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Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #100 on: November 06, 2006, 02:39:57 PM »

Mexico City Bombings: An Escalation in Tensions
Just after midnight Nov. 6, emergency officials in Mexico City received two telephone calls from an unknown source warning that bombs were about to detonate. A few minutes later, bombs exploded outside of the headquarters of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), a Scotiabank branch and the Federal Electoral Tribunal building. Two more improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were defused later outside of another Scotiabank branch and another PRI building. No serious injuries have been reported.

Although those responsible for the bombings have not been identified, Mexico is facing political and social unrest from two separate camps -- suggesting one of the two, or perhaps a sympathetic outside group, is upping the ante.

Most of the bombs contained approximately 11 pounds of the commercial blasting compound hydrogel, making them fairly large devices (the IED defused outside the PRI building contained just about 1 pound of explosives). Moreover, Mexican security officials said the IEDs were more sophisticated than the kinds of devices seen in previous attacks in the capital, although these were the first bombings in Mexico City since November 2005. At that time, an anti-globalization group calling itself the Barbarous Mexico Revolutionary Workers' Commando detonated two similarly sized bombs outside of two banks, one U.S.-owned and one Spanish-owned.

The tactics employed in the Nov. 6 bombings are similar to those used in the past by leftist groups such as the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) and its various splinters. Although the bombs were larger than those normally used, they were operated on battery-powered timers that were set to detonate at night, when fewer people would be in the area. The defused bombs even had warning signs affixed to them that read "Danger -- Bomb."

The bombings could very well be related to the unrest in Oaxaca state, where an annual teacher's protest has spiraled into a full-blown insurrection that has seen leftists and other opposition groups demand the removal of state Gov. Ulises Ruiz of the PRI.

The People's Popular Assembly of Oaxaca (APPO), the main group in the poorly organized and loosely affiliated movement in Oaxaca, denied later Nov. 6 that it had any part in the bombings. The involvement of militants from the region or groups sympathetic to the APPO cause, however, cannot be ruled out. Even if the APPO leadership did not order the bombings, some of the group's fringe members -- those who believe the group's leadership is unwilling to take the necessary measures -- might have decided to take matters into their own hands.

Just last month, the crisis in Oaxaca took a more violent turn when previously unknown leftist group Revolutionary Armed Organization of the People of Oaxaca (ORAPO), detonated three small IEDs at banks in the troubled state. The ORAPO, however, claimed responsibility for that attack in a letter left at one of the sites. So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the Mexico City attacks.

The bombings also could be related to this summer's controversial presidential election. Supporters of failed candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador have been increasingly vocal about the strife in Oaxaca -- and could be planning to co-opt it into their agenda. The Federal Electoral Tribunal, which issued the ruling on the contested election that denied Lopez Obrador a victory, could have been targeted by his supporters.

If the bombings are directly connected to Oaxaca, it indicates the unrest that spread from rural Mexico to the capital is escalating. If the bombings are related to the elections, it suggests the opposition is raising the ante while the government tries to deal with the situation in Oaxaca. With both issues unsettled, the remnants of the EPR, its splinters or groups acting on behalf of the Oaxacans would have no shortage of motivations to carry out similar attacks.

Regardless of the motive, these bombings have serious implications for future stability and security in Mexico. President-elect Felipe Calderon, who had hoped to avoid having to deal with the Lopez Obrador or Oaxaca situations when he takes office Dec. 1, will likely find that both issues continue to fester -- and probably escalate. As long as the situation in Oaxaca is unresolved, the risk of similar attacks in the capital will remain.
Send questions or comments
Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #101 on: November 08, 2006, 06:13:14 AM »

Mexico: Jumping on the Oaxaca Bandwagon

An umbrella group composed of five armed revolutionary organizations claimed responsibility for the Nov. 6 bombings in Mexico City. In a Nov. 7 Internet statement, the coalition said it will continue to detonate bombs and expand attacks to target 40 national and multinational corporations throughout Mexico as long as Ulises Ruiz remains governor of Oaxaca state. And as the government cracks down on protests, as it recently did in Oaxaca, the movement probably will only grow stronger -- and extend its attacks beyond Mexico City.


An umbrella group composed of five armed revolutionary organizations claimed responsibility Nov. 7 for Mexico City's Nov. 6 bombings outside the headquarters of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), a Scotiabank branch and the Federal Electoral Tribunal. The group added that it will carry out more attacks and expand its list of targets as long as Oaxacan Gov. Ulises Ruiz remains in power and the government continues to repress dissent. It also said it would target 40 main national and transnational organizations, as well as Mexican political and government institutions.

Mexico's left-wing groups traditionally rally behind prominent issues to harness attention for their causes. It is thus unsurprising that this group emerged amid the row over Mexico's 2006 presidential election and the ongoing crisis in Oaxaca to capitalize on the volatile political environment and win protesters' support. And as the government cracks down on protests -- as it recently did in Oaxaca, the coalition probably will only grow stronger -- and extend its attacks beyond Mexico City.

The coalition is made up of the Lucio Cabanas Barrientos Revolutionary Movement (MR-LCB), Democratic Revolutionary Tendency-People's Army (TDR-EP), Insurgent Organization-May 1, Dec. 2 Execution Brigade and Popular Liberation Brigades. Of these groups, the MR-LCB and TDR-EP are the most well-established. Both are more than five years old, and are offshoots of the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR), a left-wing guerrilla group that operates throughout Mexico.

The MR-LCB and TDR-EP recently took up the cause of the People's Popular Assembly of Oaxaca (APPO) by echoing the APPO's call for the federal police to withdraw from Oaxaca and for Ruiz to step down. So long as these demands go unmet, the threat to national and transnational companies and government institutions in all parts of Mexico will remain high. But the two groups probably will not drop their threats even if their Oaxaca demands are met. Statements from both reveal that their cause is fundamentally anti-government, and so the Oaxaca crisis merely represents a convenient platform to attract attention. The decision to target multinational corporations is therefore rooted in the group's fundamental ideology.

The new umbrella group said multinational corporations that support the government are responsible for rampant poverty and the marginalization of most Mexicans, and have assisted the "cynical dictatorship" of Ruiz and "governmental repression" on the state and federal level.

This language is reminiscent of defeated presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, though there are no overt links between the umbrella group and Lopez Obrador's movement. Two of the targets of the Nov. 6 bombings -- the PRI headquarters and the Federal Electoral Tribunal building -- did play a role in the Lopez Obrador election row, however. Though PRI ideology is closer to Lopez Obrador and his Democratic Revolutionary Party's views than it is to President-elect Felipe Calderon's National Action Party, the PRI allied itself with Calderon after the election. The Federal Electoral Tribunal attack is more clearly linked to the Lopez Obrador affair, since that body rejected his claims of vote fraud and pronounced Calderon the winner of the July 2 election.

In response to the threats against government and enterprise, police stepped up security in Mexico City, focusing on transportation and state-owned companies, such as the capital's airport and subway system, PRI offices, Petroleos Mexicanos facilities, the Federal Electrical Commission and the Power and Light Co. But violence and unrest have surged beyond Mexico City.

In Oaxaca, a Burger King near a protester-occupied university was vandalized; the words "murderous multinationals" were scrawled on the building, though the restaurant is a franchise owned by local Oaxacans. And late Nov. 6, two small devices thrown at representatives of the Mexican attorney general's office in Ixtapa, a beach resort town in Guerrero state, exploded hours before a scheduled visit by Calderon. No one was injured, and Calderon's trip proceeded undisturbed. While no group has claimed responsibility for the incidents, the targets of the attacks -- a multinational corporation and government agents -- are consistent with the ideology of the coalition responsible for the Mexico City bombings.

The coalition behind the Mexico City attacks also took special care to avoid capture and cause no injuries. If it plans to continue along these lines, Mexico City's increased police presence means the groups will probably conduct future attacks elsewhere.

Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #102 on: November 09, 2006, 12:49:26 PM »

MEXICO: Mexico's People's Popular Assembly of Oaxaca (APPO) said that in order to return to a dialogue, the state must cease all violent action against the group, re-establish the signal to the university radio station, liberate 60 political prisoners and find 30 missing individuals. In the meantime, APPO members have been offered asylum within the Roman Catholic Church.
Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #103 on: November 10, 2006, 10:21:22 AM »

MEXICO: Members of Mexico's Oaxaca teachers union said they will return to classes Nov. 16 regardless of the ongoing conflict in the southern Mexican city. The teachers originally intended to return to classes Oct. 31 but were prevented from doing so by conflict between the Mexican federal police and the People's Popular Assembly of Oaxaca.

MEXICO: Members of the People's Popular Assembly of Oaxaca plan to march in Mexico City at 4 p.m. local time. The march will begin at the Independence Column and end at the office of the interior secretary.
Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #104 on: November 10, 2006, 02:01:02 PM »

MEXICO: Mexican Deputy Interior Secretary Arturo Chavez said federal police forces that have been occupying Oaxaca City will shift from a containment strategy to public safety tactics. Chavez said the change is part of an effort to prevent opportunistic groups from taking advantage of unrest to commit crimes and harm citizens.
Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #105 on: November 15, 2006, 10:23:21 AM »

MEXICO: Defeated Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he supports the Popular People's Assembly of Oaxaca's demands for the resignation of Oaxacan Gov. Ulises Ruiz. Obrador said his party, the Democratic Revolutionary Party, will support the cause in the legislature.
Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #106 on: November 20, 2006, 11:47:05 AM »
MEXICO: Defeated Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador plans to hold a ceremony at 4 p.m. local time in the Zocalo in Mexico City to inaugurate himself and a 12-person Cabinet as leaders of a shadow government, El Universal reported. Thousands of people are expected to attend the ceremony.
Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #107 on: November 23, 2006, 07:07:29 AM »

Lamento tantos hilos en ingles en un foro supuestamente para espanol.  ?Habra' alguien quien puede ayudarnos con informes desde Mexico?

Mexican Report Cites Leaders for ?Dirty War?

Published: November 23, 2006
MEXICO CITY, Nov. 22 ? Just before leaving office, the administration of President Vicente Fox has quietly put out a voluminous report that for the first time states unequivocally that past governments carried out a covert campaign of murder and torture against dissidents and guerrillas from the late 1960s through the early 1980s.

The 800-page report is the first acceptance of responsibility by the government for what is known here as the ?dirty war,? in which the police and the army are believed to have executed more than 700 people without trial, in many cases after torture. It also represents the fulfillment of Mr. Fox?s vow when elected in 2000 to expose the truth about an ugly chapter in Mexico?s history.

?The Mexican government has never officially accepted responsibility for these crimes,? said Kate Doyle, the director of the Mexico project of the National Security Archive, a private research group at George Washington University.

Ms. Doyle and other human rights experts said, though, that the special prosecutor who issued the report, Ignacio Carrillo Prieto, had not succeeded in prosecuting the officials responsible for the crimes it describes in such detail, notably former President Luis Echeverr?a.

Instead of being announced at a public event, as is often the case, the report was posted on the Internet late Friday night. Some human rights experts say that the way the report was released suggests that Mr. Fox?s enthusiasm for ferreting out the sins of past governments has waned since he took office.

The report relies on secret military and government documents that Mr. Fox ordered declassified. It contains lengthy chapters on the killings of student protesters in Mexico City in 1968 and 1971, as well as a brutal counterinsurgency operation in the state of Guerrero, where military officers destroyed entire villages suspected of helping the rebel leader Lucio Caba?as and tortured their inhabitants.

The report offers considerable detail, including the names of military officers responsible for various atrocities, from the razing of villages to the killing of student protesters.

It does not include orders signed by three presidents authorizing the crimes. Still, the document trail makes clear that the abuses were not the work of renegade officers, but an official government policy.

The events occurred during the administrations of Gustavo D?az Ordaz, Jos? L?pez Portillo and Mr. Echeverr?a. The federal security department kept the presidents informed about many aspects of the covert operations. Genocide charges against Mr. Echeverr?a, the only one still living, were thrown out in July by a judge who ruled that a statute of limitations had run out.

?At the end of this investigation,? the report says, ?it has been proved that the authoritarian regime, at the highest levels of command, impeded, criminalized and fought various parts of the population that organized itself to demand greater democratic participation.?

The authors of the report, which was assembled by 27 researchers, go on to state that ?the battle the regime waged against these groups ? organized among student movements and popular insurgencies ? was outside the law? and employed ?massacres, forced disappearances, systematic torture and genocide, in an attempt to destroy the part of society it considered its ideological enemy.?

Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #108 on: November 24, 2006, 02:55:05 PM »

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.


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
Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #109 on: December 01, 2006, 05:58:06 PM »

Lo presente me lo mando' Mauricio. !Gracias!


