Mexico at Peace: An Incomplete Approach

June 4, 2014

Washington Office on Latin America, 06/02/14

machine gun“Mexico has suffered from high levels of violence in recent years… Since taking office, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto committed to adopting a new strategy called ‘Mexico at Peace.’

In Mexico at Peace: An Incomplete Approach, researchers Alejandro Hope and Angela Guerrero analyze the results from the new program.”

 


Mexico doubles prison sentences for kidnapping

June 4, 2014

BBC, 06/04/14

hands in handcuffsMexico has published new sentencing guidelines that will double prison sentences for kidnapping. The minimum prison term has risen from 20 to 40 years.

It will apply for all abductions, including those that last only a few hours or days, so-called “express kidnappings”. The maximum prison sentence will rise from 50 to 140 years for those who kill their victims.

Kidnappings committed by a public security official, such as a member of the police or military, will be punished with up to 100 years in prison. Kidnappers will also have to pay heavy fines.

Read more…

 

 


Violence in North Mexico Heats up; So Do Protests

May 20, 2014


protest -- stroke -- resistanceABC News, 5/19/14

The bodies of 16 people were found in two different areas of a northern Mexico border state where a surge in violence in recent weeks has triggered civic protests over drug-fueled killings.

The Tamaulipas state government said in a statement that police found the bodies of five men and four women in an empty lot of the town of Hidalgo on Monday. Nearby, three homes had been set ablaze, it said.

Hours earlier, Tamaulipas authorities reported the bodies of four men and three women were found stuffed inside a sport utility vehicle in the port city of Tampico on Sunday. State prosecutors said the unidentified bodies were the result of killings linked to “internal disputes between presumed criminal gangs.”

Read more…


In Mexico, Ciudad Juarez reemerging from grip of violence

May 5, 2014

cuidad juarezLA Times, 5/4/14

Angel Corral is in many ways the new face of a city long known for its criminal gangsters and one of the world’s highest homicide rates. At 29, with pale green eyes and a can-do spirit, Corral is riding Ciudad Juarez’s return to life, running three nightclubs and investing in a gym. Where all his money comes from is not exactly clear, but no one seems to be asking questions.

The reasons for the border town’s revival are also unclear, and the uplift could well prove short-lived. But there is no question that homicides have declined precipitously and that shuttered businesses are reopening. As the city climbs out of the depths of despair, Corral and a host of other residents — including returning exiles — are jumping aboard.

Just a couple of years ago, Gomez Morin Boulevard, at the commercial heart of Juarez, had become a ghost town, like much of the city just across the Rio Grande from El Paso. Drug, extortion and kidnapping gangs ran amok, fighting turf wars and terrorizing rich and poor. Today, much of the city, including the boulevard where the bar is located, is bustling, replete with signs saying “Now open” outside restaurants, casinos, spas and yoga studios.

Read more…

 


Detencion de “El Chapo”: ¿Ahora qué?

March 5, 2014

Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán

Infolatam, 3/4/14

La detención de “El Chapo” es de enorme importancia pero su trascendencia dependerá de lo que se haga a partir de ahora. Todavía es prematuro aventurar conclusiones, pero sí es posible elucubrar sobre sus potenciales implicaciones.

La propaganda en torno al Chapo me ha hecho recordar la caracterización que de Adolph Eichmann hizo Hannah Arendt cuando cubrió su juicio en Jerusalém. Aunque es evidente que el holocausto nada tiene que ver -en dimensiones, escala, trascendencia, horror o maldad- con el narco, la fotografía del personaje de Sinaloa permite observar que se trata de un mero eslabón de una larga cadena donde el individuo, aislado de su mafia, no es más que un simple “funcionario” mas. Por eso, por más que sea meritoria su captura, el problema que asedia a la población –extorsión y secuestro- no cambia con la detención de un capo sino exige atención a todo el sistema que lo hace posible. La gran pregunta es si esta detención envalentonará al gobierno para enfrentar el verdadero desafío.

