to Palomas for years
and who venture off the main street, know that it is extremely poor, that
many children there are malnourished and that what little economy there was
from tourism basically stayed with a few businesses in the town.  And there
is an army garrison also just south of the town and for years soldiers have
harassed people in the town, as the incident in 2005 that led to the
threats against reporter Emilio Gutierrez who reported it. In 2004-2006,
the town was a staging area for immigrant smuggling–the outskirts south of
town are littered with abandoned hotels, or abandoned sites where hotel
construction began and then stopped when the immigrant smuggling moved west
to Arizona…At least 40 people were killed in the first few months of 2008
and many of the townspeople fled.  I attended the funeral of Tanis Garcia
in Palomas in October 2009 and there was not a single reporter there from
Las Cruces, Deming, El Paso or Juarez–much less from any more distant
media. And at least 500 townspeople were in attendance.
The politics in the town of Columbus has been dominated by the anglo
minority there for many years and in 2005 or 2006 when Eddie Espinoza was
first elected mayor (beating Martha Skinner I believe) it was seen as
something of a scandal.  I’ve always suspected that there was some element
of payback in terms of the big federal raid over the illegal purchase of
about 200 guns and the attempts to smuggle them into Mexico.  It is always
portrayed in national media as a huge contributor to the violence in Mexico
when in reality, it was a tiny fraction of the guns smuggled into the
country from the US and an even tinier fraction of the guns available to
criminals in Mexico… As far as I know, the Mexican military uses AR-15
rifles, not AK-47s. And many many of the guns used by organized crime
groups in Mexico come from the foreign gun market and from soldiers
deserting the Mexican army.
I also have not heard of any violence done to residents of Columbus or
other communities along the New Mexico border by “agents of cartels”
attacking in groups…(see last line of story).  And, for the record,
Columbus is not really near the NM boot heel region. Picky picky picky…
molly

 

 

Torreon rehab center massacre; none of victims had federal criminal records

Mexican officials reported than none of the 11 victims of the attack on the
rehab center in Torreon that took place on Sunday had any criminal record
to link them to drug trafficking or any other federal crime in Mexico. One
victim had been arrested for a petty crime and also one of the survivors,
but most of the victims were completely cleared of any criminal background.
One victim was 17, the others were men in their 20s and 30s. Only four
victims have been identified in the press. The last incident of a massacre
in a rehab center was also in Torreon about one year ago at the Centro de
Recuperación de Alcohólicos y Drogadictos “La Victoria”in June of 2011.
Thirteen people died in that attack.
There were at least least 5 attacks of this nature in Juarez and Chihuahua
between 2008 and 2011.
A google translation is below.

Massacre in Torreon to eleven Christian rehabilitation centerApro |
04.06.2012 | 23:09Saltillo-Gunmen stormed a rehabilitation center for
addicts in Torreon and shot dead 11 men, authorities said Sunday.The state
government said yesterday that 11 people were killed during the attack on
the Christian rehabilitation center “Your life on the Rock”, located in the
ejido La Union, only one had a criminal record, but the common law
offenses.In the same situation is one of the eight injured, as confirmed by
the Security spokesman, Sergio Alvarado Sisbeles.According to the official,
from early yesterday morning the tracks were sent to Mexico Platform
victims of Federal Public Security Secretariat to certify their background
and, except these two cases, the rest was free of federal crimes.Sisbeles
said that in the rehabilitation center attack occurred around 21:20 hours
on Sunday, eight people were injured.In addition, said that among the dead
is a child under 17 years and the remainder had 24 to 34 years of age. So
far, state officials have identified only four people: Arturo Perez
Sanchez, Eduardo Espinosa Mesa, Mauro Perez Rios and Daniel Flores
Perez.The Attorney General of the State of Coahuila who conducts the
inquiry and who is the research, which can not be revealed for now, “said
the spokesman.The immediate background on rehabilitation centers bombing
occurred nearly a year, 7 June 2011, when gunmen stormed the Center for
Alcohol and Drug Recovery “La Victoria”, which killed 13 people, 11 at the
time of the attack and two who died later in hospital.One hypothesis about
these attacks indicates that organized crime groups to attack centers
because the former addicts will stop buying drugs.It also mentions that the
centers are used by the cartels to recruit former drug addicts, to work
with them in exchange for drugs.