Lo que Fox Cumplió (de sus promesas):
Gobierno al servicio de los ciudadanos:
. Construir un estado democrático de derecho: promover reformas legales y constitucionales que acoten las facultades del presidente de la republica que garanticen la autonomía y el equilibrio entre los poderes legislativo, ejecutivo y judicial; y hagan realidad el federalismo y el municipio libre.
. Fortalecimiento de instituciones públicas y consolidación de la transición democrática.
. Respetar la libertad, la diversidad y la pluralidad de la sociedad mexicana y a no usar nunca el poder de estado para imponer estilos de vida, creencias o códigos particulares de comportamiento.
. Un gobierno plural e incluyente que integre a mujeres y hombres de reconocida capacidad, calidad moral y sentido de responsabilidad.
(nada extraordinario ni fuera de lo común).
(solo 4)
Lo que NO cumplió Fox (sus promesas rotas):
Mas empleos y mejores salarios:
. Crear las condiciones para que la economía crezca a tasas de 7%, y genere, cuando menos, 1,300,000 empleos anuales.
. Garantizar la estabilidad de los indicadores fundamentales de la economía y asegurar la solidez del sistema financiero.
. Combatir el rezago laboral y el subempleo en el que viven millones de personas.
Superación de la pobreza y justa distribución del ingreso:
. Diseñar una política social de estado con visón de largo plazo.
. Aplicar medidas que disminuyan los elementos de pobreza con resultados en el corto plazo e eliminar los factores que provocan la transmisión generacional de la miseria.
. Garantizar el acceso a la infraestructura social básica.
Ataque frontal a la corrupción:
. Un gobierno honesto y transparente que inspire confianza a la ciudadanía.
. Un gobierno que informe con veracidad y oportunidad.
. Combatir la corrupción sin privilegios y salvedades.
. Fin de impunidad de funcionarios que cometen actividades ilícitas.
Construcción de un país seguro:
. Llevar a cabo la reforma integral del sistema de seguridad pública y justicia, a fin de incrementar la eficacia de sus instituciones.
. Atacar con firmaza la inseguridad y solucionar sus causas.
. Combatir el narcotráfico y el crimen organizado.
. Promover el respeto a los derechos humanos.
Desarrollo regional equilibrado:
. Democratizar la economía, distribuyendo las oportunidades para todos y en todas las regiones del país.
. Transferencia equitativa de recursos y facultades a estados y municipios.
. Reactivar las regiones más rezagadas e impulsar la actividad económica local.
. Fortalecer el campo y estimular la industria.
Nueva relación entre Mexicanos:
. Dar un mayor dinamismo al sector social.
. Promover acciones para eliminar toda forma de discriminación y exclusión de grupos minoritarios.
. Garantizar la equidad de genero creando oportunidades en todos los ámbitos a las mujeres.
. Crear las condiciones políticas para la solución pacífica del conflicto en Chiapas, y para los grupos armados que existen en el país, con estricto apego a derecho.
. Reconocer a los ciudadanos de la tercera edad su retribución al país.
. Verdaderas oportunidades para que la juventud construya su propio destino.
Gobierno ecologista:
. Un plan verde para revertir el desarrollo ambiental de agua, aire, suelo y subsuelo a lo largo y ancho de país.
. Un gobierno comprometido con la naturaleza y el desarrollo, que de vida a la política ambiental.
. Esfuerzo común: gobierno, sectores productivos y sociedad.
Relaciones exteriores:
. Política exterior preactiva y diversificada.
. Mayor participación en organismos internacionales.
. Ampliación del comercio exterior.
. Defensa de los derechos de los Mexicanos que viven en el extranjero.
. Dinamizar el papel de las embajadas y consulados de nuestro país.
(32 si no conté mal)
Lo que Fox medio cumplió (sus intentos mediocres):
Acceso a una educación de calidad:
. Garantizar una educación pública, laica y gratuita de calidad y con valores.
. Asegurar la educación a los niños y jóvenes marginados.
. Establecer la equidad como un imperativo de la educación a través del sistema de becas y financiamiento.
. Elevar el nivel y la calidad del sistema educativo así que las condiciones de trabajo para los alumnos como para los maestros.
. Proporcionar a los Mexicanos la posibilidad de capacitación y educación permanente.
Lo que Fox deja:
. Disturbio legal y político: relacionado con el desafuero del jefe de gobierno de la capital del país.
Reformas estructurales:
. Vicente Foz no pudo impulsar hasta su aprobación las tres reformas más importantes que había planeado para su mandato: la reforma fiscal, la reforma energética y la reforma laboral.
Relaciones exteriores:
. Confrontaciones con países latinoamericanos particularmente con Cuba, Venezuela y miembros del MERCOSUR (Argentina, Paraguay y Uruguay).
. Defensa categórica del ALCA.
. El alejamiento de México con América latina también se ha puesto en evidencia tras diversos desencuentros con otros países de la región, coincidentemente todos con Gobiernos de tendencia de Izquierda; pero elegidos democráticamente en las urnas (Brasil, Uruguay, Bolivia y Chile).
. De 2001 a 2005 la Secretaría de Economía ejecutó una amplia estrategia de negociaciones comerciales internacionales que han respaldado la colocación de un mayor número de productos mexicanos en los mercados del exterior: o el tratado de libre comercio con el triángulo del norte (El Salvador, Honduras y Guatemala, 2001) o el TLC con la Asociación Europea de Libre Comercio (Islandia, Noruega, Liechtenstein y Suiza, Julio 2001) o el TLC con Uruguay en Julio de 2004 o el Acuerdo de la asociación económica con Japón desde Abril de 2005; el Acuerdo de Complementación Económica (ACE) con Brasil, 2003.
Situación Política:
. Plantón de Reforma.
. Conflicto de Oaxaca.
. Inestabilidad política brutal y desacuerdos.
. Separación del pueblo de México.
. Antes de ser elegido como presidente, Fox prometió en su campaña que proporcionaría a cada Mexicano la oportunidad de un trabajo en México. En la práctica se asegura que Fox ha dependido en gran parte de una política de migración hacia los Estados Unidos como manera de proporcionar los medios de subsistencia a los obreros Mexicanos.
. Entre el 2000 y el 2005, más de 2 millones 632 mil Mexicanos decidieron ir a EU en busca de empleo, según datos del Pew Hispanic.
. En México solo unos 15 millones de trabajadores, solo una tercera parte de la población económicamente activa (PEA) desempeña una ocupación en el sector formal.
. Las personas más afectadas directamente por el desempleo y las más precarias condiciones asciende a 31 millones 700 mil, que representan 30% de la oblación del país.
. En Diciembre de 2000 el organismo reportó que el universo de desocupados en el país se ubicaba en 612 mil 209 individuos; de tal manera que esta cifra registró una expansión de 188% en el sexenio, lo que representó que un millón 150 mil Mexicanos se sumaron a la búsqueda de empleo que no encuentran, sin considerar a las personas que decidieron abandonar el país para radicar en el extranjero.
. En mayo de 2006, recibió críticas nacionales e internacionales, debido a una declaración que fue considerada racista.
. Un uso descuidado de formas idiomáticas comunes en el lenguaje coloquial mexicano, lo cual sus detractores afirman que es una de las muchas pruebas de su falta de habilidad como político y estadista.
. En los últimos 6 años la pobreza creció 10% hasta abarcar 75% de los 100 millones de habitantes del país, y la desigualdad social se acentuó.
. Uno de los más sonados triunfos del gobierno de Fox fue el reconocimiento tácito del Banco Mundial en cuanto a que los programas sociales que se aplican en México, han permitido disminuir el porcentaje de la pobreza “extrema” (no confundir con pobreza) en 17 puntos porcentuales, sin embargo esta reducción apenas es 1% menor del porcentaje que teníamos en 1994 antes de la crisis provocada por Salinas de Gortari.
. La pobreza alimentaría se redujo en 6.9 puntos porcentuales, lo que significa que 5.6 millones de personas superaron esta condición.
Derechos Humanos (¿hay?):
. Mientras fue el primer país del mundo en adoptar plenamente el Protocolo de Estambul para combatir y sancionar cualquier acto de tortura, sin embargo la actual administración (o la que terminó) no pudo dar respuesta a los más de 400 asesinatos de mujeres en Ciudad Juárez.
. En México cada día 3 mujeres, niñas y adulas, son asesinadas solo por condición de género. Esta cifra revela que los feminicidios van más allá del caso de las muertas de Juárez, pues en 6 años de 1999 a 2005, 6000 mujeres fueron victimadas en 10 estados del país.
. Según estadísticas de la Comisión Nacional de los derechos Humanos (CNDH) del primero de Noviembre de 2000 al 31 de Julio de 2006 se han presentado 246 quejas de agresiones a periodistas.
. En México son asesinados en promedio 4 periodistas al año y de 2000 a la fecha suman 22 casos.
Seguridad, Orden y respeto:
. De 2001 a Agosto de 2006 la red consular atendió 491 mil 125 casos de protección y asistencia a Mexicanos en el exterior, a fin de apoyarlos en su defensa contra actos que atentan contra su dignidad y libertad, así como sus derechos humanos y laborales, cifra que representa un incremento de 72,2% comparada con los casos atendidos en el sexenio 1995-2000. Lo que significa que la actual administración ha atendido casi el doble de casos que la anterior.
. En 2005, México suplanto a Colombia en el puesto del país más asesino para la prensa, de todo el continente americano.
. México se convirtió en un país peligroso para la prensa durante el gobierno de Vicente Fox (2000-2006) con más de 20 asesinatos de periodistas.
Felipe Calderón Hinojosa:
Para que se den una idea; nada más los retos que debe cumplir por lo heredado gracias al incompetente de Vicente Fox, es más que todo lo que anteriormente he escrito para compartirlo con Ustedes.
Escribiré solo o que considero (no más importante) pero si actual sobre los temas relacionados con los asuntos que Calderón hereda de Vicente Fox.
. Aumentar las reservas premolerás de México pues han caído drásticamente.
. Aumentar el Producto Interno Bruto (PIB) (supongo que no se refieren a personas como Fox).
. México ocupa el cuarto lugar entre las naciones con mayor grado de desigualdad en América Latina, que es la región más desigual del mundo.
. Deberá tomar en cuanta a los simpatizantes del PRD (no como lo hizo, o no lo hizo Fox) para evitar frustraciones que leven a conflictos mayores.
. Control a focos rojos de violencia o estado de sitio como Oaxaca.
. Contexto de inseguridad.
. Incrementar los servicios de seguridad social, actualmente, 54.5% de los Mexicanos no están cubiertos por la seguridad social tradicional.
. Reanudar relaciones con América latina, especialmente con Cuba y Venezuela.
. Estrategias para impulsar el comercio, la infraestructura y la cooperación científica, tecnológica y académica.
. Establecer acuerdos con EU en materia de migración.
. Terminar con la inseguridad, la violencia y el robo. Hoy la inseguridad ha alcanzado niveles desproporcionados, causados por la infiltración del crimen organizado, y/o narcotráfico en los distintos niveles de gobierno y fuerzas de seguridad.
. Disminuir la cifra de secuestros, desapariciones y asesinatos.
. Garantizar que todas las personas tengan una ocupación digna, bien remunerada y estable.
. Disminuir la informalidad y el trabajo precario.
. Reducir un desempleo de más de 11 MILLONES de Mexicanos.
. Crear oportunidades internas para detener la excesiva migración de indocumentados e EU.
. Promover la igualdad de oportunidades educativas entre grupos vulnerables de la población.
. Aumentar el nivel educativo en la población, actualmente 28 de cada 100 jóvenes no tienen garantizado su derecho a la educación media.
.hasta el año 2000 la deforestación era de una 600 mil hectáreas anuales, tendencia que se mantenía a principio de 2006. Nuestro país contaba originalmente con 22 millones de hectáreas de selvas húmedas o bosques tropicales, hoy en día difícilmente restan más de 800 mil hectáreas dispersas en la región Lacandona, en Veracruz y otras regiones de Oaxaca (a pesar de los planes de Gobierno Ecologista de Fox: Gobierno ecologista:
. Un plan verde para revertir el desarrollo ambiental de agua, aire, suelo y subsuelo a lo largo y ancho de país.
. Un gobierno comprometido con la naturaleza y el desarrollo, que de vida a la política ambiental.
. Esfuerzo común: gobierno, sectores productivos y sociedad.)
. Recientes análisis estiman que en México se perdieron 29,765Km2 de bosque (superficie equivalente al estado de Guanajuato) de 1976 a 1933, mientras que de 1993 a 2000 (bueno, aún no llegaba Fox) se perdieron 54,306 Km2 (superficie equivalente al estado de Campeche).
Y bueno … !Las Promesas!:
. Dar continuidad al cambio y seguir la democratización.
. Combatir la cultura de la ilegalidad; la corrupción (incluso en cuerpo policíacos); la impunidad; la ineficacia de la investigación criminal; y la ausencia de una política preventiva e integradora, donde lo relevante sea la participación ciudadana.
. Crear un sistema único de información criminalística.
. Hacer de México un país ganador y generador de empleo.
. Promover el crecimiento económico.
. Compromiso con la protección del medio ambiente, aunque dijo que hay obstáculos que superar (ya empezamos, pues ¿qué en lo demás no hay obstáculos?, y de haber obstáculos: ¿será más difícil eso que combatir la corrupción y la inseguridad social? Yo no lo creo).
. Política exterior responsable.
. Desarrollar una política exterior más activa a favor de los derechos humanos y democráticos universales.
. Procurarse mecanismos que refuercen y extiendan los lazos culturales (por fin), políticos y económicos con América latina mientras México es un país latinoamericano inserto en Norteamérica (¿y eso qué?).
. Complementar nuestras acciones con los objetivos del milenio propuestos por la Organización de las Naciones Unidas.
. Promover activamente los derechos humanos y la democracia en el plano nacional e internacional).
Muchas gracias por haberse tomado el tiempo de leer este correo, seguro estoy de que a todos les interesó, pues Vicente Fox (gracias a Dios) ya terminó su gestión, y (muy a pesar mío y de muchos millones más de Mexicanos) el IFE y el TRIFE dieron por vencedor a Felipe Calderón como presidente de México, y ahora (aunque el Peje haga teatro, maroma y circo con su supuesta toma de protesta y todo el show ridículo del 20 de noviembre de 2006 en el zócalo de la ciudad de México; que conste, de haber podido votar en las elecciones lo habría hecho pro el Peje, pero aún así no apoyo actos ridículos ni manifestaciones que atenten en contra de la paz social y de miles de Mexicanos (como el plantón de Reforma), ó que (en mi caso) arbitrariamente te me quiten 2 días de salario (por orden del Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas) para mantener y apoyar la campaña y faramallas del Peje) debemos apoyar y confiar nuevamente en que el nuevo presidente cumplirá debidamente con sus obligaciones, o si no: que el pueblo se lo demande (ojala lo cumpliéramos alguna vez). Yo esperaré que todo lo malo de mi querido, adorado y amado México se resuelvan por la vía pacífica y por el diálogo, se que un presidente no es un mago ni es Dios, mucho menos un Jedi (broma), por eso apoyaré lo más que pueda y mientras mi criterio y bolsillo me lo permitan al nuevo presidente, pero eso si, y que quede muy claro, si me falla se lo demandaré agresivamente, que quede claro, pues para mi el no debió asumir la presidencia de México.
Deseo a todo el pueblo de México felices pascuas y próspero año nuevo,
Mauricio Sánchez Reyes
1 de Diciembre de 2006.
Texto tomado del enlace en la página principal del sitio de Prodigy / MSN.
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« Reply #110 on: December 05, 2006, 11:23:26 AM »

MEXICO: The leader of Mexico's People's Popular Assembly of Oaxaca (APPO), Flavio Sosa, was arrested late Dec. 4 on charges of kidnapping, robbery, vandalism and irregular detentions, El Universal reported. The charges are related to the APPO's street blockades in Oaxaca. Sosa was arrested after arriving in Mexico City to re-establish negotiations with the federal government.
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« Reply #111 on: December 12, 2006, 08:35:57 AM »

Geopolitical Diary: Calderon's Presidential Challenges

Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who took office Dec. 1, began his term on unsteady ground. He faces an unresolved conflict in the southern state of Oaxaca, was inaugurated amid a physical brawl in the legislature, is troubled by widespread questioning of his legitimacy after his July 2 election win by a razor-thin margin, and continues to be publicly challenged by his defeated opponent, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who established a "shadow" government.

Given his unsteady start, Calderon knows he must act with resolve if he is to preserve or earn any respect. Settling the Oaxaca conflict is Calderon's first attempt to assert his leadership.

