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Crafty_Dog
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« on: November 24, 2006, 02:39:46 PM »

Today's NY Slimes:
--------------------------------------

Today's NY Slimes:



For years, Roger Barnett has holstered a pistol to his hip, tucked an assault rifle in his truck and set out over the scrub brush on his thousands of acres of ranchland near the Mexican border in southeastern Arizona to hunt.

Skip to next paragraph
 
The New York Times

Hunt illegal immigrants, that is, often chronicled in the news.

?They?re flooding across, invading the place,? Mr. Barnett told the ABC program ?Nightline? this spring. ?They?re going to bring their families, their wives, and they?re going to bring their kids. We don?t need them.?

But now, after boasting of having captured 12,000 illegal crossers on land he owns or leases from the state and emerging as one of the earliest and most prominent of the self-appointed border watchers, Mr. Barnett finds himself the prey.

Immigrant rights groups have filed lawsuits, accusing him of harassing and unlawfully imprisoning people he has confronted on his ranch near Douglas. One suit pending in federal court accuses him, his wife and his brother of pointing guns at 16 illegal immigrants they intercepted, threatening them with dogs and kicking one woman in the group.

Another suit, accusing Mr. Barnett of threatening two Mexican-American hunters and three young children with an assault rifle and insulting them with racial epithets, ended Wednesday night in Bisbee with a jury awarding the hunters $98,750 in damages.

The court actions are the latest example of attempts by immigrant rights groups to curb armed border-monitoring groups by going after their money, if not their guns. They have won civil judgments in Texas, and this year two illegal Salvadoran immigrants who had been held against their will took possession of a 70-acre ranch in southern Arizona after winning a case last year.

The Salvadorans had accused the property owner, Casey Nethercott, a former leader of the Ranch Rescue group, of menacing them with a gun in 2003. Mr. Nethercott was convicted of illegal gun possession; the Salvadorans plan to sell the property, their lawyer has said.

But Mr. Barnett, known for dressing in military garb and caps with insignia resembling the United States Border Patrol?s, represents a special prize to the immigrant rights groups. He is ubiquitous on Web sites, mailings and brochures put out by groups monitoring the Mexican border and, with family members, was an inspiration for efforts like the Minutemen civilian border patrols.

?The Barnetts, probably more than any people in this country, are responsible for the vigilante movement as it now exists,? said Mark Potok, legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks the groups. ?They were the recipients of so much press coverage and they kept boasting, and it was out of those boasts that the modern vigilante movement sprang up.?

Jesus Romo Vejar, the lawyer for the hunting party, said their court victory Wednesday would serve notice that mistreating immigrants would not pass unpunished. Although the hunters were not in the United States illegally, they contended that Mr. Barnett?s treatment of them reflected his attitude and practices toward Latinos crossing his land, no matter what their legal status.

?We have really, truly breached their defense,? Mr. Vejar said, ?and this opens up the Barnetts to other attorneys to come in and sue him whenever he does some wrong with people.?

Mr. Vejar said he would ask the state attorney general and the county attorney, who had cited a lack of evidence in declining to prosecute Mr. Barnett, to take another look at the case. He also said he would ask the state to revoke Mr. Barnett?s leases on its land.

Mr. Barnett had denied threatening anyone. He left the courtroom after the verdict without commenting, and his lawyer, John Kelliher, would not comment either.

In a brief interview during a court break last week, Mr. Barnett denied harming anyone and said that the legal action would not deter his efforts. He said that the number of illegal immigrants crossing his land had declined recently but that he thought it was only a temporary trend.

?For your children, for our future, that?s why we need to stop them,? Mr. Barnett said. ?If we don?t step in for your children, I don?t know who is expected to step in.?

Mr. Barnett prevailed in a suit in the summer when a jury ruled against a fellow rancher who had sued, accusing him of trespassing on his property as he pursued immigrants. Another suit last year was dropped when the plaintiff, who had returned to Mexico, decided not to return to press the case.



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Page 2 of 2)



Still, the threat of liability has discouraged ranchers from allowing the more militant civilian patrol groups on their land, and accusations of abuse seem to be on the wane, said Jennifer Allen of the Border Action Network, an immigrant rights group.

Skip to next paragraph
 
Michael Mally for The New York Times
Ronald Morales, right, his daughter Angelique Venese and others won a civil suit against Roger Barnett. They said he detained them illegally then pointed a rifle at them after running them off.

 
Jeffry Scott/Arizona Daily Star
Roger Barnett owns or leases 22,000 acres near the border.

But David H. Urias, a lawyer with the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund who is representing the 16 immigrants suing Mr. Barnett, said fewer complaints did not necessarily mean less activity. Immigrants from Mexico are returned to their country often within hours and often under the impression that their deportation ? and chance to try to return again ? will go quicker without their complaints.

?It took us months to find these 16 people,? Mr. Urias said.

People who tend ranches on the border said that even if they did not agree with Mr. Barnett?s tactics they sympathized with his rationale, and that putting him out of business would not resolve the problems they believe the crossers cause.

?The illegals think they have carte blanche on his ranch,? said Al Garza, the executive director of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps in Arizona, a civilian patrol group that, Mr. Garza says, does not detain illegal immigrants but calls in their movements to the Border Patrol. ?The man has had it.?

Mr. Barnett, a retired Cochise County sheriff?s deputy and the owner of a towing business, acquired his ranch in the mid-1990s, buying or leasing from the state more than 22,000 acres.

Almost from the start he took up a campaign against the people crossing the border from Mexico, sometimes detaining large groups and radioing for the Border Patrol to pick them up.

Chuy Rodriguez, a spokesman for the agency?s Tucson office, said the Border Patrol maintained no formal relationship with Mr. Barnett or other civilian groups. Agency commanders, concerned about potential altercations, have warned the groups not to take the law into their hands.

?If they see something, we ask them to call us, like we would ask of any citizen,? Mr. Rodriguez said.

Mr. Barnett?s lawyers have suggested he has acted out of a right to protect his property.

?A lease holder doesn?t have the right to protect his cattle?? Mr. Kelliher asked one of the men in the hunting party, Arturo Morales, at the trial.

?I guess so, maybe,? Mr. Morales replied.

Mr. Barnett has had several encounters with local law enforcement officials over detaining illegal immigrants, some of whom complained that he pointed guns at them. The local authorities have declined to prosecute him, citing a lack of evidence or ambiguity about whether he had violated any laws.

A few years ago, however, the Border Action Network and its allied groups began collecting testimony from illegal immigrants and others who had had confrontations with Mr. Barnett.

They included the hunters, who sued Mr. Barnett for unlawful detention, emotional distress and other claims, and sought at least $200,000. Ronald Morales; his father, Arturo; Ronald Morales?s two daughters, ages 9 and 11; and an 11-year-old friend said Mr. Barnett, his brother Donald and his wife, Barbara, confronted them Oct. 30, 2004.

Ronald Morales testified that Mr. Barnett used expletives and ethnically derogatory remarks as he sought to kick them off state-owned property he leases. Then, Mr. Morales said, Mr. Barnett pulled an AR-15 assault rifle from his truck and pointed it at them as they drove off, traumatizing the girls.

Mr. Kelliher conceded that there was a heated confrontation. But he denied that Mr. Barnett used slurs and said Ronald Morales was as much an instigator. He said Morales family members had previously trespassed on Mr. Barnett?s land and knew that Mr. Barnett required written permission to hunt there.

Even as the trial proceeded, the Border Patrol reported a 45 percent drop in arrests in the Douglas area in the last year. The agency credits scores of new agents, the National Guard deployment there this summer and improved technology in detecting crossers.

But Ms. Allen of the Border Action Network and other immigrant rights supporters suspect that people are simply crossing elsewhere.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2007, 02:05:03 PM »

National Guard Commander in Arizona to Testify About Border Confrontation
Monday, January 29, 2007

 E-MAIL STORY RESPOND TO EDITOR PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
PHOENIX —  "Stop Stonewalling."

That's the warning from Arizona lawmakers hoping to find out what really happened earlier this month when four Tennessee National Guardsmen reportedly retreated when confronted by armed illegal immigrants along the border south of Tucson.

So far, Guard and U.S. Border Patrol officials have refused to disclose exactly what happened Jan. 3 when gunmen assaulted a Guard lookout post near Sasabe, Ariz. They declined requests from FOX News for copies of incident reports and transcripts of interviews with the men involved.

"Unfortunately, we do not have a report to provide," said Michael Friel, the Border Patrol's chief spokesman in Washington.

Watch FOX News Channel today for live reports on this story by William LaJeunesse

On Monday, Maj. Gen. David Rataczak will appear before the Arizona House Homeland Security Committee to testify about the encounter.

(Story continues below)

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Run-in at the Border "What are they here for if they are going to retreat from people with automatic weapons?" asked Committee Chairman Warde Nichols, who said the incident may send the message that the National Guard will retreat if faced with armed individuals. "It is not in the best interest of Arizona or U.S. border security," he added.

Rep. Steve Gallardo, a Democrat on the committee, said he believed immigration hard-liners would use Rataczak's appearance to push their agenda.

"They are going to try and embarrass him. They are going to fail," Gallardo said.

The incident happened at night, about a quarter mile north of the U.S. border with Mexico. A spokesman for the Arizona National Guard said an undetermined number of armed men approached an E.I.T., or Entry Identification Team, from Tennessee. Dozens of these mobile lookout posts are set up along the border, several are near Sasabe, a popular drug corridor. An E.I.T. is typically manned by four Guard soldiers equipped with radios, night vision and other surveillance gear.

Under existing rules of force signed by the Department of Defense and border state governors, soldiers are not supposed to stop, arrest, or shoot armed illegal immigrants. They are instructed only to look, listen and report their location to the Border Patrol.

"We don't apprehend," said Maj. Paul Aguirre, a spokesman for the Arizona National Guard. "We don't detain. We don't transport."

For that reason, critics say, it is inaccurate to say the National Guard is protecting the border.

While Guard spokesman Paul Aguirre called the encounter a "non-incident," U.S. Border Patrol sources in Tucson familiar with the investigation say something entirely different. They describe a tense, armed confrontation, with both sides lifting their assault rifles to shoulder height.

The sources say 12 men assaulted the Guard position, dressed in black tactical vests and khaki military style fatigues. The unit split into two groups as it approached, with eight men in front and two men flanking the Guardsmen on each side. One of the gunmen came within 35 feet of the observation site, according to investigators' summaries. Surrounded, outmanned and outgunned, the four Guardsmen made a "tactical retreat" to their Humvee and called the Border Patrol, the sources said.

The Border Patrol tracked the armed men back to the border but could not locate them. No shots were fired.

Guard spokesman Aguirre objected to characterizations of the withdrawal as a retreat, saying the soldiers did not run from their post and were not overrun.

The troops monitored the situation, never lost contact with the gunmen and moved to another site to avoid an engagement, Aguirre said.

Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano, National Guard officials and some state lawmakers defended the decision to call in the Border Patrol. The governor's office has said the rules allow Guard members to use force when they believe they face an imminent threat and all other means are exhausted.

"I don't think that it's up to the committee to negotiate the rules of engagement," Napolitano said. "Those rules of engagement were negotiated with the National Guard at the federal level."

Border agents interviewed over the weekend believe the group was military trained, and were likely ex-Mexican special forces working for the drug cartels or a rival cartel 'rip-off' squad that steals drug shipments once they've crossed the border.

Initial reports suggested the Guardsmen were unarmed. However, Border Patrol spokesman Gustavo Soto said the teams "had rifles and ammunition from Day One."

That is true for the E.I.T. teams, but local agents say most Guardsmen involved with Operation Jump Start — those resurfacing roads and building fences — are not armed because officials "don't want an incident."

"The stories we've gotten from the National Guard, quite frankly, have changed," said lawmaker Nichols. "What happened that day? Is this isolated incident? Does it happen often armed men come across border in Kevlar vests moving in tactical formation and come within 30 feet of a National Guard post? We need to know."

The four Tennessee Guardsmen involved in the "tactical retreat," or redeployment, will be honored in Tucson Monday in a closed ceremony. An Arizona Guard spokeswoman refused to identify the medal or ribbon or commendation being given out, and said the press was not invited.

The troops were among the 6,400 National Guard members sent to the four southern border states to support immigration agents, and leave the agents with more time to catch illegal immigrants.

The support duties include monitoring border points, assisting with cargo inspection and operating surveillance cameras.

FOX News' William LaJeunesse and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,248124,00.html
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2007, 04:05:25 PM »

U.S. Border Patrol: Illegal Immigrant Border Arrests Drop
Updated: January 3rd, 2007 09:46 AM EDT

There has been a big drop in arrests along the border in the last few months, NBC 7/39 reported Wednesday.  The U.S. Border Patrol said arrests of illegal immigrants dropped by more than a third since National Guard troops have been helping.  From July through November, 150,000 fewer people were arrested, a 4 percent decline from the same period last year. A migration expert said the biggest reason for the decrease immigrants' fear of being confronted by U.S. soldiers while trying to cross.

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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2007, 03:18:53 PM »

Mexico: Violence Crossing the Line in Acapulco
Two Canadian tourists suffered minor injuries Feb. 4 when they were struck by stray bullets in an apparent drive-by shooting in Acapulco, Mexico. It was the second violent incident involving Canadian tourists in Acapulco in less than a month, though this time the incident occurred at a hotel. Violence, much of it related to drug wars, has been escalating in the Pacific coastal resort for some time -- and is now beginning to spread to the tourist sector.

The shooting occurred on the ground-level veranda of the Casa Inn Hotel on the main street in the city's tourist district, about half a block from the beach. The Casa Inn is a modest hotel that is popular with older tourists on a budget and college students on spring break. According to reports, the gunman appeared not to be shooting at the tourists, but rather was targeting another man who was walking in front of the hotel. Nonetheless, the incident further demonstrates that the city's growing lawlessness now directly affects foreign tourists. On Jan. 8, a Canadian teenager died after being involved in an incident outside an Acapulco nightclub. Local officials said the boy died in an auto accident, though another official alleged that he was struck by a car while fleeing the club's bouncers and local taxi drivers, who were beating him.

Aside from its popularity among Canadians and other foreign tourists, Acapulco is an entry point for drugs coming from Colombia for shipment to the United States. Because of its geographical importance, Mexico's rival drug cartels are vying for control of Acapulco, which caused violence to spike in 2006. The increase in violence, which has included several gruesome beheadings, forced Mexican President Felipe Calderon to deploy nearly 8,000 federal troops to Guerrero state in January. Although his efforts could have some initial success, they have little chance of stabilizing the situation over the long term, and could even incite more violence as the cartels test his resolve or try to defend their operations against federal troops. This happened in 2005 when then-President Vicente Fox sent a much smaller contingent of 200 troops to the city as part of a nationwide crackdown.

Although it is unclear whether this latest shooting was connected to Acapulco's drug-related violence, it does indicate that criminals no longer consider the once-peaceful tourist zone off limits -- and that the danger level is rising. Moreover, local police, who normally would react forcefully to incidents that can affect tourist revenue, appear quite unable to prevent the violence. As a result, some Canadians are pressuring Ottawa to update its standing travel advisory regarding Mexico, and slumping sales have caused a number of Canadian travel agencies to reduce or cancel package tours to Acapulco.

Acapulco's warring drug cartels -- whose concern is securing the flow of drugs into Mexico for transshipment to U.S. markets -- have little reason to avoid inflicting collateral damage on the city's tourist industry. With the winter tourist season in high gear and spring break crowds soon descending on the beach hotels, Acapulco's already weak law enforcement will have its hands full -- and cannot be counted on to keep the turf wars out of the tourist district.

stratfor.com
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« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2007, 07:25:10 PM »

By NATALIA PARRA, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 30 minutes ago
 


ACAPULCO, Mexico - More than a dozen armed assailants staged and videotaped simultaneous attacks on two offices of the state attorney general Tuesday in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco, killing at least seven people.

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The attacks took place before 11 a.m. in two neighborhoods about nine miles north of the tourist zone, said Enrique Gil Mercado, special prosecutor for the attorney general's office in the state of Guerrero, which includes Acapulco.

Four of the victims, including three agents and a secretary, were killed at an office in the Emiliano Zapata neighborhood, while three, including two agents and a secretary, were killed in the Ciudad del Renacimiento neighborhood, Gil said.

About eight men armed with assault weapons participated in each attack. Gil said he did not immediately know how many people were wounded. He said all the attackers escaped, including one who fled on foot. Authorities initially said city police stations had been attacked, but later revised the information.

Acapulco government official Felipe Kuri Sanchez said the attackers, dressed in military uniforms, entered the offices and that one of them asked, "Are you the only ones here?"

When the officials responded in the affirmative, some of the assailants opened fire while at least one videotaped the shootings in each office, Kuri said.

Following the attacks, other offices were evacuated as a precaution, Formato 21 radio reported.

Police did not comment on the possible motive for the attacks.

Acapulco has suffered a wave of killings as rival drug cartels fight over coastal smuggling routes and control over a burgeoning local drug market.

Last year, the heads of at least six police officers and alleged drug smugglers were found in the resort and nearby towns.

President Felipe Calderon, who took power in December, has sent more than 24,000 federal police and soldiers to regions ravaged by drug violence. More than 7,000 troops arrived in the Acapulco region last month.

Tourists have not been immune from the violence.

On Saturday, two Canadians suffered minor injuries after being grazed by bullets fired at the city's Casa Inn Hotel. The two were treated at a hospital and released. Police have not made any arrests in that case.

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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2007, 08:38:14 AM »

By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD
Published: February 9, 2007
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 8 — Three illegal immigrants were shot to death, three were wounded and others were missing Thursday near Tucson after gunmen accosted them as they traveled north from the Mexican border, the authorities said.

The shootings came a day after gunmen in ski masks and carrying assault-style rifles robbed 18 people who had illegally crossed the border 70 miles to the south, near Sasabe. On Jan. 28 a man driving illegal immigrants from the border several miles from the scene of Thursday’s killings was ambushed and shot to death as the immigrants fled.

The federal and local authorities were investigating whether the spate of shootings was related.

Illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican border often encounter bandits, armed civilian patrols and rival smugglers bent on robbing or stopping them.

The violence has been particularly acute in Arizona, which in recent years has become the busiest crossing area for illegal immigrants.

The latest shooting appeared to be the work of bandits, law enforcement officials said, though they said they had not ruled anything out.

Investigators were still piecing together what had happened, but they said they believed that the gunmen had opened fire on the travelers, apparently all from Guatemala, about 7 a.m. along a known smuggling route in a remote area near a mine 20 miles northwest of Tucson.

