Mexico Drug Violence Shows Decline–Wall Street Journal

In this interview with President Calderon, he discusses a slight decline in
violence nation-wide and also a proposal to the US to legalize some
Note this on the official government count:

Mr. Calderón declined to give out a specific figure of drug-related deaths
in the first five months of this year, giving out only the percentage
decline. He said his government will no longer make the figure public after
human-rights groups and victims’ families complained the government was
issuing a verdict on murders before the judicial system. Mexico’s
government uses evidence at the crime scene—such as decapitations or a sign
left by an alleged cartel—to distinguish crimes linked to the drug gangs
from common murders. “We had complaints from human rights groups and
analysts that we were pre-judging cases and victims,” said Mr. Calderón.”I
have given orders to my government that we play by the book on this. Only
after a judge issues a verdict can we include this in an official number,”
Mr. Calderón said.The government hasn’t given out data on drug-related
violence since January, when figures for the first nine months of 2011
showed drug-related murders were still likely on the rise, claiming 12,903
lives during the January-September period – a pace of 16,800 murders for
the year. That compares to 15,273 drug-related murders in 2010.

The WSJ article also cites the Frontera List for the Juarez murders
January-May 2011 and 2012: down from 958 to 491…though these are all
homicides as reported from the Fiscalia, not just “drug-related” homicides.
At least as best as it is possible to tell from what is reported. For what
it is worth, at least three people were murdered today in Juarez–two men
shot to death by a group of three young assassins and early today, the body
of a woman was found wrapped in a blanket.

I will be traveling in the next few days, but I have been trying to keep
track of the daily homicides in Juarez.  I will report back when I have
time to tally things, or, if Diario posts something with a summary…

massacre in bar in Chihuahua City; General assassinated in Mexico City

At least 15 people were massacred in an attack on the Bar Colorado in Chihuahua City last night. A followup report says that 2 of the victims were journalists. One used to have a radio program in the city and now was working for the municipal government. Another had a website for reporting news. The actual death toll is now at least 15….

Retired General Mario Arturo Acosta Chaparro was assassinated at a car repair garage in DF. In 2000 he was linked to the Juarez Cartel and tried and sentenced to 16 years. Neither the PGR (Federal Attorney General) nor the Military Attorney General could make the charges stick and so eventually he was exonerated.

“Para 2007 ni la PGR ni la Procuraduría de Justicia Militar pudieron acreditar los nexos de Acosta Chaparro con el narcotráfico, por lo que tuvo que ser exonerado.”
He had also been charged with crimes against humanity from the “dirty war”
in the 1970s.  AND he was decorated by Calderon in 2008 as a hero…molly

Retired Mexican general shot dead in Mexico City



Follow-up on murder of Eligio Ibarra

The man who was killed and burned inside of his house on Thursday night
last week was identified as Eligio Ibarra. In 2011, he was kidnapped and
extorted by a group of federal policemen and he managed to escape and turn
them in to the investigators of the Federal Attorney General. Those police
are said to be in jail. Mr. Ibarra fled the city for his safety and he was
reported to have returned last week in order to testify against the
kidnappers today. The first article includes a statement from human rights
ombudsman, Gustavo de la Rosa, about the chilling effect on other victims
and witnesses to crimes and abuses by government authorities. Late this
afternoon, the state attorney general of Chihuahua issued a statement that
the motive for the murder of Mr. Ibarra may have been robbery…and what’s
more, Mr. Ibarra may have been murdered by someone he knew and that he had eaten dinner with that person on the night of the crime… No, I cannot
make this stuff up. And I am sure there will be more details on an arrest
of this accused killer tomorrow in the paper.

It is worth considering these multiple crimes and the possible motives and
suspects in the murder of Mr. Ibarra. It is also worthwhile to consider the
gang of federal police officers caught in the act of kidnapping and
extortion and compare this reality in the city of Juarez with the
statements of the former DEA head Robert Bonner in his NYTimes oped last
Sunday… He credits the “new” federal police force established under
Calderon as the knights in shining armor in the “drug war.”

