Special Report: Mexico’s Zetas rewrite drug war in blood–Reuters Ioan Grillo

I sound like a broken record I know, but I can find nothing in this report
that uses as its source anything but official Mexican government and
military press releases. Likewise the US sources are all DEA.  In terms of
the people from Veracruz killed and dumped in the city las September, there
were numerous reports at the time from relatives of the dead that they were
not “Zetas” but rather ordinary street people, prostitutes, kids…
Also, a report from REFORMA at the time mentioned that the condition of the
bodies indicated that they had been captured and tortured by the military.
I am posting those articles below.

Evidencian ejecutados huella distinta al narco – Afirman que la forma en la que mataron a 35 no corresponde al crimen organizado



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.


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.”

Mexico’s drug war Storm clouds with silver linings A series of choreographed horrors belies an overall drop in killings–The Economist

Here is another take on the numbers from The Economist… Note that they give a figure of 5,037 murders for the first 4 months of 2012… very close to the estimate made by Walter McKay at: https://sites.google.com/site/policereform/narco-killings  (5,278) Basically, we can see about an average of 1,260 homicides per month… somewhat lower than peak periods in the past few years, but still high. At this rate, the number of murders for the year will be about 15,111—instead of the 20,000+ over the past few years.   Keep in mind that US homicides run about 15,000 per year and have been declining steadily over the past 5 years… And the US has about 3x the population of Mexico. A comparable murder rate in the US would produce 45,000-50,000 murders a year. molly

“The horror diverted attention from a rare drop in Mexico’s overall murder rate. The opening quarter of 2012 saw the first year-on-year fall in killings since the government’s assault on the gangs got going in 2007. The 5,037 murders (which include ordinary killings as well as mafia hits) represented a 7% drop compared with the same period last year, and a 17% decline compared with the worst three months of last summer. The government no longer breaks out mafia-linked murders, but *Reforma*, a newspaper, reckons that so far this year these are 10% down on last year.”

Mexico’s Drug War-Atlantic photo essay; Estimate of 94,551 homicides since 2007

Photo essay in The Atlantic. Just an initial comment…despite the fact that Juarez is still the epicenter of the violence, note that many of these photos are from other cities and regions…notably Monterrey and Acapulco. I did just check to see if I could find a figure of TOTAL homicides (homicidios dolosos) for Mexico in 2011 and I got many cites to this number from the SNSP (Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública) of 22,223… (and just another aside, I never saw this figure in the English-language press… But here is one of many links:

If this is added to the cumulative numbers from INEGI for 2007-2010 (67,050 as reported here:

we get a TOTAL homicide count of: 89,273 for 2007-2011. If we add in the estimate on “narco-deaths” from Walter McKay** for all of Mexico for 2012  (5,278) then the total looks more like: 94,551 for Calderon’s term in office so far. As I have noted before, the “drug-war homicides” number of 47,500 or 50,000 is an estimate based on various criteria for what murders count as drug (or organized-crime-related). I really believe that we should use the total number (as best as we can figure it) since these government criteria for what counts as “drug-related are sketchy and in almost all cases, not based on a real investigation of the crimes.  I’ll try to summarize with more numbers detail in subsequent post.  molly

**Here is the link: https://sites.google.com/site/policereform/narco-killings

Juarez deaths May 15-16

Yesterday, May 16, a woman who worked as a waitress in a bar was taken out
of the place by a man who argued with her and then shot her at least 11
times. She is the 2nd female victim in May and the 57th woman to be
murdered this year, according to El Diario.  On Tuesday, May 15, two people
were killed, including a 15 yr old boy. By my tally, there have now been about 48 people murdered in May; 464 in 2012; and 10,546 in the city of Juarez since January 2008.  molly



Two Mexican generals detained for alleged drug gang ties–Reuters; more…

Note this from the Mexican article that is not included in the Reuters
Information from investigations carried out by DEA inside the US revealed
that some Mexican army and marines have been collaborating with the Zetas
and the Gulf, Sinaloa and Juarez cartels. The US officer, who asked that
his name and agency not be revealed because he was not authorized to make
statements to the press, said that the premise had always been maintained
that military officers were innocent until proven guilty and in some cases,
they will be seeking extradition to the United States so that they can
collaborate with justice in the US.
Information from the US anti-drug agency indicates that, after a year and a
half of operations in US territory, arrests have been made that have led to
the capture of members of the Zetas, as well as those of La Familia
Michoacana, and the Gulf and Sinaloa cartels inside US territory.