Their pickup truck crashed, and two of the immigrants, a young man and a teen-age girl, were found inside, dead from gunshot wounds, said Alonzo Peña, the agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Arizona.

The gunmen forced the other immigrants into another vehicle and left, dropping off the wounded, including one person found dead later, along their way, Mr. Peña said. The others who were left were a woman with a gunshot wound in the neck, a 15-year-old girl and a man shot in the fingers.

The man with the hand wound hiked to a nearby mine, and workers there helped him call the police.

Mr. Peña said the authorities were trying to determine how many had been in the group of immigrants and how many were still missing. He said it appeared the smuggler driving the illegal immigrants and a guide had either escaped or were among the group taken captive.

The Associated Press, quoting officials of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, said six or seven immigrants had left with the gunmen.

“There have been similar cases where undocumented migrants have been taken to a location and relatives in Mexico contacted and extortion took place,” Rick Kastigar, the criminal investigations chief for the sheriff’s department, told The A.P.

Mr. Peña said the increase in border security in the past year, including scores of additional Border Patrol agents assisted by National Guard troops, had prompted more immigrants to employ smugglers commanding ever higher prices.

The going rate is about $3,000, or higher for trips from Central America, for a guide to lead immigrants by foot across the Mexican border or in a vehicle, usually through treacherous terrain.

Some smuggling rings, rather than risk capture at the border, have chosen to rob rivals, leading to violence.

“Smugglers look at them as a commodity, a product, and in some cases they would rather rip off a load and try to extort money instead of taking the risk to smuggle,” Mr. Peña said.

The Border Patrol’s Tucson sector has reported that arrests of illegal aliens dropped 11 percent last year and is down 9 percent since October compared with the previous year. Officials at the agency have attributed the decline to additional manpower and newly installed fencing, cameras and sensors deterring crossers, though advocates for immigrants suggest that traffic may have shifted elsewhere.

NY Times
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2007, 01:37:33 PM »

Mexico: The Looming Fight for Control of Matamoros?
Hundreds of Mexican soldiers briefly patrolled the streets of Ciudad Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas state, Feb. 15 as part of the federal government's response to the seizure on the U.S.-Mexican border of a large weapons shipment that passed through the capital. The contents of the cache suggest an effort is under way to equip or reinforce a heavily armed unit of enforcers for one of Mexico's two main drug cartels. The cartels, in other words, appear to be gearing up to fight for ultimate control of Matamoros.

The Mexican attorney general's office announced Feb. 11 that a tractor-trailer containing weapons and an armored pickup was seized by the Mexican army in Matamoros, just south of the U.S. border at Brownsville, Texas. Among the weapons seized were 18 M-16 assault rifles, including at least one equipped with an M-203 40mm grenade launcher, and several M-4 carbines. Also recovered were 17 handguns of various calibers, more than 200 magazines for different weapons, more than 8,000 rounds of ammunition, assault vests and other military accessories. A Nissan Titan pickup truck outfitted with armor and bullet-proof glass also was inside the trailer.




The semi, which was registered in the United States, entered Matamoros from the south after having passed through both Ciudad Victoria and Valle Hermoso. It is unclear where the shipment originated, though it could have come from Central America, or even the United States along a circuitous route designed to avoid police roadblocks and other anti-smuggling measures. Putting soldiers on the streets of Ciudad Victoria, even for a few hours, might have been President Felipe Calderon's way of telling the cartels that authorities know what is going on there.

Matamoros, however, is where the real battle appears to be gearing up. Matamoros is in territory controlled by the Gulf cartel, the main rival of the powerful Sinaloa federation of cartels -- and it is possible the Gulf cartel's enforcers were attempting to prepare for an expected fight with the Sinaloa federation over control of the city's drug-smuggling operations.

One indication of this is the type of weapons and equipment seized. The identical assault vests, load-bearing equipment and other accessories, along with the standardized nature of the rifles -- exclusively variants of the M-16 -- indicate the shipment probably was meant to equip or reinforce a single heavily armed unit rather than an unorganized gang. Therefore, the Zetas -- former Mexican elite soldiers who work for the Gulf cartel as enforcers -- stand out as the mostly likely intended recipient of these weapons. Given their military background, the Zetas would want to have a high degree of standardization in the weapons and equipment they use, and they also would be more comfortable with M-16s, which are standard issue in the Mexican army.

Matamoros is a vital transshipment point, or "plaza," for the movement of drugs and other contraband into the United States from Mexico. From border towns like Matamoros that sit astride highways, high-ranking cartel members known as gatekeepers control the traffic of contraband across the border, collect payments from smugglers and oversee money-laundering operations for the cartels.

Gulf cartel leader Osiel Cardenas, who had run his operation from a Mexican prison since his 2003 arrest, was extradited to the United States in January, which could hinder his efforts to maintain control of the Matamoros region. The Sinaloa federation, then, might have decided to take advantage of the disruption in the Gulf cartel's command structure to make a play for the plaza at Matamoros.

Although Matamoros has not seen much cartel-related violence recently, that could change as the Zetas move to repel attempts by the Sinaloa federation to assert its influence in the city.
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2007, 05:14:20 PM »

Sorry, no URL for this one, but it seems credible.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

New Threats Arise For Border Agents

Sat Feb 17, 1:52 PM ET



It's not just the number of people coming into the U.S. that is a concern for the Department of Homeland Security, but it's from which countries they are coming.

They cross in the cover of darkness and in broad daylight.

Border Patrol agents in San Diego stop nearly 400 illegal border crossers each day.

"We have five or six a day; that's just on a day shift," said Border Patrol agent Tim Feige.

There is no telling how many they don?t stop.

"We never know what they're here for or what their intentions are," added Feige.

10News joined agents on patrol and saw firsthand what they face. In one incident, two men and one woman tried to sneak by right in front of agents. They first hid and then surrendered. The group turned out to be Mexican citizens with no criminal records, and they were processed and sent back to Mexico.

Because 85 percent of those apprehended by agents are from Mexico, the Department of Homeland Security classifies the others detained as "OTMs," or Other Than Mexican.

"They try to pass themselves off as being from Mexico," said Border Patrol agent Allen Gustafson.

Last year, OTMs came from 148 of the 193 countries in the world. Several came from what Homeland Security terms ?special interest? countries -- countries that are considered a great threat.

10News learned that in the last six months, agents along the Southwest border caught 15 people from Iran, 35 from Pakistan, 12 from Jordan, two from Syria and five from Lebanon. These are numbers Homeland Security would not officially release.

"We're more aware, not only of terrorists, but terrorist weapons," said Gustafson.

Agents who patrol the coastline have radiation detection equipment and try to at least eyeball every incoming boat.

"The busiest time is the fishing months, when there's a lot of boat traffic. Everyone has got a boat out here; they try to blend in with the regular traffic," said Gustafson.

Potential terrorists are not the only concern.

Agents said many violent criminals cross the border.

"In fact, we caught a person who was number 17 on Mexico's most wanted list," said Feige.

A top priority for the Federal Bureau of Investigation is to stop the influx of a notoriously brutal gang called the MS-13 -- the Mara Salvatrucha -- a group linked to violence across California and 32 other U.S. states.

According to reports, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras export members of the MS-13 gang.

10News learned that agents have stopped 26,035 undocumented people from El Salvador, 11,781 from Guatemala and 16,370 from Honduras in the last six months. The two fences that line the U.S.-Mexico border stop car traffic, but agents said they look to slow down the people on foot.

"If we have a group jumping the fence, we can get there twice as fast as maybe one of the bigger trucks can," said Border Patrol supervisor George Gibson.

The goal of agents is to catch those crossing and those who help the crossers.

"They usually use these ladders they weld out of rebar, so one of our objectives is to try and grab that ladder before they get it back south," said Gibson.

It is rewarding but frustrating work. The stakes are high, and every day it is more of the same.

In the last six months, nearly 1,200 people from China were caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally.

Agents said Chinese nationals pay smugglers up to $30,000 for passage to the U.S.
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2007, 02:40:57 PM »

LBN

 
OFFICERS OUTGUNNED ON U.S. BORDER: Violence along the U.S.-Mexico border is undergoing what U.S. law-enforcement authorities call "an unprecedented surge," some of it fueled by weapons and ammunition purchased or stolen in the United States. Federal, state and local law-enforcement officials from Texas to California, concerned about the impact of illegally imported weapons into Mexico, say they already are outmanned and outgunned by ruthless gangs that collect millions of dollars in profits by smuggling aliens and drugs into this country.
 
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« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2007, 08:58:14 PM »

There's several worthy reads from Stratfor on Mexico on the Spanish (and English  embarassed ) Language Forum, but I've decided to start posting them here from hereonin.

===============

Mexico: Grenade Attacks In Durango
April 27, 2007 21 37  GMT



Three Mexican army-issue grenades were detonated in the city of Gomez Palacio in the state of Durango on April 27, killing one police officer and injuring four others. One explosion occurred outside the municipal Public Security Office and two happened outside the Attorney General's office. Unidentified men on motorcycles and in light trucks threw the grenades at the offices and also fired machine guns at the Attorney General's office. Police have questioned two unidentified individuals in relation to the bombings as part of an ongoing investigation.
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« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2007, 02:39:33 PM »



The Burgeoning Extortion Racket along the U.S.-Mexico Border
U.S. authorities are investigating what appears to be a new extortion scheme that involves the threat of bodily harm to attorneys, bankers and their families in Laredo, Texas. This is yet another sign that the extortion racket is expanding and escalating along the U.S.-Mexico border. Left unchecked, this criminal activity could escalate into violence on the U.S. side, similar to what is occurring now south of the border.

Since mid-April, at least a dozen attorneys and an unknown number of bankers have received phone calls from a man threatening to harm them or their families unless money is paid immediately. The caller, who speaks with a Spanish accent, provides a significant amount of personal information about the targets, such as names, addresses, habits and the birthdates and schools of family members.

The caller then orders the targets to wire a certain amount of money to various Western Union offices in Mexico, threatening that "bad things" will happen if they fail to pay. The amount of the extortion demand is unclear, but the victims are given just 30 minutes to send the money. They are told that if the money is even one minute late, they and their families will suffer the consequences -- a tactic designed to prevent targets from thinking rationally, and thus to increase the chances that they will pay. The tactic apparently has worked, as some victims reportedly have complied with the demands and transferred money.

These calls are very similar to the virtual kidnapping
schemes that are common in Mexico. Both exploit the fear generated by the frequent kidnappings in Mexico and the violence that occurs on both sides of the border. While a typical kidnapping requires the victim to be housed and fed -- and thus usually requires a group of accomplices to successfully execute -- crimes of the virtual nature are cheap and easy to commit, requiring very little physical risk and infrastructure. In essence, this crime takes far less effort than one involving an actual kidnap victim.

It is unclear whether the calls in this latest scheme are originating from the United States or Mexico, and whether the scheme is being perpetrated by a lone criminal or an extortion ring. The tactics, however, are similar to other extortion schemes targeting business owners along the border. The targets of those schemes have had connections to both sides of the border, such as a Mexico resident who owns property in Texas. In one case, a Mexican business owner was shown evidence that the criminals threatening him had surveilled his home in Brownsville, Texas. Considering that bankers and lawyers are the targets of this latest scheme, it appears the extortionists are focusing on those who have the ability to pay higher sums than earlier victims.

In most extortion schemes, the problem often is more widespread than it appears on the surface because victims can be reluctant to involve law enforcement authorities on either side of the border for reasons that include distrust of authorities, fear of the consequences and a desire to avoid publicity. This reluctance already has been seen in cases involving trucking companies operating between the United States and Mexico. Evidence suggests that, when threatened with the hijacking of their shipments, many truckers have found it easier and less damaging to their bottom line to simply pay the criminals rather than involve the authorities.

Unlike in extortion cases involving truckers, or even small-business owners and shopkeepers, however, lawyers have better access to law enforcement assistance -- and are more likely to use it. By targeting this group, then, the extortionists appear fearless of law enforcement involvement. This is cause for concern, especially considering that the extortion payments are being directed to Mexico, where drug cartels and other criminals often have killed lawyers and judges. Having already demonstrated a disregard for the law -- and the attorneys who practice it -- these extortionists could progress to more violent means to influence them.

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« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2007, 01:58:43 PM »

stratfor.com

MEXICO: Proven reserves of crude oil in Mexico are declining and will be exhausted within seven years if the current rate of extraction continues, Mexican state-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos said in a 2006 annual report released today. U.S.-based consulting firm PFC Energy said that though there are numerous investments for oil exploration, new deposits will take six to eight years to mature, and it is possible Mexico might have to import crude oil.
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« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2007, 02:18:07 PM »

Second post

The Washington Times : July 20 , 2007 -- by Stephen Dinan and Jerry Seper 
   
"'Unless we correct the fundamental challenge of the violation of human rights of Latin American or Central American migrants crossing the border into Mexico, it's very hard for me to come up and wag a finger and say you guys should protect the rights of my citizens in this country,' he said, adding that changes to the Mexican law are now pending."      Mexico's ambassador to the United States yesterday said previous Mexican officials made a "dumb mistake" by issuing comic books to aid illegal aliens crossing the border, and said his government cannot criticize U.S. treatment of illegal aliens as long as Mexico has harsh laws on its books. 
 
"It's very hard for Mexico to preach to the north what it does not do to the south," Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan said in a meeting with editors and reporters at The Washington Times, referring to Mexico's felony penalties for, and sometimes cruel treatment of, those caught crossing its southern border. 
 
"Unless we correct the fundamental challenge of the violation of human rights of Latin American or Central American migrants crossing the border into Mexico, it's very hard for me to come up and wag a finger and say you guys should protect the rights of my citizens in this country," he said, adding that changes to the Mexican law are now pending. 
 
Mr. Sarukhan, who presented his credentials as ambassador to President Bush in February, said his government is taking a new tack since the December inauguration of President Felipe Calderon, who has toned down the public relations push for an immigration bill in the United States and is instead trying to build infrastructure, combat corruption and create jobs to keep workers at home. 
 
"The debate over immigration is an internal debate of the United States, and as such, I hope, this house noted a dramatic shift in the positioning of the Mexican government as of Dec. 1," Mr. Sarukhan said. "I think the previous Mexican government did itself and those that believe in comprehensive immigration reform a lot of damage by the way it tried to position itself publicly in an internal debate in the United States." 
 
In particular, the ambassador criticized past moves to distribute materials aimed at helping illegal aliens safely cross the U.S.-Mexico border. 
 
In 2005, the Mexican government's foreign ministry distributed 1.5 million comic books giving tips to would-be migrants, and last year Mexico's National Human Rights Commission planned to distribute maps to migrants showing water sites they could use during their crossing. The commission scrapped the plans after a U.S. protest. 
 
"That was not my government, and I would say that in hindsight, or even without hindsight -- I was consul general of Mexico in New York at the time these guidelines were delivered -- and I saw this and I said, 'What a dumb mistake,' " the ambassador said, adding that the human rights commission was a nongovernmental body. 
 
"I don't think that's the way that you work synergistically with the United States to co-manage a very complex border." 
 
The new approach was apparent when Mr. Bush and Mr. Calderon met in Mexico in March, and the Mexican leader stressed trying to build new economic opportunities in Mexico as well as working with the U.S. to secure the border. 
 
That's not to say Mr. Calderon didn't want Congress to pass Mr. Bush's immigration bill, which would have created a new guest-worker program and given citizenship rights to the estimated 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens already here, a majority of whom are Mexicans. Mr. Calderon called the bill's failure a "grave mistake." 
 
But Mr. Sarukhan said Mexican officials understand Americans' trepidation and desire for a secure border, and he said they are well aware of the consequences if a breach of the U.S.-Mexican border were to be involved in a future attack on U.S. security. 
 
"The day that happens, this relationship as we have known it, is over," he said. "I would say Mexico and the United States are working extremely well in trying to ensure that border is not used to underpin or challenge the national security of the United States." 
 
He said leaders in both nations must work to convince their citizens of the importance and value of a good U.S.-Mexico relationship, and said the countries should search for a uniting factor similar to the way that ethanol is serving as the basis for closer ties to Brazil. 
 
"There is a deep-seated fear in America today that their well-being, the well-being of Americans and their identity as a nation, and the impact of some of the effects of globalization, are making people scared," he said. 
 
Mr. Calderon serves one six-year term as Mexican president, and Mr. Sarukhan said he hopes to be able to show the U.S. Congress at the end of that time that immigration patterns have changed and workers are returning on their own to Mexico to start businesses and rejoin communities. 
 
The ambassador said Mexico's eventual goal is the same as that of the U.S.: "The end game for us, the Mexican government, is to ensure every single Mexican who crosses this border does so legally." 
 
Mr. Sarukhan, a former director of counternarcotics and law-enforcement issues, also said Mexico and the United States need to work together if they hope to better control the flow of drugs into the U.S. and cash and weapons into Mexico. 
 
He described the fight against drug smugglers and organized crime gangs who have brought rampant violence to the U.S.-Mexico border as important to both countries, and said the United States must do its part to "roll back" drug consumption. 
 
He defended remittances, the $23 billion sent back home by Mexicans working legally or illegally in the United States, saying they play "a key role in this stage of Mexican economic development." He pointed to the role of remittances in other nations such as Ireland and Spain when those countries were trying to extend their links to the European Community. 
 
But he said remittances are not the long-term solution for sustained growth in Mexico, particularly because it's an indicator that many of Mexico's best workers have fled the country to find jobs. 
 
"No country can grow if it is not able to hold onto its women and men. Some of them, I don't know if they're talented or not, but they're certainly bold," he said. 
 
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« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2007, 10:45:46 PM »

Bombing of Mexican Pipelines Puzzles Security Experts
By Greg Flakus
Mexico CIty
26 July 2007
 
Flakus report - Download 990k
Listen to Flakus report 


The July 5 and July 10 bomb attacks on natural gas pipelines in central Mexico led to the temporary shutdown of factories in several industrial cities and raised fears about the country becoming a target for terrorists. A small leftist insurgent group took responsibility for the attacks, but security experts are still puzzled over the incident and worry about possible future acts of sabotage. VOA's Greg Flakus has more from Mexico City.

 
Smoke and flames from an explosion at a gas pipeline are seen in the background as a Mexican army truck drives by near Queretaro, Mexico, 10 July 2007
At first, some thought the explosions may have been caused by accidents, but investigators at the bombing sites in north-central Mexico found evidence of sophisticated explosives, and a leftist insurgent group from southern Mexico, the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) claimed responsibility. President Felipe Calderon pledged to protect the infrastructure of the state-owned energy company, Petroleos Mexicanos, called Pemex for short, and he dispatched military units to patrol various pipeline routes.

