March 28, 2013
The Washington Post, 3/27/13
Hundreds of armed vigilantes have taken control of a town on a major highway in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero, arresting local police officers and searching homes after a vigilante leader was killed. Several opened fire on a car of Mexican tourists headed to the beach for Easter week.
Members of the area’s self-described “community police” say more than 1,500 members of the force were stopping traffic Wednesday at improvised checkpoints in the town of Tierra Colorado, which sits on the highway connecting Mexico City to Acapulco. They arrested 12 police and the former director of public security in the town after a leader of the state’s vigilante movement was slain on Monday.
March 19, 2013
Despite the drug war violence, U.S. tourists are still likelier to visit Mexico than any other country on the planet. According to a report from Mexico’s tourism ministry, “Visitor arrivals by air to Mexico during the period January to August 2012 increased 6.1 percent with respect to 2011, 4.9 percent compared to 2010 and 11.7 percent compared to 2008.” Although a number of destination cities continue to attract high levels of tourism and are likely to pull in visiting spring breakers this March, one city, the resort town of Acapulco on Mexico’s Pacific coast, stands out for its continued security struggles.
So far, unlike the tourist city of Acapulco to the south, Puerto Vallarta, a beach city in the state of Jalisco, has largely avoided the cartel and street gang related violence that is affecting many other pockets of Mexico. On March 12, 2013 The Los Angeles Times reported, “Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, is making a comeback with the spring break crowd, according to statistics compiled by Kayak, an aggregator website that searches hundreds of websites.”
February 20, 2013
Animal Politico, 2/20/2013
Según los reportes de incidencia delictiva difundidos por el Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública, durante 2012 entre los municipios con el mayor índice delictivo se colocó una delegación del Distrito Federal. En el rubro de “Robo” la delegación Cuauhtémoc tuvo la mayor incidencia del país, mientras que Tampico encabezó el rubro de secuestros, Acapulco el de asesinatos (en promedio por cada 100 mil habitantes); Yautepec, Morelos, posee el mayor promedio de violaciones; Oaxaca es la alcaldía con la media más elevada de lesiones dolosas y Cuautla, también en Morelos, es la que más extorsiones sufrió.
Incluidas por el Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y la Justicia Penal AC en el estudio “La violencia en los municipios de México en 2012″, presentado ayer, las cifras oficiales analizadas se concentraron en las 212 alcaldías del país con más de 100 mil habitantes, y en los que radican dos terceras partes de la población mexicana
February 19, 2013
The New York Times, 2/18/2013
The new Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, campaigned on a promise to reduce the violence spawned by the drug trade and organized crime, and to shift the talk about his nation away from cartels and killings. But even as he rolled out a crime prevention program last week and declared it the government’s new priority, a rash of high-profile mayhem threatened to undercut his message and raise the pressure to more forcefully confront the lawlessness that bedeviled his predecessor.
The southwestern state of Guerrero, long prone to periodic eruptions of violence, has proved a challenge once again. Gang rapes of several women have occurred in and around the faded resort town of Acapulco, including an attack this month on a group from Spain that garnered worldwide headlines, and an ambush killed nine state police officers in a mountainous no-man’s land. Out of frustration that the state was not protecting them, rural towns in Guerrero have taken up arms to police themselves.
February 15, 2013
The Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon, summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.
What the English-language press had to say…
This week, the Peña Nieto administration unveiled its new strategy to combat organized crime, promising the creation of a 10,000-strong gendarmerie by year’s end, as well as $9.2 billion for social programs aimed at the country’s most violent towns and neighborhoods. Mexico’s booming auto industry surpassed tourism and oil exports to become the nation’s main source of foreign exchange. The government’s efforts to transform the Mexican narrative of violence into one of prosperity and social development, however, continued to suffer setbacks following the rape of six Spanish tourists in Acapulco last week. Auto defensa vigilante groups in the state of Guerrero continued to hold over forty people accused of several crimes hostage. North of the border, talk of comprehensive immigration reform continued, with critics warning against conditioning reform efforts on the poorly defined notion of securing the border, which Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano added, has “never been stronger.”
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February 13, 2013
Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim’s one-year effort to return Acapulco to its past glory has been overshadowed by the surge in drug-related killings, which nearly tripled in 2011 and made this port city in the southern state of Guerrero the second most violent city in the world in 2012. In recent weeks Acapulco has been in the international news after five masked men broke into a beach hotel and raped six Spanish female tourists at midnight. U.S. newspapers reported that the rapes have heightened fear and called into question the Mexican government’s ability to control crime and attract foreign visitors.
