Gunmen in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Kidnap Up to Dozen People

08/15/2016 The New York Times

youth with handgunMEXICO CITY — Armed men abducted 10 to 12 presumed members of a crime gang who appeared to be celebrating at an upscale restaurant in the popular Mexican beach resort city of Puerto Vallarta, the authorities said on Monday.

Eduardo Almaguer, the Jalisco State prosecutor, said at a news conference that the preliminary investigation indicated that both the kidnappers and their victims were members of criminal organizations.

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In Mexico, Narco Films vs. Narco Reality

07/23/2016 The New York Times

filmMexico City — It was a television executive’s nightmare: Not only was someone threatening to sue over a TV series, but that person was reputedly the biggest drug trafficker on the planet and the head of a cartel behind a long string of mass executions and torture videos.

The first sign of trouble came in May, after Netflix and Univision released a trailer for their series “El Chapo,” based on the imprisoned Mexican kingpin Joaquín Guzmán. The trafficker’s lawyer announced through various media outlets that he would go to court if his client’s name and story were used without payment. “The señor” — Mr. Guzmán — “has not died. He is not a character in the public domain. He is alive. He has to grant them permission,” the lawyer, Andrés Granados, told a Mexican radio station.

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Drug-Smuggling Tunnel, Found in San Diego, Is Longest Yet

4/21/2016 The New York Times

For all the talk about a wall between the United States and Mexico, the problem with border security continues to be as much below ground as above. On Wednesday, officials in San Diego announced the discovery of another cross-border tunnel built by drug smugglers — the longest one found yet, at about half a mile.

The tunnel had rails, lighting, ventilation and even a large elevator leading to a closet in a modest house in Tijuana, United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy said. On the San Diego side, where the tunnel emerged in an industrial park in the Otay Mesa neighborhood, the authorities arrested and charged six people last week and confiscated more than a ton of cocaine and seven tons of marijuana that they said had been smuggled through the passage — the largest drug seizure associated with a tunnel….

[…]“A package of cocaine or heroin is much easier to move and hide than a person, and the profit it represents is far greater,” said Christopher Wilson, deputy director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a policy research group. “Working with terrorists would bring a huge amount heat on the cartels, and that’s bad for business.”

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Murder, torture, drugs: Cartel kingpin’s wife says that’s not the ‘El Chapo’ she knows

2/22/2016 Los Angeles Times

She sweeps into the restaurant dressed elegantly in black slacks and a sleeveless, pale pink blouse, a white ribbon tied demurely at the neck. Her bag is Prada. If there are bodyguards, they have waited discreetly outside.

As wife of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the notorious leader of the Sinaloa cartel, Emma Coronel Aispuro seems anxious not to cause a scene as she moves into a private room in the crowded restaurant, a popular seafood place on the sweltering banks of the Tamazula River. She smiles softly and speaks quietly.

“I don’t have any experience at this kind of thing,” she says.

The 26-year-old former beauty queen has never spoken publicly about her eight years of marriage to a man who has headed one of the world’s most violent criminal organizations, responsible for much of the marijuana, heroin, methamphetamines and murder produced in Mexico.

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Drugs, Human Rights, Trade, and Distrust: The Evolution of U.S.-Mexican Relations

11/10/2015 By Tom Long, War on the Rocks

President Obama visits Mexico President Enrique Pena NietoLast month, citing human rights concerns, the United States quietly withheld about $5 million in counternarcotics assistance for Mexico. The State Department declined to certify that Mexico met conditions imposed on the aid by Congress under the Leahy Amendment, triggering the 15-percent reduction in funding for Mexican security agencies. Though more than $140 million of other U.S. funding will continue to flow, the decision — first reported by The Washington Post and confirmed by a deputy spokesman at the State Department — was cheered by human rights advocates. A senior official at Human Rights Watch told The New York Times that the cut was “unprecedented.”

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NarcoData: The 40 year-history of drug cartels in Mexico

10/27/2015 El Daily Post

narcodataNarcoData is a data journalism project in which Animal Politico and El Daily Post explain the evolution and growth of organized crime in Mexico.

There are nine active cartels in Mexico, a country threatened by violence.

Drug cartel leaders become the stuff of legend…Organized crime in Mexico is disproportionately large and its framework is difficult to understand because the cartels don’t just participate in the rapidly growing drugs market, they also sponsor dozens of criminal cells that extort and terrorize the public.

Animal Politico identified the need to explain the growth of organized crime and created NarcoData — an interactive website that offers an in-depth study of the past four decades of organized crime in Mexico — so that our readers can more easily understand how it has evolved.

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Event This Thursday! Prayers for the Stolen, A Discussion of Violence against Women in Mexico

18007563WHEN: Thursday, October 8, 4:00-5:30pm

WHERE: 5th Floor Conference Room, Woodrow Wilson Center

Click here to RSVP.

A New York Times Book Review’s Editors Choice, Prayers for the Stolen has brought to light the scale of abduction of young girls into sex slavery in Mexico. Clement will be reading from and discussing Prayers for the Stolen, the result of ten years of research, which included interviews with women of drug traffickers, girls and women in rural communities and prisoners in Mexico City’s Santa Martha jail. An illuminating and affecting portrait of women in rural Mexico, and a stunning exploration of the hidden consequences of the drug war, Prayers for the Stolen is an unforgettable story of friendship, family, and determination.

The Mexico Institute and Politics and Prose are pleased to invite you to a talk by author Jennifer Clement on the writing of her book Prayers for the Stolen.

Jennifer Clement is a leading chronicler of contemporary Mexico. Her work has been translated into 24 languages and has garnered international acclaim such as the New York Times Editor’s Choice, the NEA Fellowship for Literature, the UK’s Canongate Prize, France’s Gran Prix des Lectrices Lyceenes de ELLE, the PEN/Faulkner Prize shortlist, and the Sara Curry Humanitarian Award. Clement is a Santa Maddalena Fellow and member of Mexico’s prestigious “Sistema Nacional de Creadores”. As president of PEN Mexico, her work focused on the disappearance and killing of journalists.

Click here to RSVP.