But the attacks remain a mystery, and speculation continues as to who was really responsible. The EPR had never ventured that far north before and never appeared to have access to the explosives and bomb-making skills that were employed in these attacks.

Political analyst Ana Maria Salazar says she remains baffled by the bombings.

"I do not know what to make of it," she said.  "That is part of the problem when you have these acts that are claimed to have been done by armed groups in Mexico, you always have a question in the back of your mind - who did it?"

She says it is possible the EPR might have carried out the attacks in conjunction with other leftist groups currently protesting in the southern state of Oaxaca over various issues. But she says she cannot rule out the possibility that a foreign terrorist group might have had a hand in it.

"There was a threat posted on a Web site a couple of months ago, supposedly by al-Qaida, that was threatening all the countries providing petroleum to the United States, which included Mexico and Venezuela, which made Hugo Chavez very upset, by the way," she added.  "So there is that possibility."

Mexico City-based independent energy analyst David Shields is among those who see another possible culprit behind the bomb attacks, the powerful and violent drug trafficking cartels, against which President Calderon launched an offensive shortly after taking office last December.

"Once it was confirmed that these were terrorist attacks, first of all we thought of the drug cartels as the likely authors of these attacks," he explained.  "I think we cannot rule out altogether that they were involved."

Shields says government efforts to protect the state-owned energy company's pipes and facilities are necessary, but he says posting soldiers along the pipeline routes will not provide complete protection.

"We know that Pemex has infrastructure of all kinds of pipelines, something like 60,000 kilometers of pipelines all over the country, as well as other kinds of facilities," he added.  "I think it would even be out of the question to post a soldier every kilometer. It would be a massive waste of human resources to have people all over the country wherever there are pipelines, wherever there is infrastructure."

Shields says the Mexican government has provided adequate protection to its oil production and export infrastructure, even employing missile-equipped naval vessels to patrol waters near offshore oil platforms. But he says pipelines serving Mexico's own population are much more vulnerable.

"Certainly, none of us are ruling out the likelihood of more attacks, but also what we have to realize is that these attacks on domestic pipelines are affecting the domestic market, they are not affecting exports," he noted.  "It would have to be a very different kind of attack and a more sophisticated attack on oil export facilities for oil exports to be interrupted. That seems to be an unlikely scenario."

While Mexico's oil export system may be safe, a continued threat to its domestic energy supply network could cripple important industries and discourage foreign investors who are considering placing plants here. Security experts who have examined evidence from the bombings say the perpetrators knew the attacks would disrupt important industries and that they probably had information from someone inside Pemex as to which pipes to bomb for the most effect.


http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-07-26-voa51.cfm
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« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2007, 08:34:06 PM »

Mexico Security Memo: July 30, 2007
July 30, 2007 21 26  GMT



Renewed Violence in Cartel Territory

Violent flare-ups occurred across much of northern Mexico this week, as Stratfor suggested it would in the previous Mexico Security Memo. The most noteworthy examples include a firefight in the border town of Ciudad Camargo, Tamaulipas state; a cartel shooting death in Ciudad Camargo, Chihuahua state; and three similar shooting deaths in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, where one body showed signs of torture and was wrapped in a sheet with a message pinned to it. In addition, a police official assigned to counternarcotics was found dead July 24 in Navolato, Sinaloa state, with a message from the Zetas pinned to his body, which showed signs of torture. He had been kidnapped a day before with another police officer. Sonora state police reported July 25 that a member of a drug gang was killed July 25 in the city of El Sasabe after being shot twice in the head. It is important to note that these states and most of northern Mexico, in addition to housing several large industrial cities with international companies, are considered cartel territory, and attacks in the region are becoming increasingly frequent.

One southeastern state that recently has become a hot spot for cartel violence is Veracruz. The state has long been important territory for the Gulf cartel, which brings drugs in from the Yucatan Peninsula to the Northeast and ships them on into the United States. However, only in the last few weeks has cartel-related violence increased in the area, including a rise in kidnappings and attacks against government officials. Some of the most recent incidents include the July 26 killing of a municipal official in the town of Zongolica and two firefights in the city of Veracruz on July 25. One possible explanation for the increase in reported violence in Veracruz is that previous incidents went unreported. This is plausible, especially considering claims made by police in Veracruz in June that they had been ordered not to report drug-related violence. However, the brazen nature of these more recent attacks -- firefights in large cities and attacks against government officials -- indicates this is a shift worth monitoring.

Corruption on the U.S. Side

Our reports have consistently documented instances of corruption among Mexico's police and government officials at all levels. However, it is important to note that the cartels' control of the border, and their ability to effectively smuggle drugs and people into the United States, suggests an ability to control officials on the U.S. side of the border as well. Cases in recent years have revealed corruption among U.S. Border Patrol agents, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, city police officers, a Texas sheriff and Texas National Guard members assigned to patrol the border. These cases demonstrate that bribing immigration officials can be done for a relatively small amount of money, and that the officials are often unaware of the contents of the shipments they are allowing to pass through the border. Local law enforcement officers might participate in two ways: either by actively taking part in smuggling activities or by more passively agreeing to look the other way at a certain time and place while smugglers transport illegal shipments. The corruption problem is difficult to combat due to the enormous amount of money associated with the drug trade.






July 23

Authorities in Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes state, discovered the body of a man wrapped in a blanket. The man reportedly had been kidnapped several hours before, and his body showed signs of torture.

July 24

Police in Guerrero state reported finding the body of an unidentified individual near the town of Atoyac de Alvarez. The victim had been shot twice in the head.

State police in Mexico state reportedly detained an agent of the Federal Investigative Agency for extortion.

July 25

Workers in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco state, found the body of a woman stuffed in a plastic bag in a rural area.

Two separate firefights between suspected cartel gunmen and security forces were reported in the city of Veracruz, Veracruz state. The engagements resulted in a high-speed chase through the city and the detention of one suspect.

A Catholic priest in Hidalgo state was abducted from church property and later killed by his kidnapper, state officials said. Violence against clergy is rare in Mexico, and the preliminary results of the investigation do not suggest organized crime links.

Mexican army soldiers stopped a tractor-trailer with nearly 12 tons of marijuana on board in Ensenada, Baja California state, and arrested the driver.

July 26

A city official in Zongolica, Veracruz state, was found dead inside her home, bound at the hands and feet. Her brother is a candidate for city office in a nearby town.

Authorities in Michoacan state reported the shooting death of a man in Apatzingan, the wounding of a man in a shooting in Morelia and a kidnapping in Morelos.

A well-known businessman in Veracruz, Veracruz state, was abducted by a group of armed men while he was driving his vehicle. This was the eighth reported kidnapping in the state in July.

A group of about 20 heavily armed men attacked a prison in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, wounding one security guard. An official confirmed that the men were attempting to extract a prisoner, though government officials said no cartel-linked prisoners were being held there.

July 27

Mexican army soldiers exchanged gunfire with armed men in Ciudad Camargo, Tamaulipas state, detaining several suspects. Ciudad Camargo is on the U.S. border.

July 28

A small number of armed men claiming to belong to the Popular Revolutionary Army fired shots at a jail being built in Chiapas state, locked up three guards and painted messages on the building. No one was injured during the attack.

Authorities in Navolato, Sinaloa state, discovered the charred bodies of two men in a vehicle. One of the men appeared to be a federal police commander.

July 29

A Catholic priest in the San Rafael neighborhood of Mexico City was found dead on church property, bound at the hands and feet.

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« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2007, 10:26:45 AM »

WSJ

Mexico's Job-Creation Problem
By JOEL KURTZMAN
August 3, 2007; Page A9

Why do so many Mexicans leave their families, friends and homes to make the arduous journey to the United States?

It's a central question to the immigration debate and is essential for setting workable policies. But it's also a question that has rarely been asked.

After looking at the numbers, what I discovered is that Mexico has a job-creation problem. During President Vicente Fox's six years in office his goal was to create six million jobs across all sectors of the economy. Mr. Fox fell far short of that goal. Between 2000 and 2006, the period when he was in office, Mexico created only 1.4 million jobs. Though accurate figures are difficult to arrive at, the Government Accountability Office estimates that during each year of Mr. Fox's presidency between 400,000 and 700,000 illegal immigrants arrived in the U.S. from Mexico. The number of illegal immigrants from Mexico was roughly equal to the number of jobs Mr. Fox did not create.

If one were to do a CAT scan of Mexico's economy, one would find a country with the potential to become a job creator's paradise. Mexico has far more oil than fast-growing Dubai (a net labor importer) and almost as much as Qatar, another labor importer. If Mexicans working in the U.S. are any indication, Mexico has a work force that is trained and disciplined. With thousands of miles of coastline, Mexico is a tourist haven. It shares a border with its largest trading partner. But even with these positive attributes, Mexico's job-creation engine has stalled.

Research shows that big companies -- especially big Mexican companies -- do not create many jobs. Jobs are created by entrepreneurs who start companies from scratch. To perform their job-creating function, entrepreneurs need access to capital, which is where Mexico falls short. According to the Milken Institute's 2006 Capital Access Index, Mexico ranks a dismal 43rd with regard to capital access out of 122 countries studied. To compare, the U.S., the world's top job-creating developed country, ranks No. 4, and Hong Kong, Asia's most vibrant, entrepreneurial hub, ranks No. 1.

Mexicans with drive, ambition and a willingness to take risks sneak across the border to the U.S. But they don't just come for jobs. They also come for the capital. When these immigrants arrive they don't just sell their labor, many start small businesses in the food, construction, maintenance and landscaping trades. When those businesses are launched, illegal Mexican immigrants hire other illegal Mexican immigrants. A great deal of Mexico's job creation takes place inside the U.S.

Mexico's financial and economic structures fail at providing entrepreneurs with the capital they need to create jobs. The economy is too concentrated, with nearly half of it controlled by a single family -- that of the billionaire Carlos Slim. A handful of other families own the bulk of Mexico's remaining wealth. Mexico's legal and business structures effectively fence off from competition whole sectors of the economy. In telecommunications, petroleum and much of the real-estate and tourism sectors, real competition is restricted. Mexico could jumpstart its job-creation engine by opening these sectors of its economy to real competition.

Mexico's oil wealth is another job-creator's nightmare. It is controlled by a single government-owned company, Pemex. Even with today's high oil prices, Pemex is the world's most heavily indebted oil company and one of the least efficient producers. Pemex -- whose monopoly status is protected by the Mexican constitution -- is so bogged down by bureaucracy, conflicting interests, political meddling and sweetheart union deals, that it has failed to find any new oil reserves in years. It is not that new oil reserves don't exist. Last year, Chevron found huge deposits in the U.S.-portion of the Gulf of Mexico. The problem with Pemex is that it isn't really looking for oil. If Mexico's oil industry were opened up to competition, even within the confines of its constitution, not only would more oil be found, more jobs would be created.

Mexico's financial system is to entrepreneurship what sharks are to a swimmer's beach. Banking, which is conservative and risk-averse, dominates Mexico's financial system, accounting for about 55% of all financial assets, compared with just 24% of all financial assets in the U.S. In the U.S., the capital markets and a diverse array of funds provide most of the capital. If that weren't enough, Mexico's top three banks control 60% of all banking assets. If entrepreneurs are turned down by the first bank, they really have only two more places to apply. For a country its size, Mexico's stock and bond markets are hugely underdeveloped when measured as a percentage of GDP.

Household credit is also scarce in Mexico and amounts to only about 5% of GDP, versus 65% in the U.S. Without access to credit, Mexico's consumer and retail sectors have not grown sufficiently. These sectors could be vibrant job-creation engines if Mexicans had wider access to credit.

But perhaps most strikingly, Mexico has not yet succeeded in building a robust residential mortgage market. Whereas the U.S. has $8.2 trillion outstanding in residential mortgages, Mexico, with a population a third the size of U.S., has just $47 billion outstanding. Not only that, more than half of Mexico's homes are self-built and substandard. As a result, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas estimates Mexico has a housing deficit of five million units. If mortgages were cheap and plentiful -- through the increased use of mortgage securitization tools, for example -- the epicenter of demand for Mexico's trade- and craftsmen would not be California, Arizona, Texas and Florida. It would be in Mexico.

Solving the immigration problem will not happen unless Mexico solves its job-creation problem. To do that, Mexico needs to modernize and open up to competition its antiquated and concentrated economic and financial systems. For decades, Mexico has argued that if it were to do so, America would take over. It's time to dispel that urban myth with a little reality. If Mexico can succeed in providing capital to risk-taking Mexicans, they will create jobs in Mexico, not just in the U.S.

Mr. Kurtzman, a senior fellow at the Milken Institute, is co-author of the forthcoming book, "Global Edge: Using the Opacity Index to Manage the Risk of Cross-border Business" (Harvard Business School Press).
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« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2007, 08:16:52 PM »

Mexico Security Memo: Aug. 6, 2007
August 06, 2007 18 27  GMT



Accelerating Violence

The violent trend that began several weeks ago in northern Mexico has continued this week and appears to be increasing. Drug-related killings occurred this week in Nuevo Leon, Sonora, Sinaloa, Chihuahua and Durango states -- all cartel battlegrounds. It is important to note, however, that other regions of the country also experience drug-related violence on a regular basis, such as the southern states of Guerrero and Michoacan.

Territorial control in these two states has long been of strategic importance to the Sinaloa cartel because of the port city of Acapulco, an important port of entry for drugs coming from South America. This control is frequently challenged by rival Gulf cartel operatives, who violently attempt to disrupt the Sinaloa cartel's operations. Examples this week of such violence include the killings of a city official's brother and a city police chief.


Two Dead Agents and Zhenli Ye Gon

Authorities confirmed Aug. 1 that two men found dead the day before in Guerrero state were agents of the Federal Investigative Agency. Federal police officers turn up dead nearly every week in Mexico. These two agents, however, were involved in the investigation of Zhenli Ye Gon, a Chinese-Mexican businessman accused by the United States and Mexico of supplying pseudoephedrine to Mexican cartels for manufacturing methamphetamine, a phenomenon discussed in a previous Mexico Security Memo.

Since authorities seized more than $200 million in cash -- comprising more than two tons of $100 bills -- from Ye Gon's Mexico City home earlier this year, the case has gained national attention in Mexico. Speaking at a forum on organized crime in Latin America, a Colombian national police official accused Ye Gon of having links to Chinese organized crime and added that the Chinese mafia has set up illegal casinos and money laundering operations in many parts of Latin America. The claims shed light on the complex nature of organized criminal enterprises, which have direct and indirect links to drug trafficking.






An EPR Uptick

The Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR), which claimed responsibility in July for attacks against oil pipelines in Guanajuato and Queretaro states and against a federal prison in Chiapas state, has increased its operational tempo. Most recently, it placed two small explosive devices in Oaxaca. The increased frequency of attacks is unusual for the EPR, and requires close attention. The Oaxaca bombs were the EPR's fourth attack in as many weeks and as many states. This increased frequency must have demanded a major effort by the EPR, whose actual membership likely numbers in the low hundreds (much lower than it claims).

Even if the EPR is shifting its focus from symbolic targets to strategic economic targets, and even if the group can sustain this increased tempo, it is unlikely to carry out attacks designed to kill. The group so far has been content to conduct attacks that send messages. Even when given the opportunity to cause casualties -- as in the jail attack -- it has not done so. Whether the group will continue the same high frequency of attacks remains unknown. If it does, government facilities, foreign companies, nongovernmental organizations and economic targets throughout the country are at risk of similar attacks.


July 30

A decomposing body was found stuffed in a plastic container in Apodaca, Nuevo Leon state.

The leader of a peasant union in Zacapu, Michoacan state, was found dead with at least three gunshot wounds. He reportedly was abducted July 27 by a group of armed men and was being held for ransom.

Police in Sonora state responding to an anonymous tip found the body of a suspected drug trafficker in the northern city of Caborca. The victim was found shot to death with bound hands.

A man in Atoyac, Guerrero state, died of multiple shotgun wounds.

July 31

Authorities in Cancun, Quintana Roo state, discovered the body of a U.S. citizen of Cuban origin who had been shot multiple times. He reportedly was involved in illegally smuggling Cuban immigrants into Mexico.

The brother of a city official in Arcelia, Guerrero state, was wounded after being shot several times by a group of gunmen.

The body of a man was found wrapped in a blanket with a note pinned on it in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state. He had been tortured and shot several times.

Two men were found shot to death in separate incidents in Michoacan state, one in the town of La Huacana and the other in Ziracuaretiro.

Aug. 1

A small explosive device detonated at a department store in Oaxaca, Oaxaca state, while another device was found unexploded at a bank. No one was injured by the bombs, which were claimed by EPR.

Authorities confirmed that two men found dead July 31 in Guerrero state were Federal Investigative Agency agents.

Aug. 2

Officials discovered the body of an unidentified individual in Penjamo, Guanajuato state, who had been shot several times.

Three people died in apparent drug-related killings in Durango state. Two occurred in Tamazula and one in Santiago Papasquiaro.

The body of a man was found in Tlalnepantla, Mexico state, with multiple gunshot wounds and bound hands.

Officials in Sonora state discovered the body of a man shot three times and left on the side of a highway.

Aug. 4

A group of armed men shot and killed the police chief of Paracho, Michoacan state, who was traveling unarmed to the state capital, Morelia.

Police in Paracho, Michoacan state, went on strike following the city police chief's killing, demanding better equipment.

Aug. 5

A senior journalist for El Semanario in Oaxaca state was shot three times.

Authorities in Hacienda Nueva, Aguascalientes state, discovered the body of a man nearly severed at the waist.
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« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2007, 10:25:14 PM »

Prosperous Haven in Mexico Is Invaded by Drug Violence

By Manuel Roig-Franzia
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, August 4, 2007; A01



MONTERREY, Mexico -- Biti Rodriguez could have gone anywhere for her 10-year-old's birthday party. But Incredible Pizza, a mammoth restaurant and fun house tucked into the corner of a strip mall here, offered her something that suddenly has become a consuming obsession: safety.

She herded her daughter, Alejandra, and a dozen other giggling girls through two metal detectors one recent afternoon at this pizza parlor that promises "incredible security for your children," then dumped bags of presents on a table to be probed by a guard. It took a while to actually get inside, but Rodriguez didn't care. She thinks all the extra security is "super bien" -- super good.

Not so long ago, metal detectors at a pizza place would have been unimaginable in Monterrey, Mexico's third-largest metropolitan area, with more than 3.6 million residents. The city once seemed as if it could do no wrong -- two years ago it was named the safest city in Latin America by an international consulting group, it boasted the region's wealthiest residential neighborhood, and it was a strong competitor for the Major League Baseball franchise that became the Washington Nationals.

