Drug-Kingpin Takedowns Spur Turf Wars as Murders Surge in Mexico

08/17/16 Bloomberg

crime and drugsThree years after Mexicans elected President Enrique Pena Nieto on a pledge of putting an end to the murder and violence gripping the nation, killings have returned to the dark days of his predecessor’s administration.

Homicides rose 15 percent to 9,400 in the first half from a year earlier, the government said in July, reaching levels of former President Felipe Calderon’s term. But drug-related killings have soared even more according to one tally: Milenio newspaper, which has tracked organized-crime deaths since 2006, reports a 33 percent surge through July.

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Life as an Entrepreneur in a Violent Mexico

08/15/16 MIT Technology Review

Alejandro Avila, the 30-year-old Mexican cofounder of Espiral, a mobile wallet service that he describes as “Square meets Stripe,” is on the edge of something big. Mexicans carry more than 100 million mobile phones and only 15 percent use credit cards, making financial tech a lucrative nascent market.

Yet Avila—whose family left Mexico in the 1990s only to return a decade later—faces a dangerous caveat to success.

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Mexico gang drops heads in iceboxes near government building

08/14/16 BBC News 

Guerrero, MExico.pngA criminal gang in Mexico has dropped three iceboxes with a severed head in each one near a government building in Chilpancingo, the capital of the western state of Guerrero.

Three bodies were found in streets nearby.

A threatening message was left next to boxes, warning what were described as “traitors” and “blackmailers”.

Guerrero state, home to the seaside resort of Acapulco, has been plagued by years of drug-related violence.

The latest gruesome incident created havoc around Chilpancingo.

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Five families massacred in two weeks as Mexico’s murder rate surges

07/25/16 Vice News

Grave photo credit Kelly DonlanThe recent murder of a couple and their three children in the western crime-plagued Mexican state of Michoacán took the number of families massacred in Mexico in the past two weeks to five.

It came after two families were slain on the other side of the country, in the northeastern border state of Tamaulipas. Gunmen stormed a family home and killed 11 people, including four young girls. In another attack, hitmen murdered two women and three children, also in their home.

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Surviving Death: Police and Military Torture of Women in Mexico

06/28/16 Amnesty International

AmnestyInternationalAn unprecedented Amnesty International investigation of 100 women arrested in Mexico reveals that they are routinely sexually abused by the security forces who want to secure confessions and boost figures in an attempt to show that they are tackling rampant organized crime.

All of the 100 women held in federal prisons who reported torture or other ill-treatment to Amnesty International said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment or psychological abuse during their arrest and interrogation by municipal, state or federal police officers or members of the Army and Navy. Seventy-two said they were sexually abused during their arrest or in the hours that followed. Thirty-three reported being raped.

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Violence at Mexico teachers’ protest leaves six dead, officials say

The Guardian 06/19/16

Violent clashes between police and unionised teachers who were blockading roads and burning vehicles in southern Mexico have left at least six people dead, according to union and state officials.

The teachers from the radical National Coordinator of Education Workers, or CNTE, are opposed to the mandatory testing of teachers as part of Mexico’s education reform and are also protesting the arrest of union leaders on money laundering and other charges.

Sunday’s clashes in several municipalities in Oaxaca state involved federal and state police. Associated Press journalists saw riot police firing on protesters in Nochixtlán, where officials said the protests were strongest.

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Zetas drug gang ‘used Mexico prison as extermination camp to kidnap and kill 150’

6/9/2016 The Telegraph

Coahuila_en_México.svgMembers of the Zetas drug gang used a prison in northern Mexico as their private house of horrors where they tortured and killed kidnapping victims and underworld enemies, public prosecutors in the state of Coahuila have said.

Between 2009 and 2012, Piedras Negras prison became a virtual extermination camp, ruled with impunity by the notorious crime cartel as an operational base for their reign of terror in the US-Mexican border region.

After an investigation into the three-year period, authorities estimate that around 150 people were murdered inside the prison, with their bodies being burnt or broken down in acid-filled tanks before the remains were disposed of in a river some 20 miles away from the jail.

It is not clear to what extent the prison’s official guards actively cooperated with gang members or whether they merely allowed them to act with impunity in exchange for keeping order among inmates.

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