July 12, 2013
By Alejandro Hope, Nexos, 7/1/2013
Felipe Calderón es hombre de detalles. De obsesiones, dirían sus críticos. Como presidente, podía disertar al vuelo, sin notas, sobre las bandas criminales, su genealogía, su estructura. Tenía en las yemas de los dedos los datos, las cifras oscuras, el número de policías que no habían aprobado el control de confianza en Tamaulipas, el promedio de homicidios en Juárez en las últimas cuatro semanas. Poseía un asombroso mapa mental de la ruta de la sangre y la geografía de las reformas institucionales. Su gusto por las minucias de la guerra se desplegaba en cada discurso y cada conversación.
Enrique Peña Nieto es hombre de conceptos. De lugares comunes, dirían sus detractores. Sus afirmaciones sobre seguridad se ubican en la estratósfera, lejos de las definiciones concretas. El tema no le encandila y tal vez le aburra. Parece acomodarle más la frase hecha que el dato puntual, más los compromisos genéricos que las estrategias detalladas. La intensidad de Calderón ha sido sustituida por una parsimonia que quiere cambiar de tema.
July 12, 2013
By Eduardo Guerrero Gutiérrez, Nexos, 7/1/2013
Durante los primeros seis meses del gobierno de Enrique Peña Nieto los homicidios vinculados con el crimen organizado mostraron, a nivel nacional, una tendencia moderada de disminución. Dicha tendencia había comenzado durante el último año del gobierno de Felipe Calderón, cuando se registraron 13 mil 371 ejecuciones, 17% menos que el año previo. Si se comparan los dos primeros trimestres del gobierno de Peña Nieto con los últimos de Calderón, la disminución fue de 9%.Esta tendencia, sin embargo, ha perdido fuerza recientemente: durante el trimestre que comprende de marzo a mayo de 2013 el número de ejecuciones fue prácticamente igual al del trimestre previo.
La violencia no ha descendido de modo significativo desde la llegada al poder de Peña Nieto, pero sí ha ocurrido un cambio notorio en el ámbito de la comunicación social. El gobierno dejó de anunciar arrestos, decomisos, operativos y pormenores de la política de seguridad, e impulsó otros temas en la agenda pública. La medida provocó que la prensa internacional dejara de enfatizar la presencia del ejército en las calles, las masacres y las violaciones a los derechos humanos, y diera mayor resonancia a notas positivas, como el auge del sector exportador (incluso se ha llamado a México “el nuevo Detroit”, por el dinamismo de la industria automotriz).
July 8, 2013
Associated Press, 7/4/2013
A Mexican judge on Thursday ordered the release of five high-ranking army officials accused of aiding a drug cartel after federal prosecutors dropped organized crime charges against them citing a lack of evidence. It’s the latest drug trafficking case against military officers started during former President Felipe Calderon’s administration to fall apart.
Judge Raul Valerio Ramirez said he ordered the immediate release of Gen. Roberto Dawe, Gen. Ricardo Escorcia, Gen. Ruben Perez, Lt. Col Silvio Hernandez and Maj. Ivan Reyna from a maximum security prison in Mexico state where they have been held since their arrest last year. The officers were charged with protecting members of the Beltran Leyva cartel. Federal anti-drug prosecutor Rodrigo Archundia Barrientos dropped charges in the case after concluding that witness testimony was not enough to sustain the case, Valerio Ramirez said in a statement.
July 8, 2013
Global Post, 7/5/2013
Candidates have been gunned down, gangster cash alleged in campaigns, governors accused of corruption and a cat, dog and donkey nominated for municipal office. Mexico’s democracy is dancing dirty once again.
On Sunday, voters will elect one governor, 13 state legislatures and hundreds of city councils and mayors. Voters yawn, but politicians have been scratching at one another like bobcats. Economically crucial tax and energy reforms hang in the balance. “This is a setback in terms of elections,” says political scientist Sergio Aguayo, a longtime democracy activist and sharp critic of the country’s modern politics. “It’s the Wild West.”
July 1, 2013
Prepared by Constance McNally
The Black Market Peso Exchange (BMPE) is a system by which drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) both move and launder earnings from drug sales. This is traditionally accomplished by a broker selling U.S. located proceeds from DTO sales to foreign importers who need U.S. dollars to purchase American goods. It was originally used by Columbian DTOs, but has been adopted by Mexican DTOs. 