45 homicides in Juarez May 1-14; est. total since January 2008 = 10,546

El Diario posted an article on May 8 saying that the homicide toll in Juarez officially passed 10,000 on May 3 with the death of a man in the Colonia Ampliacion Felipe Angeles… As those who have been with Frontera List for a while know, I’ve said the city reached this milestone a few months ago. Here is the reason for the difference. Diario uses these annual
2008 = 1623
2009 = 2754
2010 = 3115 [more accurate number is 3,622]
2011 = 2086

I use the number of 3,622 for 2010. The reason is that several different and much higher numbers have been given by the Fiscalia for that year.  Initially, the number was 3,111. Then in March of 2011, an article appeared using the number of 3,951.

Here is that info originally posted on the Frontera List in March 2011: State data from 2010 in Chihuahua show figures much higher than previously reported: 3,951 homicides in Juarez; 7,209 i the state of  Chihuahua.

> http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/notas/751635.html
> Once homicidios diarios en 2010 en Juárez: Fiscalía
> De acuerdo con estadísticas de la dependencia, el año pasado se
> registraba en todo el estado de Chihuahua casi un asesinato por hora

I believe that the discrepancy is because we are not sure WHICH murders exactly are being counted…ALL homicides (including lesser crimes like negligent homicide or manslaughter), or only homicidios dolosos (aggravated homicides).  Subsequently, a reporter in Juarez who writes for Reuters got a new official figure for Juarez of 3,622 and this number was published in a Reuters story in Dec 2011. See:
Since that number falls roughly halfway between the low figure of 3,111 and the high figure of 3,951, I think it is probably a better estimate of the actual number.  So based on the annual figures that I use, the cumulative total homicides for Juarez from January 2008 through April 2012 was 10,501.

The monthly totals for 2012 are as follows: Jan 122; Feb 82; March 105;
April 107…

I have just tallied up the numbers for May 1-14 and I come up with a figure of 45 homicides as of yesterday.  Diario reported 2 days with no murders–May 7 and May 10–but by looking at the daily articles and the reports I get from the Fiscalia, I found that one person who was wounded earlier died on May 10. I believe that yesterday, May 14, was the most violent day in May with a total of 8 homicides. So, my new tally for 2012 is 461–an average of 3.41 people per day. Added to the other annual numbers, the total for Juarez since January 2008 is now 10,546. This averages to 6.6 people per day since January 2008.   molly

Eight slain in Juárez over weekend

Failure of anti-narco fight is intentional, says Chomsky (google translation)-El Diario


Original article from El Diario

*New York-cons* so-called war on drugs is failing, but unintended
consequences are both within the United States and the hemisphere, said
Noam Chomsky, who also emphasized that the most notable change in the
Americas is their increasing independence from Washington .

“To say that the war on drugs has failed is not understanding something.
It is true that for 40 years the war on drugs has failed in its stated
objectives. Everyone knows that prevention and treatment is the most
efficient way to address drugs, and foreign operations is the most
inefficient. One has to wonder what is in the minds of planners face of
such evidence that does not work what they say they are trying to
accomplish. What are the likely intentions? The predictable consequences
are good indicators of effect, “he said.

Since the poisoning of crops in places like Colombia over drug fumigation
benefits the large agricultural interests and destroys the lives of the
peasants, that violence has displaced or destroyed the social fabric of
communities in several Latin American countries and because to drug
policies applied within the United States has imprisoned a large segment of
the poor, on the whole African-American and Latino, have to wonder if these
are predictable consequences, that is intentional, counter-narcotics

In comments-no-paper here to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the
publication NACLA, linguist and philosopher offered his views on the
changes in the hemisphere, and elaborated on what is behind the drug policy
of the U.S. government and political and economic elites in the region that
support it.

He recalled that in the United States these policies are doing what was
achieved after the end of slavery in the 1870s, when African Americans
enjoyed their freedom of form in this period, but “was achieved through
criminalize resclavizarlos” .  This was key because the labor force subject
to these conditions resclavizada engine served as the Industrial Revolution
in America: the state was the supplier of imprisoned workers, which
companies do not have to worry about unions or contracts of any kind.

This lasted until the Second World War, which was followed by two decades
of accelerated and sustained economic growth, but that was halted in the
mid-70’s with the supremacy of the financial sector in the economy and with
the relocation of production abroad .  There, under the pretext of the war
on drugs, began the mass incarceration of African Americans and Latino men.