But in the past year, the drug violence raging across Mexico has landed hard in Monterrey, jarring residents who once felt immune to the shootouts so common in other big Mexican cities.

In the first six months of 2007, Monterrey registered 162 killings, nearly as many as were recorded in all of last year and about 50 more than in all of 2004. But it wasn't just the killings that shook up the Biti Rodriguezes of this city -- it was the brazenness of the killers.

A hit man walked calmly into the landmark Gran San Carlos restaurant, past rows of Monterrey's signature hanging roasted cabrito, or goat, and shot dead a man seated at a table beneath the stained-glass cupola. Gunmen launched volleys of bullets into a popular seafood restaurant at the height of the lunch rush, and police officers were mowed down in broad daylight.

The killings triggered tremors of fear. Newspapers now run daily tallies of slayings. A roadside hotel has advertised bulletproof rooms. Heavily armored cars have become a new status symbol, with corporate chieftains dishing out as much as $400,000 for Mercedes-Benz sedans that ward off not only bullets but also grenades. In the San Pedro Garza Garcia suburb, where hillside palaces rival the mansions of Beverly Hills, a new saying was born: "There are no Tuesdays without killings."

"I can't say Monterrey is the safest city in Mexico anymore -- that would be a lie," Jesús Marcos Giacomán, president of the 122-year-old Monterrey Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, said in an interview. "I can say we're going to make it the safest again."

An Economic Powerhouse

Monterrey wraps around the stunning, rocky peaks of the Sierra Madre, 130 miles southwest of McAllen, Tex. Gleaming towers form its skyline, and U.S.-style malls and upscale restaurants line its wide boulevards.

Known as the "Sultanate of the North" because of its popularity with Middle Eastern businessmen, Monterrey revved into an economic powerhouse after the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect in 1994. The world's largest cement maker is here, as well as Mexico's biggest beer producer and one of the world's largest glass manufacturers. Major American corporations operate huge plants.

For the past five years, Monterrey stayed mostly peaceful while the rival Sinaloa and Gulf drug cartels fought over territory in other cities near the border, such as Nuevo Laredo. But something more complicated has happened here in the past year, Aldo Fasci Zuazua, deputy attorney general of Nuevo Leon state, said in an interview at his Monterrey office.

For unknown reasons, the local drug lords who warehouse cocaine, methamphetamines and marijuana for the big cartels began fighting each other, Fasci said. Their bloody battles unnerved the national and transnational cartels that counted on Monterrey's small-time operators to funnel tons of drugs into the United States.

A business that had run smoothly for years was suddenly a mess, and the national cartels felt compelled to sweep into Monterrey to "restore order," Fasci said. In the vernacular of organized crime, that meant killing people.

Fear Takes Hold

By April, assassinations were so rampant that the U.S. Embassy issued a travel warning for Monterrey noting that "Mexican and foreign bystanders" had been killed in Mexico. The next month, the business magazine America Economia dropped Monterrey from the top of its list of best places to do business in Latin America, a blow for a city that reaped a bonanza of publicity in 1999 when Fortune magazine dubbed it Latin America's top business locale.

Within days of America Economia's piece, Mexican President Felipe Calderón dispatched federal troops to patrol Monterrey's streets, one in a series of military assaults against cartel strongholds across the country.

Monterrey's wealthy -- the city is said to be home to more than a dozen of Mexico's most powerful families -- were well prepared to withstand the violence in their streets. Top corporations began hiring armed security forces. Executives and their families now travel in protective bubbles ringed by bodyguards and live behind high walls fitted with motion sensors and cameras.

But Monterrey's middle class, the pride of a state that boasts that its annual per-capita income of $14,000 is twice the national average, became frantic. Biti Rodriguez cringed each night when she watched the news. In her neighborhood, parents stopped letting their kids walk to school. School administrators tightened rules about who could pick up children.

Authorities know that private schools accept drug dealers' money to educate their kids, but "there's nothing that the government can do about it," Fasci said.

Rodriguez felt compelled to do something she'd never done before: She started locking the doors of her suburban Monterrey home.

Underworld Infiltration

With hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into the pockets of drug traffickers, authorities here suspect that organized crime has diversified, investing in criminal enterprises such as kidnapping and the smuggling of illegal immigrants, as well as legitimate businesses such as real estate.

The underworld has infiltrated state and municipal governments and police forces, damaging confidence in public institutions even though about 400 law enforcement officers suspected of corruption have been taken off the streets. One councilman here estimated that as many 200,000 people in the state of Nuevo Leon -- 5 percent of the population -- may be involved directly or indirectly in the drug trade.

Local politicians, especially in the many municipalities that abut Monterrey, say they feel like targets. One recent afternoon, a municipal councilman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that he "feels threatened all the time" and that even the most minor decisions become complicating labyrinths that can paralyze local governments afraid of unknowingly angering drug lords.

To protect himself, he conducts extensive investigations, gaming out every possible scenario about the possible ripple effects of his votes. But those inquiries carry risks, too. "If you're asking all these questions," he said, "sometimes these narcos find out and get nervous."

Although he can afford to buy a car, he doesn't. He said driving the same car would make him easy to spot, so some days he grabs a taxi, other days he hops a bus. His route to the office varies from day to day -- it takes much longer, but he feels safer.

His municipality and others around Monterrey suffer from police shortages as officers quit rather than risk their lives at a time when several dozen officers have been killed. Authorities say police victims range from good cops who challenge the cartels to corrupt cops killed for favoring one cartel over another.

José Antonio Samaniego Hernández might have been one of those good cops, his family said in an interview. He survived one assassination attempt but was gunned down three months later while leaving the ramshackle home where he lived in a cramped bedroom with his wife, daughter and mother. Samaniego became a number that day -- execution victim No. 33 of 2007, according to the newspaper Milenio.

But to Anna Calderón Garcia, 15, he was the police officer down the street, the guy in the uniform who stopped to talk to all the kids. He was also one of half a dozen police officers she has known -- either as neighbors or because they spoke at her school -- who have been shot dead.  After never hearing a gunshot in her life, Calderón said, she has twice been startled by gunfire. One night while leaving a Wal-Mart, she and friends saw the bodies of two slain policemen lying in the parking lot.

"It changed my life forever," she said. "Now I'm always looking around me, wondering if I might get shot."

While most of the shooting victims in Monterrey have been alleged drug traffickers, innocent victims have also fallen, including a 42-year-old mother of five caught in the crossfire during a gun battle in December.

Kids in Calderón's class, like children in so many other places, once dreamed of being police officers, putting on uniforms, playing a glamorous real-life game of cops-and-robbers. Not anymore.  She lives three blocks from a funeral home and cups her ears when she hears sirens. Each time, she said, she whispers to herself: "Another dead one."

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« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2007, 06:45:40 AM »

Border Violence Pushes North (LAT)
The Los Angeles Times
<http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-border19aug19,1,46
30356.story> , August 19, 2007
Drug cartels extend their reach into Texas and Arizona. Citizens and
immigrants alike are victimized.
Violent crime along the U.S.-Mexico border, which has long plagued the
scrubby, often desolate stretch, is increasingly spilling northward into
the cities of the American Southwest.
In Phoenix, deputies are working the unsolved case of 13 border crossers
who were kidnapped and executed in the desert. In Dallas, nearly two
dozen high school students have died in the last two years from
overdoses of a $2-a-hit Mexican fad drug called "cheese heroin."
The crime surge, most acute in Texas and Arizona, is fueled by a gritty
drug war in Mexico that includes hostages being held in stash houses,
daylight gun battles claiming innocent lives, and teenage hit men for
the Mexican cartels. Shipments of narcotics and vans carrying illegal
workers on U.S. highways are being hijacked by rival cartels fighting
over the lucrative smuggling routes. Fires are being set in national
forests to divert police.
In Laredo, Texas, a teenager who had been driving around the United
States in a $70,000 luxury sedan confessed to becoming a Mexican cartel
hitman when he was just 13. In Nogales, Ariz., an 82-year-old man was
caught with 79 kilograms of cocaine in his Chevrolet Impala. The youth
was sentenced to 40 years in prison in one slaying case and is awaiting
trial in another; the old man received 10 years.
In Southern California, Border Patrol agents routinely encounter
smugglers driving immigrant-laden cars who try to escape by driving the
wrong way on busy freeways. And stash houses packed with dozens of
illegal immigrants have been discovered in Los Angeles.
But a huge U.S. law enforcement buildup along the border that started a
decade ago has helped stabilize border-related crime rates on the
California side; a recent wave of kidnappings in Tijuana has been
largely contained south of the border.
The sprawling border has been crisscrossed for years by the poor seeking
work and by drug dealers in the hunt for U.S. dollars. For decades
neither the United States nor Mexico has managed to halt the immigrants
and narcotics pushing north. But with the Mexican government's newly
pledged war on the cartels, and an explosion of violence among rival
networks, a new crime dynamic is emerging: The violence that has hit
Mexican border towns is spreading deeper into the United States.
U.S. officials are promising more Border Patrol and federal firearms
officers, more fences and more surveillance towers along the desert
stretches where the two nations meet.
But law enforcement officials are wary of how this new burst in violence
will play out, especially because the enemy is better armed and more
sophisticated than ever. Among their concerns are budget cutbacks in
some agencies -- including a hiring freeze in the Drug Enforcement
Administration -- and community opposition to the surveillance towers.
Johnny Sutton, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, said he
would need at least 20,000 new Border Patrol agents in El Paso alone to
hold back the tide. But that is the total number of agents that
Washington hopes to have along the whole border by the end of 2009.
In six years, Sutton's office has tried 33,000 defendants, about 90% of
them on drug and immigration violations. "We're body-slamming them the
best we can," he said.
In Phoenix, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said there were 10,000
inmates in his jail and overflow tents; 2,000 of them are "criminal
aliens" from the border, he said. His deputies are investigating the
deaths of 13 people executed in the desert.
Jennifer Allen, director of Border Action Network, a Tucson nonprofit
that supports immigrants' rights, said Washington and Mexico City need
fresh approaches. "The smugglers are no longer mom-and-pop
organizations. Now it's an industry," she said. "So the violence
increases. That's incredibly predictable."
Raul Benitez, an international relations professor in Mexico City who
also taught at American University in Washington, blames both countries
for the crime wave. As long as Americans crave drugs and the cartels
want money, Benitez said, "security in both directions is jeopardized."
Nestor Rodriguez, a University of Houston sociologist, said people on
both sides of the Rio Grande viewed themselves as one community.
"People say, 'The river doesn't divide us,; it unites us,' " he said.
"When you're at ground zero at the border, you see yourselves as one
community -- for good or bad."
Rodriguez knows. His first cousin, Juan Garza, born in the United States
but trained by criminals in Mexico, ran his own murder-and-drug
enterprise out of Brownsville, Texas. He was executed in 2001 by the
United States.
"Of course there is a spillover of violence into this country,"
Rodriguez said.
"It's pouring across our border, and anybody can get caught up in it."
The small town of Sierra Vista, Ariz., learned firsthand of the rising
violence in 2004, when police chased a pickup carrying 24 illegal
immigrants on the border town's main drag, Buffalo Soldier Trail. Speeds
reached up to 100 mph. The truck went airborne, hit half a dozen cars
and killed a recently married elderly couple waiting at a stoplight.
"It was just the worst kind of tragedy," said Cochise County Atty. Ed
Rheinheimer. "The coyotes [smugglers] are just more willing to either
shoot at the police, fight with the police, or to try to flee."
Even more brazen have been several kidnappings of 50 to 100 immigrants
by rival cartels, which hide them in stash houses in and around Phoenix
until families pay a ransom. One captive's face was burned with a
cigarette, another person nearly suffocated in a plastic bag. A woman
was raped. Fingers have been sliced off and sent back to families with
demands for money.
The border-crime issue became so urgent in Arizona that top officials
met in Tucson in June with their counterparts from Sonora, Mexico.
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano agreed to help train Sonoran police to
track wire payments to smugglers. Sonoran Gov. Eduardo Bours agreed to
improve police communications with U.S. authorities.
In the first nine months of the fiscal year, Tucson officials have
surpassed last year's record of 4,559 arrests over migrant smuggling.
And so far this year, in tiny Douglas, Ariz., the Mexican consulate has
identified the bodies of five Mexican nationals who died under
suspicious circumstances while crossing into the United States, and he
is awaiting the identification of another five he presumes were Mexicans
as well. There were only seven such deaths last year.
Statewide the picture is equally bleak. Homicides of illegal crossers is
up 21% over last year.
Another visible effect of the cross-border crime wave is the flood of
drugs into the country.
Anthony J. Coulson, assistant special agent in charge of the DEA in
Arizona, said records indicated that cocaine and heroin seizures may end
up twice as high as last year. Marijuana seizures are increasing 25%.
Nine months into the current fiscal year, he said, his team had already
seized more pot than all of last year. "And 2006 was a record year," he
said.
In the Tucson sector alone there has been a 71% increase in marijuana
seizures over the last fiscal year, with the Border Patrol reporting
648,000 pounds confiscated since October.
In the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale, Arpaio said, a cartel operative was
openly selling heroin to high school students. "He was getting 150 calls
a day on his cellphone," the sheriff said.
The DEA believes 80% of the methamphetamine in the United States is
coming from labs in Mexico, which were set up after police raids shut
down many of the labs in the U.S.
In Dallas, police are dealing with the deaths of 21 high school students
from "cheese heroin," a mixture of Mexican heroin and over-the-counter
cold medicine. A hit sells for $2 to $5. Several arrests of dealers have
been made; now officials are bracing for the coming school season.
"It's a small packet," said Lt. Tom Moorman of the Dallas Police
Department. "They can carry it in a pack of gum. Very, very small."
Antonio Oscar "Tony" Garza Jr., the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has
issued repeated notes to the Mexican government. Last year he sent an
advisory to American tourists that "drug cartels, aided by corrupt
officials [in Mexico], reign unchecked in many towns along our common
border."
A House subcommittee on domestic security has investigated the "triple
threat" of drug smuggling, illegal border crossings and rising violence,
and it found that "very little" passes the border without the cartels'
knowledge.
The panel found that cartels send smugglers into the United States fully
armored with equipment -- much of it imported to Mexico from the United
States -- including high-powered binoculars and encrypted radios,
bazookas, military-style grenades, assault rifles and silencers, sniper
scopes and bulletproof vests. Some wear fake police uniforms to confuse
authorities as well as Mexican bandits who might ambush them.
The panel's report cited numerous recent crimes. In McAllen, Texas, "two
smuggled women from Central America were found on the side of a road
badly beaten and without clothing. Their captors intimidated the victims
by shooting weapons into the walls and ceiling as they were raped." In
Laredo, Texas, Webb County sheriff's deputies came upon 56 illegal
immigrants locked in a refrigerator trailer; 11 were women, two
children. After six hours, "many were near death by the time they were
rescued."
It was in Laredo last summer where police encountered Rosalio Reta, then
17, a Houston native who fell under the spell of the Gulf Cartel across
the river. Known as Bart, the youth was 13 when he started visiting
Mexico.
"They walk across the bridge," said Laredo Det. Robert Garcia, who
investigated a murder that involved Reta. "They see all the nightclubs
with no age limit. They see the guys their age spending money, throwing
money around, paying for everything. They like the lure, the women, the
fancy cars. They start moving weapons and guns and pretty soon they
start asking for money for hits."
Garcia said Reta told him how he helped break a cartel leader out of a
Mexican prison. From there he moved up to become a hit man and returned
to Texas behind the wheel of a $70,000 Mercedes Benz, Garcia said.
Then last year a Laredo man, Noe Flores, was killed in front of his
home, shot by mistake because the cartel thought Flores was his
half-brother.
In a written statement to police, Reta admitted to driving the car with
two accomplices. One of them, identified by Reta as Gabriel Cardona,
jumped out and "shot two rounds at first," he wrote.
"That was when he fell to the floor and then shot em 13 more rounds and
that was when Jesus Gonzales [the other alleged accomplice] started
shooting from the rear windows.
"Then we left the sene of the crime and we left the car like 3 blocks
away. The work was done for the Gulf Cartel of Mexico."
At trial last month, a witness said Reta and the accomplices were paid a
total of $15,000 for the hit. But the case ended abruptly when Reta
pleaded guilty in return for a 40-year sentence; he had faced 99 years.
Webb County Judge Joe Lopez told the youth: "It's a young life. Come to
terms with your God and your faith, or whatever it may be."
Cardona also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 80 years. Gonzales was
arrested but made bail, and he disappeared back into Mexico.
Reta awaits trial in a second case, involving the ambush slaying in
December 2005 of Moises Garcia, shot in his car in a Laredo restaurant
parking lot as his pregnant wife and family watched helplessly.

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« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2007, 08:32:46 AM »

Following up on the previous post, this from Stratfor:

Mexico Security Memo: Aug. 20, 2007
August 20, 2007 19 46  GMT



Violence Revisits Nuevo Leon, Baja California States

Violence returned to Nuevo Leon state this week with the Aug. 17 discovery near Monterrey of the bodies of two federal law enforcement agents who had been kidnapped the night before. Far to the west, Baja California state also stood out this week as an area to monitor as the commanders of joint local, state and federal security forces confirmed they would continue security operations in the state. Their announcement came in response to claims by a business group that organized crime in the state was reaching record levels, especially kidnapping. It is likely that additional federal resources will be sent to the state as security operations are expanded. As an indication of the level of violence throughout the country, 677 known cartel-related killings took place in Mexico in the first quarter of 2007, according to U.S. counterterrorism sources.

Operation Puma

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced this week the culmination of Operation Puma, an investigation targeting the Gulf cartel's money laundering and distribution networks in Mexico and the United States. The arrest near Dallas of a Gulf "gatekeeper" (a senior cartel member who controls the flow of drugs and revenue in a given locale), along with gatekeepers in the border cities of McAllen and Laredo, illustrates the extent of the cartel's distribution network within the United States.

It is still unclear what impact the arrests will have on the Gulf cartel's operations; new gatekeepers will undoubtedly be brought in and drugs will continue to enter the United States. However, the investigation, which took approximately two and half years and involved multiple agencies and jurisdictions, also demonstrates that U.S. law enforcement is capable of patiently penetrating and investigating drug-trafficking organizations, going after high-ranking leaders and producing results. These kinds of results could lead cartel leaders to implement additional operational security measures to prevent future vulnerability.






Aug. 13

A group of gunmen fired on the municipal police station in Las Vigas, Veracruz state, in the early morning hours. No one was reported injured in the attack.