A empresario lo mató un conocido para robarlo: Fiscalía

Cracking the Mexican Cartels—NYTimes op-ed

Does anyone believe this?  What about the YEARS of testimony from victims
of violence and extortion in Ciudad Juarez, that the Federal Police are the
perpetrators? What evidence is there that this “top-down” strategy of
killing or arresting “king-pins” has done anything to decrease the supply
of drugs flowing out of Mexico or raising the prices of drugs in the US?

“To do that, he would need forces capable of patrolling urban areas,
collecting intelligence, and gathering the evidence necessary to prosecute
drug traffickers — functions that only professionalized law enforcement
agencies could carry out. To win this war, Calderón needed cops he could
rely on.”

I would propose that the evidence indicates that the military and police
forces patrolling urban areas are guilty of hunting down street level drug
sellers and killing them, and of extorting businesses, kidnapping people
and all manner of other crimes. And that the violent effects of this
so-called successful strategy is causing the violence to spread to areas of
Mexico far beyond the border. It will be interesting to see if the longer
version of this article to be published in Foreign Affairs presents any
evidence of these claims…  molly


15 yr old girl shot outside of her house

Yesterday, Friday, at least 3 people were killed in Juarez. But near
midnight, in another attack a young girl, 15, was shot in front of her
house in Senderos de San Isidro in the southeast region of the city.
Another girl with her was also seriously wounded in the attack.

The 2 girls were talking in front of the house after 11 pm, standing on the
sidewalk when a vehicle came by with several people on board. According to
witnesses, no one got out of the vehicle but they began to shoot from
inside the car. The father of the dead girl cried out “JUSTICIA!” and said
that the municipal police who arrived at the scene only cordoned it off and
then stood around instead of trying to find the people who had murdered his

“There is my daughter lying dead and they just fuck around…go an look for
the murderers…Mr. President! look and see what your agents are doing!
There is my daughter lying there…” screamed the man.

At least three of his neighbors had to restrain him as he was trying to
embrace the body of the girl…

This afternoon, another murder was reported of a 16 yr old boy in colonia
Villa Residencial del Real. He was killed with a knife early in the morning
and his body left in the street.

Rafaguean a quinceañera afuera de su casa

The note below was sent by Jose Rivera who knows the history of the gangs
in El Paso and Juarez because he lived through it. Now he is living through
tornadoes in the midwestern US…far from the border…But I asked his
permission to post his response to the story of the 15 yr old girl murdered
friday night in front of her home in Juarez… Below, a further note on the
murder in El Diario.  The killer is said to be a 14 yr old boy, a friend of
the victims… The article says that dozens of young kids in these
neighborhoods on the southeast of Juarez are making a living by stripping
abandoned houses of things that can be sold.  And that 40 percent of the
kids do not have jobs and do not go to school…molly




In Mexico, Biden shoots down talk of drug legalization… via McClatchy

It is interesting how these political leaders never seem to speak of the
growth of DOMESTIC drug consumption in their countries. Much of the
violence that erupted in Mexico and esp. in Juarez beginning in 2008, can
be attributed to domestic retail drug sales–neighborhood tienditas selling
cocaine, heroin and meth to street users in the city. Juarez is estimated
to have 100,000-200,000 addicts and virtually every street corner and
barrio and colonia and prison are markets to be controlled by local gangs.
That kind of competition produces a lot of violence. molly
Yet some regional leaders — Mexican President Felipe Calderon prominent
among them — voice deepening frustration at high U.S. drug demand, flows of
drug profits and weapons southward, and the seeming contradiction between
American pressure for harsh suppression measures in Latin America while, in
the United States, a growing number of states permit medical marijuana


