Category Archives: Mexico/Central America

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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July 2, 2017

Tower of human skulls in Mexico casts new light on Aztecs

“Something is happening that we have no record of, and this is really new, a first in the Huey Tzompantli,” he added.

A tower of human skulls unearthed beneath the heart of Mexico City has raised new questions about the culture of sacrifice in the Aztec Empire after crania of women and children surfaced among the hundreds embedded in the forbidding structure.

Archaeologists have found more than 650 skulls caked in lime and thousands of fragments in the cylindrical edifice near the site of the Templo Mayor, one of the main temples in the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, which later became Mexico City.

The tower is believed to form part of the Huey Tzompantli, a massive array of skulls that struck fear into the Spanish conquistadores when they captured the city under Hernan Cortes, and mentioned the structure in contemporary accounts.

Historians relate how the severed heads of captured warriors adorned tzompantli, or skull racks, found in a number of Mesoamerican cultures before the Spanish conquest.

But the archaeological dig in the bowels of old Mexico City that began in 2015 suggests that picture was not complete.

“We were expecting just men, obviously young men, as warriors would be, and the thing about the women and children is that you’d think they wouldn’t be going to war,” said Rodrigo Bolanos, a biological anthropologist investigating the find.

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May 14, 2017

Mexico Is World’s Second Most Violent Country, Report Says

In the 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reported, “Mexican TCOs [Drug Cartels] remain the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States; no other group is now positioned to challenge them”. “There are no air strikes”, Parakilas said.

The increasing war among drug cartels in Mexico and against the armed and police forces caused 23,000 fatal victims in 2016, compared to the 17,000 dead people in Iraq and 16,000 in Afghanistan. It also disagreed with the report’s methodology. Now, only Syria, embroiled in a baffling six-year-long civil war, surpasses Mexico in conflict-related deaths.

The largest number of fatalities occurred in Mexican states that have become “key battlegrounds for control between competing, increasingly fragmented cartels”, he said, with violence flaring as gangs try to clear areas of rivals so they can monopolize drug trafficking routes.

And that’s not just because of heroin, which killed more Americans than guns in 2015: According to the Drug Enforcement Agency’s 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment, Mexican cartels “work with smaller local criminal groups and gangs across the United States for retail drug distribution and transportation” in major cities like Chicago, Boston, and Washington. “Their conclusions have no basis in the case of Mexico”.

Mexican drug cartels take in between $19 billion and $29 billion annually from USA drug sales, according to the Department of Homeland Security. “We think absolute numbers are a good way of measuring intensity”, he said.

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May 13, 2017

Mexican Cartel Kills Activist Mom Searching for Mass Graves

Cartel gunmen have murdered a woman who led the search for her daughter’s remains and other victims in northern Mexico. The gunmen killed her on the day Mexico celebrates Mother’s Day.

Mexican authorities have confirmed the murder of Miriam Elizabeth Rodriguez Martinez, on the night of May 10 in the city of San Fernando, Tamaulipas. As Breitbart Texas reported, San Fernando has a long history of being a stronghold of Los Zetas Cartel, one of the most ruthless criminal organizations in Mexico. Two former Tamaulipas governors are wanted by the U.S. Department of Justice on money laundering charges for their roles as surrogates of the Los Zetas. One of those politicians is also wanted on multiple drug trafficking and conspiracy charges.

Los Zetas have been behind the execution of 72 Central American immigrants who were murdered in San Fernando in an apparent show of force. The same criminal organization has been singled out as being behind the disappearance of hundreds of victims from San Fernando. In 2011, close to 200 victims were discovered in shallow graves in rural areas near San Fernando. At the time, authorities revealed that the victims may have been kidnapped off passenger buses or may have been motorists traveling one of the state’s main highways near the city.

In 2012, cartel gunmen kidnapped the daughter of Miriam Elizabeth Rodriguez Martinez. Despite the lack of cooperation from the Mexican federal government, the activist formed a support group that focused on pressuring the government and helping locate missing victims. Rodriguez Martinez was able to locate the mass grave where the gunmen buried her daughter’s body. Through her work, Martinez was able to contribute to the arrest of nine Los Zetas gunmen directly responsible for her daughter’s kidnapping.

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May 11, 2017

Twilight Zone: Mexicans Are Upset About Immigrants Bringing Crime To Their City

Fuentes said at the press conference that people are no longer leaving their homes due to fear.

Residents of a Mexican city are upset about immigrants causing crime, according to a Tuesday report from El Universal.

The report said that there was a press conference held in Tapachula by a leader of a local group called: “For a different Mexico.” The group’s president, Victorino Alvarez Fuentes, said that immigrants were urinating in public and sexually assaulting women and minors.

Tapachula is near the Guatemalan border and besides immigrants from Central American countries, there has been a recent influx of African immigrants entering Mexico seeking to eventually get to the U.S.

The El Universal story centered around a home for immigrants called “Bethlehem,” and said just a couple weeks ago an immigrant staying there was arrested for sexually assaulting a five-year-old boy.

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