Media reports were released confirming six drug-related killings in Sinaloa state over the previous two days.

The commander of a joint counternarcotics unit in San Luis Potosi was killed by gunmen armed with AR-15 assault rifles.


Aug. 14

A federal law enforcement agent in Ocosingo, Chiapas state, died after she was shot by gunmen traveling in a vehicle. The agent investigated organized crime.

Three bodies were discovered in a vehicle in Naucalpan, Mexico state, bound at the hands and feet and with visible signs of torture. Two were identified as taxi drivers, who often work with drug dealers to transport narcotics.


Aug. 15

The body of a man was found in Michoacan state bound at the hands and with a note pinned to his chest that read, "For being a thief."

Two armed men kidnapped and held a journalist in Morelos state for several hours and beat him during the ordeal.

Colombian law enforcement detained John Alex Marroquin, a suspected principal figure linking the Tijuana cartel with Colombia's Norte del Valle cartel.

Authorities in Tijuana, Baja California state, began an investigation to determine if the body of a woman found shot to death was related to the recent kidnapping of seven prostitutes in the city.


Aug. 16

A restaurant owner in Tijuana, Baja California state, died after being shot four times by a gunmen who entered his restaurant.

The bodies of two men were found in a vehicle in Mexico City. Both men had been shot several times, and one had been placed in the trunk.

Two men were shot dead in Culiacan, Sinaloa state, in apparently separate incidents during the day.


Aug. 17

Two federal law enforcement agents were found shot to death in Santa Catarina, Nuevo Leon state. Investigators said the agents had been abducted by armed men Aug. 16.

A federal law enforcement agent died after being shot eight times in Morelia, Michoacan state, apparently while leaving his home.

Authorities in Mexico state discovered the body of a man in a vehicle who had been tortured, strangled and blindfolded.


Aug. 19

Authorities in Michoacan state reported the killing of five people in separate incidents, two in the port city of Lazaro Cardenas, two around Uruapan and one in Ziracuaretiro.

A group of gunmen in a moving vehicle shot and wounded three individuals in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas state.
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« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2007, 09:50:56 AM »

This woman has been getting a lot of press over her most recent deportation.  Here she is back in Mexico.  The "logic" is quite special.  angry  http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=d69_1187877604&p=1  Oy vey!  rolleyes
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« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2007, 11:12:17 AM »

I think Mexico should stop sending drugs and illegals over the border in protest!
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« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2007, 04:58:18 PM »

http://patterico.com/2007/09/02/the-state-of-the-mexican-union-is/

The State of the Mexican Nation is … Expanding
Filed under: Immigration — DRJ @ 5:58 pm
[Guest post by DRJ]

From Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s first State of the Nation speech delivered today:

President Felipe Calderon blasted U.S. immigration policies on Sunday and promised to fight harder to protect the rights of Mexicans in the U.S., saying “Mexico does not end at its borders.” The criticism earned Calderon a standing ovation during his first state-of-the nation address.


There’s more:

“We strongly protest the unilateral measures taken by the U.S. Congress and government that have only persecuted and exacerbated the mistreatment of Mexican undocumented workers,” he said. “The insensitivity toward those who support the U.S. economy and society has only served as an impetus to reinforce the battle … for their rights.”

He also reached out to the millions of Mexicans living in the United States, many illegally, saying: “Where there is a Mexican, there is Mexico.”

Even though it’s tempting, I will not respond to this with sarcasm or anger. I will respond with logic (for all the good it will do):

President Calderon,

I have some news that will undoubtedly shock you:
Mexico does end at its borders.

DRJ
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« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2007, 01:35:25 PM »

BP defends itself-- and us.  Well done!

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=dec_1188973780
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« Reply #24 on: September 07, 2007, 01:02:00 AM »

Mexico: the Next Colombia?
By Andrew Walden
FrontPageMagazine.com | 9/6/2007

Will Mexico go the way of Colombia? Drug gangs are terrorizing Mexican cities. Severed heads show up on the doorstep of police stations and newspapers—often with warnings from drug gangs targeting officials by name. Over 370 young women have been murdered in Ciudad Juarez. Eleven journalists have been murdered in the last year making Mexico the second most dangerous country for journalists—after Iraq.

Hoping to stem the tide, Mexico’s new President Felipe Calderon has ordered federal takeover of corrupt local police departments in cities including Tijuana and Monterrey and several States. In Tijuana, Tabasco, and Oaxaca local and state police were disarmed and their weapons are being checked against evidence from recent murders by ballistics experts. Authorities have announced the arrest of over 1,000 drug suspects and the confiscation of tons of drugs destined mostly for the US market. In late June Calderon’s administration sacked over 300 federal police commanders in an effort to root out corruption.

Calderon and the Bush administration in early August were reported close to signing a new $7 billion cooperation pact with the US which officials went out of their way to claim is not modeled on “Plan Colombia”—the ongoing somewhat successful decade-long effort to beat back Colombia’s notorious narco-guerrillas and the drug trade they protect. According to the Washington Post, US aid would include: “telephone tapping equipment, radar to track traffickers' shipments by air, aircraft to transport Mexican anti-drug teams and assorted training….”

The refusal of US authorities to close off illegal crossings of the US-Mexican border and more thoroughly inspect legal crossings has allowed the creation of a millions-strong class of illegal persons in the US. At the same time the open border has provided an incentive for Mexican drug gangs to open up shop south of the border in order to flood the US with narcotics. Drug use is now on the increase in Mexico as well.

With Mexican drug gangs corrupting police and terrorizing Mexicans, they also provide a possible conduit for terrorist infiltration of the US. Mexico has long been a way station for “OTMs”—Other Than Mexicans—intending to sneak into the US. The human smuggling business is intrinsically linked to the drug smuggling business. With narco-terrorists borrowing a page from al-Qaeda’s playbook—videotaping executions and beheading their victims, there is little reason to think they would hesitate at assisting Islamist terrorists—if the price was right.

Drugs can be a very powerful weapon against a nation. British opium pushers in the 19th century are partly responsible for the collapse of the powerful Chinese empire. The result was decades of chaos and war eventually followed by the genocidal communist dictatorship of Mao Zedong.

In a 20th century parallel to the Opium Wars, Cuba is partly responsible for the formation of the Colombian narco-guerilla gangs and their choice to finance themselves though drug trafficking. In addition to shipping through Cuba to Florida, the Colombians in turn hired Mexican gangs to transship cocaine into Texas and California. Eventually the Mexican gangs began producing, shipping, and selling their own drugs.

Drug violence in Mexico creates one more reason for Mexicans to head north--and about 10% of all Mexicans are now estimated to be illegally in the US with millions more here legally. Drug use already severely marks the entry-level US labor pool which in turn creates greater demand for illegal alien workers. The porous border and the human smuggling expertise created by the crossing of million of illegal aliens create ripe conditions for the drug trade. The drug gangs in turn corrupt Mexican society and create more reasons for Mexicans to leave—and they cycle continues.

A Gallup poll released July 2 measures a hypothetical Clinton vs Giuliani 2008 Presidential race. The poll shows 78% support for Hillary in 2008 among Hispanics without a college education. Among college educated Hispanics, 50% would vote for Rudy. Legal immigration quotas are heavily weighted towards educated persons. This sharp dichotomy between educated and uneducated Hispanic voters would explain why so-called immigration reform efforts are so heavily weighted towards making illegals more comfortable and then granting them amnesty rather than increasing the number of legal immigrants.

Manipulating policy to bring in Democrat voters is not the only political angle in the human smuggling/drug smuggling nexus. Heavy drug use on American campuses makes students more amenable to the paranoid ministrations and anti-American conspiracy theories of leftist professors. The drug trade finances guerilla movements, aids Fidel Castro’s communist regime and destabilizes Latin American countries.

With the effects of the open border now being felt strongly on both sides, Bush and Calderon were expected to announce their plan at a two-day North American summit with conservative Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Quebec August 20 and 21. It didn’t happen, but at least one Democrat jumped the gun and began griping. According to the LA Times, “An aide to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the subcommittee controlling foreign aid expenditures, complained that his office had heard nothing from the White House about a deal.

"’Sen. Leahy believes that in Iraq and beyond, this administration is accustomed to writing checks for hundreds of millions of dollars and expecting Congress to cash them without consultation or question,’ aide David Carle said.”

Other Democrats, notably Rep Henry Cuellar—whose Texas district is hard-hit by the illicit cross-border traffic--back the plan. Cuellar tells the Times, "We finally have a Mexican president who's willing to take brave steps. But if we lose that opportunity, the window will close."
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« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2007, 02:20:18 PM »

Mexico: The Evolution of a Guerrilla Group
Bombs exploded early Sept. 10 at five or more points along natural gas pipelines operated by Mexico's state-owned oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) in Veracruz state, forcing the company to suspend shipments to parts of Mexico. The attack, which began with the first blast at about 2:15 a.m. local time and ended about 4 a.m., started fires and led to the temporary evacuation of some 12,000 people from nearby towns.




The attack, which Mexican authorities say was an act of sabotage, comes two months after the guerrilla group Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) claimed responsibility for a similar attack against Pemex pipelines in Queretaro state near Mexico City and in Guanajuato state. In that statement, the group demanded the release of two of its members from prison. One of the lines attacked in July, the one running from Mexico City to Guadalajara, also was struck in the most recent attack. In August, the group planted two bombs in the southern Mexican city of Oaxaca. One device, planted at a Sears store, detonated in the early morning hours, while the other, placed at a Banamex bank branch, did not explode.

EPR, whose core membership is made up mostly of peasants, historically has expressed its anger at the Mexican government by shooting or vandalizing government facilities in the more rural areas of southern Mexico. Occasionally EPR has joined loosely with other leftist groups to plant small improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Mexico City for the purpose of making political statements. Until the summer, however, staging multiple strikes against pipelines seemed beyond the capability of rural farmers.

It appears likely, then, that these attacks are being led by a fairly experienced bombmaker, perhaps an educated Marxist who has associated himself with the group. One indication of this is the lack of reports that unexploded IEDs have been found on the pipelines. Moreover, the attackers have avoided detection and have left authorities no clues. These latest bombings strongly suggest that the EPR -- or at least one of its cells -- has evolved, is expanding its target set and is increasing its operational tempo. This bombmaker likely has the ability to construct IEDs that are more powerful than the devices commonly used by the group. At this time, however, the cell appears to be committed to limiting human casualties.

Pemex increased security at its facilities after the July attacks, but pipelines are generally difficult to secure completely. In addition, the attackers can benefit from the violence occurring in Mexico as a result of the government crackdown on the drug cartels. Mexican security services already have their hands full with the daily cartel violence.
stratfor.com

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« Reply #26 on: September 17, 2007, 12:03:04 PM »

Calderónomics
By MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY
September 17, 2007; Page A16

As young Mexicans have poured across the southern U.S. border in recent years, looking for work, a common American refrain has been to blame Mexican economic policy. Even many of us who welcome the new labor for the U.S. economy have also noted that the Mexican government's failure to deepen the economic restructuring begun some 20 years ago has spurred migration, imposing a heavy burden on Mexican society.

This reality has not been lost on President Felipe Calderón. He campaigned in the lead-up to last year's election on a platform that emphasized jobs, promising to deliver the policy changes that would bring them about. Unfortunately, Mr. Calderón's National Action Party (PAN) is only a minority in Congress, and judging by the "reforms" passed there last week, his vision of a modernized Mexico is still a long way off.

It's bad enough that the government's fiscal reform falls so far short of the pro-growth agenda Mr. Calderón promised. But to make matters worse, opposition parties made passing it contingent on a heavily politicized "electoral reform" and a no-strings-attached tax cut for the monopoly, state-owned oil company Pemex. If there is one lesson from this latest legislative struggle between modernizers and Mexico's old guard in the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), it's that timidity when confronting dinosaurs doesn't pay.

Mr. Calderón has been carefully choosing his fights in his first year in office. His biggest achievement to date is the reform of the public-sector pension system, a measure that in the medium term will remove the obligations of the large entitlement program from the budget.

Having one win under his belt, Mr. Calderón moved this summer to introduce a fiscal reform designed to close revenue shortfalls. A better course of action, with oil topping $80 a barrel, would have been opening the oil market to private investment. But this would have challenged the theology that says that the inefficient state-owned oil monopoly Pemex is sacred. Mr. Calderón apparently has decided, for now, against questioning that taboo.

Instead, he chose to go after the productive private sector of the economy, where at least some large companies are known to take advantage of a complex, exemption-ridden regime to dodge tax payments. The choice has not been fruitful.

As I reported in my July 2 column, Hacienda Minister (Treasury Secretary) Agustin Carstens, formerly of the International Monetary Fund, chose not to seek growth through lower corporate tax rates and simplification. Instead, he crafted a plan to create a corporate alternative minimum tax. The proposal raised the cost of labor on some part of the work force and complicated the code.

An email I received from the Mexican office of a large multinational investment firm insisted that the plan was not biased against skilled labor. That conclusion implied that the Hacienda proposal was so complicated that even some Mexican experts couldn't figure it out. John A. McLees, tax partner at the law firm Baker McKenzie, collaborated with his Mexican counterpart in Tijuana on a study that argued convincingly that the proposal did indeed raise the cost of labor for salaries between approximately $15,000-$35,000, middle-range pay in Mexico. When workers cost more, companies hire fewer. For a president who ran on an employment platform, it was a disappointment.

If the AMT is intended, as some have speculated, to be an end run toward the goal of a single, low flat-tax, not many are buying it. Most businesses view it as a tax hike and few seem confident that a new tax, once adopted, would ever be abolished.

Thus the administration, normally considered market friendly, found itself without even its natural allies in negotiations with Congress. Meanwhile some of the worst elements of Mexico's corporatist past were preparing to extract a pound of flesh for their support.

The bill that finally passed last week sets the AMT at 16.5%, increasing it to 17.5% in three years. Those rates are lower than originally proposed and the burden on labor has been significantly reduced. The government forecasts a revenue increase of 100 billion pesos ($9 billion) to be used for infrastructure investment and social programs for the poor. But no one expects it to spur much growth. Hacienda forecasts that without the reform Mexico would have grown at 3.5% in 2008 and with the reform it will grow at 3.7%, still an anemic rate for a developing country.

What is yet unknown is how the tax changes might affect investment decisions. Some tax experts are already warning that for U.S. investors, paying the AMT could mean double taxation because it is not an income tax and the tax treaty with the U.S. only covers income taxes.

As part of the bargain in Congress, the PRI opposition forced the government to hand Pemex what amounts to an annual tax cut of 30 billion pesos, to grow to 60 billion pesos by 2010. A reform-minded negotiator might have asked for something in return. Pemex is highly inefficient and not likely to improve without competition. Since there is nothing in the Mexican constitution that gives Pemex the right to the monopoly it has in trading energy products like petrochemicals and gasoline, some competition could be introduced without a constitutional amendment. This was also an opportunity to force reform in Pemex's bankrupt pension plan.

The government also had to give up important ground in an electoral reform. It agreed to fire Luis Ugalde, the head of the supposedly independent Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), and the entire board. The hard-left Revolutionary Democratic Party wanted this in order to delegitimize Mr. Calderón's victory last summer. The PRI dinosaurs wanted it to extract revenge against political rivals who worked with former President Vicente Fox to name Mr. Ugalde. Now they have a say in putting their own nominees on the board. The bargain also tightens restrictions on the use of campaign TV and radio spots, outlawing "negative" advertising -- which the IFE will judge subjectively -- and prohibiting private-sector issue ads. In other words, free speech takes a hit in this reform and the IFE board is politicized. Now the only hope that this constitutional change might be defeated is if more than half of Mexican states refuse to approve it.

If not, Mr. Calderón will have won his watered-down fiscal reform but at a high cost. Mexicans have to hope that he starts to think bigger and bolder. This nibbling around the edges of reform is only going to get him eaten alive by the dinosaurs.

Write to O'Grady@wsj.com.
WSJ
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #27 on: September 17, 2007, 09:09:58 PM »

Second post of the day:

Mexico Security Memo: Sept. 17, 2007
September 17, 2007 20 47  GMT



Simple, Sustainable Operations

This past week began with an increasingly common incident: a bomb attack carried out by the leftist guerrilla group Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR). Like a series of bombings in July, this incident targeted oil and natural gas pipelines controlled by state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos. In a statement released a day after the bombings, the group claimed responsibility for what it said were 12 explosive devices placed on pipelines in Veracruz and Tlaxcala states Sept. 10 and said further attacks would come. Following the July pipeline attacks and incidents in Oaxaca and Chiapas states, Stratfor observed that EPR had increased its operational tempo and that similar attacks were likely. If the group follows the previous pattern, more attacks will follow in the next several weeks.

This latest bombing further demonstrates how effective EPR has become in its operations. The absence of malfunctioning devices suggests that the group has at least one skilled bombmaker, and the lack of significant investigative leads or arrests by authorities suggests that the group is small and practices good tradecraft in both planning and carrying out the operations it selects, which are simple bombings against soft targets that require few resources. EPR has demonstrated that it is capable of reaching targets anywhere in Mexico, since it had not previously conducted attacks in Veracruz or Tlaxcala. This latest bombing also reinforces the conclusion that EPR will continue to conduct attacks designed to minimize human casualties.


Public Attacks & Beheadings

The northern city of Monterrey, in Nuevo Leon state, was the scene of more drug violence this past week when two federal agents were killed and two were wounded in a gunbattle that also wounded two civilians. The attack in broad daylight was the first significant firefight in the metropolitan area since an attack against a police station in May. The agents in this case had recently arrived as the first part of a group of 1,300 federal agents to carry out "important arrests" of narcotics traffickers in the city. The cartel members to be arrested were likely tipped off by corrupt law enforcement sources and staged a very public attack against the four agents in order to warn federal authorities not to get too close during their deployment in the city. The strategy might have worked; no significant arrests have been reported so far during the operation.

Other high-profile attacks were made against police officials in San Luis Potosi and Taxco, in Guerrero state. The Taxco incident is noteworthy, since this small touristy town has not been the scene of significant drug violence recently, though it is located on a federal highway important for moving drug shipments. The attack also offers an example of the brutality involved in Mexican drug violence, since the police officer abducted in the attack was later beheaded. Another beheading occurred in the neighboring state of Michoacan just a few days later. Nearly everyone kidnapped by drug gangs in Mexico can expect to be tortured before being killed, but as a form of torture, beheadings are still rare. Although most beheadings in Mexico occur after the victim is killed, the practice is still a powerful technique for intimidating authorities.