By Tim Johnson

In Mexico, Biden shoots down talk of drug legalization

The Dark Side to Juarez’s Security Gains — InSight Crime, PROCESO

Below is an article from El Diario with a detailed critique of
Calderon’s claim that murders are down 57% in Juarez as repeated here
in the InSight Crime article. By my estimates, the percent of
decrease in the murders in Juarez is somewhere between 35% and 45%. In
order to be sure of a DECREASE in the number of murders, we have to
know WHICH homicides are being counted. I think it is more accurate to
report ALL homicides, not just those that the government claims are
“related to organized crime rivalries.” That number for Juarez for
2011 was reported to be 2,086. In the national statistics released in
January (the 47,500+ number of drug war murders up through Sept 2011),
the relationship to all homicides is somewhere between 45% and 55%
counted as drug war related. In some of the calculations I’ve seen,
the 2010 figure for ALL homicides is used in comparison to the much
lower figure of drug war related homicides for 9 months of 2011 and
the later number is reduced in several different ways and thus shows a
much greater percent of decrease than is likely to be true. In like
manner, it is hard to calculate how much the murder RATE (per 100,000
population) has decreased because we are not certain what the current
population of Juarez is. The murder rate is certainly down from what
it was in 2010, but the population is down also–we just do not know
how much. But using the government’s own claim that most of the
people killed are criminals, we realize that with the killing of more
than 10,000 people in the city since 2008, the possible population of
criminals to kill has been drastically reduced. As Julian Cardona
noted in his recent article, citing a “narco-mensaje” directed to
Mayor Murguia posted on January 4 2012:

“It is not because you have lowered the murder rate, rather it is
that there are no longer so many people to kill…how many of us were
here four years ago and how many inhabitants remain today?”
[full article with translation posted to frontera list on feb 7:]

Posted below is also an excerpt from Marcela Turati’s recent Proceso
article. In it she details the case of Mrs. Padilla Martinez’ children
brutally murdered in retaliation for her testimony in the
investigation of another of her sons who was murdered in police
‘My children were killed in retaliation’, says mother of brothers
executed and burned
[the full article and translation were posted here on frontera list on
January 9]

Also, one of the witnesses to police chief Leyzaola beating prisoners
in the Juarez Cereso was Shohn Huckabee. The violence he witnessed was
reported in the EP Times in December and also here on the Frontera
Suspects: Juárez chief of police killed friend

Monday, 27 February 2012 12:00
The Dark Side to Juarez’s Security Gains
Written by Patrick Corcoran

Le fallan a Calderón las cuentas sobre homicidios
M. Coronado/R. Chaparro
El Diario | 18-02-2012 | 00:26

La violenta “pacificación” de Juárez
Marcela Turati
18 de febrero de 2012 ·

Rights Abuses by Mexico Military in Spotlight–Wall Street Journal

MEXICO CITY—Throughout Mexico’s drug war, the country’s military has shrugged off allegations that soldiers have occasionally tortured or even executed suspected members of drug cartels, saying that the majority of the charges were made up by zealous activists or the cartels themselves.

But three high-profile cases this month that are being investigated outside the military’s own secret courts have prompted the army’s top commander to say the military may have committed serious human-rights abuses.

Click here to read more


Weighing Calderon’s Guilt in Mexico Drug War—InSight Crime report

By Geoffrey Ramsey

Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Sinaloa Cartel leader “Chapo” Guzman have been accused of crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court (ICC), raising questions about the application of international humanitarian law to the “war on drugs.”

The official complaint was filed in the ICC on November 25 by an enterprising team of legal scholars, activists, and journalists, and was supported by a petition bearing more than 20,000 signatures. According to human rights lawyer Netzai Sandoval, who is spearheading the case, the appeal to international law rather than Mexico’s courts was necessary because the Mexican judicial system lacks the “will and ability… to judge crimes against humanity.”

When the complaint was filed at the International Criminal Court, it garnered significant media attention in the US, and was been followed by analysts and pundits discussing the merits of the case. Last month Excelsior op-ed contributor Ricardo Aleman endorsed the charges against Calderon, predicting that “upon leaving office, he will become the most prosecuted of Mexican presidents.”

Click here to read more