9 Killed in 3 Apparent Drug Attacks in Mexico

September 30, 2013

CuernavacaThe New York Times, 9/29/2013

Shootings erupted over the weekend in three Mexican cities where drug gangs are fighting turf battles, killing at least nine people and wounding six more, officials said Sunday.

Gunmen on motorcycles arrived at a bar in the resort city of Cuernavaca and opened fire, killing three young men and a 22-year-old woman, the Morelos state prosecutor’s office said. The attack near midnight Saturday also injured four people, who were recovering in local hospitals under police guard, a common practice when officials consider victims’ lives still in danger.

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Señores, start your engines: Cheaper than China and with credit and oil about to start flowing, Mexico is becoming a Brazil-beater

December 3, 2012

The Economist, 11/24/2012

CuernavacaCuernavaca, a once pretty, now sprawling city with volcano views just south of the capital, is a typical Mexican town. Hernán Cortés stopped off there after toppling the Aztec emperor Moctezuma in 1520; the conquistador’s stables have since been converted into a smart hotel. Yet on the outskirts of the city, in an enormous industrial park, a visitor could forget he was in Latin America. Nissan, a Japanese car giant, has created a factory the size of a village where from next year it will begin turning out thousands of yellow and chessboard-chequered New York City taxis.

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Videos reveal that the attack in Tres Marias was unjustified [in Spanish]

September 12, 2012

La Jornada, 9/12/12

Reconstructions indicate that Federal Police officers shot at the SUV carrying two CIA agents and a member of the Navy without any provocation, and evidence points towards a cover up in the Federal Police since all the police involved have not been brought forth even though higher-up members of the Federal Police are thought to know who the police officers are.  There is also evidence that higher-up members of the Federal Police ordered the police officers to kill the CIA agents.  Videos show that the police in civilian wear initially shot at the SUV, and that they were later backed up by police in uniform, all evidence points towards an ambush as the U.S. Embassy initially stated.  There is no evidence linking the event in Tres Marias with the kidnapping of Salvador Vidal Flores Pérez (the PR Director at INAH), even though there were initial rumors that he had been kidnapped in the same SUV that the CIA agents were driving.

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Americans Shot in Mexico Were C.I.A. Operatives Aiding in Drug War

August 29, 2012

The New York Times, 8/28/12

The two Americans who were wounded when gunmen fired on an American Embassy vehicle last week were Central Intelligence Agency employees sent as part of a multiagency effort to bolster Mexican efforts to fight drug traffickers, officials said on Tuesday.

The two operatives, who were hurt on Friday, were participating in a training program that involved the Mexican Navy. They were traveling with a Mexican Navy captain in an embassy sport utility vehicle that had diplomatic license plates, heading toward a military shooting range 35 miles south of the capital when gunmen, some or all of them from the Federal Police, attacked the vehicle, Mexican officials have said.

Eric Olson, an expert at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s MexicoInstitute in Washington, said the shooting could only sow some doubts about the police, and at best pointed to a lack of communication among Mexico’s military and the police.

“This seems to suggest there isn’t better communication between the various elements of the Mexican government,” he said. “One fundamental issue is the lack of trust.”

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Agents shot at in Tres Marias are CIA agents (in Spanish)

August 28, 2012

La Jornada, 8/28/12

La Jornada reports that officials close to the case of the shooting of a an SUV with diplomatic plates and U.S. officials by  Mexican federal police agents have confirmed that the two Americans shot were, in fact, CIA agents.  They were apparently on their way to give shooting lessons to members of the Mexican military.  They were also, apparently, initially attacked by civilians in a Dodge Van.

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Mexico probes why federal cops fired at U.S. embassy car

August 27, 2012

San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 8/25/12

Mexico’s federal police agency acknowledged that its own officers fired on the embassy’s SUV, which appeared to be armored and has diplomatic plates. It said the officers were in the area looking for criminals, but it did not explain what happened.

Its statement said at least four vehicles fired at the embassy vehicle on a road south of the capital, but it did not clarify whether any or all of them were federal police units. Federal police spokesmen did not respond to The Associated Press requesting further comment.

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US employees injured in Mexico shooting

August 24, 2012

BBC News, 8/24/12

Two US government employees have been shot and wounded in a vehicle south of Mexico City, officials say.

Their armoured US embassy four-wheel drive came under fire on a main road near the city of Cuernavaca, police said, quoted by Mexican media.

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Mexico police find 6 mutilated bodies dumped on road near central tourism city of Cuernavaca

February 15, 2012

The Washington Post, 2/15/12

Mexican police have found the mutilated bodies of six men inside plastic bags dumped on a road leading to the tourist city of Cuernavaca.

Morelos state prosecutors say the bodies were found Wednesday on a highway in the town of Yautepec along with a threatening message left under a human head. State Attorney General Pedro Benitez tells local media the message was addressed by a drug gang to a rival but has given no other details.

The state of Morelos was formerly under the control of the Beltran Leyva gang, which broke up after its leader was killed by Mexican marines two years ago in Cuernavaca.

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Mexicans begin anti-violence caravan to US border

June 5, 2011

Sicilia

AFP, 6/5/2011

Mexicans protesting a military crackdown on drug cartels launched a convoy protest that will travel through some of Mexico’s bloodiest towns on its way to the US border.

The “caravan of comfort” includes families of victims and representatives of rights groups opposed to the crackdown, which has coincided with a wave of shocking violence that has seen some 37,000 people killed since 2006.

Fifteen buses and other vehicles left the city of Cuernavaca and arrived in Mexico City, 90 kilometers (56 miles) to the north, where famed poet and journalist-turned-activist Javier Sicilia addressed a crowd of several hundred.

“This caravan is the answer to the darkness that has befallen us with this war,” Sicilia said, referring to the all-out struggle between brutal drug cartels and some 50,000 security forces deployed by President Felipe Calderon to battle the traffickers.

Sicilia has emerged as the face of the protest movement since his son and six others were found killed and tortured near the central resort city of Cuernavaca in an incident authorities blamed on a local drug gang.

The demonstrators are expected to arrive June 9 in bullet-riddled Ciudad Juarez, about 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) to the north along the border with the United States.

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Mexico peace tour: How the drug war changed once-calm Cuernavaca

June 5, 2011

The Christian Science Monitor, 6/5/2011

On a regular weekday La Comuna café in Cuernavaca‘s old town is full of journalists discussing the news of the day while sipping cup after cup of organic coffee. La Comuna belongs to a cooperative of human rights activists and has become the gathering place of Cuernavaca’s political left.

The city, traditionally home to poets and artists, used to be a tranquil weekend destination for Mexico City‘s middle class elites, as the capital city is only one hour away.

But since 2006, when President Felipe Calderón came to power and declared a war on drug traffickers, it, like so many other cities across the country, has been caught in the throes of violence. Murders and disappearances have spiked, giving journalists an extra reason to sip coffee at this centrally-located cafe.

“We help each other out,” says José Martínez Cruz, the café’s friendly manager and head of the Independent Commission for Human Rights in Morelos (state). “We give them information and they spread the word.”

This state was once a middle-class paradise, says Mr. Martínez, but now impunity and violence reign. According to data collected by his organization, 80 extra-judicial killings took place last year, while 3,000 cases of disappearances were recorded in the past six years in the state alone.

As drug traffickers battling each other have moved into this territory, panic has ensued

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