Sept. 10

A series of bombings claimed by the Popular Revolutionary Army damaged oil and natural gas pipelines in Veracruz and Tlaxcala states. No one was injured in the blasts.


Security around the Ninth Military Zone headquarters in Sinaloa state has been increased over the last several months following death threats against commanding officer Gen. Rolando Eugenio Hidalgo Eddy, local media reported.


Authorities discovered the body of a municipal police commander in Veracruz, Veracruz state, who had been kidnapped the night before.


Sept. 11

A firefight in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, left two federal agents dead and two wounded. The agents reportedly were attempting to flee from two vehicles that were following them, but were cornered in a gas station where a 20-minute gunbattle ensued.


Officials in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, reported two killings related to organized crime. The two unidentified victims had been shot several times.


The body of an unidentified man was found floating in the Gulf of California. He had been stabbed several times and appeared to have been dropped out of an airplane.


Gunmen in several vehicles armed with assault rifles opened fire on a municipal police station in Taxco, Guerrero state, kidnapping one police officer who was later found beheaded.


Sept. 12

Three high-ranking police commanders from Baja California and Baja California Sur states were arrested by agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix for illegally purchasing weapons at a gun show several days before, U.S. officials announced.


A federal agent was ambushed by a group of gunmen and wounded while he was driving his vehicle in Mexico City.


Sept. 13

The public security director for the state of San Luis Potosi was shot dead by gunmen as he was driving his vehicle. His wife and son, who also were in the vehicle, were unharmed in the attack, in which gunmen fired more than 40 rounds.


The son of a labor union boss in San Pedro Garza Garcia, Nuevo Leon state, died after being shot several times while driving his vehicle in the Monterrey suburb. He survived a previous attempt on his life in 1998.


Authorities in Hidalgo state discovered the body of a ministerial police commander assigned to a counternarcotics unit in the city of Pachuca. He had been strangled and stabbed in the neck.


Michoacan state officials discovered the decapitated body of a man wrapped in a plastic bag in the city of Los Reyes.


Sept. 14

A police officer in Chihuahua, Chihuahua state, was shot dead by gunmen as he left his home to go to work. A police spokesman said the officer had recently received death threats.


The Mexican navy seized 2.5 tons of cocaine and detained four suspects from a small boat off the coast of Michoacan state. The operation reportedly began after a U.S. aircraft reported a suspicious vessel outside of Mexican territorial waters.


Sept. 15

A Mexican soldier and his brother were shot dead while traveling on a highway near Acapulco, in Guerrero state. The gunmen opened fire on the soldier's vehicle after following them. Another brother was killed by drug traffickers several days before.


Sept. 16

An unidentified man was killed in Tijuana, Baja California state, and his body dumped along a street.


Federal agents near Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, arrested Fernando Cabrera Juarez, described as the liaison between the Juarez cartel and South American drug gangs. The agents making the arrest reportedly cooperated with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as Cabrera fled to Mexico after escaping from U.S. custody.
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« Reply #28 on: September 17, 2007, 11:21:07 PM »

We're well past the point of where we should have militarized the borders.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #29 on: September 18, 2007, 08:36:02 AM »

Agreed-- but IMHO the thought process needs to go much further than this initial step.

Question:  Assume we succeed in finding/pressuring out a goodly percentage of the 12 million illegals and send them back to from whence they came-- which in the overwhelming majority of cases is Mexico. 

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT IN MEXICO?
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« Reply #30 on: September 18, 2007, 09:13:13 AM »

Hopefully a soft revolution. I'd like to think that the returning Mexicans would have learned some good things about the US system and make much needed reforms in Mexico. There is no good reason for Mexico to be so poor.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #31 on: September 18, 2007, 09:26:50 AM »

G'morning GM:

That's a very nice hope.

My understanding is that Mexico's population is about 120 million-- i.e. about 10% of them are here.  Now imagine those folks back home and restless.  Imagine the money that they send home (quite a huge sum and a major factor for the Mexican economy) dried up.  Did you follow their most recent election and its aftermath? 

This thread here, started relatively recently, has posted mostly on the growing challenge to Mexican society and its government posed by the drug gangs increasing military power, but there is much more than that going on.  On our Spanish language forum, there is a thread dedicated to Mexico.  Many of the posts are in English.  For a serious student of our country's welfare such as yourself, it is recommended reading.

Marc
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #32 on: September 24, 2007, 08:58:12 PM »

Mexico Security Memo: Sept. 24, 2007
September 24, 2007 20 20  GMT



Failing to Meet the Objective

The more than 1,000 federal agents who were sent the week of Sept. 9 to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, began winding down their operation this past week and pulling out of the city. When the operation began, a top federal official said the aim was to make important arrests in the city -- which meant federal authorities had their sights set on high-ranking members of the Gulf cartel. It is not surprising that the operation ended with few arrests and some of the agents reportedly retreating out of fear for their lives.

A Sept. 11 attack against agents in Monterrey demonstrated that federal forces would face a violent response if they confronted the cartel. Consequently, the only arrests reported during the operation were of members of small criminal kidnapping gangs -- not the big fish police were after. In addition, a group of approximately 200 agents left Monterrey late Sept. 18 and headed for Reynosa, Tamaulipas state; various media reported that the agents' safety was the primary reason for their departure. Despite the police's failure to meet the objective of the Monterrey mission, the heightened security presence did result in a decrease in drug-related killings, which had been on the rise.

The Monterrey operation illustrates the challenges facing federal police forces engaged in counternarcotics operations. The cartels are better armed than police and have sources in every important agency, causing law enforcement to take a defensive rather than offensive stance in their operations. However, police have shown themselves to be fairly effective at quelling other kinds of violence when deployed in large numbers to a specific location. But the cartels understand that such large-scale deployments are temporary and, when possible, will wait to carry out an assassination instead of risking being detected by a passing police patrol.

EPR Graffiti?

Security at Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) facilities was increased in Chihuahua state this past week after officials discovered graffiti from the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) on pipelines near the city of Casas Grandes. Security also was increased in Ciudad Juarez and other cities along the U.S. border. The spray-painted messages were similar to those found near blast sites on the pipelines attacked in July and August in other states. The graffiti suggests EPR is not confined geographically, though it is doubtful the group is planning a Pemex attack in Chihuahua since authorities have been alerted to its presence. EPR has not taken credit for the spray painting, which could have been perpetrated as a hoax by pranksters.





Violence on the U.S. Side

Cartel violence this past week was not limited to Mexico. On Sept. 19, a city councilman from Ciudad Acuna, Coahuila state, was found shot to death at his home just across the U.S. border in Del Rio, Texas. The victim, an outspoken critic of organized crime and the Zetas, had been shot five times in the head in his garage. Public criticism of the cartels would be enough to draw the attention of cartel hit men, though the councilman was also a retired officer of the now-defunct Federal Judicial Police, an agency that was disbanded because of rampant corruption. There have been no suggestions that the victim himself was corrupt, but simply serving in such an agency would have put him in contact will all kinds of unsavory individuals. Nevertheless, the incident highlights how Mexican-style targeted killings are spreading north across the border.

Sept. 17
Sinaloa state police discovered the dismembered body of an unidentified victim two blocks from the government palace in Culiacan. Several body parts were found in a cooler near the body.


The body of a woman with a single gunshot wound in the back of the head was discovered along a highway in Guanajuato state.


Authorities in Costa Rica, Sinaloa state, found the body of a man who had been shot once in the head at close range.


A woman in Saltillo, Coahuila state, returned home to find three family members dead, including one who had been suffocated by a plastic bag taped over his head.


Mexico City officials arrested members of a kidnapping ring led by a former agent of the Federal Investigative Agency.


Sept. 18
Hidalgo state officials reported finding the body of a woman dumped in a ditch near Tulancingo. She had been shot at least seven times.


Sept. 19
Gunmen on motorcycles killed the Hidalgo state public security secretary as he rode in a vehicle with a driver near Huasca de Ocampo. The driver was wounded in the attack.


Two people died in Caborca, Sonora state, when the vehicle they were riding in was attacked by gunmen, who fired more than 40 shots.


The decomposing remains of an unidentified individual were discovered in La Ermita, Guanajuato state. The victim had been shot once in the back of the head.


Michoacan state officials reported the drug-related shooting deaths of four people in Tocumbo, Tacambaro and Apatzingan.


A city councilman from Ciudad Acuna, Coahuila state, was found shot to death in his garage just across the U.S. border in Del Rio, Texas. The councilman, a former federal police officer and an outspoken critic of the Zetas, had been shot five times in the head.


Sept. 20
Authorities at an airport in Cali, Colombia, detained two Mexican citizens with more than $4 million hidden in suitcases. The Mexicans had traveled from Mexico City to Panama before arriving in Colombia.


Police in Tijuana, Baja California state, discovered the body of a man who had been shot three times.


Sept. 22
The former mayor of Canelas, Durango state, was wounded by gunfire during an attack on his vehicle.


The body of a man was found in the trunk of a car in an industrial part of Hidalgo state.


Sept. 23
A man's body was discovered near a university in Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes state. He had been shot once in the back of the head.

Stratfor.com
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« Reply #33 on: September 28, 2007, 03:19:58 PM »

Home Invasion at the National Level
By Phil Elmore

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Some Mexicans and Mexican-Americans," writes John Tiffany, "want to see California, New Mexico and other parts of the United States given to Mexico. They call it the 'reconquista,' Spanish for 'reconquest,' and they view the millions of Mexican illegal aliens entering this country as their army of invaders to achieve that takeover." Emphasis added is mine. Tiffany points out that, as we've heard in recent news reports, armed Mexican soldiers (in league with or impersonated by drug traffickers, we are told by Mexico's smirking, lying government, which publishes cartoon tracts explaining to Mexican serfs how to sneak across the border into the U.S.A.) have fired on American Bortder Patrol officers. Illegal immigrants have terrorized American ranchers in border states and the porous Mexican border is an ideal point of entry for Islamist terrorists impersonating Hispanic illegals.
The organization US Border Control reports that, according to something called the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, DC, fully 30 percent of the nation's two million prison inmates are illegal immigrants. Heather MacDonald, in her 2004 report in the City Journal, wastes no time framing the problem. "Some of the most violent criminals at large today are illegal aliens," she writes. She goes on to report that 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide (1,200 to 1,500 murders) "target" illegal aliens. Up to two thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) are for illegal aliens. What's worse, according to MacDonold, is that the Calfiornia Department of Justice has known since 1995 that at least 60 percent of the vicious 18th Street Gang in southern California comprises illegal aliens.
As I write this, it is almost April Fool's day of 2006. We Americans certainly are fools, as our politicians debate a law that is essentially amnesty for millions of illegal aliens. What's worse, the ingrateful national home invaders who are our illegal "immigrant" population consider even this law too harsh, claiming it is a cruel and xenophobic attempt to kick these "immigrants" out of the country, deny them the American dream, prevent them from obtaining health care and education, and generally oppress these hard-working, well-meaning, other-than-white fellow travelers. One presumes these evil lawmakers had to take time out of a busy schedule consisting largely of kicking puppies, to hear the illegal "immigrants" wail and moan over the idea that we might actually start enforcing our borders just a little.
In the last week or so, demonstrators ranging from indoctrinated, ignorant leftist high school students and their former hippie teachers to hundreds of thousands of "reconquista" supporters and their frequently communist sympathizers (waving Mexican flags, no less) marched, chanted, and bitched across the country. The AP reported that tends of thousands of students walked out of schools in California and elsewhere Monday, waving flags (the AP didn't bother to report that these flags were Mexican flags) and chanting slogans to protest "legislation to crack down on illegal immigrants." Protestors at the Capitol in D.C. were arrested and hauled off in handcuffs. California actually celebrates Cesar Chavez day, for pitys' sake, and on that Monday 36,000 brainwashed or Mexican children walked out of school in the Los Angeles area. Perhaps a thousand of these students surrounded Los Angeles' City Hall in order to intimidate L.A. mayor Antonoia Villaraigosa into a meeting at his office.
In Santa Ana, the kids threw rocks and bottles, resulting in 24 arrests. In Detroit, protesters waving Mexican flags marched from city's Hispanic area to the federal building downtown. The message in all these protests -- heralded as a new "civil rights" movement by our nation's more self-destructive pundits -- was clear. If you oppose the invasion of the United States by hordes of illegal immigrants who feel entitled to the social services we provide and for which they do not pay a dime, you oppose "immigrant rights" and you will be intimidated with threats of violence (or silenced through naked, initiated force) until you no longer stand in the way of the foot soldiers of the reconquista.
Communist Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez characterized the United States as a "dictatorship" and said that all "Latin American revolutions" (as reported by the Miami Herald Wire Services) "must clash with Washington." He is part of what the AP's Traci Carl calls a "new wave of Latin American leaders -- variously labeled leftist, populist, nationalist, or socialist -- [that] is redefinining politics" south of the US-Mexican border. As these barbarian hordes gather at our southern gates, they share a common belief system -- that the richer, more powerful, more prosperous United States is an "imperialist" and "fascist" nation that should be opposed for daring to deny illegal aliens (and their countries of origin) an equal share of the fruits of U.S. labors. These fruits are, of course, taxes confiscated from U.S. citizens, who are shouldering the terrible social burden of the education, healthcare, and even incarceration of the millions of illegal immigrants burrowing like tapeworms into the American digestive tract.
The American government has failed to solve this problem on many levels. It has failed to preempt the reconquista by failing to protect our borders. It continues to fail by refusing to support programs that target, identify, and imprison or deport illegal aliens who commit violent crimes on U.S. soil. It has further failed by vilifying those who try to defend this nation's borders and culture through direct action, such as the Minutemen (citizens who watch the border in their states in an attempt to prevent further incursions by Mexican and terrorist invaders).
Illegal aliens in the United States are repeatedly, incessantly, characterized as innocent, hard-working people who just want to find a better life for themselves and their families. The imagery of these invaders as hapless would-be citizens fleeing poverty, willing to "do work that Americans simply will not do," is so pervasive that it constitutes a de facto propaganda campaign. Just as "bums" and "winos" have become "the homeless" (who are repeatedly mischaracterized as misunderstood and disadvantaged people who are simply "down on their luck," rather than as the unpredictable, frequently diseased, often drug-addicted or mentally unstable societal predators that they too often are), illegal aliens have become "undocumented immigrants" in an attempt to equate them with the huddled masses yearning to breathe free who walked wide-eyed through the gates at Ellis Island. The fact that they crawled past barbed wire fences, raped a few ranchers' wives along the way, and now accept under-the-table wages while dodging the beleaguered police forces seeking them on murder charges, is dismissed as irrelevant; it does not, after all, fit in with the imagery our popular media strive so hard to create.
The fact is that, legally and morally, illegal aliens have no right to be in the United States. There is no entitlement to a "better life" at the expense of U.S. taxpayers. If you wish to immigrate to this country, you must do so legally or not at all. You are not entitled to anything simply because you have successfully crossed the border without permission; I don't care how long you've been here or whether you've had children since you arrived. We need, quite frankly, to change our citizenship laws. Birth in this country should not be enough to establish legal citizenship if your parents are here illegally in the first place.
I have no right to live and work in Canada, no matter how nice I might find Toronto. I cannot expect to benefit from Canadian social services if I cross the border and then stay in the country instead of returning home. I should not expect not to be ejected if I am found without documentation working as a dishwasher in Ottawa. No matter how entitled I might feel to be there and to stay there, even if I've had illegitimate Canadian children and I've been living in the country for years, I have no right to these things. When I am arrested or deported, my rights are not being violated. Those who protest on my behalf are not fighting for "civil rights" -- they're marching in support of criminal behavior!
If we're going to make utilitarian arguments about amnesty for illegal aliens, the outcome is the same. We may, in fact, be economically dependent on an illegal underclass to perform certain low-end jobs for less than minimum wage. If these workers are removed from our economy, however, the economy will not end. Prices for certain goods will simply rise. I don't know about you, but I'll pay more for an apple if it means there's less chance my wife will be raped by migrant workers. I'll pay more for just about any consumer good if it means the employees I encounter in the store are less likely to be violent felons. I'll pay higher prices at the gates of the New York State fair if it means the toothless carnies running the rides at least speak English.
The crimes committed by illegal aliens completely undercut any argument made for the utility of allowing these invaders to remain within the country, but the economic argument is even more convincing. We simply cannot afford to keep paying for welfare, social services in general, education, and healthcare for "undocumented immigrants" (who, for example, are treated in hospital emergency rooms despite the fact that they have no insurance and cannot pay for treatment). The waves of illegal aliens swamping us are already overrunning our ability to foot the bill for all these things. If we do not protect our borders the financial burden of illegal "immigration" will only become worse.
A home invasion is a particularly brutal crime in which innocent people, believing themselves safe in their dwellings, are attacked by lawbreakers who violate the sanctity of their victims' homes in order to prey on others. The need for self-defense in the face of home invasions is obvious. When violent criminals enter your home uninvited in order to take from you what you do not wish to give and what these criminals have not earned, no reasonable person would fault you for using force -- even lethal force -- to repel the invaders and preserve your family's lives. How are the invading forces of the reconquista any different? Illegal aliens are national home invaders, entering the country without invitation and taking from U.S. citizens what those citizens do not wish to give. The disporportionate population of illegal aliens imprisoned or sought for violent crimes is chilling proof of the very real danger these invaders represent; the financial burden they create, even when on their best behavior, is no less real.
Demand that the United States enforce its borders and its citizenship laws and you will be accused of "hatred." Identify this problem explicitly and you will be called a "xenophobe." Recognize that the illegal immigration problem in the United States is overwhelmingly a Mexican immigration problem, occurring with the explicit support and encouragement of the Mexican government, and you will be called "prejudiced." Objectively acknowledge the violent crimes committed by illegal aliens in the United States and you will be called "racist." This is the propaganda of those who would see us swamped with aliens. This is the mischaracterization of those whose self-destructive policies facilitate the "reconquista," regardless of their recognition of this fact.
We must engage in self-defense on the national level. We must protect ourselves from these invaders. We must fight to keep our families safe from these criminals -- and we must work to ensure that our children and their children have the chance to do the same. The problem is not "immigrants." Illegal aliens are not immigrants at all.
They are home invaders and should be dealt with accordingly.
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« Reply #34 on: September 28, 2007, 05:31:18 PM »

Max

Phil's rant probably would have been better posted on the immigration thread.  Although I certainly agree with the general gist of many of the points made, I found the general tone and some of the phrasing in particular to be over the top with undertones that I didn't really care for.

It is quite possible to be for our defending our borders, our laws, etc. without hating Mexicans.  My own in experience in Mexico is rather extensive and overwhelmingly quite favorable.