Lee mas…


Mexico Institute in CBS News: Sinaloa drug chief captured in Mexico

February 24, 2014

Duncan WoodCBS News, 2/22/14

Make sure you listen to Mexico Institute’s Director Duncan Woods speak about what the arrest of “El Chapo’ could mean both for Mexico and the United States, here.


Mexico’s President Says Drug Violence Has Been Contained, Isolated

February 19, 2014

federal police mexicoThe Wall Street Journal, 2/18/14

The wave of drug-related violence that swept through Mexico in recent years has been contained and isolated, and further improvement could allow the government to pull back the armed forces from the fray, President Enrique Peña Nieto said late Monday.

“I can´t say that this would happen over the short term, based on the decline of crime rates, but what´s desirable over the medium term is that at some point the army goes back to the barracks, and that the Mexican State could have civilian authorities that are much more reliable,” the Mexican leader said in an interview at the presidential compound in Mexico City.

 

There has been good news. The overall murder rate in Mexico fell about 16% last year compared with the previous year. But kidnapping and extortions rose. And in the western state of Michoacan, where the army had pulled back somewhat, the brutal Knights Templar cartel gained strength, Mr. Peña Nieto was forced to call an unprecedented deployment of federal forces.

Read more…


Mexico’s Guerrero state teeters on the edge of chaos

February 18, 2014

youth with handgunLA Times, 2/16/14

In the last few weeks, concern over the state’s stability has increased with the arrival of the armed vigilantes on the outskirts of the troubled capital, and their open deliberations over whether to proceed to the center of government power. Equally troubling is the related case of Damian, a prominent ex-politician, civic leader and vigilante ally whose SUV was attacked Jan. 28 by gunmen as he returned from a town meeting in a suburb the autodefensas had recently taken over. At the gathering, Damian openly accused the mayor of Chilpancingo, Mario Moreno Arcos, who was also in attendance, of colluding with organized criminals.

As in Michoacan, the autodefensas sprang up here last year in an effort to beat back the drug cartels. A scathing report released by the national human rights commission in December noted that the groups were filling a power vacuum created by state and local authorities. Many residents gave testimony to the commission claiming they had been “victims of cases of collusion between authorities and criminals.” In a number of cases, residents alleged that it was government authorities who were responsible for kidnappings and other serious crimes.

Hyped agreement between Mexican government and vigilantes will fail: rebel source

February 12, 2014

youth with handgunDaily News, 2/10/14

The new, unexpected accord between armed rebels and the government they despised seemed a bright hope earlier this year. But days later, as details leaked out, anger replaced anticipation. A rebel fighter privy to its details tells the Daily News the alliance is doomed to fail, and with it any immediate chance of peace in the important, but impoverished state. Intelligence and foreign policy experts wonder how the military will be able to control an estimated 20,000 armed civilians when all previous attempts have failed in the lawless state.

Fighters as well as villagers are disheartened because militia leaders who signed the accord “didn’t ask the rest of the communities how they feel about this agreement from a government that has always been against us,” the militia member told The News.

To read more  and see mention of Mexico Institute’s Christopher Wilson…


Todos Somos Juarez: An Innovative Strategy to Tackle Violence and Crime

February 11, 2014

Ciudad JuárezLatin American Policy Journal, 2013

In the last few years, Mexico has been living a very complex public security situation. For decades, criminal organizations were allowed to grow and gain strength, which seriously affected the lives of ordinary citizens in towns and cities across Mexico. But in few parts of the country had the situation reached such dramatic levels as in Ciudad Juarez. Crime and violence here grew systematically, due to three main factors: First, the expansion of criminal organizations as they diversified their main line of business from exporting illegal drugs to the U.S. to retail sales of drugs in Mexico. Second, was the weakness of local law enforcement agencies and third, a serious weakening of the social fabric.
Read more…


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