Mexico’s ‘Crisis Of Disappearance': Families Seek Answers (Audio)

February 21, 2013

people waiting - out of focusNPR, 2/21/2013

Maximina Hernandez says she begged her 23-year old son, Dionicio, to give up his job as a police officer in a suburb of Monterrey. Rival drug cartels have been battling in the northern Mexican city for years. But he told her being a police officer was in his blood, a family tradition. He was detailed to guard the town’s mayor.

In May 2007, on his way to work, two men wearing police uniforms stopped Dionicio on a busy street, pulled him from his car and drove him away. That same day, the mayor’s other two bodyguards were also abducted. Witnesses say the kidnappers wore uniforms of an elite anti-drug police unit. The three men haven’t been seen since.

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Americans ready to risk lives to save souls in Monterrey, Mexico

October 31, 2012

Los Angeles Times, 10/30/2012

Pastor Andres Garza had told the American evangelicals to stay away from his troubled city. The drug war made it too difficult to guarantee their safety.

The way Garza saw it, the Americans’ return on this September weekend was part of an epic spiritual battle for a city, like Babylon, that had fallen into decadence and was in need of salvation. There was also a little of Jesus’ story in their visit.

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In Nuevo Leon a Civil Police Force Replaces the Military [in Spanish]

September 17, 2012

Reforma, 9/16/12

While Nuevo Leon is suffering from the worst wave of violence in its history, the military is leaving the streets of Monterrey and is being replaced by a new civilian police force called the Fuerza Civil which was created by the state’s governor Rodrigo Medina last year.  There will be an 80% reduction in military presence, and they are recruiting many new police officers.

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The Mexican Press Under Fire

August 27, 2012

The Wall Street Journal, 8/26/12

Five and a half years after Mexican President Felipe Calderón initiated an all-out war on the Mexican cartels that run drugs to American consumers, organized-crime rages in Mexico. But it is not limited to narcotics trafficking. Having made a bundle off prohibition, mastered the art of corrupting officials, and provoked a generalized breakdown in the rule of law, other gangster businesses are booming. When the press dares to expose their operations, it gets the El Norte treatment or worse. The paper has reported that 47 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2006, 13 have disappeared and there have been 40 attacks against media properties.

The Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice (CCSPJP), a Mexico-based nongovernmental organization which tracks homicide statistics, found that five of the 10 deadliest cities in the world last year were in Mexico. The Council has also reported that of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world in 2011, 40 are in Latin America. Last year, for the first time, Monterrey joined that list as cartel violence spiked.

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Mexico’s Monterrey still ranks as top city, despite violence

August 16, 2012

The Los Angeles Times, 8/15/12

In a new study by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, or IMCO, the city of Monterrey, at the once-tranquil heart of Mexico’s industrial hub, was ranked No. 1 in most of the things that make an urban center attractive to business and residents. And yet, the report also noted that Monterrey’s murder rate grew by 300% between 2010 and 2011. (Links in Spanish.)

Part of the explanation, the report noted, is that homicides really soared after the cutoff date for the data used to rate competitiveness in the study, late 2010. But security in Monterrey had already begun to deteriorate in early 2009, and other factors apparently sustained the city’s ability to develop and attract investment…

“In my opinion, it’s not a contradiction because we are saying Monterrey is competitive DESPITE the crisis of violence that it is living,” the report’s author, IMCO urban development studies director Gabriela Alarcon, said in an email message.

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Mexico Magazine Printing Plant Raided, Burned

August 1, 2012

Huffington Post, 7/31/2012

An official in the Nuevo Leon state prosecutors’ office who was not authorized to speak on the record says the attack targeted a plant run by the DIPSA company in the city of Monterrey. It handles work for the Proceso news magazine as well as society and gossip publications.

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Report: Mexican newspaper office set on fire in 2nd attack this month

July 30, 2012

CNN, 7/30/2012

Two masked men set the offices of a prominent Mexican newspaper on fire Sunday, the second such attack on the daily this month.

The armed men walked into the Sierra Madre office of the El Norte newspaper in the northern city of Monterrey, threatened a security guard, poured gasoline out of canisters and lit the building on fire, the newspaper said.

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Resucitating the Barrio Antiguo [op-ed, in Spanish]

July 18, 2012

Animal Politico, Alejandro Hope, 7/17/12

In this piece Alejandro Hope discusses the situation in Monterrey, and how the Barrio Antiguo, which was once the center of the towns night-life is now quiet, and how many bars have completely closed.  He says that this is because people fear going out at night and because some of the bars have been unable to continue financially due to extortion by criminal gangs.  He proposes a plan similar to PRONAF which helped make the center of Tijuana safer, in which cars were banned from the streets, cameras were set up on corners, emergency buttons were located throughout the area, and where a group was formed to protect business owners from extortion (among other initiatives).  He says that he knows that people will wonder why they should go through so much trouble so that youths can continue going out, and says that it is a way to reduce fear, and points to how the safe area in Tijuana gradually spread from the center of town to further out areas.

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Attacks on Mexico Papers Underline Peril to Journalists

July 12, 2012

The New York Times, 07/11/2012

Two newspapers in northern Mexico have come under attack by gunfire and grenades this week, in what both called an effort to silence reporting on criminal groups.

The attacks, which damaged the offices but caused no injuries, occurred Tuesday, part of a spiral of violence against journalists that has made Mexico, in the throes of a drug war, the most dangerous place in the hemisphere for the news media.

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Two newspapers attacked with grenades [in Spanish]

July 11, 2012

El Universal, 7/11/12

In Nuevo Leon an explosive was launched against, “El Mañana” and in Monterrey two grenade attacks were launched against two of  “El Norte’s” offices.   The front of the newspapers buildings suffered the most damages.   The Observatory for the Processes of Public Communication of Violence has said that this is proof that the state cannot guarantee safety for the press.   Neither the newspapers directors nor the authorities have reported any casualties.  Members of the Federal Police and the Army have cordoned off the areas while looking for clues as to which types of explosives were used.  This is the second such attack that, “El Mañana” has suffered this year.

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