Marc
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« Reply #35 on: September 28, 2007, 05:37:02 PM »

I just posted it up for general view of what this person found with Mexico's relationship towards the US..I will post the next one in the right forum.
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« Reply #36 on: October 02, 2007, 02:05:53 AM »

Mexico Security Memo: Oct. 1, 2007
October 01, 2007 20 23  GMT



Targeting the Feds in Baja

After several assassinations targeting police in central and northern Mexico, the Baja peninsula stood out this past week as a hot spot of violence against federal authorities. Minutes after a police officer in Tijuana, Baja California state, was killed Sept. 24, a group of armed men opened fire on a federal police headquarters in the city, wounding several agents inside. The gunmen, who were armed with assault rifles and traveling in sport utility vehicles, escaped after a 10-minute exchange of gunfire with police. Farther south, in La Paz, Baja California Sur state, a police commander was gunned down outside his house as he was leaving for work. This was the first targeted killing of a police officer in the state this year.

These incidents demonstrate how Mexico's drug violence is reaching into every corner of the state, even typically tranquil places like Baja California Sur. They also suggest that the level of violence is getting worse. Information released by Mexico's attorney general shows that, by mid-September of this year, 2,308 drug killings had already occurred in the country -- more than the total for 2006. Cartel retaliation against increasingly aggressive government forces explains the increase. Higher casualty counts are not how President Felipe Calderon hoped to begin his first term, but they are likely to continue as long as his administration keeps up its campaign against the country's drug traffickers.

More Action in the Yucatan

A Gulfstream II jet loaded with more than 3 tons of cocaine crashed this past week in a remote part of Yucatan state. The flight reportedly originated in Colombia and was monitored by Mexican military aircraft after it entered Mexican airspace. It is still unclear what caused the plane to crash. The pilot, a Mexican, survived and had fled the crash site by the time authorities arrived, though he was later apprehended. Two other individuals were arrested after they attempted to bribe Mexican soldiers, who were securing the site, to allow them to remove the cargo from the plane.

The incident highlights one important way that drugs are being transported from South America to Mexico on their way to the United States. It also illustrates the Yucatan Peninsula's strategic value as a trans-shipment point for drug flights from Colombia and maritime shipments arriving in ports such as Cancun. Though drug violence has been less common in the Yucatan compared to other regions in Mexico, the peninsula is not immune. In addition to the plane crash this past week, a Cuban man suspected of working with drug cartels was found dead in an abandoned car in the heart of Cancun's hotel district. On the same day, several hundred soldiers and federal police arrived in the area. The small size of the force, and the fact that the federal police are part of the Federal Preventive Police and not the Federal Investigative Agency, suggests its mission is to set up highway checkpoints and generally enhance security, rather than serve arrest warrants to high-ranking cartel members.

stratfor
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« Reply #37 on: October 09, 2007, 07:30:33 AM »

I watched some of the interview between King and Fox.
Fox of course is happy to jump on the bandwagon as decrying those against massive uncontrolled immigration as racist.  This guy has a lot of nerve IMO.
Why is no one discussing why Mexico can't do more to make the way of life better in Mexico.  How about creating new jobs there?   Again, why is it conditions are so bad in Mexico that so many want to come here?  How about that?

It is obviously hopeless.  We simply have open borders.  Now I hear we are giving out driving licenses to illegals.  Next will be voter cards.
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« Reply #38 on: October 09, 2007, 01:23:50 PM »

I watched some of the interview between King and Fox.
Fox of course is happy to jump on the bandwagon as decrying those against massive uncontrolled immigration as racist.  This guy has a lot of nerve IMO.
Why is no one discussing why Mexico can't do more to make the way of life better in Mexico.  How about creating new jobs there?   Again, why is it conditions are so bad in Mexico that so many want to come here?  How about that?

It is obviously hopeless.  We simply have open borders.  Now I hear we are giving out driving licenses to illegals.  Next will be voter cards.


What??? So now we just them dive in and give them stuff?  Whats the point of being born here anymore lol!
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« Reply #39 on: October 09, 2007, 01:37:25 PM »

Why is no one discussing why Mexico can't do more to make the way of life better in Mexico.  How about creating new jobs there?   Again, why is it conditions are so bad in Mexico that so many want to come here?  How about that?

Maybe because it's a poor country?  Wouldn't you want to come here if you were in their shoes?

I wouldn't call opposition to illegal immigration "racist" by definitely, but that doesn't mean there aren't a LOT of racists on that bandwagon.
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« Reply #40 on: October 09, 2007, 04:35:35 PM »

Woof Roger:

My I suggest a reread?  The question presented was not "Why are they coming here?".  The question presented was "Why do the conditions that push them here exist?". 

This seems to me an excellent question.

Most Americans know nearly zilch about Mexico (quick example:  Ask 10 Americans to name its president and see how many you get on even the most superficial question like this) explains why no one is discussing CCP's question-- to answer the question requires knowing about Mexico to the point of having a sense of its gestalt.

Until we get to CCP's question, we will continue to furiously go in the circle that presently consumes our attention and our energies.

Marc
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« Reply #41 on: October 09, 2007, 04:45:20 PM »

Woof Roger:

My I suggest a reread?  The question presented was not "Why are they coming here?".  The question presented was "Why do the conditions that push them here exist?". 

This seems to me an excellent question.

Most Americans know nearly zilch about Mexico (quick example:  Ask 10 Americans to name its president and see how many you get on even the most superficial question like this) explains why no one is discussing CCP's question-- to answer the question requires knowing about Mexico to the point of having a sense of its gestalt.

Until we get to CCP's question, we will continue to furiously go in the circle that presently consumes our attention and our energies.

Marc

I don't even know everything in every state of my Own country..Why would I want to know about Mexico.  huh

But I think the current Pres. over there is Felipe de Jesus Calderon Hinojosa or something to that effect?
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« Reply #42 on: October 09, 2007, 04:49:26 PM »

Woof Roger:

My I suggest a reread?  The question presented was not "Why are they coming here?".  The question presented was "Why do the conditions that push them here exist?". 

This seems to me an excellent question.

OK, so why is Mexico poor?  For that matter, why is any country poor?
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« Reply #43 on: October 09, 2007, 10:55:24 PM »

Its been 30 years since I studied Mexico in the University (including a semester in a Mexican law school and a summer in a Mexican law firm) and I have been going there with some regularity for 33 years.  That said, off the top of my head no names of particular books come to mind.  I want to say Alan Riding, but he may have been a NY Times reporter specializing in Mexico- my memory is not clear on this.  Anyway, go to Amazon or wherever and start looking.  If you come up with a specific list of books you are considering I will be glad to scan their pages in Amazon and offer my suggestion as to which are most likely to be useful.
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« Reply #44 on: October 18, 2007, 07:57:22 AM »

Police face Mexican military, smugglers
Armed standoff along U.S. border
By Sara A. Carter and Kenneth Todd Ruiz, Staff Writers

Mexican soldiers and civilian smugglers had an armed standoff with nearly 30 U.S. law enforcement officials on the Rio Grande in Texas Monday afternoon, according to Texas police and the FBI.

Mexican military Humvees were towing what appeared to be thousands of pounds of marijuana across the border into the United States, said Chief Deputy Mike Doyal, of the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Department.

Mexican Army troops had several mounted machine guns on the ground more than 200 yards inside the U.S. border -- near Neely's Crossing, about 50 miles east of El Paso -- when Border Patrol agents called for backup. Hudspeth County deputies and Texas Highway patrol officers arrived shortly afterward, Doyal said.

"It's been so bred into everyone not to start an international incident with Mexico that it's been going on for years," Doyal said. "When you're up against mounted machine guns, what can you do? Who wants to pull the trigger first? Certainly not us."

An FBI spokeswoman confirmed the incident happened at 2:15 p.m. Pacific Time.

"Bad guys in three vehicles ended up on the border," said Andrea Simmons, a spokeswoman with the FBI's El Paso office. "People with Humvees, who appeared to be with the Mexican Army, were involved with the three vehicles in getting them back across."

Simmons said the FBI was not involved and referred inquiries to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  ICE did not return calls seeking comment.

Doyal said deputies captured one vehicle in the incident, a Cadillac Escalade reportedly stolen from El Paso, and found 1,477 pounds of marijuana inside. The Mexican soldiers set fire to one of the Humvees stuck in the river, he said.

Doyal's deputies faced a similar incident on Nov. 17, when agents from the Fort Hancock border patrol station in Texas called the sheriff's department for backup after confronting more than six fully armed men dressed in Mexican military uniforms. The men -- who were carrying machine guns and driving military vehicles -- were trying to bring more than three tons of marijuana across the Rio Grande, Doyal said.

Doyal said such incidents are common at Neely's Crossing, which is near Fort Hancock, Texas, and across from the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

"It happens quite often here," he said.

Deputies and border patrol agents are not equipped for combat, he added.

"Our government has to do something," he said. "It's not the immigrants coming over for jobs we're worried about. It's the smugglers, Mexican military and the national threat to our borders that we're worried about."

Citing a Jan. 15 story in the Daily Bulletin, Reps. David Dreier, R-Glendora, and Duncan Hunter, R-San Diego, last week asked the House Judiciary Committee, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, the House Homeland Security Committee and the House International Relations Committee to investigate the incursions. The story focused on a Department of Homeland Security document reporting 216 incursions by Mexican soldiers during the past 10 years and a map with the seal of the president's Office of National Drug Control Policy, both of which were given to the newspaper.

Requests by Dreier, chairman of the House Rules Committee, and Hunter were made in jointly signed letters. 

On Wednesday, Chertoff played down the reports of border incursions by the Mexican military. He suggested many of the incursions could have been mistakes, blaming bad navigation by military personnel or attributing the incursions to criminals dressed in military garb.

Mexican officials last week denied any incursions made by their military.

But border agents interviewed over the past year have discussed confrontations those they believe to be Mexican military personnel.

"We're sitting ducks," said a border agent speaking on condition of anonymity. "The government has our hands tied."

- Sara A. Carter can be reached by e-mail at sara.carter@dailybulletin.com or by phone at (909) 483-8552.

- Kenneth Todd Ruiz can be reached by e-mail at todd.ruiz@dailybulletin.com or by phone at (909) 483-8555.

http://www.dailybulletin.com/search/ci_3430815
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« Reply #45 on: October 23, 2007, 11:37:25 AM »

Are Mexican Soldiers Aiding Drug Smugglers on the Border?
Allan Wall - PVNN




Among the many problems on the US-Mexico border is that of reported Mexican military incursions onto the US side of the border. These incidents raise disturbing questions about US-Mexican relations and the two nations' wars on the drug cartels.

The evidence indicates that elements of the Mexican military are aiding drug smugglers on the border.

Such incursions have been reported for years by US law enforcement offices and by Mexican illegal aliens.

Both governments would prefer not to acknowledge the problem. When pressured, the US downplays it, while Mexican officials deny the incidents, or attribute them to accidental crossings or drug smugglers dressed as Mexican soldiers.

Much of the US-Mexican border is unguarded, trackless desert. So it's not surprising that from time to time a Mexican army vehicle or patrol might take a wrong turn and wind up north of the border.

Doubtless there have been some accidental crossings. But they wouldn't account for the bulk of the incidents, especially considering the reported behavior of these soldiers, which is sometimes aggressive.

As for the "smugglers disguised as soldiers" argument, there may be some cases of that too. But if that were the principal explanation, it could imply that (a) the Mexican Army can't secure its materiel stores, or (b) it can't control the border area, which is hardly reassuring.

A US Department of Homeland Security document in 2006 reported 216 such incursions from 1996-2006. There may be many more.

To begin with, why are there so many Mexican soldiers on the border, anyway? Is the border being militarized?

If the US put a Boy Scout with a water gun on the border, Mexican politicians would decry the "militarization of the border." Nevertheless, the Mexican side of the border is already militarized.

There are 11 Mexican military garrisons on the Mexican side of the US-Mexican border. Moving from west to east, these garrisons are located at Tecate, San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonoyta, Agua Prieta, Ciudad Juarez, Ojinaga, Palomas, Ciudad Acuna, Piedras Negras, Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros.

By the canons of international law, there's nothing wrong with it either. According to the treaties of Guadalupe-Hidalgo (1848) and the Gadsden Purchase Treaty (1853), which established the current US-Mexico border, each country reserves the right to fortify any part of its side of the border.

Nature abhors a vacuum. Both governments have allowed their common border to become a rather lawless place. I was almost attacked on the border (in an urban area) and literally made a run for the border to escape. Robbery, rape and murder are standard fare on the border, along with the drug smuggling, illegal immigration, and the hundreds of illegal aliens who perish each year on the border.

Add to the mix corrupt Mexican soldiers aiding drug smugglers and you have a real prescription for disaster.

Traditionally, the Mexican military has been regarded as less corrupt as local Mexican police. That's why President Calderon is using the military as the spearhead in his war on the cartels, and many young soldiers have died fighting drug cartels.

Nevertheless, the military has its corruption too. Plenty of military officers, including generals, have been busted for drug corruption over the years. And that's only the ones who've been caught.

The most high-profile case was that of Mexico's anti-cartel czar General Gutierrez Rebollo, who seemed to be doing such an effective job of nabbing drug traffickers. It turned out though, that he was going after one drug cartel while in the service of another. The general was arrested, convicted and sentenced to 71 years in the hoosegow. (That was back in 1997.)

It's also a known fact that deserters from the underpaid ranks of the Mexican military (which has a high desertion rate) have joined the cartels, including some crack troops trained by the USA.

So it's not at all farfetched to assert that Mexican military elements on the border are working for the cartels in smuggling operations. In fact, it would be surprising if such things weren't going on.

Unsurprisingly, ugly and dangerous incidents involving intruding Mexican soldiers and US border patrol (and other law enforcement) agents have already occurred. Border Patrol agents have already been fired upon in such incidents (and they are usually out gunned by Mexican soldiers crossing the border.)

It's not a good situation. Yet neither government seems to want to do anything about it.

PS:  Here's an older story in this vein:  http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,182650,00.html

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« Reply #46 on: October 23, 2007, 11:41:45 AM »

Second post of the AM-- in a closely related vein:

Bush proposes massive policing plan for México, isthmus

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services
and staff reports

President George Bush Monday asked Congress to approve $550 million in aid to Mexico and Central American states to help them deal with cross-border crime, drug-trafficking and terrorism. The request is part of the administration's nearly $200 billion supplemental funding request for U.S. operations in Iraq and the broader war on terrorism.

The money being sought for Mexico and Central America is only a small fraction of the administration budget request.

But it would be a major increase in U.S. security aid to the region and it is the subject of some controversy in Mexico, which has been traditionally sensitive about security relations with its northern neighbor.

The vast majority of the funding, $500 million, would go to Mexico and is aimed at bolstering what U.S. officials say have been promising efforts by Mexican President Felipe Calderon's government to disrupt drug trafficking gangs and organized crime.

The remaining $50 million would be devoted to similar regional efforts by Central American states. And most of that probably would be directed to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras where the international gang problem is the most serious. The initiative includes all the Central American states and Panamá.

In a telephone conference call with reporters, Thomas Shannon, assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs, said he hopes Monday's request will only be a down payment on a three-year U.S. aid effort of nearly $1.5 billion.

Shannon said the United States would provide México with helicopters and surveillance aircraft to support drug interdiction and rapid-response operations by Mexican law enforcement agencies, as well as advanced drug detection and communications equipment.


But questioned about Mexican political concerns, Shannon said the aid package would not involve any U.S. military presence in that country and would not require any change in agreements limiting the number of U.S. law enforcement officials currently involved in liaison work in México.

The aid package, under discussion by the two governments since President Bush met President Calderón in Mexico last March, has been described as Plan México in Mexican press accounts — a reference to the multi-billion-dollar U.S. anti-insurgency aid program for the Bogota government known as Plan Colombia begun in 1999.

However, Shannon dismissed the comparison, stressing that the Mexican government does not face the multiple insurgencies that confronted Colombia at the time, and that the title of the new program has always been the Merida Initiative, named for the site of this year's Bush-Calderón meeting.

Shannon said the proposed U.S. aid effort is small in comparison to the $3 billion committed in recent months by the Calderón government itself.

Mexico has deployed some 20,000 troops and federal police to combat drug cartels, which have been battling among themselves for dominance in gangland violence that has killed hundreds of people this year.

The State Department said that the program is to provide:

• Non-intrusive inspection equipment, ion scanners, canine units for Mexican customs, for the new federal police and for the military to interdict trafficked drugs, arms, cash and persons.

• Technologies to improve and secure communications systems to support collecting information as well as ensuring that vital information is accessible for criminal law enforcement.

• Technical advice and training to strengthen the institutions of justice vetting for the new police force, case management software to track investigations through the system to trial, new offices of citizen complaints and professional responsibility, and establishing witness protection programs.

• Helicopters and surveillance aircraft to support interdiction activities and rapid operational response of law enforcement agencies in Mexico.

• Initial funding for security cooperation with Central America that responds directly to Central American leaders’ concerns over gangs, drugs, and arms articulated during a July security strategies meeting.

• Includes equipment and assets to support counterpart security agencies inspecting and interdicting drugs, trafficked goods, people and other contraband as well as equipment, training and community action programs in Central American countries to implement anti-gang measures and expand the reach of these measures.
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« Reply #47 on: October 24, 2007, 03:06:40 PM »

Mexico: Dynamics of the Gun Trade
By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart

The number of drug-related killings in Mexico in 2007 already has surpassed 2,000, an increase of 300 over the same period last year, according to statistics reported by Mexican media outlets. Moreover, sources familiar with the issue say police officials in some jurisdictions have been purposely underreporting drug-related homicides, suggesting that the real body count is even higher.

In addition to the Mexican drug cartels that engage in torture and killings (at times involving beheadings), armed criminal gangs are notorious kidnappers -- prompting some to call Mexico the "kidnapping capital of the world." This has resulted in a boom for armored car manufacturers and security companies, given that most wealthy people living in the country own armored vehicles, and many employ executive protection teams to provide security for themselves, their families and their homes. Additionally, heavily armed criminal gangs regularly commit armed robberies, muggings and express kidnappings.

The one constant in these violent crimes is guns. Mexico's robust gun culture stretches back to revolutions, counterrevolutions and revolutionary bandits such as Pancho Villa. Because of this culture, guns are common in Mexico -- despite strict gun-control laws and licensing procedures. This demand for guns has created an illicit market that not only is intimately related to the U.S. market for illegal narcotics but also, in many ways, mirrors the dynamics of that market. Drugs flow north and guns flow south -- resulting in handsome profits for those willing to run the risks.