MEXICO UNDER SIEGE Mexico drug war displaces families in Sinaloa highlands–LATimes

Note the blaming the victims:
In an interview, Sinaloa state prosecutor Marco Antonio Higuera sought to
downplay the problem, saying people flee for many reasons. He also seemed
to suggest that the displaced shared at least part of the blame for their
plight because they coexisted and cooperated with traffickers for so many
decades. Mexico drug war displaces families in Sinaloa Highlands

I believe that the level of displacement may be even greater in a shorter
time period than what happened in the Valle de Juarez in 2009-2010, but
there are similarities.
http://www.texasobserver.org/cover-story/the-deadliest-place-in-mexico

The Norwegian Refugee Council report on displaced person can be found at
this link:
http://www.nrc.no/?did=9633486
The section on the Americas starts at about page 55 of the full pdf of the
report.  molly

Insight Crime report on the displaced in the Sierra Madre

 

Silent migration to Mexico City–El Universal; Massacre in Torreon rehab center

Very interesting piece on the migration to Mexico City from violent parts
of the country… An adjusted google translation is below… Also, Torreon
is one of the places of migration featured in the article. Last night, a
rehab center in the city was attacked leaving at least 11 dead and many
more injured.  An AFP article on that is also posted below…  molly

{GOOGLE TRANSLATION with some corrections}
Silent migration to Mexico City
Sunday May 27, 2012 Cynthia Sanchez |
The Universal

The door of the plane barely opens and your eyes are full of tears. The
traffic is unbearable. People are rude and lazy. There are kidnappings,
robberies and assaults. Throughout the historic center your bag is likely
to be snatched.Parked cars are stolen off the streets. You are afraid all
the time and it is the worst place to live in this country. Those years and
years of complaints are seldom heard anymore. The Federal District was a
surprise t them. It just was not so bad and today it is the only place in
the country where you don’t have to live with psychosis.

They come here from Ciudad Juarez, Torreon, Tamaulipas, Veracruz,
Monterrey, Sinaloa, San Luis Potosi and other northern cities and find
Mexico City to be a place free of drug violence. It is a silent migration
starring middle-class youth who have moved their businesses or their
studies to Mexico City for fear of dying from a stray bullet or being
mistaken for a member of organized crime or simply because someone felt
like killing them. It is known that one in five residents of Mexico City
was not born here, but there are no statistics on this new migration. But
there are a lot of them and you only have to venture to places of
entertainment such as bars, restaurants, theaters, plazas and even
universities to notice them. Northern accents that echo increasingly in
neighborhoods like Roma, Condesa, Cuauhtemoc, Central and Polanco. Today it
is possible to go to a Condesa bar on a Sunday soccer league final where
the title is disputed between two teams from the north and find the place
full of fans from both teams. Most are newcomers to this city where until
about five years ago they never thought they could live, the same place
they constantly criticized and considered a mess.

Roger, restaurateur, Marcelo, musician, Carlos and Daniel, students–all
belong to a number that no one has yet counted because it is a relatively
recent migration. They are mostly young people who are fleeing the violence
generated by drug trafficking in their places of origin. Students,
musicians, filmmakers, small businesses, young people supported by their
families come to Mexico City just to shelter in place, they say, where it
is still possible to live without psychosis, where they can walk the
streets, enjoy nightlife, go to a soccer stadium, a mall or a massive
concert without fear.

In 2012 alone, statistics from the Universidad Iberoamericana and the
Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM)
indicate that students from the campuses of Tijuana, Torreon, Tampico,
Monterrey and Mazatlan have emigrated to the campus of the cities of Center
the country. The Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City received 45
students from Coahuila, Chihuahua, Baja California and Nuevo Leon.

In Tec, the loss of students is a reality, a thousand young people have
left the campus in the north for a place in Queretaro, Puebla and Mexico
City.

Free university

Daniela, 20 and Carlos, 26 are two young people from Veracruz. A couple of
years ago they asked for their transfer to the City because in the port
city of Veracruz they were not free even to walk run or jog along the
shoreline boardwalk in the morning. Even before 2010, Carlos’ family never
would have thought to send him to live in Mexico City. “It was like sending
me to the slaughter, the most insecure place in the country. My mother
would have to call me up every hour to be sure I had not been kidnapped.
Now I live here (in Mexico City) and she feels more secure than when I was
in Veracruz, sleeping in the next room,”he says. Carlos’s parents made the
decision to ask for the university campus change because they saw his
frustration. “The time we could not go to bars let alone not even parties
to the homes of friends and we should stay together in one house all night
until our parents came for us the next day,” he says.

Daniela returned from a semester of study in New Zealand, and after being
back in Veracruz one month, the gunfire and shootouts in the night were so
disturbing, especially compared to the life he had had before leaving.  “I
only lasted one month and asked my parents send me here,” he says. He says
that a week before coming, as he was heading to college, a body was found
on the corner near his home. “That’s what made me decide.”

