Mexico City mayor under fire over disappearances of 12

June 20, 2013

Mexico City - nunavut (Flickr)Los Angeles Times, 6/19/2013

Miguel Angel Mancera, the former top prosecutor in Mexico’s capital, rode his crime-fighting reputation to the mayor’s office, promising voters a superior level of safety as the cornerstone of a revitalized metropolis. But six months into his term, Mancera, is fighting accusations that he has mishandled the highest-profile case of his mayoral career: the disappearances last month of 12 people from a bar in the heart of Mexico City.

The case remains unsolved, and the criticism of Mancera, a potential presidential candidate for the left-wing Democratic Revolution Party, or PRD, has been withering. Mancera suffers from “political autism,” wrote a columnist on the website Sin Embargo. The mayor has not proved to be “a distinct or distinguished head of government,” declared a writer for Proceso newsmagazine.

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Study: Teen marijuana use on the rise

May 2, 2012

CBS News, 5/2/12

More teens are smoking dope, with nearly 1 in 10 lighting up at least 20 or more times a month, according to a new survey of young people. The report by The Partnership at Drugfree.org, being released Wednesday, also said abuse of prescription medicine may be easing a bit among young people in grades 9 through 12, but still remains high.

Partnership President Steve Pasierb says the mindset among parents is that it’s just a little weed or a few pills — no biggie. “Parents are talking about cocaine and heroin, things that scare them,” said Pasierb. “Parents are not talking about prescription drugs and marijuana. They can’t wink and nod. They need to be stressing the message that this behavior is unhealthy.”

Use of harder drugs — cocaine and methamphetamine — has stabilized in recent years, the group’s survey showed. But past-month usage of marijuana grew from 19 percent in 2008 to 27 percent last year. Also alarming, says Pasierb, is the percentage of teens smoking pot 20 or more times a month. That rate went from 5 percent in 2008 to 9 percent last year, or about 1.5 million teens toking up that frequently.

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Poverty a Recruitment Tool for Mexico’s Criminal Gangs

July 20, 2011

InSight Crime, 7/20/11

Photo credit: Kelly Donlan

Although many Mexicans have grown somewhat accustomed to reports of violence in the media, some in the country were shocked last week by the capture of six teenage recruits during a June 15 raid on a Zetas training camp. Especially alarming was the testimony by sixteen year-old Maria Celeste Mendoza, who — during one of Mexico’s routine post-arrest press conferences in which the suspects are presented to the media — cheerfully said, “I’m a hit woman for the Zetas.  I spent two months in training and I’ve only been one for three or four days.”  According to Mexico’s El Universal, Celeste and the five other adolescents who attended the camp (four of whom are women) were paid 12,000 pesos a month, an amount which is more than three times as much as most Mexicans make in the same period.

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