As depicted above, traffickers located in the United States drop off U.S. dollars they receive from drug sales with a peso broker. This broker usually makes small deposits under the $10,000 limit at which banks must report the transaction. The broker also has a contact or broker with whom they have a partnership in their home country, in this example Mexico, who handles delivery of the equivalent peso amount to the DTOs in Mexico. The broker in Mexico uses pesos obtained by Mexican importers looking to purchase American goods with U.S. dollars for the delivery to the DTOs. The broker in the U.S. then uses the U.S. dollar denominated drug proceeds deposited with him by the DTOs to pay for the goods purchased by the Mexican importer.  The broker makes a profit on the exchange rate spread and also charges a small fee.  DTOs are able to launder their profits, legitimate U.S. companies knowingly or unknowingly are able to increase sales and profits, and importers save money on exchange rates and fees. The system has proven so successful that it was identified by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a division of the U.S. Treasury Department, as “the single most efficient and extensive money laundering “system” in the Western Hemisphere.” The simplicity of the system and its potential variations makes it difficult to disrupt. Future tools for disrupting certain aspects of it, such as tightened currency transaction limits, may prove to be useful in combatting its success.
Read the rest of this entry »
July 1, 2013
The following video was part of a presentation by UCLA Masters in Public Policy students and their faculty mentor, Mark A.R. Kleiman, titled “Reducing Drug Violence in Mexico: Options for Implementing Targeted Enforcement.”
The video was produced by Brad Rowe and edited by Jacob Strunk.
July 1, 2013
The Wall Street Journal, 6/28/13
Drug-related killings that turned parts of Mexico into the bloodiest spots on the globe appear to have decreased in recent months—a welcome trend in a nation exhausted by years of violence associated with organized crime, even if the reasons behind it are hard to pin down. President Enrique Peña Nieto entered office Dec. 1 promising to continue the U.S.-supported fight against drug kingpins that he inherited, but to reduce the bloodbath by focusing on solving crimes like kidnapping and extortion that affect ordinary citizens.
The bloodshed is still alarmingly high, as the northern border and even the Acapulco beach resort continue to suffer from cartel turf wars. In his first six months in office, around 6,300 people died in killings seen as linked to organized crime. But that is a drop of about 18% compared with an estimated 7,700 in the previous six months.
June 24, 2013
“Reducing Drug Violence in Mexico: Options for Implementing Targeted Enforcement,” a study by a group of recent UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Masters in Public Policy graduates led by renowned criminologist Mark A.R. Kleiman, looks into the possibility of utilizing existing U.S. law enforcement capabilities to reduce the violence in Mexico by targeting the revenues of Mexican trafficking organizations in U.S. markets. The policy suggestions are modeled after violence reduction models that have proven effective at a smaller scale in the U.S. and elsewhere.
To read the study, click here…
June 24, 2013
From the day the first bullet was fired all the way until the day the flag was passed to the next administration, Calderón’s War failed to address the direct needs of Mexico’s population. The multibillion dollar market for illicit drugs in the United States continues to be fed by shipments from Latin America and other parts of the globe. Calderón’s mistake is that he adopted a unilateral response to an international problem and failed to take sufficient measures to adequately protect his own country’s population from the unintended side effects of his strategy. Given the scope and the magnitude of the underlying economic mechanisms which fuel the drug trade, other governments in the region, such as Costa Rica, are choosing to focus on protecting their own citizens and working to promote law and order by implementing effective community policing.
The central criticism of Calderón’s strategy is that he embraced a macro military solution and allowed troop movements to take precedence over effective local policing. The result has been six years of reputation-damaging violence, a re-organization of the structure of Mexico’s organized crime, and almost no disruption whatsoever of the connection between cocaine suppliers in Colombia and consumers in the United States. The drug trade is an international problem that requires an international solution. Crime and violence, on the other hand, are national and local problems that can be addressed by local policymakers.
June 24, 2013
The New York Times, 6/22/2013
Rosa González cannot shake the memory of the state investigator who was too afraid of reprisals to take a full report, the police officer who shrugged when the ransom demand came, the months of agonizing doubt and, most of all, the final words from her daughter before she disappeared. “I am giving you a hug because I love you so much,” her mentally disabled daughter, Brizeida, 23, told Rosa hours before she was abducted with her 21-year-old cousin after a party more than two years ago.
In thousands upon thousands of cases, the story may well have ended there, adding to the vast number of Mexicans who have disappeared. Unlike those in other Latin American countries who were victims of repressive governments, many of Mexico’s disappeared are casualties of the organized-crime and drug violence that has convulsed this nation for years. But here in Nuevo León State, prosecutors, detectives, human rights workers and families are poring over cases together and in several instances cracking them, overcoming the thick walls of mistrust between civilians and the authorities to do the basic police work that is so often missing in this country, leaving countless crimes unsolved and unpunished.