In ‘untamed Mexico’ a mass grave and a challenge for a president

October 15, 2014

10/12/14 Yahoo News

duncan-wood

In fact, in his nearly two years in office Peña Nieto has rarely spoken about violence – an issue that consumed President Calderón’s agenda, including a public crackdown on organized crime and drug cartels. The former president’s approval rating wavered as he often found the media message spinning out of his control. Pena Nieto has taken a markedly different approach, at least publicly. “The conversation about organized crime changed significantly when Enrique Peña Nieto took over,” says Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute and the Wilson Center for International Scholars, a Washington-DC-based think tank. Peña Nieto has deemphasized security as a feature of the “Mexican reality,” and focused on the country’s economic potential, says Mr. Wood.

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Peña Nieto Confronts Renewed Violence in Mexico

October 6, 2014

10/03/14 Brookings

federal police mexico

The government of Peña Nieto changed the national discourse on organized crime and violence in Mexico. It requested that the media banish homicides from its front pages in order to calm citizens’ anxieties and assure foreign investors that the government held control over insecurity. The means to assert this control transferred greater autonomy to the armed forces, as well as to state and municipal police, institutions lacking appropriate training for law enforcement. In September 2014, both the armed forces and the municipal police are alleged to have killed and caused the disappearance of groups of citizens. These violent acts, as well as the murder of prominent politicians, have raised the specter that a new level of violence has returned to Mexico – this time carried out by official bodies as well as organized crime.

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Mexico arrests 32 policemen for alleged organised crime ties

July 29, 2014

07/28/14 Telegraph

police mexico scazonMore than 30 police officers have been arrested in Mexico for alleged organised crime ties and possible involvement in the killing of fellow cops, authorities said on Sunday.

Those detained include a former top public safety chief from the town of Tarimbaro, an ex-commander of the same unit and 18 more active duty agents, a public safety source in the troubled state of Michoacan said.

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Legal U.S. Pot Won’t Bring Peace to Mexico

January 22, 2014

marijuana leafBloomberg, 01/21/2014

Since Jan. 1, Colorado has had a legal marijuana market. The same will soon be true in Washington State, once retail licenses are issued. Other states, such as California and Oregon, will likely follow suit over the next three years.

So does this creeping legalization of marijuana in the U.S. spell doom for the Mexican drug cartels? Not quite. The illegal marijuana trade provides Mexican organized crime with about $1.5 billion to $2 billion a year. That’s not chump change, but according to a number of estimates, it represents no more than a third of gross drug export revenue. Cocaine is still the cartels’ biggest money-maker and the revenue accruing from heroin and methamphetamine aren’t trivial. Moreover, Mexican gangs also obtain income from extortion, kidnapping, theft and various other types of illegal trafficking. Losing the marijuana trade would be a blow to their finances, but it certainly wouldn’t put them out of business.

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Mexico extradites top cartel member

November 22, 2013

San Antonio Express, 11/21/2013

Mexican Police catch drug dealer photo by Jesús Villaseca P Latitudes PressMexico extradited an alleged former top member of the Zetas drug cartel Thursday to face narcotics trafficking and money laundering charges in Laredo, a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent said.

Officials with the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office would not confirm or deny Thursday afternoon that Iván Velázquez Caballero, known by the nickname “El Taliban,” had been sent to the U.S. But Mike Vigil, the former chief of international operations for the DEA, said Velazquez is now in the country.

Velázquez is one of more than 30 people charged in a massive conspiracy indictment, alleging that, between 2000 and 2008, the Zetas smuggled large amounts of drugs into the U.S. and committed homicides in Texas as part of their narcotics trafficking operations.

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The Majority Of Mexico’s Prisons Are Controlled By Inmates

November 20, 2013

The Business Insider 11/19/2013

prisonViolence has increased in Mexico’s prisons and the majority are controlled by inmates, the National Human Rights Commission said.The commission found in an annual report that 65 of the country’s 101 most populated prisons were under the control of convicts in 2012, a 4.3 percent increase from 2011.

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Mexico City’s Fraying ‘Pax Mafiosa’

October 16, 2013

Mexico City - nunavut (Flickr)Forbes, 10/15/2013

Over much of the past decade, as Mexico has seen a significant spike in violence related to organized crime, Mexico City has remained relatively tranquil. To be sure, the violent crime rate in the capital city has ticked up steadily since 2006, but nothing like what other parts of the country have witnessed.

The reason for the relative calm is a “Pax Mafiosa” that reigned in the city—at least until recently. Many Mexican capos (cartel bosses) own houses in Mexico City, send their children to local schools and use the capital as a place to meet with corrupt officials. A longstanding pact ensured that organized criminal groups would not compete over drug dealing and trafficking operations in the city in return for a tacit agreement from the local security forces that their relatives would be allowed to go about their daily business without being harassed.

That deal now appears defunct.

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