December 17, 2014
11/16/2014 The Washington Post
A clash between two rival “self-defense” groups in the western state of Michoacan on Tuesday left six people dead, including the son of one of the group’s founders, officials and militia members said.
Alfredo Castillo, the federal government’s security commissioner for Michoacan, told Grupo Formula radio that the groups fought at a barricade at the entrance to the community of La Ruana. He said it appeared that four from one side had been killed and two from the other.
“La Ruana is the only place where we have two leaders with influence,” Castillo said.
December 16, 2014
12/15/2014 The Washington Post
A federal judge dismissed criminal charges on Monday against two women who witnessed the June 30 army killing of suspected drug gang members in southern Mexico.
The judge in Mexico state ordered their immediate release after federal prosecutors failed to bring charges. The women had been held in a prison in western Nayarit state for more than five months for allegedly possessing weapons.
The two survived the mass slaying of the 22 suspected gang members and were jailed in violation of their human rights, after they were tortured and sexually threatened into backing the army’s version of the incident, according to Raul Plascencia, the former president of the National Commission on Human Rights who oversaw the commission’s investigation into the slayings.
December 11, 2014
By Christopher Wilson and Eugenio Weigend
Recognizing that the situation in Tamaulipas had reached crisis level, in May, 2014, Mexico’s top security officials met with their state level counterparts in Tamaulipas to unveil a new security strategy. At the heart of the conflict between the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas, Tamaulipas suffers from high rates of violent crime, including the nation’s highest for kidnapping, large-scale cases of migrant abuse and extremely weak state and local level law enforcement institutions and governance. By sending significant additional resources to Tamaulipas, the federal government made a strong and much needed commitment to support efforts to restore public security in the state. This short report analyzes the new strategy, describes the challenging local context, and offers a few recommendations that could serve to strengthen the effort.
Read the publication here.
November 26, 2014
Following mass protests in Mexico over the apparent massacre of 43 trainee teachers two months ago, the government will unveil measures this week designed to improve policing and fix a failing justice system, lawmakers said on Tuesday. Senate leader Miguel Barbosa of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution said the measures would focus on issues like streamlining the chain of command in the police as well as improving the penal system and access to justice. The government would present the plans on Thursday, Barbosa said in an interview with Mexican radio. Ricardo Pacheco, a lawmaker in the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party who heads the justice committee in the lower house of Congress, said the plan was to give the state greater powers to combat organized crime and violence.
November 18, 2014
11/16/14 Wall Street Journal
What do the September disappearance of 43 university students from the custody of local police in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, and new allegations of federal corruption in the awarding of public infrastructure contracts have in common? Answer: They both show that Mexico still has a huge problem enforcing the rule of law. The two developments have sparked a political crisis that could sink Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) President Enrique Peña Nieto ’s ambitious reform agenda if he doesn’t take quick and decisive action to restore confidence. Until now the president has been able to ignore Mexico’s legendary lawlessness. He has been riding an international wave of excitement around the opening of the energy sector, with few questions asked. But unless he wants to make common cause with the hard left—which thinks it has him on the ropes because of the missing students—he needs to admit his mistakes, purge his cabinet and make the rule of law job No. 1.
November 13, 2014
11/12/14 New York Times
Mexico’s president has tried to keep the issue of violence issue separate from his focus on the economy, but the two are converging as violent protests over 43 disappeared students squelch tourism in Acapulco just before a major holiday weekend. As Mexico prepares to commemorate its 1910 revolution Monday, hotels in the Pacific resort city have seen a wave of cancellations after demonstrators temporarily shut down the airport, blocked highways and attacked government and political offices in the southern state of Guerrero. Acapulco hotel occupancy rates are currently at 20 percent, well short of the 85 percent expected for this long weekend when Mexicans typically flock to the beaches, Joaquin Badillo, president of the Employers’ Association for Guerrero state, said Wednesday. More cancellations have been registered for Christmas week, the busiest time of the year for Acapulco tourism, and Badillo said one company that operates 10 hotels has cut about 200 temporary jobs in recent weeks.
November 12, 2014
11/12/14 Financial Times
How much of a risk are Mexican drug lords and the country’s volatile security situation for the landmark energy reform? The head of one company that has a services contract with Mexican state giant Pemex smiles ruefully. At its worst point – some three to four years ago – a full 40 per cent of the acreage the company is working on was a no-go area, and that was despite some of the processes being automated, says the executive, who asked not to be named. Things have improved somewhat, but it is all relative: the proportion of the area his company is working on that can only be visited with the army, in helicopters, has shrunk to 20 per cent. “Security will be a problem,” says the executive, highlighting the elephant in the room when it comes to the industry’s otherwise rapturous reception of Mexico’s energy reform.