Tensions in Oaxaca have recently lessened, following the Dec. 4 arrest of Flavio Sosa, leader of the People's Popular Assembly of Oaxaca (APPO). Authorities arrested Sosa in Mexico City after he arrived to negotiate with the federal government. A Dec. 10 Oaxaca City march, calling for the release of Sosa and other arrested APPO members and the removal of Oaxacan Gov. Ulises Ruiz, drew less than 2,000 supporters.

High-ranking Democratic Revolutionary Party members led the march, since APPO's remaining leaders are in hiding for fear of being arrested. The hole-up of APPO members highlights the Federal Preventive Police's success in countering the group. The police have carried out massive arrests and raids, and have launched a full investigation into APPO allegations that many of the protest-related shootings have been by off-duty or undercover vigilante police officers.

Calderon's willingness to contend with Oaxaca and issue a serious response within his 10-day rule is a notable diversion from predecessor President Vicente Fox's reluctance to address Oaxaca's unrest. Fox deployed federal forces to Oaxaca at the last minute, making Calderon's administration committed to the conflict for the long haul. When federal forces eventually pull out of the city, Calderon wants to ensure they hand over control to a local authority that is accountable and trustworthy -- no easy task.

Calderon has something to prove, and the weakening APPO is a convenient target. But Sosa's arrest and the subsequent raids and investigations will not be enough to assure Calderon's authority for his entire term. Though he is unlikely to target Lopez Obrador's movement -- since it is largely irrelevant -- Calderon will seek out more avenues, such as cracking down on drug cartels and corruption and improving government transparency, to establish his validity as president and build alliances with opposing parties. He already intends to pursue massive governmental reforms, many of which will be undoubtedly unpopular; however, we can expect to see Calderon lead his quest for change with labor reforms that will create more jobs -- a popular issue in Mexico, where job creation has rarely approached demand.

Maintaining control of his government will prove to be a challenge for Calderon, who, regardless of his successful show of force in Oaxaca, must contend with a fractured populace and a divided Congress. Calderon has proven that he has the backbone to govern Mexico and settle internal conflicts, but Oaxaca is only a start.
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« Reply #112 on: December 13, 2006, 03:43:37 PM »

MEXICO: Former Mexican Interior Secretary Carlos Abascal Carranza and former President Vicente Fox will pay a political price for their role in the unrest in the southern state of Oaxaca, Guillermo Zavaleta, the president of Mexico's Congressional Justice Commission and a deputy from the National Action Party, said. Zavaleta said he believes Abascal has a "great responsibility" for the Oaxaca unrest because he took more than three months to respond to the growing violence.
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« Reply #113 on: December 14, 2006, 10:28:06 AM »

MEXICO: The Mexican federal preventative police force has doubled in size because of the transfer of 10,000 troops from the army and navy, El Universal reported. The move is part of President Felipe Calderon's campaign to combat crime in Mexico.
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« Reply #114 on: December 19, 2006, 08:07:21 PM »

Mexico: Illusory Victories in Michoacan

Mexican officials said Dec. 18 they have arrested several major players in the drug cartels operating in the violence-plagued southwestern state of Michoacan. The arrests are part of Mexican President Felipe Calderon's effort to act on a campaign promise to aggressively target the cartels. Despite the dozens of arrests resulting from the operation, the sweep will result in only minimal long-term damage to the cartels.


Security forces operating in Mexico's southwestern state of Michoacan have seized more than 100 weapons, 300 pounds of marijuana seeds and 17 pounds of opium poppy seeds, and have arrested more than 50 individuals suspected of involvement in drug trafficking. The seizures and arrests came as part of Operacion Conjunta Michoacan (OCM), an anti-cartel operation now entering its second week, Mexican officials said Dec. 18. The suspects include midlevel members of both the Gulf and Sinaloa cartels.

The arrests are part of Mexican President Felipe Calderon's effort to act on a campaign promise to aggressively target the cartels. And while the operation's results might seem impressive, the sweep will have little effect on the cartels' strategic positions in the long run.

Among the arrestees was Alfonso Barajas Figueroa, aka "Ugly Poncho," who was captured Dec. 16 in the town of Apatzingan, where he commanded a unit of approximately 35 Zetas -- the Gulf cartel's enforcers. Although Mexican authorities are calling him a "primary operator," he was not part of the Gulf cartel or Zeta national command structure. Elias Valencia, of the rival Valencia cartel, part of Sinaloa, was caught Dec. 15 along with four associates at a mountain ranch near Aguililla. (Many leaders in the Valencia cartel share the surname "Valencia.")

Two alleged "sicarios," or hired assassins, working for the Valencia cartel named Leonel Lopez Guizar and Rosalio Mendoza Gonzalez also were arrested. Finally, alleged Sinaloa cartel lieutenant Jesus Raul Beltran, who served under top cartel leader Ignacio Coronel Villarreal, was arrested Dec. 16 in Guadalajara. Raul Beltran reportedly tried to bribe the authorities $1 million not to arrest him.

Despite the high-profile arrests, crackdowns like OCM could be opportunities for cartels to offer up certain members in order to create diversions, or to have the police dispose of overly ambitious members without risking fighting within the cartel.

The operation also will have a minimal impact on the drug smugglers' organizations. The cartels are large intricate groups often made up of supporting alliances of smaller cartels, such as Sinaloa. Thus, even if the arrest of a leader or other figure damages one part of the organization, another part of the group can assume the damaged part's role. The cartels also are often compartmentalized so that one section's removal does not compromise the remainder of the group. Further hardening the illicit groups against law enforcement efforts, the cartels' organizational structures are robust. They are distributed horizontally, and are based on family relationships and personal alliances. Because of this, multiple figures can fill leadership vacuums when high-ranking members are arrested

Thus, while Calderon's efforts in Michoacan might initially bear fruit, their long-term effect on Mexico's drug war will be minimal. With so much attention being paid to Michoacan, the various cartels there could simply move to other states. And as for Michoacan itself, the only real possibility of relief from drug violence would come if one cartel were so weakened by OCM that its rival could expel it from the state.

Ultimately, the loss of midlevel operators will not cripple either the Gulf or Sinaloa cartels in Michoacan. A significant Mexican federal forces presence will therefore have to remain in the state for a long time in order to deny the area to the cartels.
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« Reply #115 on: December 20, 2006, 05:21:24 PM »

Hola a todos, despues de una larga ausencia me incorporo al foro, veo que hay mucha informacion, sobre todo en el presente topico, aunque tarde comparto con ustedes un articulo de un periodista estadounidense respecto a la toma de posesion del Calderon:

Asunción relámpago de un Presidente débil, perciben medios estadunidenses
Entre los estadunidenses invitados al Palacio Legislativo estuvieron George Bush, ex presidente; Tony Garza, embajador en México, y Alberto Gonzales, procurador general

Nueva York, 1º de diciembre. Las escenas de golpes, jaloneos y concurso de coros en el Palacio Legislativo de San Lázaro se transmitieron aquí, en el contexto en que los medios reportaron sobre la toma de posesión de Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, a quien casi todos, de alguna manera u otra, califican como uno de los presidentes más débiles en tiempos recientes.

"Nuevo líder mexicano entró a hurtadillas a su puesto", fue la cabeza de la nota del traslado del poder presidencial en México en el portal de CBS News esta mañana. Casi a la misma hora, CNN transmitía múltiples veces las escenas dentro del Congreso ante el suspenso sobre si Calderón llegaría a la tribuna, e identificaba la imagen con "críticos dicen que Calderón se robó la elección". A lo largo del día se regresó al tema hablando de las condiciones de "debilidad" en que asume el poder, con un título abajo de la imagen: "López Obrador dice que es presidente 'legítimo'". Esta noche, en los noticiarios nacionales de ABC News y NBC News se mostraron las escenas caóticas del Congreso y se informó que Calderón tomó protesta "con prisa"; que hubo miles de manifestantes en la calle expresando su oposición y que la elección continúa en disputa.
Las agencias de noticias informaron sobre los golpes, empujones y el tiradero de curules en la pugna por controlar la sala, y una reportó que, al entrar el gobernador Arnold Schwarzenegger a San Lázaro, sonrió y dijo: "está buena la acción". El único comentario oficial desde Washington fue justo en respuesta a una pregunta sobre el tumulto en el Congreso por la toma de posesión. Tom Casey, vocero asistente del Departamento de Estado, aceptó: "ha habido un número de controversias políticas internas como secuela de la elección", y subrayó que "tenemos confianza en las instituciones democráticas de México".
Añadió: "es bienvenida la inauguración del presidente Calderón", y aseguró que el gobierno estadunidense espera continuar con la buena relación que se gozó con Vicente Fox.
Los Angeles Times publicó hoy que Calderón tomaría su puesto "como uno de los presidentes más débiles de México, rodeado por capos de la droga despiadados, monopolistas industriales, evasores de impuestos y un movimiento izquierdista frontal que amenaza con bloquearle cada movida".
El New York Times se enfocó en el espectáculo dentro del Congreso en días recientes como manifestación de los desafíos que enfrentará el Presidente, en particular la brecha que se abrió con la elección y "la parálisis que Calderón tendrá que superar para abordar
una gama de asuntos urgentes".
En un editorial publicado en su edición de este viernes, Los Angeles Times reitera: "Calderón aparece desmedidamente más débil que Fox" hace seis años, pero sugiere que esto puede ser también una oportunidad, no sólo un obstáculo, al afirmar que el presidente entrante "no tiene adonde ir más que para arriba, igual que Fox no tenía adonde ir más que para abajo (ya que llegó con tan amplio apoyo)".

Evaluaciones y consejos
Las interpretaciones de la coyuntura en México y los consejos para el Presidente empiezan a surgir por parte de expertos, editorialistas y ex políticos, sugiriendo desde "mano dura" en Oaxaca y mercados más libres hasta cómo enfrentar la crisis política en la cúpula.
El historiador John Womack, de la Universidad de Harvard, citado en el reportaje de Los Angeles
Times, considera que es errónea la percepción de muchos estadunidenses de que México cuenta con un sistema político de partidos.
"Es shakesperiano. Es como una dinastía enfrentada con un primo débil por ascender al trono y la corte jalada en 20 maneras diferentes por barones rebeldes. Es una corte en desorden tratando de formarse en una república constitucional."
La columnista Mary Anastasia O'Grady, del Wall Street Journal, tuvo un tono alarmante al advertir de la posibilidad de que extremistas lleguen a aliarse con los narcos y lleven el país al caos.
"La ilegalidad mexicana está alcanzando proporciones epidémicas", indica, y advierte: "actores violentos que prefieren el camino de terrorismo y extorsión para acaparar el poder y recursos están amenazando la seguridad nacional".
Sostiene que el desafío inmediato para Calderón es establecer orden en Oaxaca. Caracteriza a la asamblea popular y otras agrupaciones como "redes criminales bien organizadas y financiadas". Considera "particularmente preocupante pensar que grupos criminales organizados (...) podrían relacionarse con los que trafican drogas", y señala a Colombia como ejemplo de ello.
Eric Farnsworth, vicepresidente del Consejo de las Américas, elogia que Calderón y su equipo hayan reconocido que tienen que cambiar su forma de abordar el tema migratorio con Estados Unidos, asumiendo mayor responsabilidad para generar empleo y riqueza en México, en el contexto del Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte.
En un artículo publicado en el Denver Post, Farnsworth agrega que "en algún punto, la apertura del sector energético a la inversión extranjera también tendrá que ser abordada".
Robert Pastor, director del Centro para Estudios de América del Norte de la American University, está de acuerdo con Farnsworth sobre la "nueva oportunidad"; sugiere que la agenda bilateral tiene que cambiar de migración a una en torno del desarrollo de América del Norte, y propone un fondo de inversiones en la zona.
A cambio de reformas en los sectores energético, educativo, laboral y fiscal y una mitad del dinero para fondos, plantea, Estados Unidos y Canadá pondrían la otra mitad. "Tal iniciativa no sólo empezaría a sanar la división política y económica dentro de México", sino que estimularía el mercado mexicano para beneficio de Estados Unidos.
El editorial de Los Angeles Times propone que la gran movida audaz que necesita Calderón al inicio de su periodo es enfrentarse "con sus apoyadores" en la iniciativa privada.
Agrega que si "avanza en enfrentar al gran empresariado y restaurar el imperio de la ley", podría "algún día obtener el estatus de una estrella de rock", como la que tenía Fox al inicio de su periodo.
A la vez, rechaza la "insensata" recomendación de adoptar algunas de las ideas de López Obrador. "Eso sería un error".
Lo que necesita México son "mercados más libres" y, por tanto, Calderón necesita romper los "monopolios y duopolios que enriquecen a las elites y actúan como un freno sobre el crecimiento" (el Times no menciona que este diagnóstico fue hecho esta semana por el Banco Mundial, como reportó La Jornada). Es obvio que habrá más consejos en los próximos días

Un comentario personal: segui los acontecimientos de ese dia a traves de la radio, desde el zocalo de la ciudad de Mexico, fue como estar en la epoca porfirista, junto a un presidente ilegitimo los obispos, los militares y la "gente bien"; fue muy impresionante los contrastes de apoyo a ambos personajes.

Un saludo

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« Reply #116 on: December 21, 2006, 04:25:16 PM »

Gracias por ese articulo Omar.

Aqui en los EU, la gente que se toman cuenta (cuento?) de Mexico se preocupan por la creciente militarizacion de la guerra con los Narcos.  Mucha gente aqui tienen la impresion que la situacion en Mexico va por abajo:  Muchas matanzas de policia: en Nuevo Laredo se mataron el jefe (?o fue dos jefes en seguida? no acuerdo , , ,) a cuatros en Baja de les quitaron la cabeza dejandolas en sitio publico como amenanza a quien les piense desafiar, atentos al jefe de la policia en Acupulco que mato a sus guardasespaldas, etc.  Se habla del ejercito Mexicano facilitando que cruzen la frontera, apuntando armas militares a nuestro Border Patrol, y se habla de "Los Zetas" supuestamente ex-militares quienes son asesinos para los narcos, con armas militares.

?Que opinas de lo siguiente?

MEXICO: Mexican military representative Manuel Garcia Ruiz said that the Zetas, a violent organization of people with military or police training who hire their services out to cartels, are finished. He added that the majority of the remaining members have been captured or killed by the Mexican military in its efforts to drive the drug cartels from the state of Michoacan. The son of drug leader Alfonso Barajas Figueroa, who is already in federal custody, was captured.

A mi me parece muy contradictoria a las otras cosas que estoy viendo.  ?Crees que Los Zetas estan termidos?  ?Si no, no corre el Presidente Calderon el riesgo que parezca ridiculo cuando Los Zetas atacan de nuevo?

Las preguntas son para Omar o otra persona quien quiere contestar.