In Latin America there is enormous money flows that benefit the elite,
and a large business is somehow involved with drug trafficking.  On the
other hand, Chomsky provided examples in Colombia and other countries under
the pretext of the war, have been able to control and override autonomous
economic efforts of various communities in the region for the benefit of
powerful interests.  All the while does not meet the stated objectives to
curb the drug and its consequences.

“I do not think the war on drugs is a failure, has a purpose different
from that announced,” he said Chomsky.  “The drug problem in Latin America
is here in America. We supply the demand, weapons, and they (Latin
American) experience.”

But just on this subject, by the growing questioning of U.S. drug policy,
such as relations with Cuba, expressed a growing autonomy of Latin America
from Washington, said Chomsky.

“United States no longer decreed in Latin America” since the region is
increasingly shaping their own future, as expressed at the last Summit of
the Americas.  That said, we could not adopt a final declaration by lack of
unanimity.  Faced with overwhelming support for Cuba’s inclusion in future
summits, Washington and Ottawa just opposed, equal to a growing consensus
on the decriminalization of drugs, there were only two objections, the same
Washington and Ottawa.

“You have to recognize that something remarkable has happened in Latin
America: the days when the U.S. imposed its will on the hemisphere and are
very much in the past.”  He said this has not yet recorded at the American
media, and still do not understand “that things have changed.”

In addition, there is a change in popular consciousness in the region,
marked by the election of Lula Inacio da Silva, Ollanta Humala, Evo Morales
and others, where the majority are being installed as leaders to “people
like them,” and not educated elites abroad and from the ruling class.  At
the same time, regional integration processes and the increasing exclusion
of the United States these are another sign of a new relationship.

In celebration of 45 anniversary of the founding of NACLA prizes were
awarded to Chomsky, Javier Sicilia and Eduardo del Río (Rius)-the latter
was unable to attend and his award was accepted by his friend, the Mexican
cartoonist Feggo.  Chomsky said that when NACLA was founded, was the
beginning of a wave of repression and dictatorship backed by Washington,
and worth celebrating the changes that have happened, at least to the
extent that the order decreed from the U.S. no longer dominates America
America compared to half a century ago.

After decades of U.S. policies designed to “kill hope” in Latin America,
said Chomsky, we are now at a time when that region is now “inspire hope”
for all.

6 (or 8) killed yesterday in Juarez; heads and body parts dumped in Juarez; detail on murders of state prosecutor and her son on Saturday

El Diario reports 6 killed yesterday in Juarez. But, according to the reports in the paper and the press notices from the Fiscalia, I believe the actual count for May 14 is 8. One man died in the hospital after being wounded on Sunday. Another man was found inside a house, apparently beaten and left to die. Also, the dramatic event yesterday was the finding of 2
heads and 4 hands left outside of the Bar “Bandoleros” in Juarez. The article early Monday said that Sunday was a “dia blanco” no murders recorded in the city.  I am in the process of counting the numbers for the month of May and I will
post that later today.
Also posted, the case of the state prosecutor and her son murdered in their home on Saturday. The mother who worked for the Fiscalia had intervened after her son killed an off-duty federal policeman in a bar fight in 2010.  She had the murder charge downgraded to “simple homicide” result of bar fight rather than aggravated… so her son got sentence of 4 years and served 13 months. The commentators in the article say this is normal and OK–that is what defense attorneys are supposed to do–except for the little complication in this case that the mother worked for the prosecutor and not
in the capacity of defense attorney. After getting out of jail, the son tried to join the state police academy, but alas, he was rejected cause of his criminal record.  molly


Juarez deaths averaging about 3 per day

Listeros—I’ve neglected to post on the homicides in Juarez for several
days, but my sense of the daily numbers is that they average about 3 people
per day… There have been 2 days with no homicides reported.  But,
yesterday, the tally seems to have been at least 6: 3 bodies found inside
of a vehicle in Praderas del Sur; a man and woman were killed at a house in
the Colonia Aztecas. The names of the victims was not released, but
unofficial reports said that the victims are mother and son of Chihuahua
state ministerial police, “Policia Unica” agent, Miguel Favela.  Also, a
body was found in a hidden grave outside the city.  I will try to post a
summary for the month later today.  molly

Localizan fosa clandestina con un cadáver al sur de la ciudad