Suspected mastermind of Guatemala police massacre arrested in Mexico

October 7, 2013

Los Angeles Times, 10/4/2013

hands in handcuffsAn alleged drug cartel leader suspected of masterminding the June slayings of nine Guatemalan federal policemen was arrested Friday in the southern Mexico border state of Chiapas, officials said.

The suspect, Eduardo Francisco Villatoro Cano, became one of the most wanted men in Guatemala after more than a dozen armed men believed to be allied with his drug-running organization stormed a police substation June 13 in Salcaja, a municipality near Quetzaltenango, the country’s second-largest city.

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Anarchy along Mexico’s southern border crossings

August 6, 2013

mexican immigrantLos Angeles Times, 8/3/2013

The Mexican government is pledging to bring order to its wild southern border. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and the job couldn’t be more difficult.

The proof lies in this dusty border town of 14,000 people. Here, unmonitored goods and travelers float across the wide Suchiate River — the boundary between Guatemala and the Mexican state of Chiapas — on a flotilla of inner-tube rafts. They cross all day long, in plain sight of Mexican authorities stationed a few yards upriver at an official border crossing.  Some of the Central Americans are visiting just for the day. Others are hoping to find work on Mexican coffee plantations or banana farms. But many will continue north toward the United States.

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Mexican billionaire Slim eyes Guatemala’s energy sector, trains

July 12, 2013

carlos-slimReuters, 7/11/2013

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim is interested in investing in oil and natural gas exploration in Guatemala, a Guatemalan presidential spokesman said on Thursday.

Slim, who briefly visited the country on Wednesday, met with President Otto Perez to discuss investment options, which also include building a train line between southern Mexico and Guatemala, said spokesman Francisco Cuevas.”He expressed interest in exploring for natural gas and oil as soon as possible,” Cuevas told Reuters. “He also said that he would like to use public and private funds to build a rail line.” Slim, who owns telecoms company America Movil and topped Forbes magazine’s March list of the world’s richest people, runs his oil business through conglomerate Grupo Carso .

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Immigration reform a regional matter – #MexFacts

May 7, 2013

MexFact - Migration Numbers

“While US immigration policy is a sovereign concern, the country does not function in a void. Major demographic, economic, and social changes are sweeping across Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras that are altering the dynamics of the regional migration system and challenging the status quo.”

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Neighbors in Arms: How US guns are turning Central America into one of the most dangerous places in the world

May 6, 2013

Photo by Flikr user brian.chForeign Policy, 5/3/2013

When President Barack Obama meets with various Central American leaders in Costa Rica this weekend, he will likely face criticism of U.S. domestic firearm laws. Like Mexico, where he met with President Enrique Peña Nieto on May 2, Central American countries have increasingly raised concerns about U.S. firearms trafficking. They have good reason to do so: more and more arms that originated in the United States are being used in violent crimes across the region. And given the recent death of background check legislation in the U.S. Senate, Obama may find it difficult to reassure his critics that the United States is effectively tackling the problem at home.

According to data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on U.S. firearms trafficking and an analysis of related U.S. prosecutions, thousands of U.S.-origin firearms (firearms that were either manufactured or imported into the United States) are finding their way to criminals in Central America in the last few years. The flow of U.S. weapons is heaviest to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras — all among the top 10 most violent countries in the world.

According to a new Woodrow Wilson Center report focusing on Guatemala, ATF discovered that 2,687 (or 40 percent) of the 6,000 seized firearms it analyzed from just one Guatemalan military bunker in 2009 originated in the United States. In the past five years, there have also been at least 34 U.S. prosecutions related to American firearms trafficking to Guatemala involving a total of 604 U.S.-origin firearms.

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In Trek North, First Lure Is Mexico’s Other Line

April 29, 2013

Train Tracks by HeraldicosThe New York Times, 4/26/13

In Washington, the biggest immigration overhaul in decades would tighten border security between Mexico and the United States to stem the flow of illegal crossings. But there is another border making the task all the more challenging: Mexico’s porous boundary with Central America, where an increasing number of migrants heading to the United States cross freely into Mexico under the gaze of the Mexican authorities. So many Central Americans are fleeing the violence, crime and economic stagnation of their homes that American officials have encountered a tremendous spike in migrants making their way through Mexico to the United States.

American arrests of illegal crossers from countries other than Mexico — mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — more than doubled along the southwest border of the United States last year, to 94,532 from 46,997 in 2011.

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First Ladies from Mexico and Guatemala chat about child migration (Spanish)

April 24, 2013

Street childrenEl Universal, 4/23/2013

Mexico’s first lady Angelica Rivera de Peña hosted a meeting  with Guatemala’s first lady Rosa María Leal de Pérez at Los Pinos. The issue of concern discussed in the meeting was migration of unaccompanied children.  As concluded, both Mexico and Guatemala  will work together to provide better protection for migrant children.

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Report of shooting involving drug kingpin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman was mix-up

February 22, 2013
Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán

The Washington Post, 2/22/2013

A Guatemalan official said Friday there was no evidence that Mexico’s most-wanted drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, had been killed in a shootout in the rural north, calling such reports a misunderstanding.

Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla told local media that the original account was based on testimony from residents in San Valentin near the Mexican border, but that soldiers and police scanning the area found no sign of any confrontation.

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Guatemala checking Mexico drug lord death

February 22, 2013
Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán

Al Jazeera, 2/22/2013

Guatemalan authorities are investigating whether Mexican drug cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was killed in a clash between traffickers and its forces in Peten near the border with Mexico. Officials on Thursday said fingerprints and photos were taken to determine whether Mexico’s most wanted man was dead in the gunfight in a jungle area of the Peten Department. The information was being cross-checked with Mexican authorities.

“The first information we have is that it could be him,” Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez told local radio, cautioning that authorities could not be “100 percent” certain. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said he had no information yet to confirm whether Guzman was killed and that he was “hoping to get some information” soon.

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Zetas and MS-13 Join Forces in Guatemala

April 7, 2012

Fox News Latino, 4/7/12

Shipped back to the Central American countries of their birth from the streets and prisons of southern California in the 1990s, the tattooed and scarred members of the Mara Salvatrucha street gang quickly grew into a powerful and deadly force throughout the region.

Now, Guatemalan authorities say, they have begun to see new and disturbing evidence of an alliance between the Maras and another of the most feared criminal organizations in Latin America — a deal with the potential to further undermine that U.S.-backed effort to fight violent crime and narcotics trafficking in the region.

Secret jailhouse recordings and a turncoat kidnapper have described a pact between leaders of the Maras and the Zetas, the brutal Mexican paramilitary drug cartel that has seized control of large parts of rural northern Guatemala in its campaign for mastery of drug-trafficking routes from South America to the United States.

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