January 27, 2015
By Mark Stevenson, 1/27/2015
The 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.
January 23, 2015
ABC News, 1/22/2015
The 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appointed a little over a year ago for the troubled western state of Michoacan confirmed Thursday that he is being withdrawn by Mexico’s government.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.
January 21, 2015
Huffington Post, 1/20/2015
MEXICO 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.
December 17, 2014
11/16/2014 The Washington Post
A 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.
November 18, 2014
11/18/14 The Daily Beast
If 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.
September 25, 2014
09/23/14 Los Angeles Times
The video is jumpy in spots, it shows signs of having been heavily edited and its audio is not always intelligible. What is clear is the presence of a well-known Mexican journalist, Eliseo Caballero, meeting with one of the country’s most-wanted crime bosses, Servando Gomez, alias La Tuta. Caballero and a companion appear to be giving La Tuta advice on how to work the media. And, at one point, the head of Michoacan’s most notorious drug-and-extortion cartel appears to hand money over to the journalist.