Drug Lord’s Associate Arrested in Northern Mexico

February 25, 2015

Fox News Latino, 2/24/2015

hands in handcuffsThe suspected regional boss of the criminal organization run by drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero was arrested by federal forces in the northern Mexican state of Sonora, the federal government said.

Oscar Pascual de la Rocha Rivera, a close associate of Caro Quintero, was captured in Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora, on Sunday during “an operation, without the need to fire any shots,” federal security agencies said in a joint statement.

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NEW PUBLICATION: Violence and Insecurity in Guerrero

February 5, 2015

By Chris Kyle

Resilient Communities Series15This paper is a continuation of the series Building Resilient Communities in Mexico: Civic Responses to Crime and Violence, a multiyear effort by the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego to analyze the obstacles to and opportunities for improving citizen security in Mexico.

Insecurity and violence associated with organized criminal activity are pervasive in Mexico’s southern state of Guerrero.  The state’s homicide rate is the highest in the country and extortion and kidnapping are commonplace.  For perpetrators, there is near complete impunity.  The state is divided into territories within which either drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) or community policing networks exercise control over local policing functions.  Local, state, or federal authorities occasionally join this competition, but for the most part policing powers are held by others.  In rural areas competition between groups of traffickers over the state’s prodigious narcotics output has created violent no-man’s-lands in buffer zones between territories controlled by rival groups.  In cities violence is mostly a byproduct of efforts to establish and preserve monopolies in extortion, kidnapping, and retail contraband markets.  Despite claims to the contrary by state and federal authorities, there has been no discernible improvement in public security in recent months or years.

Restraining the violence in Guerrero will require that state authorities make a systematic effort to address two existing realities that sustain the criminal activities producing violence.  Thus, this paper examines the security situation in the state of Guerrero, including the operation of drug trafficking organizations, and proposes possible solutions to the security crisis.

Read the paper here.


New Report Examines Tamaulipas Security Strategy

February 2, 2015

1/27/2015 InSight Crime

A report from a prominent think tank tackles the new security strategy in Tamaulipas, one of Mexico‘s perennially conflictive northern states. 

The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute published Plan Tamaulipas: A New Security Strategy for a Troubled State in October of last year. Written by Christopher Wilson and Eugenio Weigend, the report analyzes a new security program launched by President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government in May 2014.

The new strategy came amid a period of prolonged conflict between the two major criminal groups controlling the region, allies turned enemies the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel. The plan for Tamaulipas is based on three pillars: the dismantling of existing criminal groups; the elimination of smuggling routes, whether for cash and arms coming into Mexico or for drugs and undocumented migrants heading to the US; and the construction of “sufficient, efficient, and reliable” security agencies at the local level.

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Read the report here. 


Obama Pledges Mexico’s Pena Nieto Drugs Support

January 9, 2015

1/6/2015 BBC News

President Obama visits Mexico President Enrique Pena NietoPresident Barack Obama has promised the US will stand alongside Mexico in its fight against drug-related violence.

The vow came after talks with President Enrique Pena Nieto in the White House, in which the two discussed the recent disappearance of 43 Mexican students.

The US president said his country would be a “good partner” to its neighbour in the fight against drugs and associated problems.

“Our commitment is to be a friend and supporter of Mexico in its efforts to eliminate the scourge of violence and drug cartels that are responsible for so many tragedies inside of Mexico,” he said.

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Human Rights Crisis in Mexico Demands Stronger Response from Mexican Government

December 10, 2014

12/9/2014 Washington Office on Latin America

Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP - Getty Images

Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP – Getty Images

On December 6, students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ School in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero announced that the remains of Alexander Mora Venancio had been identified. Alexander, along with 42 other students, disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero on September 26, 2014 at the hands of municipal police who were working on behalf of the local mayor, and who then handed the students over to a criminal group. The identification of Alexander’s remains came after over two months of an investigation into the students’ whereabouts; during this time numerous mass graves were discovered in the area. The whereabouts of the other 42 students remain unknown. This tragic case and the inability of the Mexican government to provide their families and Mexican society with prompt and clear information about the students’ whereabouts have unleashed a wave of massive protests in the country.

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Mexico’s murderous alliance of state, the army and the drug cartels

November 18, 2014

11/15/14 The Guardian 

Students are stood against a wall as Mexican soldiers prepare to cut another's hair following protests in 1968. Photograph: AP

Students are stood against a wall as Mexican soldiers prepare to cut another’s hair following protests in 1968. Photograph: AP

When the cycle comes around to commemorate the spectacles of 1968 in Chicago, Paris or Prague, few people outside Mexico remember that the real bloodbath that year was in Mexico City. It is not the hands wearing black gloves held aloft by American athletes at the Olympics that year, but the white gloves of the army’s Olympia Brigade, which fired upon crowds of students and families in the Tlatelolco district of Mexico City, killing 350 people in cold blood, that will be recalled. This was the quintessence of political violence in Mexico for decades, between the state and the leftist opposition. These were the faultlines which detonated the Zapatista movement in Chiapas during the mid-1990s, the mobilisation of workers in wretched sweatshops along the US border, the near rise to power of leftist López Obrador in his 2006 electoral bid.

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Op-Ed: Mexican drug cartels are worse than ISIL

October 21, 2014

10/20/14 Aljazeera

candlesThe horrific rampage of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has captured the world’s attention. Many Western commentators have characterized ISIL’s crimes as unique, no longer practiced anywhere else in the civilized world. They argue that the group’s barbarism is intrinsically Islamic, a product of the aggressive and archaicworldview that dominates the Muslim world. The ignorance of these claims is stunning. While there other organized groups whose depravity and threat to the United States far surpasses that of ISIL, none have engendered the same kind of collective indignation and hysteria. This raises a question: Are Americans primarily concerned with ISIL’s atrocities or with the fact that Muslims are committing these crimes? For example, even as the U.S. media and policymakers radically inflate ISIL’s threat to the Middle East and United States, most Americans appear to be unaware of the scale of the atrocities committed by Mexican drug cartels and the threat they pose to the United States.

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