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« Reply #117 on: December 23, 2006, 04:20:28 PM »

Mexico: The Vital Role of 'Gatekeepers' in the Smuggling Business
In mid-2005, former Mexican President Vicente Fox sent some 1,500 soldiers and federal police to the U.S.-Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo in an effort to bring escalating drug-related violence under control. The effort failed, and by May 2006 the homicide rate had more than doubled compared with the same five-month period a year earlier. One possible reason for the violence in Nuevo Laredo is the continuing war between two rival cartels over whose "gatekeeper" will control the transhipment of drugs and other contraband through the city on their way north into the United States.

Until now, little has been revealed about the all-important role of gatekeepers in the flow of narcotics from Mexico into the United States, and the flow of money back into the hands of Mexico's drug lords. Sources familiar with this aspect of the drug trade, however, say the gatekeeper is one of the highest and most powerful people in a cartel's hierarchy, perhaps second only to the kingpin.

In drug-trade lingo, the "gatekeeper" controls the "plaza," the transhipment point off of one of the main highways on the Mexican side of the border where drugs and other contraband are channeled. In Spanish, the word "plaza" means a town square, though it also can mean a military stronghold or position. In this case, it means a cartel stronghold. A gatekeeper oversees the plaza, making sure each operation runs smoothly and that the plaza bosses are collecting "taxes" on any contraband that passes through. The going rate on a kilo of cocaine is approximately $500, while the tax on $1 million in cash heading south is about $10,000.

Gatekeepers also ensure that fees are collected on the movement of stolen cargo and illegal immigrants -- including any militants who might be seeking to enter the United States through Mexico. Regardless of a person's country of origin, money buys access into the United States through these plazas, though the fees charged for smuggling Middle Eastern and South Asian males into the United States is more than for Mexicans or Central Americans. The gatekeepers' primary concern is ensuring that appropriate fees are collected and sent to cartel coffers -- and they operate in whatever manner best suits a given circumstance: intimidation, extortion or violence. Of course, one of their main jobs is to ensure that corrupt Mexican police and military personnel are paid off so plaza operations can proceed undisturbed.

The main plazas in Mexico along the Texas border are in Matamoros, south of Brownsville; Reynosa, across the border from McAllen; Nuevo Laredo, across from Laredo; and Juarez, south of El Paso. These locations provide easy access to the U.S. interstate highway system, which the cartels use to deliver their drugs to the markets they control in major U.S. cities. Plazas also are operated in Piedras Negras opposite Eagle Pass and in Ojinaga opposite Presidio.

The plaza between Matamoros and Brownsville is controlled by Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, or "Tony Tormenta," the brother of Gulf cartel leader Osiel Cardenas Guillen, who reportedly is running his cartel from a Mexican prison. Other gatekeepers operating in the area are Juan Gabriel Montes-Senano and Alfonso Lam-Lui.

Control of the Reynosa-McAllen plaza, which belongs to the Gulf cartel, reportedly is in flux. There are two prominent commanders from Los Zetas in the area: Gregorio "El Goyo" Sauceda-Gamboa and Jaime "El Humme" Gonzalez Duran. Some reports suggest that El Goyo recently was removed from his position as gatekeeper on the orders of Gulf chief Guillen, possibly because he was losing effectiveness due to alcoholism, drug addiction and cancer complications. El Humme, believed to be second-in-command of Los Zetas, might have been brought in to take over.

Edgar Valdez Villareal "La Barbie" and Miguel Trevino Morales operate in the contested plaza of Nuevo Laredo. La Barbie is a highly placed leader in the Sinaloa federation of cartels and chief of its enforcement arm, Los Pelones -- the Sinaloa equivalent of Los Zetas. He previously operated out of Acapulco, where he reportedly oversaw the capture, videotaped torture and execution of a team of Zeta operatives. Another gatekeeper in this area is Miguel Trevino Morales, who is believed to be affiliated with the rival Gulf cartel. The war between the two cartels over this important plaza is one of the reasons for the skyrocketing violence in the city.

Martin Romo-Lopez controls the plaza in Piedras Negras, while Sergio Abranda, Crispin Borinda-Cardenas and Benjamin Cuchtas-Valisrano operate in the plaza in Ojinaga.

The area around Juarez is firmly under Sinaloa federation control, and more cartel members appear to be moving into the area. The plaza in Juarez reportedly is controlled by the Escajeda family, through cousins Oscar Alonso Candelaria Escajeda and Jose Rodolfo Escajeda. Other alleged smugglers operating in the Juarez area are Jose Luis Portillo, Gonzalo Garcia and Pedro Sanchez. These men and the Escajeda cousins reportedly were associated with the Juarez cartel, which has been heavily damaged by the inter-cartel wars and the arrests of leaders. Many of the cartel members have since aligned themselves with the Sinaloa federation.

Because some provisions of the U.S. Patriot Act have made wiring money out of the United States more complicated than before -- forcing the cartels to physically transfer money between operatives along the border -- the gatekeepers also must ensure that these operations run smoothly. To facilitate this, the gatekeepers also operate the cartels' money-laundering operations, using small businesses along the border. U.S. law enforcement sources say there has been a fivefold increase in bulk currency seizures along the border in 2006 alone.

Although there are multiple smuggling routes through Mexico for drugs and other contraband, the plazas are the cartels' critical chokepoints. Therefore, efforts to shut down the flow of drugs or illegal immigrants cannot be effective until the gatekeepers are dealt with effectively. The gatekeepers' ability to heavily influence Mexican law enforcement and government officials through cash payouts and intimidation, however, suggests this will be no easy feat.

Even if Mexican law enforcement officers were to begin focusing their efforts on the gatekeepers, any success would be short-lived unless a sweeping, nationwide effort were made. When Fox sent the Mexican army into Nuevo Laredo in 2005, the impact on the cartels was minimal. A large, overwhelming law enforcement effort on both sides of the entire border would be required to shut down the plazas and bring down the gatekeepers, something Mexico is ill-equipped to do.

The Mexican government's recent efforts against the cartels in Michoacan state could prove to be effective against local organizations in the short term, but as long as the plazas are controlled by powerful gatekeepers, and the other routes through Mexico to the U.S. border are not impeded, the narcotics and drug money will continue to flow north and south.
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« Reply #118 on: January 04, 2007, 08:50:24 PM »

MEXICO: Former Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador resumed traveling around Mexico, beginning in the state of Yucatan. Lopez Obrador has said he intends to gather the opinions of people in the countryside and will likely seek support for his shadow government.
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« Reply #119 on: January 22, 2007, 08:16:43 PM »

Mexico: The Obstacles to Calderon's Anti-Cartel Efforts
January 22, 2007 19 17  GMT

Osiel Cardenas, who ran Mexico's powerful Gulf drug cartel from a prison cell, was in U.S. custody Jan. 22, awaiting a court appearance stemming from a 2005 federal indictment against him. The recent handover of Cardenas and three other important drug figures -- extraditions U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales called "unprecedented in their scope and importance" -- coincide with major Mexican operations against the cartels as well as calls by the Mexican government for more U.S. assistance in fighting the country's drug wars.

Although it appears that Mexican President Felipe Calderon is serious about taking on the cartels, his efforts will face stiff resistance -- not only from the drug traffickers themselves, but also from corrupt Mexican officials.

The suspects handed over to U.S. authorities Jan. 19 are considered major players in some of Mexico's more significant drug-trafficking organizations. Cardenas, the most powerful of the four, has been running his organization from prison since his arrest in 2003, and his extradition could leave the cartel without top leadership -- at least until the fighting over his replacement is concluded.

In addition to Cardenas, brothers Ismael and Gilberto Higuera Guerrero -- former high-ranking members of the Arellano Felix drug cartel -- were extradited, as was Hector "El Guero" Palma Salazar, a former high-ranking member of the Chapo Guzman-Guero Palma cartel, part of the Sinaloa Federation. In all, Mexican authorities extradited 15 suspects wanted in the United States on charges related to drugs and violence.

Should the Gulf cartel be weakened by Cardenas' extradition, the drug-related violence will likely expand into places the cartel currently controls, such as Matamoros on the Mexico-Texas border, as the rival Sinaloa Federation attempts to take over Gulf cartel territory. A succession struggle by internal factions vying to assume control of the Gulf cartel also could lead to more violence. In addition, reprisal attacks against the Mexican government in response to the extraditions are possible.

With the sole exception of Arellano Felix cartel leader Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix, who was extradited in September 2006, the government of former President Vicente Fox turned over only minor cartel figures to the United States. The handover of these other high-ranking members by Calderon's new government comes amid other government attempts to control the cartels, including the dispatching of federal police and troops to areas suffering major cartel violence.

In addition to the federal deployments and extraditions, Calderon also has asked for more assistance from Washington in fighting the cartels. Given Mexico's sensitivity to U.S. involvement in anti-cartel operations south of the border, however, Calderon likely meant that he wants more funds to fight the problem, rather than that he plans to give U.S. law enforcement agents greater freedom to operate in Mexico. U.S. operations not only are considered an infringement on Mexico's national sovereignty, they also are opposed by some because they threaten the corrupt Mexican officials who earn enormous sums of money protecting the cartels.

Although U.S. boots on the ground would elicit an outcry, the possibility of additional U.S. funds flowing into Mexico would be another matter entirely because these same corrupt officials could see it as a chance for further self-enrichment. Should Mexico receive its own version of "Plan Colombia" -- which could be Calderon's hope -- then corrupt officials could have access to hundreds of millions or even billions of U.S. dollars annually. The question then is whether a "Plan Mexico" would make a significant dent in cartel operations.

As government efforts against the cartels increase, there also is the possibility that the influential cartels will use the government as a weapon against rival cartels -- or even against other questionably loyal members of the same cartel -- by guiding law enforcement efforts toward certain people. The well-connected cartels, then, would consider these arrests and even possible extraditions as more of a housecleaning aid than as a blow to their operations.

In order to be truly effective, anti-cartel efforts in Mexico must be applied evenly against all of the cartels. If only certain ones are targeted, more violence is likely as the other cartels move in to fill the resulting power vacuums.
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« Reply #120 on: January 24, 2007, 09:04:34 AM »

MEXICO: Mexican President Felipe Calderon said he plans to pursue reforms to break up monopolies by allowing businesses to operate without restrictions and increase competition, El Universal reported. Calderon specifically mentioned the telecommunications industry, saying the price of a phone call is too high.
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« Reply #121 on: January 28, 2007, 07:57:13 AM »

TAPACHULA, Mexico — Four Salvadoran men in jeans and T-shirts trudged along the railroad tracks under a hot sun, their steps carrying them steadily toward a fuzzy but seductive dream.

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Perilous Journey
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Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times
Donar Antonio Ramírez Espinas lost both his legs during his attempt to cross into the United States. “You make the decision to look for a better life,” he said, “without knowing that you could end up like this.” More Photos »
They had been in Mexico for only a few hours and already federal police officers had forced them to strip and had taken almost all their cash, they said. They had some 1,500 miles to go to reach the United States border, with no food or water and $9 each.

They intended to walk along the Chiapas coast for the first 250 miles through a dozen towns where migrants are regularly robbed or raped. Then they planned to clamber aboard a freight train with hundreds of other immigrants for the trip north, a dangerous journey that has left hundreds before them maimed after they fell under the wheels.

“It’s dangerous, yes, one risks one’s life,” said one of the men, Noé Hernández. “One risks it if you have a family member in the States to help you. It’s not just for fun we go through Mexico.”

A month ago, Mexico’s new president, Felipe Calderón, announced measures to slow the flow of illegal immigrants across Mexico’s southern border and reduce crime in this lush but impoverished region. He stepped up the presence of soldiers and federal police here, told of plans for a guest worker program and promised joint state and federal operations to catch illegal immigrants.

But much remains to be done to stop or deter the migrants, and for now the measures have had little effect. Social workers and volunteers who aid the migrants say they keep coming.

Every three days, 300 to 500 Central Americans swarm the freight train in Arriaga, strapping themselves with ropes or belts to the tops of cars or riding between the wagons, they say.

The migrants still wade across the Suchiate River between Guatemala and Mexico with little hindrance. Corruption is rampant. Soldiers and police officers on the Mexican side extort money from the migrants but seldom turn them around, aid workers and migrants said.

“It’s an open border,” said Francisco Aceves Verdugo, a supervisor in the government agency, Grupos Beta, that gives food, water and medicine to illegal migrants. “We are confronting a monster so big in the form of corruption that we aren’t doing anything.”

The federal authorities do catch and deport illegal immigrants from Central America on their trek north — about 170,000 last year, according to Leticia Rodríguez, a spokeswoman for the National Migration Institute.

On the evening of Jan. 19, as part of Mr. Calderón’s new get-tough policy, about 400 federal police officers stopped the freight train just after it left Arriaga and arrested more than 100 immigrants who had climbed aboard.

Still, aid workers say a majority gets through. The biggest deterrent, migrants say, is not federal authorities but armed thugs who waylay them along the railroad tracks or on paths through the countryside used to avoid the immigration posts along the main highway.

This month, Misael Mejía, 27, from Comayagua, Honduras, was awaiting the train in Arriaga with nine other young men from his town. They had walked for 11 days after wading across the Suchiate to get to the railhead in Arriaga.

None of them had a dime after being ambushed a week before by three men in ski masks in daylight near Huehuetán. Two of the men carried machetes, the third a machine gun.

“They told us to lay down and take off our clothes,” Mr. Mejía said. “I lost my watch, about 500 Honduran lempiras, and 40 Mexican pesos,” about $31.

Mr. Mejía said he would press on. He has a brother in Arizona who has promised to pick him up if he can run the gantlet through the United States border patrol. He left a $200-a-month job as a driver behind, along with his wife. His brother makes $700 a week as a carpenter.

“I felt hopeless in Honduras,” he said. “Because I could never afford a house, not even a car. There is nothing I could have.”

Down the street from the tracks, at the Hearth of Mercy shelter, where illegal immigrants can get a free hot meal and medicine, Juan Antonio Cruz, 16, hunched over a bowl of rice and told how he had left El Salvador after members of the Mara Salvatrucha street gang had threatened to kill him. “They wanted me to join them,” he said.

It was his second attempt to reach Arizona, he said. The first time he had endured eight freezing nights and sweltering days aboard the train by strapping his belt to bar atop a tanker car. The border patrol caught him as he crossed into Nogales, Ariz., and sent him back home to Usulután, where the gang members threatened him again.

“When I think about the train, I feel fear and panic, for the thieves who attack you, and also for falling off,” he said softly.

For some, that is how the dream ends, with a fall under the train’s heavy, whirring wheels.

