Mexico’s Peña Nieto Talks to TIME: ‘We Can Move Beyond the Drug War’

November 30, 2012

TIME, 11/30/2012

Peña Nieto

Peña Nieto

Enrique Peña Nieto takes office tomorrow, Dec. 1, as the next President of Mexico—whose young and otherwise successful democracy is beset by narco-bloodshed (60,000 murders in the past six years), an underachieving economy (average annual growth of only 2% since 2000) and a feeling that its Latin American leadership role has been eclipsed by its fast-developing South American rival, Brazil. Peña, 46, the popular former governor of central Mexico state, convinced Mexican voters that his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico from 1929 to 2000 as a corrupt, one-party dictatorship, has righted itself enough to right Mexico. He spoke with TIME’s Latin America bureau chief, Tim Padgett, and Mexico reporter Dolly Mascareñas at his transition headquarters in Mexico City. Excerpts follow (translated from Spanish).

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Alleged cartel ‘queen’ arrested at unassuming El Monte apartment

July 5, 2012

The Los Angeles Times, 07/04/2012

In Mexico, the media called her  “La Bonita,” the pretty one, or “La Chula,” the beautiful one,  or “La Reina del Crimen,” the queen of Mexican crime.

Mexican authorities so desperately wanted to find 27-year-old Anel Violeta Noriega Rios — a woman they long alleged was a top operative in the La Familia drug cartel — they even put a $375,000 reward on her head.

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Protest march in Mexico City against drug war

August 14, 2011

BBC News, 8/14/11

Carrying banners and pictures of dead relatives, the activists marched in silence to the presidential palace to demand peace.

The protest was led by the poet turned activist Javier Sicilia, whose son was killed earlier this year.

He wants President Felipe Calderon to pull the army off the streets.

The activists are also demanding changes to a national security law reform being considered by Mexico’s Congress, to give citizens more protection from the security forces.

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Charitable giving in short supply in Mexico

August 13, 2011

The Washington Post, 8/13/11

Mexico City — When social scientists and policymakers here try to make sense of the beheadings, massacres and general mayhem afflicting large parts of this country, the blame often falls on the Mexican government’s under-investment in social programs and education.

But as researchers and advocacy groups look to confront the underlying causes of the spreading drug violence, they are also focusing on another shortfall: a lack of corporate and individual philanthropy.

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Mexican Panel Finds Law Enforcement Violations in Drug War

August 12, 2011

Associated Press, 8/12/11

Mexican soldiers and police officers regularly burst into homes, plant evidence and take people’s possessions, the National Human Rights Commission said Friday, adding that the violations have increased as Mexico’s war against drug gangs has grown more intense.

The actions by the security forces drew renewed attention this week when police officers searching for an accused leader of a drug gang stormed into the home of a gentle poet, breaking windows and doors and emptying closets and drawers.

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Mexico arrests trafficker accused of 900 murders

August 12, 2011

The Telegraph, 8/12/11

The attorney general’s office of Mexico state, adjoining Mexico City, said the suspect, Oscar Osvaldo Garcia Montoya, was detained early on Thursday.

He allegedly admitted to personally taking part in 300 killings and ordering another 600 by members of his organisation, Alfredo Castillo, attorney general of Mexico state, told a news conference.

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2012 elections limit the work of Wayne, experts say (In Spanish)

August 8, 2011

CNN Mexico, 8/8/11

Asuntos vinculados con la economía, la seguridad y la recomposición del tejido social de México —dañado por la violencia— esperan “aire fresco” con la llegada de Earl Anthony Wayne, nuevo embajador de Estados Unidos en México, consideraron tres analistas consultados por CNNMéxico.

Sin embargo, será difícil avanzar más allá de la Iniciativa Mérida, por las elecciones presidenciales del próximo año en ambos lados de la frontera.

El director del capítulo mexicano del Instituto Woodrow Wilson, Andrew Selee, prevé que Wayne ponga énfasis en los temas económicos. “Es su fuerte, y quizá atienda asuntos de la frontera y de seguridad”.

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UNESCO condemns murders of journalists in Mexico and Brazil

July 29, 2011

UN News Centre, 7/29/11

The United Nations agency tasked with defending and promoting press freedom today condemned the murders of journalists in Mexico and Brazil, two Latin American countries where reporters have already been killed this year.Irina Bokova, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) demanded the killers of both Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz in Mexico and Auro Ida in Brazil be brought to justice, and called for strong measures to curb violence against journalists.“I condemn the killing of Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz, the latest case in an increasing global trend of women journalists being targeted, which I am deeply concerned about,” the Director-General said.

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Meet Mexico’s Child Assassins

July 28, 2011

The New Yorker, 7/28/11

He has a slight build, skinny arms and legs, and a head almost too big for his body. His hair is dark and curly, in some photographs fluffed out into a giant halo around his lean, brown face. His eyes are hardened and inscrutable. When he leans into the camera, sometimes wearing a children’s T-shirt, his mouth twists into a snarl and his features tighten with disdain. Edgar (El Ponchis) Jiménez Lugo is fifteen years old. And, as of this week, Lugo is a convicted killer, found guilty in a Mexican court of beheading four people as an assassin for the South Pacific Cartel. (See William Finnegan’s pieces for the magazine about cartel violence.) He was sentenced to three years in prison, the maximum allowed for minors in the state of Morelos.

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Mexico’s ‘boy killer’ sentenced to three years in prison

July 27, 2011

Los Angeles Times, 7/27/11

The “boy killer” who for many became a symbol of the lawlessness and social deterioration of Mexican society because of the nation’s drug war was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison for killing four people in Morelos state.

Edgar Jimenez Lugo, alias “El Ponchis,” was 14 when he was arrested by the Mexican army in December. The teenager admitted before news cameras at the time that he began killing at age 11 and that a cartel paid him $200 a week to do it. He claimed to have beheaded four of his victims.

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