LEGITIMATE HOMICIDE…

As I was driving home today and listening to the news about Todd Akin and “legitimate rape“…

I thought, well, what we have been seeing in Mexico for (at least) the last 6 years is a government that says there is homicide and then, there is “legitimate homicide.” And government mouth-pieces ranging from mayors and police chiefs of Juarez, to governors of Chihuahua and on up to Secretaries of Gobernacion, Defense, and Public Security and on up to President Calderon himself have consistently said that “90 percent of the dead are criminals being killed by other criminals.” [legitimate homicide…] The recent Washington Post article quotes numerous government spokespersons in Juarez reinforcing this idea that all of the killing happened between criminals — “legitimate homicides”– and government forces are now bringing calm to the city… All this at the very moment when the Mexican government is being forced to admit that it cannot legitimately classify homicides at all since it lacks the capability to investigate more than one or two percent of the crimes and now the national statistical agency says that despite all the claims of “winning the drug war,” there were more homicides (by far) in 2011 than in any other year since Calderon took office (or any year prior to that since the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920)… Here is the REFORMA article from today on the new INEGI numbers.  I’ll post something more comparative tomorrow…a GOOGLE translation of the REFORMA piece is below…and a little chart I am working on comparing the INEGI releases from 2011 and today. According to my first look at this new data, with estimates of what will happen for the remaining months of Calderon’s term, we are looking 116,869 homicides during the sexenio. And these are all connected to real government data and real body counts. NOT including estimates of disappeared people or bodies yet to be uncovered from clandestine graves… [feel free to check my arithmetic]  Molly Molloy
GOOGLE TRANSLATION: 
27,199 murders recorded in 2011
Chihuahua, according to INEGI, is the state with the highest number of violent deaths with an average of 131 murders per 100,000 inhabitants
By REFORM / Writing
Mexico City (August 20, 2012). – In 2011 there were 27,199 intentional homicides in Mexico, the highest in the six-year period, according to data released by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). The figures are derived from the information provided by the administrative records of the Registry Offices 723 4000
Civil Registry and 96 thousand prosecutor agencies that provide monthly data on deaths accidental and violent, precise INEGI in a statement. The Institute notes that the company with the highest number of deaths was Chihuahua, which occurred in
average of 131 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, and the lowest rate was Yucatan, with three cases. “To facilitate comparison of data from homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, was an exercise by the INEGI, for population estimates for each of the years of the series to be present, consistent with the results of the Census of Population and Housing 2010, “says the Institute. “So these calculations will not match other data generated from official projections current population are based on the Second Population and Housing 2005 and conciliation
population of 2005. ” According to the annual breakdown presented by the Institute, in 2006 there were 10,452 deaths, while in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 occurred 8,867, 14 006, 19,803 and 25,757, respectively. However, last year, according to the cut last July, have not finished it processes generation of statistics, the figure reached 27,199 deaths.
Copyright © Grupo Reforma Information Service
And here is a comment on the earlier post by my colleague at Cal State Northridge on the news media complicity in this continuing falsifying of the record:
_______________________
Amazing (but not surprising) to think this is not a big story in the U.S. Plus, a great example of how government agencies shape and manipulate reality. The Mexican government definition of drug-related crime is as bogus as the definition of gang-related crime in the U.S. The purpose, of course, is different, but the effect has been catastrophic for poor people in both instances.
The result of this, as pointed out by Molly, is that news media organizations have been reporting Mexico’s government figures without challenging the government, which means a reduction of the size of the impact on Mexican society. Instead of 50 or 60,000 drug-related killings, we should be talking about 100,000+. Think of Vietnam: 50,000 U.S. soldiers killed (and the impact on American society). Now, imagine double that size with a population half the size of the U.S. during Vietnam. Nobody in Mexico has remained untouched by this. And this is not the end yet… From Jose Luis Benavides
LINKS TO SOURCES FOR NUMBERS ARE BELOW:
  INEGI total homicides reported Aug 2012* INEGI total homicides reported July 2011+ SNSP
2005 9,921 9,921  
2006 10,452 10,452  
2007 8,867 8,867  
2008 14,006 14,006  
2009 19,803 19,803  
2010 25,757 24,374  
2011 27,199  
2012 (Jan-June estimate from SNSP)# 10,617    
July-Dec est. @ 1770 per month 10,620    
TOTAL 2007-2012 Calderon’s term 116,869   104,977 (estimate SNSP as per Reforma, Aug 15 2012 + July-Dec 2012 est.)&

Mexicans Pay in Blood for America’s War on Drugs…Mexico’s Magical Homicides…New Times Online

Folks–Charles Bowden and I have articles coming out online in the “New Times” chain. A longer version should appear in print in Phoenix and Dallas and possibly in other papers in the chain. The first edition to come out online is in the Miami New Times. It features photographs by Miguel Angel Lopez Solana, the photo-journalist now seeking asylum in the US after his parents, brother and several colleagues in Veracruz were murdered. Just yesterday, Miguel sent me an email about another colleague in Veracruz who is missing. Go to the link to read the stories and if you live in a city with a New Times, look for it on the newsstand. molly

 

Mexico’s Magical Homicides

 

Mexicans Pay in Blood for America’s War on Drugs

More Mexicans requesting asylum–report from Atlanta

An interesting article from Atlanta GA concerning an increase in asylum
claims from people not directly affected by the violence…This legal
tactic seems to have potential to make asylum more difficult for those
Mexicans with more serious claims.
“We [attorneys] are trying to create this new class of protected people,”
she said. “The more Americanized they are, the more tied they are to the
United States. We have to litigate this class into existence, because it
doesn’t exist.”

 

Mexico: Family of 20 Crosses into Texas Seeking Asylum after Drug Cartel Murders

This story has been reported in El Diario for the past several days…Two
members of the family–a father and son–were murdered. The son was at his
father’s grave in the Villa Ahumada cemetery when he was shot. Others
received death threats by phone. They left the town early in the week and
have been camped out in the offices of the federal Attorney General (PGR)
in Juarez. In a dramatic move, all 20 family members have crossed into the
US to seek asylum, although the latest Diario article said that the Mexican
Attorney General was going to meet in Juarez and discuss how to provide
protection for the family.
There have also been several recent articles in EL Diario on the lack of
any police protection in many of the towns and villages in northern
Chihuahua since 2008 when many police were killed, many fled and others
were dismissed. In 2009, a gun battle took place in Villa Ahumada in which
more than 22 people were killed. Earlier, in May 2008, the Army entered
Villa Ahumada and killed many more then…
Perhaps this case will bring attention to the ongoing and almost unreported
violence in the rural towns and villages surrounding Juarez…

UPDATE:
the Porras family from Villa Ahumada are all seeking political
asylum in the US.  Several houses and businesses in and around Villa
Ahumada owned by the family have been robbed, vandalized and burned
according to an article in El Diario.

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.”