Restaurants from Torreon to Roma

They started with one coffee shop moe than 10 years ago in the center of
Torreon, Coahuila. Four years after first opening, they had established 27
more across the country, except in the Federal District. At that time they
did not consider it a place they could do business. However, in 2007 Roger
and Marcelo simply had to close their restaurants.”In that year the
nightlife of Torreon collapsed and the straw that broke the camel’s back
was when they disappeared the owner and the wife of our neighbor bar,” says
Roger.”We had deaths of people close, friends, neighbors, and nowhere in
Torreon was peace. People in the City can not imagine how we lived, there
is a collective psychosis. We went outside believing that at any time you
can be killed, so you can not live, “said Marcelo.

Between the two brothers have seen about the migration of about 500 people
from their region. “They are of all kinds, students, filmmakers,
entrepreneurs, musicians, we have all helped, first by helping get people
an apartment and then helping to get work ,” said Marcelo.

Roger says that they have brought Torreon to Mexico City. Groups still
gather for barbeques, but in much smaller spaces without huge gardens and
pools. They have two restaurants in the City in the Roma district. The
concept is red wine and the chef and waiters are also from the north who
came to town for the same reasons.

In the capital city, they say, have found a safe lifestyle. They regained
their social life. Marcelo, who is also a musician, can play at any bar
without fear of someone coming in to kill anyone, and Roger said with
confidence is going to La Merced (market) to buy the supplies for the
restaurant.

“For the size of the city, it did not prove to be as insecure as it is
created in the province. Here we’ve never been assaulted and I think the
hardest thing was getting used to traffic and earthquakes, we feel one of 5
degrees and less than 10 seconds are in the street, you, the ones here,
tell us to take it easy,” he says.

“Here you can even curse at a bad driver in traffic without fear of being
shot because you used your horn. In the north now that would be equivalent
to being able to live in peace.”

Marcelo and Roger hope to return. They have come to the capital city in
passing. They feel a commitment to Torreon, say they and all their friends
who are now taking refuge in the capital are committed to re-build the city
of Torreon and powerful rebirth and creative in business has always been.

Carlos and Daniela want their future children to grow in the state of
Veracruz, the port again want to be confident before.

Mexican troops capture a top suspect in slayings of 49 via CNN

The  CNN International report on the arrest of Daniel de Jesús
Elizondo Ramírez, El Loco, the Zeta chief accused of the murder and
decapitations of the 49 people whose bodies were dumped in Nuevo Leon last
week… But first is an article from El Universal that is in El Diario.
I’ve translated a portion of the article here… This is pretty clearly all
from the SEDENA press release and note that the dates do not make any
sense… It appears to be quite a sloppy job of what the military usually
does: launch an operation in an area; kill a lot of people; then make a
high-profile arrest to blame it on the “Zeta of the day…” Note that there
were Mexican reports from the day after the bodies were found of the
banners posted all over the country, supposedly from the Zetas, saying that
they had nothing to do with the killings.

molly

Daniel de Jesús Elizondo Ramírez, El Loco, was operating for more than a
year as head of the Zetas criminal group in Cadereyta zone.
Official reports from the 7th Military Zone also indicate that “El Loco”
was responsible for the murder and dismemberment of Kendy Cavazos Caballero
and Katia Cavazos Castillo, both 24 and relatives of Aurora Cavazos,
Secretary of Social Development in Nuevo Leon.
The young women were arrested at the end of Sept 2011 for “causing a
scandal in public” and taken to the prison in Allende, a municipality
located some 60 kms south of the state capital in Monterrey.
While they were detained, they communicated via telephone with a lieutenant
in the Army who was the boyfriend of one of them.
Police who were working for Elizondo (the Zeta just arrested and charged
with the murders of the 49) reported the incident to the boss who then
ordered them to turn over the women to him.
On August 1 (no year provided…but note that the girls were supposedly
first arrested at the end of Sept 2011 and there has been no August 1 so
far this year) Kendy and Katia Cavazos were found in 3 boxes abandoned
alongside the Cadereyta-Allende highway, together with a message addressed
to the military.
Due to this murder, the Army deployed an operation in the town and in the
last 2 years, they have registered at least 20 kidnappings of businessmen
and cattle ranchers, and despite the fact that in some cases ransom was
paid, the victims were not returned alive.
On August 3 (again, no year) Army troops and state police agents detained
14 police from Allende accused of working with organized crime.
Seven of them participated in turning over the young women to “El Loco.”

