Mexican Company Reopens Distribution Center After Violence

07/19/2018 The New York Times

lalaA Mexico-based food products company says that one of its distribution centers near the U.S. border is operating at full capacity after closing due to security concerns.

The Lala Group suspended operations at the Tamaulipas distribution center in Ciudad Mante in May.

CEO Scot Rank said in a statement Thursday the center was reopened and recognized “the efforts of the state government aimed at bolstering security.”

Violence in Ciudad Mante was blamed on fighting between factions of the Zetas known as the Northeast cartel and the Old School Zetas.

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Mexico: Self-Defense Militia Boss Cleared of Weapons Charges

07/18/18 The New York Times

mireles.jpgThe lawyer for a self-defense movement leader in Mexico is hailing his client’s acquittal on charges of illegal weapons possession.

Attorney Ignacio Mendoza says the court ruling in favor of Jose Manuel Mireles is confirmation that the government acted irresponsibly.

Mendoza said Wednesday that the government acted “without shame” when it gave weapons to self-defense militias and then arrested them.

Mireles is a founder and leader of a civilian militia that formed in 2013 in the western state of Michoacan to oppose the Knights Templar drug cartel.

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Mexico president-elect gives “blank check” for peace

07/18/18 The Washington Post

olga sanchez corderoMexico’s future interior secretary says President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has given her “a blank check” to seek ways to pacify the violence-wracked country.

Olga Sanchez Cordero said Lopez Obrador was familiar with her writings about possible drug decriminalization and had told her she had “a blank check, whatever is necessary to pacify this country, let’s open the debate.”

Lopez Obrador will take office Dec. 1 and has picked Sanchez Cordero to head the department which oversees domestic policies and security.

Current President Enrique Pena Nieto has also spoken of debating decriminalization, but the proposal has made little headway.

Mexico reported 29,168 murders in 2017, a 27 percent increase over the year prior.

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El Chapo’s trial delayed two months as defense reviews evidence

07/16/2018 Reuters

chapoA U.S. judge on Monday postponed the trial of accused Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman by two months, to Nov. 5, after Guzman’s lawyer said he needed more time to review evidence recently received from prosecutors.

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn said the delay was warranted by the “voluminous” evidence that prosecutors handed over on July 3. He denied a request by Guzman’s lawyer, Eduardo Balarezo, to bar prosecutors from using evidence that they had not produced by June 26.

Jury selection had been scheduled for Sept. 5. In a court filing last week, Balarezo had said prosecutors’ late production of evidence “obliterates any semblance of due process and Mr. Guzman’s ability to have a fair trial.”

Balarezo said in an email Monday that Guzman was “highly disappointed” with the decision, believing that the trial should have been delayed five months.

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Mexico Officials: Roof Garden May Have Caused Mall Collapse

07/13/2018 The New York Times

1985_Mexico_Earthquake_-_Pina_Suarez_Apartment_ComplexA roof garden installed on top of a newly opened shopping mall on Mexico City’s south side may have caused part of the structure to collapse.

The Mexico City prosecutors’ office said late Thursday that planters used in the roof garden added excess weight that apparently contributed to the collapse of a cantilevered section that stuck out from the building.

The mall’s operators quickly evacuated the area Thursday after a support beam failed. About five minutes later, the top floors collapsed. No injuries were reported.

The city has promoted the installation of roof gardens, in part for their supposed environmental benefits.

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Mexican president-elect to launch public peace forums in August

07/12/2018 Reuters

amloMexico’s president-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, will begin a series of “popular consultations” next month for people to discuss his proposals to fight drug crime through negotiation and amnesties, the program coordinator said.

Lopez Obrador, a leftist who won the presidency by a landslide and is scheduled to take office on Dec. 1, has suggested “transitional justice” to stem the violence resulting from 12 years of a militarized drug war.

The plan could include truth commissions, special courts, reparations for victims and reduced sentences for low-level offenders. The idea is for it to move forward with public support, he and his team have said.

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Mexico’s president-elect will cancel planned U.S. helicopter order

07/11/2018 Reuters

800px-US_Marine_Corps_UH-1N_Huey_helicopterMexico’s president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he would cancel the planned purchase of eight military helicopters from the United States as part of cost-cutting measures.

Lopez Obrador, who handily won this month’s presidential election on pledges to fight corruption and cut government waste, said there had been plans to pay 26 billion pesos ($1.36 billion) for the helicopters to be used by Mexico’s navy.

“This purchase is going to be canceled because we can not make this expenditure,” Lopez Obrador told reporters on Wednesday after meeting with incoming legislators from his MORENA party.

Lopez Obrador is due to take office on Dec. 1.

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