Mexico’s Rule of Law Crisis

November 18, 2014

11/16/14 Wall Street Journal 

gun - crime sceneWhat do the September disappearance of 43 university students from the custody of local police in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, and new allegations of federal corruption in the awarding of public infrastructure contracts have in common? Answer: They both show that Mexico still has a huge problem enforcing the rule of law. The two developments have sparked a political crisis that could sink Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) President Enrique Peña Nieto ’s ambitious reform agenda if he doesn’t take quick and decisive action to restore confidence. Until now the president has been able to ignore Mexico’s legendary lawlessness. He has been riding an international wave of excitement around the opening of the energy sector, with few questions asked. But unless he wants to make common cause with the hard left—which thinks it has him on the ropes because of the missing students—he needs to admit his mistakes, purge his cabinet and make the rule of law job No. 1.

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Mexico Begins Court Proceeding for Mayor

November 18, 2014

ABC News 11/16/14 

justice - gavelA federal judge has opened a court proceeding against the former mayor of a southern Mexico city in crimes that preceded the case of 43 missing students from a teachers’ college. The Federal Judiciary Council said in a statement late Saturday that Jose Luis Abarca has been charged with organized crime, the kidnapping of seven people and the killing of another in crimes that occurred before the students disappeared. Abarca was mayor of Iguala, in Guerrero state, when the students went missing.

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Mexico Federal Police Take Over Security in 13 Municipalities

October 20, 2014

10/20/14 Bloomberg

federal police mexicoMexico’s federal police took over security in 13 towns after investigators uncovered alleged links between local police and organized crime, a security official said. Authorities were investigating the disappearance last month of 43 students from the town of Iguala in the southern state of Guerrero when they made the discovery, National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said at a news conference yesterday. Twelve of the towns are in Guerrero, where authorities are looking for the teaching students who disappeared last month from the town of Iguala, 120 miles (193 kilometers) south of Mexico City, after clashes with local law enforcement left six people dead. Gang members acting in tandem with local police killed 17 of the students, state prosecutor Inaky Blanco said on Oct. 6.

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Mexico’s president vows to find miscreants responsible for massacre

October 7, 2014

10/07/14 Reuters 

peña-nietoMexican President Enrique Peña Nieto vowed on Monday to hunt down those responsible for the apparent massacre of dozens of students in the southwest of the country that authorities say involved local security officials. The students went missing after they clashed with police in Iguala in the volatile, gang-ridden state of Guerrero on Sept. 26. A mass grave was found near the town over the weekend, full of charred human remains. Guerrero’s attorney general, Inaky Blanco, said on Sunday that 28 bodies have been found at the site so far, and it is “probable” that some of the missing 43 students are among the remains found in the graves.

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U.S. and Mexico Governments Indifferent to Violent Effects of Arms Trafficking to Mexico

September 25, 2014

Guns by Flickr user barjack09/24/14 Reforma: Sergio Aguayo – Translated by Mexico Voices

One reason to be discouraged is our last two governments’ indifference towards life. Hope is reborn when people use the weapons at their disposal. Fist fighting is not the same as fighting with a “goat horn” [AK-47]. Violence is so lethal in Mexico because over 15 million illegal weapons are in circulation (PGR, Attorney General, figure in 2008). Two-thirds came from the United States, where you can even buy an assault rifle online. Arms trafficking is uncontrollable because in the United States there is a real power that is just as or more powerful than the trilogy formed by Emilio Azcárraga, Germán Larrea, and Carlos Slim [telecom business owners]. The National Rifle Association (NRA) halts public policies that attempt to control gun sales. By either coincidence or impotence the White House ends up giving in to the NRA. Budgets reflect the priorities of governments. In 2012 the United States had 18,546 agents dedicated to curbing migration on the border with Mexico. That same year there were only 421 agents in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) fighting against the smuggling of weapons to Mexico. To compensate for its impotence, the ATF had a bright idea: allow guns to be smuggled into Mexico to understand what was happening. Between 2006 and 2011-years under Felipe Calderón- there were three programs, the most famous of which is Fast and Furious. The undercover operation ended badly because they did not attach the chips that would allow them to be geo-located “for budgetary reasons.” They kept going, trusting that they would identify the weapons once they were used or accounted for.

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Mexican cartels steal billions from oil industry

September 25, 2014

09/25/14 The Washington Post

Oil barrelsMexico overcame 75 years of nationalist pride to reform its flagging, state-owned oil industry. But as it prepares to develop rich shale fields along the Gulf Coast, and attract foreign investors, another challenge awaits: taming the brutal drug cartels that rule the region and are stealing billions of dollars’ worth of oil from pipelines. Figures released by Petroleos Mexicanos last week show the gangs are becoming more prolific and sophisticated. So far this year, thieves across Mexico have drilled 2,481 illegal taps into state-owned pipelines, up more than one-third from the same period of 2013. Pemex estimates it’s lost some 7.5 million barrels worth $1.15 billion.

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In historic U-turn, Mexico to join U.N. peacekeeping missions

September 25, 2014

09/24/14 Reuters

Enrique Pena NietoAfter years of keeping out of the world’s conflicts, Mexico said on Wednesday it was ready to take part in United Nations peacekeeping missions, as the government steps up efforts to raise its profile on the global stage. “Mexico has taken the decision to participate in U.N. peacekeeping missions, taking part in humanitarian tasks that benefit civil society,” Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto told the U.N. General Assembly in a speech in New York.

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