Category Archives: Mexico/Central America

September 30, 2017

Volunteers Beaten, Raped, Shot While Delivering Aid After Mexican Earthquakes

“Neither the federal government nor the locals help with emergency tasks, nor do they provide security for volunteers,” Arvizú told Siame.

Gunmen waylaid a group of volunteers bringing aid to earthquake victims in Mexico, shooting one, raping another and beating several, all for $2,000 and a few cellphones.

The group of Catholic youth volunteers left Mexico City in three pickup trucks loaded with food and relief aid for communities affected by the earthquakes in Oaxaca Tuesday morning, but a group of unidentified gunmen intercepted them and shot up their cars, wounding one of the volunteers, according to Siame. The gunmen raped one of the girls, beat one of the young men so severely that he almost died, and left with the volunteers’ phones and the contents of their vehicles.

Carlos Arvizú, Administrator of Papa Francisco Pro Felicitas AC, said that the situation in Mexico is even more dire now that volunteers are at risk of being killed, and accused the government of doing nothing about it.

“Neither the federal government nor the locals help with emergency tasks, nor do they provide security for volunteers,” Arvizú told Siame.

“If the government guaranteed the safety of the volunteers, this would not have happened. They are not helping, working or carrying food, neither the president nor the governors of the states…but the work they have to do, that of providing security to those who do help, is practically nothing,” Arvizú told the Associated Press.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

September 17, 2017

Netflix’s ‘Narcos’ Producer Murdered in Mexico

Organized crime members are believed to be responsible for the murder in Mexico of a producer for the Netflix series, Narcos. The producer traveled to Mexico to search for shooting locations for the upcoming season. The fourth season of the show is reported to provide an inside look at the rise of Mexican drug cartels.

Carlos Muñoz Portal traveled to that country to search for shooting locations in the state of Mexico which is located near the border with Hidalgo. Officials found his body was found inside his vehicle in the town of San Bartolo Actopan, Infobae reported. The film company issued a short statement acknowledging the filmmaker’s passing — claiming that the case was still under investigation.

The Narcos series provides a dramatized version of the historical events dealing with the drug cartels and criminal organizations responsible for most of the violence in Central and South America, and most recently in Mexico. The first two seasons of the show looked at the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, the leader of the Cartel de Medellin. The third and most recent season provided a look at the fall of Cartel de Cali and the corruption at the highest levels of the Colombian government including that nation’s president; the U.S. Department of State was allegedly aware of the complicity. The fourth season is expected to provide an inside look at Mexican drug cartels.

The murder comes as Mexico is undergoing one of its most violent years. As cartel-violence continues to spiral out of control, government officials continue to present a different image. The once quiet central states in Mexico have became new targets for drug cartels who have come to fight for control of those locations, Breitbart Texas reported. In the nearby state of Guanajuato, corrupt police officers became prime targets as they are caught in the middle between rival cartels.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

September 16, 2017

Kelly told Trump Mexico was on the verge of collapse like Venezuela: report

Kelly thinks Mexico may collapse, yet still doesn’t want the US to have a border wall. Really makes you think…

White House chief of staff John Kelly likened Mexico to Venezuela during a conversation with President Trump this month, telling Trump that Mexico was similarly on the verge of collapse, according to The New York Times.

Kelly made the comments to Trump after the president met with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Kelly has long been an advocate for increased security measures along the U.S. southern border, and made that a focus of his efforts during his short tenure as Homeland Security secretary.

The Trump administration is currently under fire from the president’s base for not making enough progress on building the wall, which was one of his key campaign promises in 2016.

Venezuela is facing a wave of violent antigovernment protests, resulting in numerous deaths in recent months. The South American country is dealing with food and medicine shortages, as well as hyper inflation.

Mexico is an important U.S. ally in both trade and law enforcement.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

August 18, 2017

Senate opens probe of Mexican resort alcohol poisonings of U.S. tourists

Since the death of Connor, 20, one bar at the resort was closed, 10,000 gallons of “illicit alcohol” was seized, and State issued its warning.

An influential Senate committee has opened an investigation into recent alcohol poisonings and blackouts of U.S. tourists to Mexican resorts, including one at a posh Cancun area all-inclusive that claimed the life of a Wisconsin woman in January.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee kicked off the probe with a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson this week demanding what it knows about the reports and why the department issued a warning to tourists about drinking alcohol in Yucatan resorts.

“I write to request information about a number of reported incidents of American tourists vacationing in Mexico consuming potentially tainted alcohol, including information regarding the death of 20-year-old Wisconsinite, Abbey Connor,” penned the chairman of the committee, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson.

Johnson has been conducting his own probe into Connor’s death and the reports of others being poisoned by bad alcohol in the resort area popular with Americans. Connor died in January days after she and her brother were found face down in a pool after drinking at the Iberostar Paraiso del Mar, between Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

August 7, 2017

Mass grave found in northern Mexico, authorities say

Mass graves — some with hundreds of bodies — have come to light in recent years amid bloody turf wars between drug cartels.

A mass grave with the bodies of 14 people has been uncovered in a mountainous region of the northern Mexican state of Zacatecas, state prosecutors said.

Zacatecas Attorney General Francisco Murillo said authorities have so far found the bodies of 11 men and three women, but there could be more at the site in the municipality of Valparaiso.

“In some cases, the bodies are dismembered, some are bound and others are recent,” he said at a news conference late Friday.

Federal and state security forces have been pursuing a criminal gang in the area where the mass grave was found.