At the Shelter of Jesus the Good Pastor in Tapachula, Donar Antonio Ramírez Espinas rubbed the bandaged stumps of his legs, sheared off above the knee, as he recalled the night of March 26, 2004, when he dozed off while riding between cars, lost his grip and fell onto the tracks.

Map “I fell face down, and at first I didn’t think anything had happened,” he said. “When I turned over, I saw, I realized, that my feet didn’t really exist.”

Back in Honduras, he had been working menial jobs in a parking lot and at a medical warehouse, making about $120 a month. Then he and a few buddies decided to try their luck in the States.

“You make the decision to look for a better life, not to continue with the life your father led, and for this you risk your life, without knowing that you could end up like this,” he said. “An amputee.”

After the accident, he spent two years at the shelter in Tapachula, wrestling with depression and thoughts of suicide. When those black days finally passed, he returned home for five months, only to find his parents, his former wife and even his three children had trouble accepting his disability. “My 9-year-old said, ‘Papa, why did you come back like this?’ ” he remembered. “I didn’t dare answer him.”

Mr. Ramírez has returned to the shelter here, where he hopes to learn a trade — fashioning prosthetic legs and arms for other victims of the train. Others at the shelter told similar stories. Some doubted they would be able to make a living in their home countries, where even getting a wheelchair is hard.

But some of those with lesser injuries insisted their accident was just a temporary setback. Minor Estuardo Cortez, 33, from Guatemala, lost his left foot under a train wheel while climbing aboard in Oaxaca State. At the shelter, he has healed and learned to walk with a prosthetic foot. He intends to continue his journey. If he reaches Houston, he says, he has relatives who can get him a construction job.

“If something happens to me, I don’t scare easy,” he said. “I’ll do it again to see who wins, the train or me. Only thing is I can’t run, so I’ll have to wait until it’s stopped to get on.”

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« Reply #122 on: February 01, 2007, 04:37:09 PM »

Hola a todos:

Una discupa por la tardanza en contestar grin. La estrategia de pocisionar militares y lanzar ataques "frontales" al narcotrafico no es nueva, ha sido utilizada desde Zedillo (1994), es evidente que por el estado actual de las cosas que no funciona.

Coincido en que con la captura de su lider los zetas no estan destruidos, ya que es muy dificil terminar con un grupo organizado, donde cada miembro es potencialmente un lider y puede entrenar a mas personas casi al nivel de los zetas originales. Lo temible del primer grupo es que al ser parte de las GAFES (grupo aerotrasportado de fuerzas especiales), tenian una capacidad de fuego, movilidad, reaccion y de improvisacion muy superior a cualquier grupo gubernamental, incluso el ejercito; ademas de la elevada moral de combate y espiritu de grupo. Algo que he observado en cada cambio de gobierno en mexico es que necesita pactar con cierto cartel para conservar la gobernabilidad, muy al estilo de lo que retrata la pelicula Traffic (donde actua Benicio del Toro), en el actual estado del gobierno ademas de pactar necesita legitimarse y una cortina de humo para movilizar al ejercito sin sospechas de parte de la gente, y con la aprobacion del sector de la poblacion que interpreta orden como "estamos seguros porque hay muchos policias (y si es el ejercito mejor)"... en mi opinion, tambien  coincido con la militarizacion del pais, lo que esta  pasando en Oaxaca y la forma en como lo manejo el gobierno es un mal aviso de lo que puede pasar.

Un saludo a todos

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« Reply #123 on: February 05, 2007, 03:11:06 PM »

Omar (y todos):

Un gusto tenerte aqui con nosotros de nuevo.

Lo siguiente habla de las mismas temas como tu-- auque sea en ingles  embarassed


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.
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« Reply #124 on: February 08, 2007, 06:37:40 PM »

Global Market Brief: In Mexico, Calderon's Do-or-Die Task
February 08, 2007 20 21  GMT

Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Feb. 5 announced plans to revise and modernize the Mexican Constitution. Speaking at a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of Mexico's current constitution, Calderon established that, in order to make the Mexican system more flexible and efficient, he is seeking to renovate the charter outright instead of following the usual practice of making piecemeal reforms.

Though Calderon has not offered additional details as to how he intends to launch constitutional reform, the opposition Democratic Revolutionary Party -- the party of his chief election rival Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador -- currently supports the president's plans for a full redraft. That is, with one exception: that the changes do not include the privatization of the electricity sector or state-run oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

Although he entered office with a weak to nonexistent mandate, Calderon has done nearly everything right to solidify his position.

Calderon's first success occurred even before he took office -- a result of him (wisely) doing nothing. Between Calderon's election and inauguration, Lopez Obrador staged a constant series of strikes and protests that snarled political life throughout the country and economic life in Mexico City. Lopez Obrador's actions also had the twin side effects of alienating him from his own party and giving the Institutional Revolutionary Party and Calderon's National Action Party (PAN) something in common: annoyance with Lopez Obrador. All three major parties are now at the very least on speaking terms with one another, something that seemed impossible six months ago.

Among Calderon's first acts as president was moving decisively against anarchists in Oaxaca, restoring order to a city that had been embroiled in chaos for months. He also deployed regular army troops to a number of cities that either are under the de facto control of drug lords or are experiencing open battles among those drug lords for control. Neither problem has been resolved -- and will not be resolved under the current plan -- but there is a widely accepted perception at least that the problem is being addressed in a respectable way. The political capital Calderon has racked up for his efforts have strengthened his hand among his core supporters as well as Mexico's political center.

He also has departed from his ideological preferences to reach out to Mexico's left. For the past two months Mexico has suffered from a shortage of corn, partially as a result of the United States' newfound fascination with ethanol. As Americans become obsessed with establishing non-Middle East energy options, huge amounts of corn are being sucked into a growing ethanol industry. That growth has sucked Mexican corn across the border, resulting in higher food prices in Mexico -- particularly for corn tortillas, a defining staple of the Mexican diet. After first pledging his loyalty to market principles, Calderon correctly read the political winds and forced state stores to lower prices at the retail level while leaning on private bakeries to lower the wholesale price.

The net result of all this has been a surge in Calderon's popularity. As of Feb. 6 he stood at 58 percent approval across the political spectrum, making the president perhaps the most powerful leader Mexico has had in generations.

He will need that power for his chosen task.

Mexico, like many other developing economies, has found itself heavily dependent on a single commodity for its economic well-being: oil. Mexico's economic strength and social stability correlate closely with oil prices. Globalization and membership in the North American Free Trade Agreement have certainly helped Mexico's economy diversify away from such dependence, but oil monies remain the central factor in determining government spending -- currently making up about 40 percent of government income.

Yet Mexico's energy industry is failing. Roughly three-quarters of its oil output comes from a single field, Cantarell, which is now past maturity. Consequently, Mexico's oil output peaked at 3.8 million barrels per day in 2005, and is expected to decline incrementally for the foreseeable future. Specifically, the government now expects Cantarell to suffer a 14.5 percent reduction in output in 2007 alone. Mexico's reserves are similarly shrinking as the state has not invested sufficiently in fresh exploration efforts -- particularly in the technologically challenging and capital-intensive offshore.

Mexico faces two huge obstacles if it is to reverse this decline. First, the national government has to break its addiction to oil money. As long as Congress siphons off the bulk of state energy monopoly Pemex's revenues for its own use, Pemex will never be able to afford to invest in technology, exploration and fresh production.

Second, there needs to be a realization across Mexico that Pemex -- even with access to more money -- faces a challenge it cannot overcome alone. Pemex has been the government's cash cow for decades, and as such has never been able to catch up with the world's energy supermajors in terms of technical skill. Rectifying that problem is not a multi-year process, but a multi-decade one. And since Mexico does not have decades to fix the problem, Pemex itself has become the leading voice for diversifying the country's energy sector to allow for the participation of foreign firms (in a highly controlled way, of course).

That, to say the least, is a thorny issue. Just as social security reform is the third rail in U.S. politics, liberalizing the energy sector is Mexico's. Mexicans see their oil as a birthright, and have traditionally refused to even entertain the notion that any foreigner -- and particularly the Americans who import 85 percent of Mexico's exports -- should hold any interest in the energy complex. Because of this attitude, and the enormous powers within Pemex itself, Mexico has maintained full control of its energy -- but at the cost of both eroding oil output and creating a ball and chain on the Mexican economy. The constitutional prohibition against foreign and private involvement in energy covers not just oil, but natural gas and electricity as well. Mexico not only suffers from regular power crunches, but also is in the truly bizarre position of importing natural gas from the United States, despite its own generous reserves.

To alter this calculus, Calderon is arguing for a constitutional change, a monumental feat by any measure. Shifting constitutional language requires the approval of two-thirds of both houses of the national Congress, as well as majority support from more than half of Mexico's state assemblies. Calderon's PAN (hardly of one mind on the issue) boasts only 206 of the lower house's 500 seats and 52 seats of the upper house's 128.

Calderon's early political victories and personal ideology make him uniquely positioned to attempt to push through such an unpopular, yet desperately needed, provision -- despite the fact that he opened his presidency on such a weak note. Yet Calderon's self-set task is certainly of the make-or-break variety.

If Calderon can pull this off -- and it is a huge "if" -- he not only will regenerate Mexico's energy fortunes, but also will establish himself as one of the most powerful Mexican leaders in history. After all, if the president can bend the entire political spectrum to his will on an issue that enflames such core nationalist passions, there will be very little that he cannot do.

However, if he fails -- and this is a far smaller "if" -- he will have lost the political equivalent of a game of chicken with an oil tanker. And even should Calderon survive such a collision, he will have spent all of his hard-won political capital on a horrifyingly public defeat -- from which his administration will never recover.
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« Reply #125 on: February 16, 2007, 01:38:15 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 #126 on: March 08, 2007, 11:39:39 AM »

Mexico: A Rise in Killings in Sonora State
March 07, 2007 18 57  GMT


Three police officers were killed March 6 in Mexico's Sonora state, the latest in a spate of drug-related slayings in this relatively quiet state. The rise in criminal activity is believed to be related to a campaign of intimidation by Mexico's drug cartels, but it could also indicate that rival cartels are moving into territory controlled by the Sinaloa federation.


The body of a municipal police officer was found March 6 in a rural area near Hermosillo, the capital of Mexico's Sonora state. The officer, who had his hands and feet bound, had apparently been executed. A note left with the body says "the problem is not with the government" and lists the names of five other police officers. This could suggest that the officer had been an informant for the cartels and was killed by fellow officers. Later that day, a municipal police officer was shot and killed while patrolling Obregon Avenue in Cananea, near the U.S. border. The night before, an agent from the Sonora State Judicial Police was executed in the parking lot of Hermosillo's state attorney general's office.

Since the beginning of the year, crime has been on the rise in Sonora state. By late February, it was estimated that 15 executions had taken place in the state in 2007 and five had occurred during the last week, including the two in Hermosillo. This is well above the state's usual homicide rate. Almost all of the victims so far have been law enforcement officials.

The killings are believed to be a reaction to Mexican President Felipe Calderon's crackdown on drug cartel operations throughout Mexico. Sonora Gov. Jose Eduardo Robinson Bours Castelo, referring to the current situation as a "period of executions," has said the killings are part of the cartels' attempts to intimidate police and dissuade them from cooperating with Mexican federal authorities in the anti-cartel campaign.

Another explanation for the increase in violence in Sonora could be the movement into the state of members of various cartels escaping areas where Calderon's crackdowns are taking place. Organized crime in Sonora is controlled by a federation of drug cartels led by the Sinaloa cartel, which originated in Sinaloa state, which borders Sonora to the south. Sonora is important to the federation as a corridor for transporting drugs from Central and South America into the United States. While federal security efforts disrupt organized crime in other states -- such as Baja California, Tamaulipas, Michoacan -- areas with less federal presence, such as Sonora, could prove to be attractive cartel sanctuaries.

Despite the increase in violence in Sonora state, the threat to U.S. citizens visiting there remains minor. The main risk remains Sonora's notoriously hazardous roadways rather than the unlikely possibility of being caught in the crossfire between cartel and law enforcement personnel.
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« Reply #127 on: March 12, 2007, 02:40:27 PM »

Court Papers Show How 'Iron River' of Guns Flows Into Mexico

Monday , March 12, 2007

MESA, Ariz. —
Human and drug-smuggling organizations in Mexico are getting their guns from the same places law-abiding U.S. citizens are getting theirs: licensed gun dealers and gun shows, according to court documents.

"There's an iron river of guns flowing to Mexico," said special agent Thomas Mangan, spokesman for the Phoenix office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Search warrant affidavits show smugglers are getting guns from "straw purchasers," people with clean records who buy guns for smugglers, who then sneak them across the border for a few hundred dollars.  Records show the weaponry is bought from legitimate dealers in U.S. cities from Tucson to Scottsdale and Apache Junction to Avondale.

On Jan. 21, agents with the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested Cedric Lloyd Manuel and Miguel Apodaca of Phoenix with nine assault rifles at the Arizona-Mexico border.  The guns had been bought the day before at gun stores in Apache Junction, Scottsdale and Phoenix. They were purchased by three brothers, Lucio, Rosendo and Marcos Aguilar.  Between November and the Jan. 21 arrests at the border, the Aguilars and others in the straw-purchasing crew bought 66 assault rifles, records show.

"Manuel (Aguilar) stated that he had taken probably about 20 loads of firearms into Mexico over the past couple of months," ATF special agent Heidi Peterson wrote in the affidavit.  The Aguilar family, Manuel Apodaca and the alleged ringleader, Blas Bustamante, have been charged in U.S. District Court with gun violations.  Mangan said the value of guns triples across the border.

He said Mexican crime organizations use the same infrastructure for smuggling humans and drugs north as they do to move the guns south.
He said the agency is working on a number of Arizona gun trafficking investigations while they also work with Mexican authorities to trace guns used in crimes across the border.

One such crime was the shooting of Ramon Tacho Verdugo, the 49-year-old police chief of Agua Prieta, Sonora, who was gunned down as he left the police station Feb. 26.
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« Reply #128 on: March 13, 2007, 08:31:45 AM »

Geopolitical Diary: U.S.-Mexican Relations Changing

U.S. President George W. Bush is scheduled to meet with Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Tuesday in Mexico -- the last stop of Bush's Latin American tour. The agenda for the meeting is predictable; issues to be discussed include trade, security, counternarcotics programs and the polarizing immigration and border control debate.

Bush's trip has focused on political alliances, and his stop in Mexico is no different. Mexico has traditionally been an ally, but tensions have recently risen over border and immigration policies. Smoothing these tensions and reaffirming Mexico's long-term status as a U.S. ally is the driving motivation behind the U.S. president's visit.

However, though Bush is arriving in Mexico with a largely rhetorical agenda, his counterpart could meet him with a much stiffer proposition.

