Mexico court frees vigilante leader involved in fatal firefight

March 10, 2015

03/09/15 Reuters 

hipolito_120314_fotos_01_2A judge in the violent Mexican state of Michoacan has ordered that a jailed vigilante leader involved in a firefight late last year that killed 10 people should be freed, a spokeswoman for the state judiciary said on Monday. Hipolito Mora and his followers clashed in mid-December with a band led by Luis Antonio Torres, alias “El Americano,” a former vigilante leader turned rural police commander. The shootout took place in La Ruana, a town about 150 miles (240 km) from Morelia, the state capital. Both men and 35 others were arrested in January and they have been behind bars ever since. Mora’s son was among the 10 killed in the shootout.

Read More… 


Monarch Butterflies Rebound in Mexico, Numbers Still Low

January 27, 2015

By Mark Stevenson, 1/27/2015

monarch butterfly photoThe number of Monarch butterflies that reached wintering grounds in Mexico has rebounded 69 percent from last year’s lowest-on-record levels, but their numbers remain very low, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Last year, the Monarchs covered only 1.65 acres (0.67 hectares), the smallest area since record-keeping began in 1993.

This year, the butterflies rebounded, to cover 2.79 acres (1.13 hectares), according to a formal census by Mexican environmental authorities and scientists released Tuesday.

Read more…


Mexico Removes Security Envoy From Troubled Michoacan

January 23, 2015

ABC News, 1/22/2015

LimesThe federal security commissioner appointed a little over a year ago for the troubled western state of Michoacan confirmed Thursday that he is being withdrawn by Mexico’s government.

Security envoy Alfredo Castillo will be replaced by an army general, Felipe Gurrola, who will play a more limited role leading federal security forces in Michoacan, a largely agricultural state known for its limes and avocados but also social unrest and drug gang violence.

Read more…


40 Years Ago the World ‘Discovered’ Mexico’s Monarch Habitat — Today Its Survival Is at Stake

January 21, 2015

Huffington Post, 1/20/2015

monarch butterfly photoMEXICO CITY — Forty years ago the winter habitat of the monarch butterfly in Mexico was supposedly discovered. After searching for decades, on January 9, 1975 the Canadian scientist Fred A. Urquhart, an entomologist at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough College, received a phone call from an American living in Mexico City named Kenneth Brugger, married at the time to Mexican-born Cathy Aguado (known today as Catalina Trail), who told him that “We have located the colony. We have found them — millions of monarchs — in evergreens beside a mountain clearing.”

The “discovery” had taken place a week earlier in northern Michoacan, in an oyamel forest on Cerro Pelon, 10,000 feet up in the mountains of Mexico’s Transvolcanic Belt, and a few days later the Bruggers happened upon other monarch roosts at El Rosario and Chincua. The Bruggers were volunteer “research associates” in Urquhart’s longstanding monarch tagging program, in which tiny labels reading “Send to Zoology University Toronto Canada” were stuck onto thousands of southbound migrating butterflies.

Read more…


NEW PUBLICATION: Citizen Security in Michoacán

January 13, 2015

By Kimberly Heinle, Cory Molzahn, and David Shirk

Resilient Communities Series15Arguably the most intractable security issue facing the administration of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has been the dynamic and dangerous situation in the state of Michoacán, located on the Pacific in the southwestern portion of the country. During Peña Nieto’s first two years in office, the state has seen a significant increase in violence and criminal activities; the emergence, evolution, and internal struggles of armed “self-defense” groups (grupos de autodefensa,commonly referred to as autodefensas); and concerted federal government efforts to gain control and restore order in certain parts of the state, particularly in the state’s western Tierra Caliente region. Developments continue to unfold as criminal organizations, self-defense groups, and government all vie for control of Michoacán, a state that has long served as an important production and transit zone for drug traffickers.

While certain crime indicators—notably homicide—have fallen significantly throughout much of Mexico since 2011, Michoacán is one of the states where problems of crime and violence have been most intractable. It is also one of the places where citizen mobilization has manifested most visibly through vigilantism, with entire communities rising up to take the law into their own hands because of the real or perceived inability of authorities to address the problem of organized crime. Over the course of 2014, the worsening situation in Michoacán led the Mexican government to intervene heavily and try to regain the trust of the citizenry. This report therefore pays close attention to the efforts and challenges of the Mexican government and civil society to work together to establish order in Michoacán, offering important insights and recommendations for continued progress to that end.

Read the publication here…


6 Dead in Clash Between Mexican Vigilante Groups

December 17, 2014

11/16/2014 The Washington Post

m16 gun closeupA clash between two rival “self-defense” groups in the western state of Michoacan on Tuesday left six people dead, including the son of one of the group’s founders, officials and militia members said.

Alfredo Castillo, the federal government’s security commissioner for Michoacan, told Grupo Formula radio that the groups fought at a barricade at the entrance to the community of La Ruana. He said it appeared that four from one side had been killed and two from the other.

“La Ruana is the only place where we have two leaders with influence,” Castillo said.

Read more…


Mexico’s Holy Warrior Against the Cartels

November 18, 2014

11/18/14 The Daily Beast 

roadside crossIf you want to know about the Mexican priest Padre Gregorio López, first of all you need to know that his parish is located in the small city of Apatzingán, at the heart of a region in southern Mexico known as a fiefdom of the Knights Templar drug cartel. Then you need to know that he considers it his religious obligation to drive the cartel out of the city and out of the state of Michoacán. The lengths to which the padre is willing to go to achieve that end have carried his reputation far beyond the rough-and-tumble region known as Tierra Caliente, so named for an average annual temperature that rounds down to 95 degrees. Land theft, the extortion of farmers, and the rise in kidnappings and murders were grievances left to simmer for years in the countryside.

Read More… 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 11,452 other followers