Forensic experts were still working the scene in search of other bodies.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

August 6, 2017

AP: Journalist’s Murder Underscores Growing Threat in Mexico

The staff of the weekly newspaper Riodoce normally meets on Wednesdays to review its plans for coverage of the most recent mayhem wrought in Sinaloa state by organized crime, corrupt officials and ceaseless drug wars. But on this day, in the shadow of their own tragedy, they’ve come together to talk about security.

It’s important to change their routines, they are told. Be more careful with social media. Don’t leave colleagues alone in the office at night. Two senior journalists discuss what feels safer: to take their children with them to the office, which was the target of a grenade attack in 2009, or to leave them at home.

Security experts have written three words on a blackboard at the front of the room: adversaries, neutrals, allies. They ask the reporters to suggest names for each column — no proof is needed, perceptions and gut feelings are enough

Allies are crucial. In an emergency, they would need a friend, a lawyer, an activist to call.

The longest list, by far, is enemies. There are drug traffickers, politicians, businesspeople, journalists suspected of being on the payroll of the government or the cartels, a catalog of villains who make the job of covering Mexico’s chaos perilous.

There is no respite from the violence, and as bodies pile up across the country, more and more of them are journalists: at least 25 since President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in December 2012, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, with at least seven dead in seven states so far this year. A total of 589 have been placed under federal protection after attacks and threats.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

July 23, 2017

Shootout in Cancun: Narcos Take Their War Into Hot Beach Resorts

Murder rates soar in spring-break favorites on Mexico’s coasts. Riviera entrepreneur says he’s had enough; turns vigilante.

Carlos Mimenza won’t say whether the 200-man team he’s assembled carry guns. “I’ll have to leave it to your imagination. My lawyers don’t let me talk about it.”

But they fly drones. They wear masks. Some are skilled hackers, hired from the Anonymous collective. They operate out of a luxury cabin in the woods, its entrance screened by a waterfall. And they claim to have the local governor, along with senior officials and cops, under surveillance 24 hours a day. Because Mimenza, a real-estate developer, says Mexico’s authorities are responsible for the spread of violence and extortion, colluding with the country’s drug cartels instead of protecting entrepreneurs like him.

He’s hardly the first Mexican to say “no mas.” Vigilante justice has been a feature of the drug-war decade, when Mexico turned into one of the world’s more dangerous places. What’s troubling is where Mimenza’s private army is waging its campaign: Not among the meth labs of Michoacan, or the border badlands of Ciudad Juarez, but in the Riviera resort of Playa del Carmen — just down the coast from Cancun, and right in the heart of a tourism industry that brings in $20 billion a year.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

July 22, 2017

Training CJNG recruits: they eat their victims

Teenage gang members reveal use of cannibalism.

Eating human flesh is part of the training for young recruits to the Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel (CJNG), two teenage boys told state authorities in Tabasco.

The teenagers, aged 16 and 17, said they were forced to eat the flesh of their torture victims, said the state Attorney General’s office. The two suspected members of a local CJNG cell were arrested recently in relation to the execution of five people on May 23.

Earlier that month the minors apparently kidnapped, tortured and executed an individual. The two boys narrated, “without any sign of remorse,” that they kept the corpse in a fridge and for a period of time cut off and ate pieces of the flesh.

The body was found on May 26 on the banks of the Carrizal River in the municipality of Nacajuca. At the time authorities said the corpse was missing both arms and other unspecified parts.

The Attorney General believes other minors have been trained by the CJNG in the same manner, and that boys as young as 12 could be part of the same process.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

July 16, 2017

DEA warns of “Circle of Hell” in Mexico

In the first five months of 2017 there were 9916 murders throughout the country, an increase of around 30 percent compared to the 7638 killed in the same period last year. In 2011, the bloodiest year of the war on drugs, the figure for the same period between January and May was 9466.

The country recently recorded its highest number of murders in a month for the last 20 years.

They found the bodies of the Martinez children in bloody soil, curled up next to their parents in a leased hut. Officials believe the six member family was massacred by Los Zetas, because they suspected that the father of the family had played a role in an attack by a rival gang in which a member of Los Zetas died.

The event leaves on the table the strategy without warning of the drug cartels, who are experiencing splits and wars for control of territory in much of Mexico. The country recorded its highest number of murders in a month in at least 20 years.

The violence has even surpassed the darkest days of the war on drugs launched by predecessors. “It has acquired the proportions of the circle of hell that could appear in “Dante’s version of Hell”,said Mike Vigil, former director of International Operations for the US Drug Enforcement Agency and author of the book “Deal”.

“His strategy was to only go for the capo, El Chapo, of course that is not the way to do it , you know, because of the “Hydra Effect”, you cut off a head and three more appear. “There are weak institutions, weak rule of law, weak justice, huge corruption, especially in the municipal and state police forces, all contributing to growing violence.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

July 8, 2017

While Meeting With Mexican Prez Pena Nieto, Trump Says Mexico Will ‘Absolutely’ Pay For The Wall

This border wall construction is expected to start in spring 2018 and the White House remains unclear about how Mexico will actually pay for it. It is at least clear that Mexico will not be paying upfront.

President Donald Trump said Friday that Mexico will “absolutely” pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border during a meeting at the G20 summit with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

It was Trump and Pena Nieto’s first meeting since Trump visited Mexico during the presidential campaign. The Mexican president was supposed to visit in January, but canceled after Trump continued to insist that Mexico would pay for the border wall.

Building a southern border wall and having Mexico pay for it was a key part of Trump’s campaign. The border wall is estimated to cost $21.6 billion. The White House’s 2018 budget request only calls for a fraction of this money, just $1.6 billion to construct 60 miles of new walling.

[…]

Complete text linked here.