Since taking office in December 2006, Calderon has aggressively approached his presidency. His presidential campaign called for massive reforms, and he has wasted no time pursing them. He already has announced plans for a constitutional redraft and a controversial reform of Mexican state-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and already has launched a massive multistate offensive to counter narcotics trafficking. Though the attack against drug cartels has not severely impacted their operations, it has won Calderon domestic support; with recent approval ratings ranging from 58 percent to 73 percent, it is clear that Mexicans approve of Calderon's boldness. And since the Mexican government depends on oil money, Calderon desperately needs this approval to push through the Pemex reform.

Bush might not be prepared to meet with a bold Mexican president; former Mexican President Vicente Fox rarely challenged Bush and reveled in a close friendship with his U.S. counterpart. And while Calderon has not disparaged U.S.-Mexican ties, he has made it clear that he is not interested in helping to repair U.S.-Latin American relations, noting that the United States has to "regain respect" in the region.

Mexico has long demanded increased attention -- and a solution -- to the immigration debate. But a visit between Bush and Calderon will have little, if any, impact on the immigration front. Bush's hands are all but tied -- he faces an opposition Congress and a populace deeply divided on the issue at home -- and he is not in a position to settle the immigration issue, much less to do so in a way that Mexico would desire.

Calderon knows this as well as Bush does, and is not expecting a sudden shift in U.S. immigration and border policies. A breakthrough on the immigration front at this point is not plausible, but with this visit Calderon can earn himself a few more approval points at home.

Though Mexico's close relationship with the United States is not likely to change in the near future -- trade, security issues and proximity will tie the nations together indefinitely -- the Mexican government is no longer interested in pushing the U.S. agenda in Latin America. Calderon is ready to be an independent leader, and Bush could find him to be less of an ally than expected.
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« Reply #129 on: March 19, 2007, 10:12:53 AM »

Fly Me to Tijuana
March 19, 2007; Page A12

As President George Bush and President Felipe Calderón were meeting on the Yucatán Peninsula last week to discuss the disequilibrium in the North American labor market, a low-cost Mexican airline was celebrating its first anniversary 35 miles north of the capital in the city of Toluca. The presidential confab got the press, but the story of the new airline and others that have followed it in the domestic air travel industry is far more relevant to the future of Mexicans.

A big reason the Mexican economy is not growing fast enough to create the one million jobs per year it needs to satisfy its young work force -- and why migrants go north -- is a lack of competitiveness. Key sectors of the economy are controlled by monopolies; without consumer choice, prices are high, service is poor, the economy is inefficient and there is not much innovation.

Editorial Page columnist Mary O'Grady explains how an upstart low-fare airline is set to make traveling easier for many Mexicans.The international symbol for making a killing through monopoly privilege is now a Mexican, telecom tycoon Carlos Slim. Mr. Slim, who is the world's third-richest man, bought Teléfonos de México (Telmex) from the government in 1991 and was supposed to face competition in 1997. But he has famously used court injunctions and his own influence to block competitors and rake in a fortune. Telmex still controls 95% of the fixed-line market.

Mr. Slim's power play has cost the country dearly. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development notes in a recent report that Mexico has some of the highest telecom charges among OECD countries, and one of the lowest rates of telephony density. Its broadband prices are the highest in the OECD. In energy, transportation and cement -- vital components of the infrastructure -- a similar non-competitive environment impedes productivity growth and harms investment.

Mexicans have been discouraged by the slow pace of competition reform, but there are some glimmers of hope. The North American Free Trade Agreement brought competition to the retail sector and now the domestic airline industry is beginning to change.

For decades Mexicans had only two choices for domestic air travel, AeroMéxico and Mexicana Airlines. Both companies, once state-owned, were privatized in the 1990s, failed and were reabsorbed by the government. Mexicana has been privatized again.

Privatization did nothing to bring down sky-high airfares. Flying from Mexico City to Tijuana ran about $250, far above what most Mexicans could afford. Taking the bus costs about $80 and in 2005 bus companies carried some 250,000 passengers on the 33-hour trip.

Last year four business partners identified those tortured bus passengers -- and many other Mexicans who dared not venture from home on such grueling journeys -- as potential airline customers. They teamed up to launch Volaris Airlines.

It is no small irony that Mr. Slim is one of the four investors and another is television mogul Emilio Azcarraga, also known for his monopoly privileges. Their experience in Volaris shows that both are capable of competing if the regulatory environment demands it and there is money to be made. Former Finance Minister Pedro Aspe's Protego Discovery Fund owns another 25% of Volaris. The fourth investor is Roberto Kriete's Grupo Taca, which owns the Central American carrier Taca Airlines.

Competition drives innovation and Volaris proves the rule. The company came up with a number of creative solutions to problems that probably would not even been considered in a protected market.

Mr. Kriete told me by telephone from San Salvador that the economies of scale come from the decision to purchase identical planes. Volaris saves money because its mechanics and pilots are qualified to handle all planes and sourcing parts is uniform.

Mr. Aspe expanded on that point when I interviewed him in Mexico City two weeks ago, stressing the advantages of the brand-new Airbus A-319 fleet, which is more reliable and more fuel efficient than the industry average. The company also gains competitiveness, he said, with labor contracts that tie 50% of compensation to productivity. Another cost saver is the Toluca hub. Passengers traveling from Mexico City check in at what Mr. Aspe calls "the virtual terminal" in the northern suburb of Santa Fe and then travel 35 miles by bus, courtesy of Volaris, to Toluca's lower cost airport. Overhead costs are held down because 65% of reservations are made over the Internet and 20% are made through call centers.

Competition has put pricing pressure on traditional carriers but Mr. Kriete doesn't expect convergence. Volaris is "really a different product," targeting a different demographic. He says that some travelers are willing to pay more for business class and perks such as frequent flier miles but Volaris is going after price-sensitive flyers and people who never flew before.

At the time of its startup one year ago, Volaris had two planes and by the end of the year it had six. This year it says it will invest $560 million to add another eight. It is also doubling the number of cities it serves and adding a route between Tijuana and Los Cabos on the tip of the Baja Peninsula, which has the potential to capture the southern California market. The company expects to triple its sales this year.

The beauty of Volaris is the beauty of the market. Both the airline and its customers are happy and business is booming. Last year Volaris carried more than 922,000 passengers on almost 8,700 flights at less than half the price that the traditional carriers were charging prior to competition. Bus passengers bound for Tijuana from Mexico City who switched to Volaris paid $100 and shaved 30 hours off their travel time.

A number of other low-cost carriers such as Avolar, Interjet and Alma have also entered the field. According to airport operator OMA, domestic air travel was up 22% at its 13 airports last year thanks to the low-cost carrier business.

It is worth noting that the Volaris story is not entirely a free-market exercise. Mexico still limits foreign ownership in airlines to 25%. Also, Volaris took a subsidized loan from the International Finance Corporation, an arm of the World Bank that is engaged in promoting development in poor countries. It is highly doubtful that Mr. Slim and his partners needed government assistance but IFC bankers are always pushing money out the door and good capitalists don't turn down such offers.

Still, the lesson holds. If Mr. Calderón wants his legacy to be about curing low Mexican living standards, there is no better remedy than competition.

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« Reply #130 on: March 21, 2007, 07:35:33 PM »

Mexico: The Cartel Responds to Calderon

Mexican President Felipe Calderon sent federal troops into the southern state of Tabasco on March 17, opening up the latest front in a crackdown on drug cartels Calderon initiated shortly after taking office in December 2006. Coming after recent intimidation efforts by criminal gangs operating in the area, the redeployment is part of a systematic effort to squeeze cartels -- and increases the likelihood of retaliatory violence.


Mexican troops searched houses and manned roadblocks in the southern state of Tabasco on March 19 after Mexican president Felipe Calderon dispatched more than 300 members of the Federal Preventive Police (PFP), as well as army units, to Villahermosa, the Gulf Coast state's capital, March 17.

The deployment followed a spate of violence in the area attributed to drug cartels. Since then, the former chief of state police and four of his current or former subordinates, including three police commanders, were detained on suspicion of collaborating with drug cartels and of trying to assassinate the current state chief of police, who was wounded in the attempt.

The escalation in violence began after retired Gen. Francisco Fernandez assumed office as the state's police chief Jan. 1. Fernandez, who has led anti-drug units in the states of Chihuahua, Durango and Sinaloa, aggressively combated drug traffickers and was investigating police ties to trafficking organizations. Two months into his tenure, gunmen fired more than 150 shots at Fernandez's Suburban shortly after he left a Villahermosa hotel, killing his chauffer. On March 15, a severed head was found in the parking lot of the Tabasco state security offices in Villahermosa. Hours later, the headless body of an alleged police informant was found across Tabasco's southern state line with Chiapas.

Police are not organized criminal gangs' sole targets. A reporter for the newspaper Tabasco Hoy disappeared Jan. 20 after naming alleged local drug traffickers in an article. Other journalists in the state also have received threatening phone calls and notes.

Following these incidents, Calderon deployed federal troops, who took over the state police headquarters, seized weapons from the police and searched the complex for evidence of police complicity in the assassination attempt. Federal police also arrested Fernandez's predecessor, Juan Cano Torres, in the town of Centla and raided his ranches, where authorities allege cartel assassins were allowed to hide out.

The seizure of weapons from police was similar to a January operation in the northwestern Mexican city of Tijuana, where federal police disarmed 3,000 police for several weeks while they investigated whether the weapons were tied to criminal acts. This and other operations initiated by Calderon since he took office Dec. 1, 2006, have involved approximately 30,000 federal forces in states such as Michoacan, Guerrero and Tamaulipas. They have effectively pressured the cartels, but also have caused them to shift trafficking operations in search of areas under less scrutiny.

The increase in cartel activity in Tabasco appears to be the result of pressure on Gulf cartel operations elsewhere in the country. The Gulf cartel and its enforcement arm, Los Zetas, operate on Mexico's Gulf Coast from Tabasco and Veracruz states up to the outskirts of the Tamaulipas city of Matamoros on the U.S. border. Los Zetas have deposited severed heads in public areas as an intimidation tactic outside of this territory, notably in Michoacan state and the city of Acapulco in Guerrero state. Another of Los Zetas' calling cards is replacing the letter "S" with a "Z" in threat notes, a scare tactic now in use against Tabasco journalists.

Both the Gulf cartel and Sinaloa cartel-affiliated organizations use Michoacan and Guerrero to import drugs from South America before they are transported through Mexico to the U.S. border. Recent federal anti-drug operations have targeted both of these states. Calderon's latest initiatives, combined with U.S. efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, likely prompted the Gulf Cartel to expand their use of areas like Tabasco as transit corridors.

Drug cartels in Mexico have shown a proclivity to respond violently to law enforcement operations and the flexibility to shift operations when they come under government pressure. New fronts in the efforts to combat drug cartels will continue to emerge as cartels seek the path of least resistance. These organizations are too well-equipped and ruthless to brook much interference, however, meaning conflict will escalate whenever they are pushed into a corner.

The cartels' tendencies to fight back and shift their operations will continue to manifest themselves as Calderon's anti-drug efforts proceed. But for all of Calderon's anti-cartel efforts in his short time in office, he has yet to encroach into the Sinaloa cartel's strongholds as effectively as he has other cartels' turf -- suggesting this game has much more room to play out.
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« Reply #131 on: April 11, 2007, 05:40:40 PM »

George W. Bush went to the U.S.-Mexican frontier to highlight his proposal for immigration reform this week. But on the other side of the border, a different U.S.-Mexico issue is getting most of the headline ink.

Since taking office in December, Mexico's new President Felipe Calderón has launched an all-out assault against the nation's organized crime networks, which supply U.S. narcotics demand. Given the money to be made under prohibition, it's not surprising that the drug cartels are not yielding easily. Rather, they've been fighting back with increasingly extreme terror tactics and threatening to turn Mexico upside down.

The month of March was one of the bloodiest on record for the country's "war on drugs." According to the Dallas Morning News, more than 50 people were killed in drug violence in a single week -- and not in only in notoriously rough cities like Tijuana but in traditionally stable locales such as Monterrey in the state of Nuevo Leon, which saw the brutal killing of a police officer, a police commander and numerous civilians. April hasn't started off too well either. On Good Friday, a reporter for the Mexican television station Televisa, who had just finished a radio interview in Acapulco, was shot in the back three times and killed. According to Reuters, local Mexican media also reported 12 other execution-style killings in Mexico on Good Friday. The killers have grown more vicious in their messages to would-be snitches, leaving behind severed heads, corpses with ice picks driven through them and most recently a Veracruz victim who had been castrated.

It's worth noting that lowly policemen, hundreds of whom are reported to have been handing in resignations around the country, are not the only targets. Last month Mr. Calderón confirmed that he and his family have been receiving serious death threats since he launched his "war." Nevertheless, Mr. Calderón says he's not giving in and that the war could last longer than his six-year term. If so, it looks like an awful lot of Mexicans are going to die for the cause of stopping Americans from using drugs.

-- Mary Anastasia O'Grady
Opinion Journal, WSJ
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« Reply #132 on: April 12, 2007, 05:53:21 PM »

MEXICO: Mexican President Felipe Calderon decreased Mexico's base commitment to supply oil to a proposed Central American oil refinery during the Plan Puebla Panama (PPP) meeting in Campeche, Mexico, on April 9-10. PPP is a regional integration and development initiative started by Calderon's predecessor, involving Mexico's nine southern states and Central American countries. Although the PPP meeting aimed to revitalize regional development, Calderon reduced Mexico's commitment from 230,000 to 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) due to declining production at Cantarell, the country's largest oil field. Panama, Costa Rica and Guatemala are vying to be selected as the site for the proposed refinery, which is to have a 360,000 bpd capacity; firms from China, India and Japan are bidding to build it. Calderon's reappraisal is a further indication that Mexican oil output is headed for a serious collapse if legal barriers to foreign cooperation in offshore exploration are not addressed soon. Furthermore, if Mexico cannot provide sufficient crude for the Central American refinery project, the project could become unviable.
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« Reply #133 on: April 23, 2007, 04:44:19 PM »

Mexico's Security Woes: A Brazen Attack and High-Speed Chase
Mexican authorities have asked for U.S. help in locating the surviving gunmen who killed a top anti-crime official in Durango state and then broke through three police roadblocks as they led law enforcement officers on a dramatic high-speed chase that spanned two northern states. The audacity of the gunmen involved in this latest attack -- one of many during the month of April -- suggests the drug cartels and other criminals are undeterred by President Felipe Calderon's anti-crime efforts.