New Border Strategy—Daily Beast

Since all of the migration numbers are down, it seems that the point of the
border patrol’s new strategy is about how to maintain its budget after the
huge post-911 buildup. There are areas of the border now where very little
illegal crossing is taking place. If Border Patrol becomes officially part
of the national security apparatus, then it becomes easier to grow the
budget. I got an email from a well-informed friend: “right now they (the
border patrol) are in the position of the US military after the collapse of
the Soviet Union and before 9/11, a period when the generals and admirals
tried to get into the drug war business.” That recent story about the drug
war buildup in Honduras offers a clue… The fact is that the
anti-immigrant forces on the ground and their political allies (Brewer,
Dever, Babeu, Arpaio and many more in other places around the country) have
drummed up a lot of fear and loathing and yet most of the violence on the
US side of the border has come from the fringe anti-immigrant forces. Note
the multiple murderers J.T. Ready and Shawna Forde. Also consider the high
death toll of immigrants in border patrol chases that end up in highway
rollovers and other terrible accidents. And at least 2 recent cases of
Mexicans killed in fatal attacks by border patrol agents:

Jan Brewer, other Arizona Officials weigh wider impact of New Border Strategy

Latino Community Remains Silent on Anastasio Hernandez Rojas

Dead Mexican teen’s family to pursue suit against Border Patrol agent

Honduras-the highest murder rate in the world-BBC News

I heard this piece several nights ago on the BBC…  I think it is worth the time.  On my first listen, I was only half awake and I heard bits and pieces only…I thought, “Where is this? It sounds like Juarez…”  I heard it again in full.

*********************************************************************************************************

“Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world. The People’s Funeral Service deals daily with the fall-out from these extreme levels of violence in the capital city, Tegucigalpa. Set up by the Mayor of the city, it distributes coffins, maintains two funeral homes, and even offers a mobile service where employees take everything necessary for a wake – including bread and coffee – to someone’s house or local church. All of these services are totally free for poor people in the city.”

Click here to read more Click to listen now

Then read today’s NYTimes story about US advisers to Honduran military and police in “fight against cartels…”
Neither story makes me very optimistic that any of these tactics that the  US proposes and/or advises or assists with reduces the violence.  All evidence seems to point to the contrary.  And in my most cynical depressed moments (like now) I believe that the US does not care as long as the people dying are poor Mexicans and Hondurans.  Seems it is all part of the
plan.  Who will be next?  molly

UPDATE:

Wow. Thanks to Dawn Paley for her excellent and rational critique of this
NYTimes article on the “new” US war in Honduras…I admit that when I read
it, I felt a kind of dread that interfered with clear thinking…the
article seemed to DREDGE up so much of that slime that accumulates at the
dirty bottoms of things. Dawn’s commentary is essential to clear away the
muck in order to get a good look at what this is really about.
I will note that this line from the end of the article:
“There are ‘insidious’ parallels between regional criminal organizations
and terror networks.”  … this really got my attention also.  In Central
America all though the 1980s (and beginning even earlier) all it took was
to call it COMMUNIST and then it could be attacked, disappeared, killed…
And IT could be a student, an indigenous person, a human rights worker, a
religious worker, a labor organizer or anyone else who might be seen as a
leftist or progressive or some other challenge to entrenched oligarchic
power allied with the US in those years. Now, the codeword is terrorist or
drug criminal. Or narco or zeta… This is the “new” National Security
Doctrine. And no, it isn’t new. But the result is the same: DEATH. I highly
recommend Dawn Paley’s post… molly

9 bodies hung from a bridge in Nuevo Laredo, 14 decapitated

14 more bodies–these were decapitated– have been found today in Nuevo
Laredo…in addition to the 9 bodies found early this morning hanging from
a major overpass in the city. I hope it occurs to someone to question how
these acts in such public places can take place without the cooperation of
government and/or participation of criminals within the military and law
enforcement agencies.

The newswires version as presented on the NPR blog.

 

World Press Freedom Day-3 journalists slain in east Mexican state

MEXICO CITY — Three men who had worked as news photographers were found slain and dumped together in plastic bags by a canal in the eastern Mexico state of Veracruz on Thursday, less than a week after the killing in the same state of a reporter for an investigative newsmagazine, officials and colleagues said.

Press advocates called for immediate government action to halt a wave of attacks that has killed at least six current and former reporters and photographers in Veracruz over the last year, spawning an atmosphere of terror and self-censorship among journalists

Click here to read more

World Press Freedom Day: Journalists Being Killed At ‘Astonishing Pace’