The crime, which took place in one of Mexico’s best known tourist resorts, was the most recent in a series of violent episodes that has tarnished the international image of what only a few decades ago was a favorite destination for celebrities, foreign leaders and American honeymooners. Acapulco and several other top beach resort cities are the core of the tourism industry, Mexico’s third source of foreign exchange income after oil and remittances.Despite this grim picture, the Consulting Board for the Restoration of Traditional Acapulco, a group of leading Mexican businessmen created in February 2012 and headed by Slim, continues its efforts to pool funding from the state and federal governments, as well as from the private sector, to rescue Acapulco’s waterfront. “Those who do not invest and go slow because they have doubts will be left behind. I am not afraid of investing here in Acapulco,” Slim said in 2012.
February 7, 2013
Each day we will bring you an assortment of op-ed pieces from major Mexican dailies.
Jorge G. Castañeda
A few days ago, Chile hosted CELAC’s (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) first meeting. The organization’s purpose is simple: to build a regional structure that includes Cuba and excludes the United States and Canada. Speaking as CELAC’s president pro tempore, Cuba’s Raúl Castro said he would fight drugs “by fire and sword,” and suggested Cuba’s death penalty has led to a drug-free Cuba. The Cuban dictatorship has indeed used “fire and sword” to fight drugs, but has also employed them to crack down on imaginary evils, like homosexuality and political opposition. Latin American democracies have already been down the “fire and sword” road, only to discover that it leads to death, violence, repression, and, contrary to Mr. Castro’s beliefs, the persistence of drug-related problems.
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February 7, 2013
The Los Angeles Times, 2/6/2013
Despite past assurances that tourists are safe in their country, Mexican tourism officials are again faced with trying to explain away another report of crime against foreign visitors. The latest incident took place in the resort town of Acapulco, where six Spanish tourists on vacation were raped Sunday by masked gunmen.
Crime tied to drug violence has reduced the number of tourists from the U.S. to Mexico in recent years but Mexican tourism officials have responded by targeting travelers from countries such as Russia, Brazil, Peru and Colombia. Despite the violence, Mexico predicts it will host 24.7 million foreign visitors in 2012, surpassing last year’s record of 23.4 million. But the latest crime report will only make it harder for Mexico to shrug off the incidents of crime in tourist towns as isolated and rare, experts say.
June 21, 2012
InSight Crime, Southern Pulse, 6/19/2012
In recent years, the Acapulco Metropolitan Zone (AMZ) has experienced some of the highest levels of criminal violence in Mexico. The AMZ presents an interesting case where two small criminal organizations have battled for territorial control of the city with the external support of much larger cartels operating at the national level. The AMZ also provides a snapshot of how the criminal environment evolves as organizations adapt, and ultimately present a public security challenge that neither the Mexican government nor many international businesses are prepared to confront…
High-impact criminal activity in the AMZ is primarily carried out by two, second tier organizations: La Barredora (including its hitman squad, The Devil’s Command) and CIDA… La Barredora and CIDA, both splinter groups from the organization operated by La Barbie — itself a splinter group from BLO — operate exclusively in the state of Guerrero, and primarily in the AMZ. Both groups rose to confront the weakened South Pacific Cartel and the BLO, which had been fighting for control of Acapulco.
April 3, 2012
USA Today, 4/3/12
In an episode of the hit television series Mad Men, advertising honcho Don Draper plans a getaway to one of the most iconic beach resorts in the world: Acapulco, home of daring cliff divers by day and cocktail-laced debaucheries by night. That was 1964.
Flash forward to 2012, and the onetime haunt of Hollywood starlets, international jetsetters and canoodling presidents-to-be (both the Kennedys and the Clintons honeymooned here) has become a symbol for the human and economic toll exacted by Mexico’s ongoing war with rival drug cartels. Foreign tourism has plummeted, prompted in part by headlines like “Headless bodies flood Acapulco sidewalk”
(from the Jan. 9, 2011 New York Daily News
, reporting on a particularly gruesome discovery outside a local shopping center).
Now, a new promotional campaign and English-language website dubbed “Remember Acapulco” is trying to reassure would-be visitors – and rekindle some of that old glamour. “The goal is to regain confidence,” said Graciela Baez Ricardez, head of tourism for the State of Guerrero