The chase began April 21 after Sergio Munoz, commander of the Durango state anti-organized crime unit, was abducted by about a dozen heavily armed men riding in two pickup trucks as he left his home in the city of Durango. Units from Mexico's military and the attorney general's office pursued the suspects, who fled north toward neighboring Chihuahua state. A first shootout, which occurred at a roadblock about 50 miles north of Durango in the small town of Donato Guerra, left two police officers dead and one wounded. A second gunbattle occurred at a roadblock farther north, near the town of Rodeo, leaving one officer wounded.

The suspects finally ran into tough opposition in the town of Inde, some 250 miles north of the site of the kidnapping. At that roadblock, law enforcement agents killed three gunmen, forcing the others to separate -- but not before they dumped Munoz's body on the side of the road. From there, some of the suspects reportedly escaped on foot, while others continued north in a black Suburban sport utility vehicle to the town of Las Nieves, where two small airplanes were waiting to take them to an old airfield in Parral, just across the border in Chihuahua state.

Despite tracking the suspects by helicopter, authorities on the ground were unable to locate them after losing radio contact with the airborne units. Believing Munoz's kidnappers to be headed toward the U.S. border, Mexican officials have asked the United States for help locating them.

April has been another violent month in Mexico. Munoz was at least the second state police official to be killed this month, after Guerrero state Police Chief Ernesto Gutierrez Moreno was shot to death by four men wielding assault rifles while eating dinner in a Chilpancingo restaurant with his wife and son. Moreover, the deaths of at least 30 people in several Mexican states during the month have been attributed to the drug cartels or other organized crime syndicates. Assassinations, grenade attacks, shootouts -- with police and one another -- and attacks against journalists are becoming the norm -- despite President Felipe Calderon's campaign against the cartels. So far in 2007, at least 720 people have been killed in organized crime-related violence across the country. At this rate, the death toll associated with such violence will top the 2006 toll of more than 2,000.

One of the reasons for the high casualty count, especially within the law enforcement community, is that officers are being targeted regardless of which side of the law they stand on. For example, Munoz, who headed Durango's Unit Against Organized Crime under the National Civil Police, could have been on the payroll of one of the cartels and been taken out by a rival cartel. On the other hand, he might have been an honest police officer who refused to cooperate with the cartels -- and paid the price.

Either way, the brazen assault on a top law enforcement official illustrates that Munoz's abductors had little fear of Mexican law enforcement -- or of the consequences should they be caught. Calderon's anti-crime campaign, it appears, has a long way to go before it shows much progress.
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« Reply #134 on: May 04, 2007, 02:37:25 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 (CD: Mexican?) 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 #135 on: May 10, 2007, 06:37:24 AM »

MEXICO: Michoacan Gov. Larazo Cardena Batel said in an interview with Excelsior that the Mexican army is the only force able to fight drug trafficking in Mexico. Batel cited a May 7 shootout, which involved soldiers killing four suspected drug smugglers in Apatzingan, Michoacan, as an example of the army's ability to combat criminal organizations. Batel also said violent organized crimes in the state have decreased as a result of military presence.
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« Reply #136 on: May 13, 2007, 04:45:37 AM »

Mexican Drug Cartels: Targeting the Military
May 11, 2007 18 24  GMT

Suspected drug cartel enforcers killed two state police officers May 11 as the officers patrolled the town of Villahermosa in Mexico's Tabasco state. The attack occurred two days after a Mexican sailor was gunned down in the Pacific resort town of Ixtapa. Although attacks against police officers and their chiefs are becoming quite common in Mexico -- a response to President Felipe Calderon's efforts to crack down on the country's drug syndicates -- the cartels now are upping the stakes by targeting the Mexican military.

To some degree or another, the military always has been part of government efforts to stem the flow of drugs through Mexico and reduce the violence associated with cartel wars. Military personnel, however, historically have not been prime cartel targets. That appears to be changing as the cartels better infiltrate the military, learning who they can bribe, who they can intimidate and who they can eliminate when cooperation is not forthcoming.

In some cases, military units are being attacked when they enter cartel territory or interfere with the flow of drugs from South America to markets in the United States, though it also appears that individual officers are being targeted. In Ixtapa, the sailor -- the bodyguard of a navy commander -- died after suspected cartel members attacked a vehicle carrying several Mexican navy personnel. It is unclear what prompted the shooting, though the sailors and/or their commander could have been either on the side of Calderon's anti-cartel efforts or cooperating with a rival cartel.

Seven attacks against police and security forces in April resulted in the deaths of at least eight police officers, including the commander of the Durango state anti-organized crime unit and Guerrero state Police Chief Ernesto Gutierrez Moreno, who was shot to death while eating dinner with his wife and son at a restaurant in the capital, Chilpancingo. During the first week of May, three state or city police chiefs were killed, while a firefight between a Mexican army unit and suspected drug smugglers left five soldiers dead near Caracuaro, in Michoacan state.

On May 8, suspected cartel enforcers killed Eduardo Vidaurri Esquivel, a police detective in Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon state. Vidaurri reportedly was the 19th police official to be killed in Nuevo Leon in 2007. A day later, in Guerrero state, gunmen disguised as members of the Federal Investigative Agency shot and killed Artemio Mejia Chavez, public security director in Chilpancingo, while he was on his way to the gym. In that attack, the gunmen acted friendly as they pulled up to Mejia's truck in several vehicles, then opened fire when Mejia went to greet them. The attack against the sailor in Ixtapa, also in Guerrero state, occurred later that night.

As the cartels find weaknesses in the military -- and make inroads into the system through bribery and intimidation -- soldiers and sailors will find themselves at as great a risk of attack as Mexican police. Military units that try to interfere with the movement of drugs through Mexico, and thus the cartels' revenues, will be attacked.

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« Reply #137 on: May 22, 2007, 01:34:46 AM »

Mexico: A Deteriorating Security Situation
May 21, 2007 22 26  GMT


About 150 state police officers in Mexico's northern Nuevo Leon state went on strike May 21, demanding higher salaries and more resources to fight organized crime, which has claimed the lives of six state police officers in the past four days. Given that drug cartels have increasingly targeted police, army and government personnel in response to a federal campaign to combat organized crime -- and are showing no signs of stopping -- the security situation in Mexico likely will continue deteriorating.


About 150 state police officers in Mexico's northern Nuevo Leon state went on strike May 21, demanding higher salaries and more resources to fight organized crime, which has claimed the lives of six state police officers in the past four days. Reports indicate the strike temporarily left a large portion of downtown Monterrey with little to no police presence. City police officers filled in for the state police, who have reached a deal with the government and are scheduled to return to work May 22.

Mexico's drug cartels have increasingly targeted police, army and government personnel in response to a federal campaign to combat organized crime. As this campaign continues, Mexico probably will not be able to reduce violent drug-related crimes in the near future.

Although Mexico has become increasingly violent since the government began its crackdown on organized crime in December 2006, recent violence in the northern states of Nuevo Leon and Sonora has contributed significantly to the country's deteriorating security situation. In addition to the deaths of the six Nuevo Leon police officers in the last four days, threats against journalists have further strained state police forces. A group of about 30 newspaper and television reporters protested May 19 in front of a state government building, demanding greater protection after a TV cameraman and reporter reportedly were kidnapped by drug traffickers earlier in the month. Perhaps the most notorious incident occurred May 16 in the town of Cananea, in Sonora state, where 40-50 armed men abducted seven police officers and six civilians, later killing seven. The ensuing gunbattle with police brought the death toll to 23.

The federal response to such violence highlights the challenges Mexico's security forces face in combating organized crime. Despite a government move to send more than 300 federal and state police officers and army soldiers to the Cananea area, most of the attackers escaped. This increased police presence also did not prevent the May 17 targeted killing of Sonora Police Chief Pedro Cordova Herrera. In addition, the state government announced May 20 it would begin investigating all municipal police officers in Cananea for possible cartel links. This investigation highlights the fundamental corruption problem Mexico's security forces are battling as they continue to fight the cartels.

The recent wave of violence in Sonora and Nuevo Leon can be explained by geography; the states share borders with the United States, making them valuable to drug cartels and trafficking organizations that move narcotics and people across the border. But drug-related violence is on the rise throughout Mexico; according to the attorney general's office, Mexico saw an average of 225 crimes per day related to narcotics trafficking between Dec. 1, 2006, and March 31, 2007. This represents a 40 percent increase over the 2006 average of 159 deaths per day.

For now, the federal government still appears both able and willing to commit more troops and resources to President Felipe Calderon's campaign against organized crime. On May 21, Morelos was added to the list of states to which army soldiers have been deployed. But the effectiveness of federal troops is questionable in such operations, given that the Mexican army is primarily trained and deployed for disaster response. Hence, it seems the security situation in Mexico will continue to deteriorate.
José Carballo
Posts: 14

« Reply #138 on: May 24, 2007, 05:49:10 PM »

Primero que nada, hola a todos, justo hoy recibí mi nombre de usuario y contraseña para poder participar en el foro. No conozco a nadie en el foro, salvo a Mauricio. Mi nombre es José Carballo, empecé a entrenar en Enero de este año, un accidente me tiene fuera de circulación pero espero poder reincorporarme en junio.

Aprovecho este espacio para presentarme ya que mi trabajo es la seguridad y soy experto en protección ejecutiva, además leo bien en inglés y español y si alguien necesita alguna ayuda, no duden en pedirla.

Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #139 on: May 24, 2007, 06:07:00 PM »

Hola Jose':


Lo que paso' aqui' es que una falla tecnologica borro' unos anos de hilos en este foro y pedimos la velocidad que teniamos.  Ahora se le hace falta al foro mucha contribucion en espanol y estoy reducido al contribuir muchas cosas en ingles.  Espero que sean de interes a personas como tu.

Tambien, que bueno que trabajes en proteccion ejecutivo.  Ojala que compartas con nosotros tu perspectiva aqui tanto como quieras.   Si quieres, comienza con tu ideas sobre lo que esta' diciendo Stratfor sobre la situacion en Mexico.  Segun ellos los narcotraficantes son creciendo en su potencia hasta que ahora son una verdadera amenaza al bienestar del ejericto y a la mera estado.

!La Aventura continua!
Crafty Dog

PD:  Agradezco cualquiera ayuda con mi espanol que me brinde.  smiley
José Carballo
Posts: 14

« Reply #140 on: May 24, 2007, 07:47:31 PM »

Hola Marc, es un honor que personalmente me respondas, gracias y espero verte en México cuando vengas al seminario.

Respecto a los comentarios de Stratfor, difiero, el narco ha crecido en poder y ha pasado de controlar algunas plazas a controlar la mayor parte del territorio nacional, su control es a todos niveles ya que tienen practicamente como empleados a policias, personal de aduanas, aeropuertos y otros. La razón de tantos ataques a jefes policiacos es debido a los grupos de narcos que son enemigos entre si y luchan por el control, generalmente los asesinos de los policias son de algún grupo de narcos que no los tienen como empleados y los matan para enviar un mensaje a los que apoyan a esos grupos contrarios.
Por otro lado, los ataques al ejercito no significan que sean una amenaza al ejército, sino la reacción del narco al verse ellos amenazados en su bienestar y al ver disminuida su capacidad de operación con tanta presencia de fuerzas militares. En cuanto al país el narco si representa una severa amenaza ya que:
1. Se provoca una situación de inseguridad y de crimen que directamente provocan los diferentes grupos de narcos y sus luchas entre si y contra las autoridades
2. actualmente cuentan con grandes cantidades de droga (los grupos en Colombia les "pagan" con droga los servicios de acarreo de la misma a los Estados Unidos) por lo que cada vez en México es más fácil y más barato conseguir droga y esto representa un grave problema social y de salud
3. la situación entre los agricultores mexicanos es cada vez peor y muchos optan por ser también empleados de narcos o sembrar ellos mismos plantas de marihuana y amapola en vez de dedicarse a los cultivos tradicionales de alimentos que obviamente les redituan mucho menos ganancias.

No quisiera ahondar más por el momento, pero creo que todo esto da un panorama general de la situación actual.

Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #141 on: May 25, 2007, 02:56:27 PM »

Gracias Jose por su analyis/resumen de la situacion.

Veo en el pereiodico esa manana que Mexico sera' compartiendo con el gobierno Estadounidense lo que oiga en las llamadas hecho en Mexico.  Eso no se habra' visto hace unos pocos anos.

José Carballo
Posts: 14

« Reply #142 on: May 25, 2007, 05:03:31 PM »

Hola a Marc y a todos...

ya busqué tanto en el periodico de la Cd. de México (reforma) como en internet en y no logré encontrar la noticia a la que te refieres. Sin embargo, yo te puedo decir que mi jefe anteriormente trabajó para la Procuraduria General de la República (General Attorney) y en verdad que desde hace muchos años se tiene mucha cooperación entre la DEA y la PGR. Aunque estoy consciente que algunas reglas que aplican aqui en México con los agentes de la DEA no tienen mucho sentido, como por ejemplo, no les permiten a ninguno usar armas, pero en cuestión de intervenciones telefónicas existen ya varios casos en que o se comparte la información o se comparte la tecnología, incluso algunas veces personal técnico de los Estados Unidos ha ayudado a intervenir conversaciones aqui en México.

Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #143 on: May 25, 2007, 05:39:30 PM »

He aqui el articulo del Los Angeles Times, primera pagina:,1,3049437.story?coll=la-headlines-world

Mexico to boost tapping of phones and e-mail with U.S. aid
Calderon is seeking to expand monitoring of drug gangs; Washington also may have access to the data.
By Sam Enriquez, Times Staff Writer
May 25, 2007

- LA PLAZA: News, observations and links about Latin America from Times correspondents
MEXICO CITY — Mexico is expanding its ability to tap telephone calls and e-mail using money from the U.S. government, a move that underlines how the country's conservative government is increasingly willing to cooperate with the United States on law enforcement.

The expansion comes as President Felipe Calderon is pushing to amend the Mexican Constitution to allow officials to tap phones without a judge's approval in some cases. Calderon argues that the government needs the authority to combat drug gangs, which have killed hundreds of people this year.

Mexican authorities for years have been able to wiretap most telephone conversations and tap into e-mail, but the new $3-million Communications Intercept System being installed by Mexico's Federal Investigative Agency will expand their reach.

The system will allow authorities to track cellphone users as they travel, according to contract specifications. It includes extensive storage capacity and will allow authorities to identify callers by voice. The system, scheduled to begin operation this month, was paid for by the U.S. State Department and sold by Verint Systems Inc., a politically well-connected firm based in Melville, N.Y., that specializes in electronic surveillance.

Although information about the system is publicly available, the matter has drawn little attention so far in the United States or Mexico. The modernization program is described in U.S. government documents, including the contract specifications, reviewed by The Times.

They suggest that Washington could have access to information derived from the surveillance. Officials of both governments declined to comment on that possibility.

