Mexico Ex-Governor’s Extradition Overshadows Other Important Cases

5/17/2017 InSight Crime

FILE PHOTO: Tomas Yarrington poses after a news conference in Mexico City, Mexico
FILE PHOTO: Tomas Yarrington poses after a news conference in Mexico City, Mexico May 23, 2005. REUTERS/Daniel Aguilar/File Photo

The extradition to the United States of Tomás Yarrington, a former Mexico governor whose name has become synonymous with corruption and narco politics, could now be imminent. But other recent corruption cases involving powerful, though less high-profile, elites could send bigger shockwaves through Mexico’s institutions and criminal networks.

The United States formally submitted the documentation for Yarrington’s extradition on May 16 to Italian authorities, who arrested the former governor in Florence on April 9, Proceso reported.

The request came after some wrangling between the United States and Mexico about where Yarrington would face trial. But US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Mexican Attorney General Raúl Cervantes agreed on April 19 to request that the “Italian Minister of Justice grant precedence to the United States’ [extradition] request,” according to a joint statement, leaving the charges in Mexico for another day.

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‘We are the market’: Tillerson faults US for evils of Mexico’s drug trade

5/18/2017 CNN

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U.S. Department of State

If there was a single theme to emerge from today’s second go at joint Cabinet-level meetings with the Mexican government, it came across stunningly loud and clear: That the real heart of Mexico’s ongoing, bloody battle with hard drug production, organized crime and murder lies firmly in the United States.

“We Americans must own this problem. It is ours,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated bluntly during a news conference. America’s “pervasive demand” for illegal drugs was brought up repeatedly throughout the day, as if US officials could not strike the tone hard enough.
“We know what we own, and we as Americans must confront that we are the market. There is no other market for these activities. It is all coming here. But for us, Mexico wouldn’t have the trans-criminal organized crime problem and the violence that they’re suffering,” Tillerson said. “We really have to own up to that.”

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America and Mexico to Tackle Increasing Drug Violence

5/18/2017 The National Interest

By Earl Anthony Wayne, Public Policy Fellow, Mexico Institute

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Flickr/William Munoz

Secretary of State Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary Kelly meet their Mexican counterparts on May 18 to discuss the fight against organized crime and drug smuggling. This is a positive sign in a relationship that has been shaken by U.S. criticisms this year. Both countries need good—and better—cooperation against drugs and cartels. The United States is suffering an epidemic of opioid overdoses fueled by the abuse of prescription drugs and heroin and synthetic opioids smuggled from Mexico. Mexico is suffering a surge in homicides fueled in part by the criminal gangs that feed U.S. drug demand and reap billions of dollars in profits.

Mexico and the United States have improved cooperation. However, that progress has not been sufficient to stem the smuggling of deadly drugs or the drug-related violence in Mexico. More progress will require higher levels of trust, commitment and investment by the two governments, and creative thinking to find better ways to address illegal drug use and flows.

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Mexico Institute Mourns the Death of Javier Arturo Valdez Cárdenas

The Mexico Institute wishes to offer its sympathies and condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Javier Arturo Valdez Cárdenas, the journalist who was shot and killed on Monday in the state of Sinaloa. Javier participated in a panel here at the Mexico Institute in 2011 and was a friend to our team. His killing is a tragic and painful reminder of the threats faced daily by journalists in Mexico. The Mexico Institute would like to show solidarity with journalists and reporters throughout Mexico at this difficult time.

Explosion at Mexico fireworks depot kills at least 12

5/9/2017 Reuters

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Flickr/Claudio Beck

At least 12 people were killed, including five children, and 30 were injured in an explosion at a house where fireworks were stored in central Mexico’s Puebla state, authorities said on Tuesday.

The blast occurred on Monday night in San Isidro, Chilchotla, during preparations for a local festival next week.

“A group of people lived in the house where the pyrotechnic material was stored for use in the festivities. A firework launched by someone outside (the house) fell on top of the fireworks, causing the explosion that knocked down the home,” the government of Puebla said in a statement.

Nine people were killed on the spot and three more died after being taken to nearby hospitals.

A series of massive explosions destroyed a fireworks market outside the Mexican capital in December, killing at least 35 people, injuring dozens and leaving the market a charred wasteland.

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America’s $1.2 Billion Mexico Milk Trade Is Now at Risk

4/26/2017 Bloomberg

The biggest U.S. dairy importer is talking with New Zealand and buying more from the EU. Guess why.

With a tweet on Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump told Wisconsin dairy farmers—and the world—that America “will not stand for” the Canadian policies he says are hurting U.S. exports:

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But his next tweet might have hurt those farmers even more:

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Even as the Trump administration jousts with Canada over its latest trade dispute, it might want to keep a closer eye on Mexico, America’s No. 1 one dairy importer. Its southern neighbor, which figures prominently in the U.S. government’s crime and immigration rhetoric, spent almost twice as much money as Canada did on U.S. dairy in 2016. That’s $1.2 billion.

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Mexican state’s drop in crime seemed too good to be true – because it was

4/5/2017 The Guardian

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Stringer/Reuters

Even as swathes of western Mexico descended into drug-fueled violence, the rugged sierra and pristine beaches of Mexico’s Nayarit state appeared insulated from the bloodshed.

While murder rates rose precipitously in the rest of the country, crime figures showed a miraculous drop in the state – an achievement lauded by president Enrique Peña Nieto when he visited the state in February and praised “a more than 50% reduction in the level of insecurity”.

Much of that success was attributed to state prosecutor Edgar Veytía, who was lauded by a prominent anti-kidnap group and lionized his own ballad as a “hero” and “brave man” who “fearlessly applies the law”. It seemed too good to be true – and it was.

Veytía was arrested on drug trafficking charges last week as he crossed the border to the San Diego area, where his family resided and he visited every two weeks. Analysts say that the arrest arouses suspicions that rather than fending off the worst of Mexico’s narco violence through luck or prudent public policy, the state instead achieved the illusory peace of a pax mafiosa.

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