Mexican Laws

Similar to the U.S. Constitution, the 1917 Mexican Constitution guarantees Mexico's inhabitants the right to have "arms of any kind in their possession for their protection and legitimate defense." However, the constitution includes many caveats on private citizens' ownership of guns, prohibiting those "expressly forbidden by law" and those "the nation may reserve for the exclusive use of the army, navy or national guard." Furthermore, Mexican law calls for long prison terms for violators.

Mexico, then, has some of the world's strictest gun-control laws -- making guns difficult to obtain legally. Average citizens who want to purchase guns for self-defense or recreational purposes must first get approval from the government. Then, because there are no private-sector gun stores in the country, they must buy weapons through the Defense Department's Arms and Ammunition Marketing Division (UCAM). In accordance with Mexican law, the UCAM carefully limits the calibers of guns it sells. For example, it does not sell handguns larger than a .380 or .38 Special. Also, under Mexican law, popular handguns such as .357 magnum revolvers and 9 mm pistols are exclusively reserved for the armed forces.

Regardless of these efforts, the illicit arms market has been thriving for decades -- not only because firearm laws are not evenly enforced but also because criminals have found a way to circumvent efforts to stem the flow of guns. Moreover, not all illegal guns are in the hands of cartel members and street criminals. A healthy percentage of them are purchased by affluent Mexicans who are not satisfied with the selection of calibers available through the UCAM. Sources say it is not at all unusual to find Mexicans who own prohibited .357 magnum revolvers or .45 caliber pistols for self-defense against kidnappers and armed robbers. In addition to ballistic considerations, Latin machismo is also a factor -- some Mexican men want to own and carry powerful, large-caliber pistols.

The Mechanics of the Gun Trade

This mixture of the historical Mexican gun culture, machismo, strong desire for guns, lax enforcement of gun laws, official corruption and a raging cartel war has created a high demand for illegal guns. Guns sold on the black market in Mexico can fetch as much as 300 percent of their normal market value -- a profit margin similar to that of the cocaine trafficked by the cartels. The laws of economics dictate that where there is a strong demand -- and a considerable profit margin -- entrepreneurs will devise ways to meet that demand. Of course, the illicit markets are no different from the legitimate economy in this respect, and a number of players have emerged to help supply Mexico's appetite for illicit weaponry.

Millions of Mexicans reside (legally and otherwise) in the United States, and the two countries conduct a staggering amount of commerce (legal and otherwise) across the border. In this context, then, when one considers that there are more gun stores in a typical small town in Texas than there are in all of Mexico City, it should come as no surprise that a large number of the weapons found on the illicit arms market in Mexico originated in the United States. In fact, Mexican officials say that as much as 90 percent of the illegal weapons they seize are of U.S. origin.

The most obvious players in the gun trade are the cartels themselves, which not only have the financial resources to buy guns in the United States but also are in a position to receive guns in trade for narcotics from their distribution contacts north of the border. The traditional pattern for cartel operations over the past few decades has been to smuggle drugs north over the border and return with money and guns -- many times over the same routes and by the same conveyances. In addition to the problem of the notoriously corrupt Mexican customs officials, efforts to stem the flow of guns into Mexico also have been hampered by technological limitations. For example, until recently, Mexican authorities lacked X-ray equipment to inspect vehicles entering the country, and this inspection capacity still remains limited.

The cartels also obtain weapons from contacts along their supply networks in South and Central America, where substantial quantities of military ordnance have been shipped over decades to supply insurgencies and counterinsurgencies. Explosives from domestic Mexican sources also are widely available and are generally less expensive than guns.

Aside from the cartels, other criminal syndicates are dedicated to the arms trade. These groups can range from small mom-and-pop operations involving a few individuals who obtain weapons from family members residing in the United States or Central America to large organizations with complex networks that buy dozens or hundreds of weapons at a time.

As in other criminal enterprises in Mexico, such as drug smuggling or kidnapping, it is not unusual to find police officers and military personnel involved in the illegal arms trade. On Sept. 12, three high-ranking police commanders from Baja California and Baja California Sur states were arrested by U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents in Phoenix for illegally purchasing weapons at a gun show. (U.S. law prohibits foreigners from buying weapons.) Over the past few years, several Mexican government officials have been arrested on both sides of the border for participating in the arms trade.

Although it is illegal for Mexican nationals to buy guns in the United States and for Americans to haul guns to Mexico, entrepreneurs have found a variety of ways to skirt such laws. Perhaps one of the least recognized ploys is plain old document fraud. Fake documents -- which are easily obtained along the border -- range in quality (and price) from poorly rendered counterfeits to genuine documents obtained with the assistance of corrupt government officials. Using such documents, a Mexican citizen can pose as a U.S. citizen and pass the required background checks to buy guns -- unless, that is, the prospective gun buyer was foolish enough to assume the identity of an American with a criminal record.

Perhaps the most common way to purchase guns is by using a "straw-man" buyer (sometimes in combination with document fraud). That is, paying a person with a clean record who has legal standing to buy the gun. This also is a tried-and-true tactic used by criminals in the United States who are ineligible to purchase guns due to prior convictions. The "straw man" in these cases often is a girlfriend or other associate who is paid to buy a gun for them. Also, with so many family relations spanning the border, it is easy for a Mexican citizen to ask an American relative to purchase a gun or guns on their behalf.

While document fraud and straw-man purchases can be used to bypass the law and fool respectable gun dealers, not all gun dealers are respectable. Some will falsify their sales records in order to sell guns to people they know are not legally permitted to have them -- especially if the guns are being sold at a premium price. ATF does conduct audits of gun dealers, but even after a steep decline in the number of federal firearms dealers over the past decade, there still are not enough inspectors to regularly audit the records of the more than 50,000 federal firearms license holders. This lack of oversight and the temptation of easy money cause some dealers to break the law knowingly.

Guns also can be obtained for the Mexican black market through theft. The cartels traditionally have tasked groups of young street thugs in the United States with stealing items (such as pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles) for the cartels to use or resell in Mexico. Now, intelligence reports suggest that these thugs have begun to rob gun stores in towns along the border. One such group is the Gulf cartel-related "Zetitas" (little Zetas), which is active in the Texas cities of Houston, Laredo and San Antonio, as well as other places.

A cartel connection is suspected when the weapons and ammunition stolen are popular with the cartels, such as assault rifles and FN Five-Seven pistols. The FN Five-Seven and the FN P-90 personal defense weapon shoot a 5.7 x 28 mm round that has been shown to penetrate body armor, as well as vehicle doors and windows. Because of this, they recently have become very popular with cartel enforcers, who have begun to call the weapons matapolicias -- police killers. Several police officials have been killed with these guns this year -- though officers also have been killed with .357 magnum revolvers, .45-caliber pistols and AK-47- or M-16-style assault rifles. Still, due to the rising popularity of the 5.7 x 28 mm weapons among cartel gunmen, many of these somewhat esoteric (and excellently manufactured) weapons are acquired in the United States and end up south of the border. Any time one of these weapons is connected to a crime on either side of the border, a cartel link should be considered.

The gun problem in Mexico is similar to the drug problem in the United States in that it is extremely difficult to reduce the supply of the illicit items without first reducing the demand. Any small reduction in the supply leads to an increase in price, which further stimulates efforts to provide a supply. Therefore, as long as the demand for such weapons persists, people will continue to find creative ways to meet that demand and make a profit. With that demand being fed, at least in part, by drug cartels that are warring for control of drug trafficking routes into the United States, the two problems of drugs and guns will continue to be deeply intertwined.

stratfor
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« Reply #48 on: October 26, 2007, 08:23:33 AM »

Caveat lector-- its the NY Times:

EL RODEO, Mexico — For years, millions of Mexican migrants working in the United States have sent money back home to villages like this one, money that allows families to pay medical bills and school fees, build houses and buy clothes or, if they save enough, maybe start a tiny business.

But after years of strong increases, the amount of migrant money flowing to Mexico has stagnated. From 2000 to 2006, remittances grew to nearly $24 billion a year from $6.6 billion, (  shocked ) rising more than 20 percent some years. In 2007, the increase so far has been less than 2 percent.

Migrants and migration experts say a flagging American economy and an enforcement campaign against illegal workers in the United States have persuaded some migrants not to try to cross the border illegally to look for work. Others have decided to return to Mexico. And many of those who are staying in the United States are sending less money home.

In the rest of the world, remittances are rising, up as much as 10 percent a year, according to Donald F. Terry of the Inter-American Development Bank. Last year, migrant workers worldwide sent more than $300 billion to developing countries — almost twice the amount of foreign direct investment.

But in Mexico, families are feeling squeezed.

Estrella Rivera, a slight 27-year-old in this stone-paved village in Guanajuato state in central Mexico, was hoping to use the money her husband, Alonso, sent back from working illegally in Texas to build a small clothing shop at the edge of her garden.

But a month ago, Mr. Rivera returned home. His hours at a Dallas window-screen factory were cut and rumors spread that he would inevitably have to produce a valid Social Security number. Now, he works odd jobs or tends cornfields. Mrs. Rivera’s shop is indefinitely delayed, a pile of bricks stacked on the grass.

Like Mr. Rivera, some of the men who went to work in the United States illegally have returned discouraged. And less work means less money to send home — particularly from the southern United States and other areas where Mexican migrants are a more recent presence.

“One out of three people in these new states who was sending a year ago is not sending it home today,” Mr. Terry of the Inter-American Development Bank said. “There are some 500,000 families who aren’t receiving this year.”

Until last year, the American housing trades absorbed hundreds of thousands of migrants, and the hardships of the trip north seemed to pale beside the near certainty of finding work.

Now, the construction slump — along with a year-old crackdown on illegal immigration at the border and in the workplace, and mounting anti-immigrant sentiment in places — has made it even harder for Mexican migrants to reach the United States and land well-paying jobs.

Many experts say it is too early to know if the negligible increase in remittances will continue. Some argue it was to be expected: much of the initial spike in money transfers had resulted from better accounting. In addition, earlier waves of migrants are returning to the houses they built, or they have managed to legalize their status in the United States and bring their families, sending less money back.

But the events of the last year in the United States, political and economic, have also clouded the prospects of many illegal Mexican workers. New walls, new guards and new equipment at the border have dissuaded many from trying to cross and raised the cost for those who try to as much as $2,800. Workplace raids and stories of summary deportations stoke fears among Mexicans on both sides of the border.

Referring to tougher measures in the United States, Primitivo Rodríguez, a Mexican immigration expert, said: “Psychologically, they lead you to save money in case of an emergency. You send less, you save more.”

The shakier economy in many states means that migrants have moved from well-paying steady jobs to work as day laborers.

“In our interviews with families, they say that migrants are now working two or three days when before they worked four or five days,” said David Skerritt, a historian at Veracruzana University.

Rodolfo García Zamora , an immigration expert at the University of Zacatecas, said money transfers to Zacatecas state fell by about 25 percent this year.
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Here in Guanajuato state, remittances have created a peculiar economy in villages tucked among rolling corn and sorghum fields. There are few jobs, yet many houses have stereo systems, washing machines and three-piece living room sets.

A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves
 Things are changing, though. Some of the men are back and need cash for seeds and fertilizer to plow long-neglected fields. At the microcredit association operated by a local nonprofit group, the Bajío Women’s Network, loans for agriculture, which barely existed last year, now account for 11 percent of all borrowing.

Women are finding it harder to save, said Evelyne Sinquin, the network coordinator. “The people who have come back can’t work, and the people in the United States are working fewer hours.”

Other than agriculture, the jobs here are in construction, building houses of absentee owners houses along the cobbled streets. Some are modest with a few brick rooms; others are ornate tributes to their absentee owners’ success: gold-painted balconies, the Virgin of Guadalupe etched in a window, Greek columns. Los Emigrantes carpentry shop in nearby La Cuevita sits on a traffic circle adorned with a monument showing several figures, one of them a migrant waving a fistful of dollars.

Not much else flourishes. Three months ago, Mónica Núñez closed her tortilla shop in the village of San Lucas. “Most people went to the United States and sales went down,” she said.

Her husband has been home from Houston for a year, but she has seven brothers and a sister in the United States who still send money. She is planning a new business, perhaps an Internet cafe so people can connect with relatives in the United States.

Less than an hour’s drive away, the city of Querétaro is prospering, turning out home appliances for the world market. But for most people in the villages, education ended after elementary school. An unskilled factory or construction job pays little more than $50 or $60 a week.

With those prospects, the next generation — some of them as young as 15 — seemed to have few doubts about heading to the United States.

Estrella Rivera’s brother Francisco left for the first time when he was 16. Now 21, he recently came home after a year and a half in Orlando, Fla., working in construction. He earned enough to add a floor to his parents’ house, but then he struggled.

“Either there was no work or they did not want to hire somebody without papers,” he said, perched on an old Ford pickup truck with Michigan tags beside his family’s sheep and cow pens.

But he expects to go back again. “To tell the truth, it really is worth the trouble,” he said, recounting a terrifying crossing getting lost in the Arizona desert.

Mrs. Rivera’s husband is not so sure. “It’s really tough to go back,” he said. “Now they lock you up. Before, they grabbed you and sent you back. The laws were never this tough.”

« Last Edit: October 26, 2007, 08:27:37 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #49 on: November 12, 2007, 07:26:37 PM »

Mexico Security Memo: Nov. 12, 2007
November 12, 2007 20 30  GMT



Influence on the Border

The U.S.-Mexico border area stood out this past week as a venue for violence by drug cartels and other criminal groups. Several incidents occurred in the Baja California state border town of Mexicali, where the targeted killing of a state police officer was followed two days later by a firefight that left one person dead and two wounded. Farther east, at least one candidate for political office in Tamaulipas state was abducted in Reynosa, a town just across the border from McAllen, Texas.

The notion that drug traffickers are starting to influence local politics in the border area is of particular concern to the United States, where, despite the implementation of various security initiatives, Mexico's drug cartels and criminal groups have continued to expand their networks. The success of the new Merida Initiative -- the joint U.S.-Mexico counternarcotics and border security program -- relies on political cooperation on both sides of the border. Any success is questionable, however, when politicians face criminal opponents as well as political opponents.

Cocaine Haul

Twenty-six tons of cocaine seized this past week in Manzanillo, Colima state, belonged to the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico's attorney general said. Together with the more than three tons seized from a drug plane that crashed in the Yucatan in September, the haul makes it clear that Sinaloa has well-established connections with South American cocaine traffickers. This conclusion conflicts with statements made by Mexican government officials that the Gulf cartel is the only Mexican drug trafficking organization capable of maintaining relationships with South American cartels. Following the most recent seizure, Sinaloa is unlikely to break its relationship with its Colombian counterparts, though it will certainly review its security plan for receiving drug shipments in certain ports.

Cartel-Related IEDs?

Also this past week, a small improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in the trunk of a car parked in a hospital parking lot in Toluca, Mexico state. No one was injured in the explosion, though several nearby cars were damaged. The car belonged to a doctor who worked at the hospital. Planting explosives in cars is rare in Mexico, and it is unclear who was responsible for the bombing. Speculation that drug traffickers were behind the incident was prompted by unconfirmed reports that some inmates from a federal prison had recently been moved to the hospital for treatment.

As we have noted previously, though, Mexico's drug cartels are not known for using IEDs. Despite how easy it is to acquire explosives in the country, drug cartels have demonstrated a preference for killing with guns and grenades. One group known for using small IEDs in locations that will not cause casualties is the guerrilla group Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR). However, an unclaimed attack on a doctor's car does not match the operational history of EPR, which most recently has focused on bombing oil pipelines. The incident this past week in Toluca was most likely linked to some other crime, such as extortion, and not to drug trafficking or guerrilla activity.





Violent Kidnappings

Several incidents involving businessmen this past week highlight the kidnapping risk in Mexico and how violent those kidnappings can be. A Spanish businessman was released Nov. 4 after being held for nearly two weeks by a kidnapping gang in Mexico City. The kidnappers reportedly cut off two of his fingers and sent them to his family to convince them to pay the ransom. During the actual abduction, gunmen stopped the victim's car and killed his bodyguard.

In what appears to have been a similar incident on Nov. 9, an apparent kidnapping attempt against a businessman in Monterrey ended with his bodyguard being killed and him being wounded. According to reports, gunmen in several vehicles followed the two men as they left a hotel. As the driver attempted to lose them, he drove the wrong way down a one-way street, eventually running into a bus. The gunmen then cornered them and opened fire on their vehicle. These incidents highlight the false sense of security that traditional protective services provide in Mexico and underscore the need for comprehensive security programs that include protective intelligence.

Nov. 5
An official from the National Action Party confirmed that a municipal presidential candidate's campaign manager was abducted by a group of armed men in Tamaulipas state.

A Baja California state police officer was shot to death outside his home in Mexicali by two men who approached him as he was entering his house.

The bodies of two unidentified men who had been shot to death were found in shallow graves in Durango state. Police believe they are two men who were abducted Sept. 27.

Nov. 6
Authorities in Sinaloa state reported two unrelated drug-related killings that occurred in the state capital Culiacan. In one case, an unidentified victim was shot at least 20 times; in the other, gunmen armed with assault rifles shot and killed a man outside his home.

Nov. 7
One person died and two were wounded in a firefight in Mexicali, Baja California state, just across the border from Calexico, California.

A man in Mexico City died when he was shot at point blank range in his vehicle after a group of gunmen blocked his car in the street.

Nov. 8
Federal police in Mexico City arrested Pedro Alfonso Alatorre Damy (aka, Pedro Barraza Urtusuástegui and El Piri), a suspected accountant for the Sinaloa cartel. The arrest reportedly came after an account containing $2.7 million in a Chicago bank was frozen, based on information exchanged between authorities in Mexico and the United States.

A high-ranking official of the Workers Confederation of Mexico, a labor union, was unhurt when gunmen opened fire on his vehicle in Mexico state.

Nov. 9
Two sailors in the Mexican navy were wounded in an ambush outside a supermarket in Tampico, the capital of Tamalipas state. According to reports, gunmen fired shots near a night club in Tampico, then intercepted the military convoy carrying troops to respond to the violence.

Nov. 10
A federal police commander in Coahuila state was wounded when he was shot at least five times by gunmen in two vehicles in the state capital Saltillo.

Nov. 11
An official of the civil aviation authority in Quintana Roo state was found shot to death in Cancun. He had reportedly been kidnapped the night before at a soccer game.

A Mexico state police commander was shot to death outside his home. He was unarmed at the time of the attack.

The body of an unidentified man with three gunshot wounds was found in Acapulco, Guerrero state.


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