Ciudad Juárez, a Border City Known for Killing, Gets Back to Living

December 16, 2013

The New York Times, 12/14/2013

cuidad juarezWith violence down to a quarter of its peak, Ciudad Juárez, a perennial symbol of drug war devastation, is experiencing what many here describe as a boom. New restaurants pop up weekly, a few with a hipster groove. Schools and homes in some neighborhoods are gradually filling again, while new nightclubs throb on weekends with wall-to-wall teenagers and 20-somethings who insist on reclaiming the freedom to work and play without being consumed by worry.

Critics here fear that the changes are merely cosmetic, and there is still disagreement over what, exactly, has led to the drastic drop in violence. Some attribute it to an aggressive detention policy by the police; others say the worst killers have died or fled, or that the Sinaloa drug cartel has simply defeated its rivals, leaving a peace of sorts that could quickly be undone.

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Chicago’s Heroin Problem: City’s Open-Air Drug Markets’ Surprising Connection To Mexican Drug Cartels (Video)

December 13, 2013

The Huffington Post, 12/12/2013

chicagoIn a Wednesday panel on HuffPost Live, Reader reporter Mick Dumke, Bloomberg reporter John Lippert and Chicago Recovery Alliance director Dan Bigg spoke on the Windy City’s heroin “open-air” heroin markets on the city’s West Side and its connection to the powerful Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel and its kingpin, “Public Enemy Number 1″ El Chapo Guzman.

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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 Mulls Legal Marijuana Clubs

September 6, 2013

The Huffington Post, 9/6/2013

marijuana leafThe Mexico City council is considering the legalization of cannabis plants and the creation of private marijuana smoking “clubs” as it mulls controversial legislation to liberalize consumption, lawmakers said.

The capital hosted a three-day forum on drug policy amid a growing debate in Latin America over the course of the region’s deadly struggle against narcotrafficking, with President Enrique Pena Nieto taking a stance against legalization.

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Op-ed: Adding Absurdity to Tragedy

March 11, 2013

Mexico CityBy Carlos Puig, The New York Times, 3/8/2013

It’s one of the trendiest, most expensive and nicest pieces of land around. It’s in Polanco, the city’s most expensive neighborhood, and on a corner of Paseo de la Reforma, the capital’s most important avenue. Less than two kilometers away from the president’s residence and just five blocks from Masaryk Street, our own Park Avenue. It occupies 1,500 square meters of Chapultepec, the park in the middle of Mexico City.

And it is this piece of prime real estate that last year, under heavy pressure from human rights organizations, the government designated for a memorial to honor the victims of drug-related violence.

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Op-ed: Illegal Drugs, The Great Experiment

February 22, 2013

marijuana leafThe Economist, 2/22/2013

Until recently it seemed that nothing would disturb the international consensus that the best way to deal with narcotic and psychotropic drugs is to ban them. Codified in a United Nations convention, this policy has proved impervious to decades of failure. Drug consumption has not, in most parts of the world, fallen. Prohibition inflicts appalling damage, through the spread of organized crime, the needless deaths of addicts exposed to adulterated drugs and the mass incarceration of young men.

Now a whiff of change is in the air. Officials in two American states, Colorado and Washington, are pondering how to implement their voters’ decisions in referendums last November to legalize marijuana (cannabis). A dozen countries in Europe and the Americas have deemed the possession of some drugs no longer to be a criminal offense. A few Latin American presidents want a rethink of the “war” on the supply and trafficking of drugs.

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Mexico unveils new strategy in war on drugs and for preventing crime

February 13, 2013

Enrique PeñaNieto 2The Guardian, 2/13/2013

Mexico’s new administration has offered the first details of its new strategy in the country’s war on drugs, saying the government will spend $9.2bn (£5.9bn) this year on social programmes to keep young people from joining criminal organisations in the 251 most violent towns and neighbourhoods across the country.

The government will flood those areas with spending on programmes ranging from road building to increasing school hours, President Enrique Peña Nieto and Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, the interior secretary, told an audience in the central state of Aguascalientes.

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Mexico’s Future Shrouded by Ongoing Drug War: Will Nieto’s Strategy Prevail?

February 11, 2013

Enrique PeñaNieto 2The International, 2/11/2013

As drug wars continue to ravage Mexico, President Enrique Peña Nieto signed The General Victims Act on January 9, 2013 that will trace and compensate innocent victims of the “War on Drugs”. The bill was approved by Congress in April 2012 under the Calderón administration, though implementation was delayed due to objections by former president Felipe Calderón that the bill was too vague, presenting the possibility of it being unconstitutional and difficult to implement.

Calderón’s veto registered criticism from human rights activists who rallied for victim recognitions and reparations. The bill, which remains unchanged, was signed by Nieto with assurances that the contents would be specified to remove vagueness before implementation, but Nieto insisted that putting the law on the books was imperative.

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The comback of the Beltran-Leyva and Gulf Cartels (Spanish)

February 6, 2013

Mexican_drug_cartels_2008

Animal Politico, 2/5/2013

Dos de los grandes cárteles de la droga que se creían al borde de la extinción, los Beltrán Leyva y el cártel del Golfo, han dado señales de vida en diversos territorios de México durante lo que va del presente año.

Analistas independientes y de la fuerza pública consultados por la agencia de seguridad InSight Crime destacaron que ambos cárteles – que se pensaba tambaleaban debido a luchas internas, la presión de las autoridades y ataques constantes de sus rivales – parecen estar resurgiendo.

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Vigilantes tackle Mexico’s drug gangs

January 22, 2013

BBC, m16 gun closeup1/21/2013

Authorities in Mexico have arrested 14 people accused of belonging to the Zetas drug cartel in the northern city of Monterrey.  The gang has become the largest in the country, making its money by trafficking drugs and carrying out kidnappings and assassinations.

But some Mexicans in rural areas have become frustrated by what they see as a lack of response by the authorities to the drugs violence and have formed their own vigilante groups.

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