How the gunfights in north Mexico that left 23 dead unfolded

gun - crime scene

12/03/19 – AP News

By Maria Verza

When dozens of pickup trucks crowded with armed men and mounted machine guns roared into Villa Union, residents of the small town near the U.S. border began to realize they were the target of a military-style invasion. What followed were hours-long gunbattles between a cartel force estimated to number 70 to 150 men and state police that left 23 people dead. At least 50 homes and buildings were riddled with bullet holes.

In the aftermath, authorities found about 20 abandoned vehicles, some with machine-gun turrets and welded armoring; the doors of many were professionally printed with the initials of a drug cartel. At least four had .50 caliber mounted machine guns. Residents claimed there were at least twice that many pickups, with some escaping.

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Mexican capital declares gender violence alert


11/21/19 – AP News

Mexico City’s mayor has issued a gender violence alert for the capital, activating a series of measures to address violence against women.

Thursday’s declaration means 20 of the country’s 31 federal entities have declared emergencies over the issue.

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Migrants stuck in lawless limbo within sight of America


11/17/19 – AP News

By Maria Verza

The gangsters trawling Nuevo Laredo know just what they’re looking for: men and women missing their shoelaces.

Those are migrants who made it to the United States to ask for asylum, only to be taken into custody and stripped of their laces — to keep them from hurting themselves. And then they were thrust into danger, sent back to the lawless border state of Tamaulipas.

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Undercover entrepreneurs: fearful Mexican tech startups shun spotlight


blur close up code computer
Photo by luis gomes on

10/16/19 – Reuters

By Julia Love, Daina Beth Solomon

In Mexico’s burgeoning startup scene, publicity is the last thing many entrepreneurs want.

Unlike plenty of their P.R.-hungry counterparts in Silicon Valley, Mexican startup founders often decline media interviews, avoid public announcements and suppress details of financial success.

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Enrique Peña Nieto’s ‘economy first’ strategy for Mexico would also help US [Op-ed]

Op-ed, Luis Rubio, Christian Science Monitor, 12/3/2012

Luis Rubio
Luis Rubio

Mexico confounds. If one watches the news, either here or in the United States, most of what comes out about this country is violence among the drug cartels. But if one looks at its economy, Mexico has become the largest trading partner of almost 30 US states.

President Enrique Peña Nieto, who took office on Saturday, wants to change that mismatch by putting the economy first, which will require addressing the onslaught of the narco mafia in a very different way from his predecessor. This new approach has great potential, including improved public safety, and is one that Mexico’s northern neighbor should also embrace.

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Mexican Governors and Mayors Place Ex-Military in Public Safety Posts

Center for Strategic and International Studies, George Grayson, 5/11/2009

The government of Felipe Calderón has increasingly relied on the military to conduct operations against the major cartels that threaten citizen security. Since taking office on December 1, 2006, Calderón has deployed upward of 30,000 army and navy personnel to fight criminal organizations. His reliance on the armed forces springs from the fact that the cartels have overwhelmed Mexican police forces–weakened by corruption and lack of professionalism-at the federal, state, and local level. Especially in smaller communities, policemen are also extremely vulnerable to attacks and blackmail by ruthless underworld gangs.

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Mexico sending more forces to Ciudad Juarez

Los Angeles Times, 3/3/2009

Ciudad Juarez
Ciudad Juarez

Reporting from Mexico City — The Mexican government will deploy 1,000 more federal police officers as part of a wider effort to restore order in Ciudad Juarez, the nation’s most violent city, officials said Monday.

Some of those uniformed federal officers began arriving in the border city Monday, two days after about 2,000 soldiers landed there in a related military buildup. Those soldiers were the first of an expected 5,000 additional troops who will be sent to help perform basic police functions.

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Editorial: Violence in México

La Opinión, 12/3/2008

police-in-tjReplacing Tijuana’s Secretary of Public Security, Alberto Capella Ibarra, is a response to the wave of violence that has taken more than 360 lives in this border city since September. The appointment of Lieutenant Colonel Julián Leyzaola Pérez, formerly Tijuana’s Municipal Police Chief, and of First Captain Gustavo Huerta Martínez to Pérez’s post, reinforces the military’s presence in the city.

Soldiers patrol the streets, but this has not slowed the bloody war between the Arellano Félix gang and the Sinaloa Cartel, which is killing the innocent as well as the guilty. We are concerned whenever an army takes on the role of police for which it is usually not prepared. This raises red flags regarding the respect for human rights, which must not be ignored in this situation either.

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