"It is a government of Mexico operation funded by the U.S.," said Susan Pittman, of the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. Queries should be directed to the Mexican government, she said.

Calderon's office declined to comment.

But the contract specifications say the system is designed to allow both governments to "disseminate timely and accurate, actionable information to each country's respective federal, state, local, private and international partners."

Calderon has been lobbying for more authority to use electronic surveillance against drug violence, which has threatened his ability to govern. Despite federal troops posted in nine Mexican states, the violence continues as rival smugglers fight over shipping routes to the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as for control of Mexican port cities and inland marijuana and poppy growing regions.

Nonetheless, the prospect of U.S. involvement in surveillance could be extremely sensitive in Mexico, where the United States historically has been viewed by many as a bullying and intrusive neighbor. U.S. government agents working in Mexico maintain a low profile to spare their government hosts any political fallout.

It's unclear how broad a net the new surveillance system will cast: Mexicans speak regularly by phone, for example, with millions of relatives living in the U.S. Those conversations appear to be fair game for both governments.

Legal experts say that prosecutors with access to Mexican wiretaps could use the information in U.S. courts. U.S. Supreme Court decisions have held that 4th Amendment protections against illegal wiretaps do not apply outside the United States, particularly if the surveillance is conducted by another country, Georgetown University law professor David Cole said.

Mexico's telecommunications monopoly, Telmex, controlled by Carlos Slim Helu, the world's second-wealthiest individual, has not received official notice of the new system, which will intercept its electronic signals, a spokeswoman said this week.

"Telmex is a firm that always complies with laws and rules set by the Mexican government," she said.

Calderon recently asked Mexico's Congress to amend the country's constitution and allow federal prosecutors free rein to conduct searches and secretly record conversations among people suspected of what the government defines as serious crimes.

His proposal would eliminate the current legal requirement that prosecutors gain approval from a judge before installing any wiretap, the vetting process that will for now govern use of the new system's intercepts. Calderon says the legal changes are needed to turn the tide in the battle against the drug gangs.

"The purpose is to create swift investigative measures against organized crime," Calderon wrote senators when introducing his proposed constitutional amendments in March. "At times, turning to judicial authorities hinders or makes investigations impossible."

But others argued that the proposed changes would undermine constitutional protections and open the door to the type of domestic spying that has plagued many Latin American countries. Colombian President Alvaro Uribe last week ousted a dozen generals, including the head of intelligence, after police were found to be wiretapping public figures, including members of his government.

"Calderon's proposal is limited to 'urgent cases' and organized crime, but the problem is that when the judiciary has been put out of the loop, the attorney general can basically decide these however he wants to," said John Ackerman, a law professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. "Without the intervention of a judge, the door swings wide open to widespread abuse of basic civil liberties."

The proposal is being considered by a panel of the Mexican Senate. It is strongly opposed by members of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party. Members of Calderon's National Action Party have been lobbying senators from the former ruling party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, for support.

Renato Sales, a former deputy prosecutor for Mexico City, said Calderon's desire to expand federal policing powers to combat organized crime was parallel to the Bush administration's use of a secret wiretapping program to fight terrorism.

"Suddenly anyone suspected of organized crime is presumed guilty and treated as someone without any constitutional rights," said Sales, now a law professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico. "And who will determine who is an organized crime suspect? The state will."

Federal lawmaker Cesar Octavio Camacho, president of the justice and human rights commission in the lower house of Congress, said he too worried about prosecutorial abuse.

"Although the proposal stems from the president's noble intention of efficiently fighting organized crime," he said, "the remedy seems worse than the problem."



Carlos Martínez and Cecilia Sánchez of The Times' Mexico City Bureau and Times staff writer Henry Weinstein in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #144 on: May 26, 2007, 06:14:35 AM »,1,2186023.story?coll=la-headlines-world

LA Times
Mexico's drug war takes toll on army
Since December, 89 soldiers have been reported killed. They're among 1,000 narcotics-related deaths this year.
By Carlos Martinez and Sam Enriquez, Times Staff Writers
May 26, 2007

MEXICO CITY — The number of Mexican soldiers slain has jumped dramatically since President Felipe Calderon began using the army to battle drug traffickers, records show.

Since December, when Calderon began the campaign, 89 soldiers have been reported killed, compared with less than a dozen from January through November of 2006, according to army records provided to The Times.

The escalation of attacks on soldiers has come as 12,700 troops man roadside checkpoints and patrol cities in nine Mexican states where rival drug gangs battle for control of ports, roads and other smuggling routes.

The Mexican army reported that troops slain since December included 27 soldiers on duty and 37 off duty. The circumstances of 25 more deaths remain under investigation.

Calderon dispatched the army, along with several thousand federal police officers, shortly after taking office because of concerns that incompetence and corruption had hampered local and state police and judges in combating well-financed drug gangs.

More than 2,000 killings last year were reportedly drug-related.

The killings of troops include the ambush of five men, including a colonel, in Michoacan state this month. In April, authorities found the bodies of three soldiers bearing signs of torture. A message next to the bodies said, "Whoever gets involved will die."

The troop deaths are among more than 1,000 killings so far this year attributed to drug violence, according to tallies by Mexican newspapers. The government doesn't keep an official count.

Calderon's failure to slow the violence has drawn criticism from opposition parties, which have called on him to revise his military strategy. The president said Thursday during a speech in the state of Durango that he was not ready to change course.

"Organized crime wants to scare the Mexican people," Calderon said. "It wants to scare the Mexican people so that the government crosses its arms and they go unpunished. They want us to retreat…. Our stance is clear: not a step backward."

Army salaries have gone up slightly, but pay for the lowest ranks begins at about $2,460 a year, plus room, board, uniforms and medical care. Generals are paid between $8,000 and $10,000 a year.

The government pays the funeral expenses of slain soldiers and also provides a lump sum equal to 40 months' pay to their immediate families.

The families also continue to collect the monthly salaries of slain soldiers and are entitled to full medical coverage at military hospitals and clinics, as well as discounts at three luxury hotel chains.
Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #145 on: June 09, 2007, 12:18:09 AM »

Lamento que otra vez lo siguiente sea en ingles, pero nadie esta' "posting" (?Como se dice "to post"?) en espanol.

In Mexico drug traffickers silence media

Chris Hawley and Sean Holstege
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 8, 2007 12:00 AM


When hand grenades began exploding outside its subsidiary in Sonora state,
the largest newspaper chain in Mexico decided to throw in the towel.

"For the good of all, I recognize the imperative need to make this painful
and difficult decision and announce the temporary closure of the Cambio
Sonora newspaper," Mario Vázquez Raña, president of Organización Editorial
Mexicana, told readers in a letter.

That was two weeks ago. The newspaper has not published since.

Across Mexico, a tide of drug-related violence is silencing journalists, one
of the few institutions that people still trust in this country racked by
police and judicial corruption.

Mexico was the deadliest country for journalists after Iraq in 2006, with
nine dead and three missing, according to the Reporters Without Borders
watchdog group.

The numbers of attacks have been rising since 2003, as reporters are
snatched from the street by armed men in SUVs or gunned down as they leave
their offices. Just in the past month, a reporter and cameraman disappeared,
another reporter received death threats and a newspaper office was attacked.

The repression is hampering anti-crime efforts and threatening to destroy
Mexico's free press, which had just begun to flourish after decades of
control by the Mexican government, some journalists say.

"Before, the repression was political. Now, it's coming from organized
crime, and it's targeting the very lives of journalists, " said Adela
Bello, publisher of the Zeta newsmagazine in Tijuana.

In some cases, attackers seem to be punishing reporters for specific
articles identifying drug-smuggling and other suspects. But other attacks,
like the Cambio Sonora grenades, seem to be aimed simply at sowing fear
among the news media, said Reporters Without Borders, which interviewed
reporters for its annual report.

"Journalists on the border were telling us they were afraid to write about
local crimes," said Lucie Morillon, Washington director for the group. "If
you know the mayor or a powerful politician is linked to drug traffickers
and you've just had a baby, you won't write that story."

Newsroom fear

In drug hotspots, many newspapers no longer write about drug-related crime.
Others bury news of shootouts and murders deep in the newspaper.

Nuevo Laredo's El Mañana newspaper stopped covering drug-related crimes
after a Feb. 6, 2006, attack on its offices with grenades and assault
rifles. Editors now review every crime story to see if it is safe to print,
editor Ricardo Garza said.

At Cambio Sonora, editors had stopped assigning drug-related investigative
articles more than a year ago, editor Roberto Gutiérrez said.

El Imparcial, the most prestigious newspaper in Sonora, cut back on its
drug-crime reporting after one of its reporters, Alfredo Jiménez,
disappeared in 2005. Now, the newspaper won't even talk about the issue.

In the past year, there have been at least 30 attacks, threats or attempts
to silence journalists or their employers, according to an analysis by The
Republic. And the incidents are getting closer to the Arizona border.

On April 16, gunmen killed Saúl Martínez, a reporter for the Interdiario
newspaper in Agua Prieta, just across the border from Douglas. Police said
he may have been involved in drug smuggling, a charge his family fiercely

Also in April, reporters in San Luis Río Colorado, near Yuma, filed a police
complaint alleging that lawyers for an drug-trafficking suspect were
pressuring them to change testimony about the 1997 death of a fellow

The attackers have been picking increasingly high-profile targets.

On April 6, gunmen killed Amado Ramírez, correspondent in Acapulco for
Mexico's No. 1 television network, Televisa. On May 10, they abducted
popular television reporter Gamaliel López Candanosa and his cameraman in
Monterrey, Mexico's third-largest city.

Since 1994, 15 reporters have been confirmed killed because of their work,
according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The only conviction came
12 years ago, and only five cases resulted in arrests.

A main reason is that murder is not a federal offense under Mexican law and
state investigators often lack the tools or desire to hunt down journalists'

When journalist killings began to accelerate last year, the Mexican
government created an Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against
Journalists to handle such cases. But of 152 complaints investigated by the
office, only two have gone to court, special prosecutor Octavio Orellana
told La Jornada newspaper on May 16.

"More than a year has passed with no results. They haven't broken that cycle
of impunity," said Carlos Luria, Americas program coordinator for the
Committee to Protect Journalists.

Setback for democracy

Press watchdog groups say the pressure comes at a critical time, as Mexican
journalists were becoming more independent and aggressive after decades of
government control.

Until democratic reforms in the 1990s, Mexican presidents pressured the
media by controlling the flow of government advertising, manipulating unions
allied with the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or cutting off
newspapers' paper supply through the state-run newsprint monopoly,
Productora y Importadora de Papel S.A.

Mexicans now trust the mass media more than they trust President Felipe
Calderón, the Supreme Court, the police and nearly every other institution
in Mexico, according to a February poll by the Mitofsky consulting company.
Only universities, the Roman Catholic Church, the army and the National
Commission on Human Rights ranked higher.

Watchdog groups say the attacks on journalists are crippling Calderón's
recent efforts to crack down on drug crime in Tijuana, Nuevo Laredo,
Monterrey, Michoacán state and other hotspots.

Police corruption in these places is rampant, and journalists are often the
only source of solid information about drug lords.

"The drug traffickers are getting rid of people who tell the Mexican people
the truth, who keep them informed." Morillon said.

"You can't solve the drug problem if you don't have the proper information.

Failing to address the drug problem will lead to more violence, she and
others said.

"It will be a very unstable situation and very dangerous, "Morillon said.
"It's terrible for Mexican civil society, and that will affect the border

Silencing a giant

The May 24 closure of Cambio Sonora showed that even Mexico's biggest
newspaper chain could be brought to heel, analysts say.

"This goes beyond violence to the press," Lauria said. "It's limiting the
ability of Mexicans to communicate with each other."

Organización Editorial Mexicana, known as OEM, claims to be Latin America's
biggest newspaper chain, with 70 daily papers.

Gannett Co., which owns The Republic, has 102 daily newspapers.OEM also owns
24 radio stations, and Vázquez Raña, the company's president, briefly owned
the U.S. news agency United Press International in the 1980s.

Grenade attacks

The company's decision to close Cambio Sonora came after grenades exploded
in the newspaper's parking lot on April 17 and May 16.

The second grenade narrowly missed a reporter who was coming out of the
office. That attack came the same day as a confrontation between police and
drug smugglers that killed 23 people in northeastern Sonora.

OEM said it closed the newspaper because the Sonoran authorities ignored the
company's calls to put police around its office and failed to find the

The company said that it did not believe the move showed weakness and hoped
that the closure would force the Sonoran government to take action.

"The very fact that we are such a large and strong chain should prevent
people from seeing this as a sign of weakness," company Vice President
Eduardo Andrade said.

"What we are hoping is that this will make everyone reflect on the
responsibility of the authorities to provide security."

Sonoran Gov. Eduardo Bours said detectives are doing their best to find the
attackers and accused the company of overreacting.

"The two grenades are regrettable, no doubt about it, and I'm not saying
they aren't regrettable, " Bours told reporters at a May 28 news conference.
"But the reaction seems extremely strange to me, to say the least."

Newspaper officials still don't know the motive for the attacks. Cambio
Sonora had not published any investigative articles recently, said
Gutiérrez, the newspaper's editor.

"We don't have the slightest idea what the attacks were about," he told The
Republic shortly before the paper closed.

The newspaper had already taken precautions to protect its reporters after
the disappearance of El Imparcial's Jiménez, he said.

Crime stories ran without bylines, and the newspaper had struck a deal not
to run investigative pieces unless all newspapers in the region published
them simultaneously.

Andrade said the newspaper's reporters will continue to be paid during the
paper's closure.

"It's worrying how they have managed to intimidate these media," said
Navarro, the publisher of Zeta.

"It's getting more serious and more widespread.

"We've lost media in the northwest of the country and some in the center and
others. We're just going to keep doing our job and hope these gloomy
statistics end."
Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #146 on: June 12, 2007, 09:21:22 PM »

Una entrevista en ingles con una periodista bien informada sobre Latinoamerica
Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #147 on: June 15, 2007, 03:41:22 PM »

Mexico: The Growing Risk to Businesses
Two days after the targeted killing of Nuevo Leon state legislator Mario Cesar Rios Gutierrez in Mexico's northern industrial city of Monterrey, Public Security Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna said June 14 he will send 1,600 Federal Preventive Police officers to the city. The move is aimed at reinforcing the Mexican army soldiers who have been patrolling Monterrey since state police walked off the job May 21 to protest an increase in officer killings by drug cartels. The increased security presence could return a measure of stability to the once-peaceful state capital, though that might only push the violence elsewhere.

Although crime-related violence is not uncommon in Mexico, the trend toward gratuitous and extreme violence is growing. Moreover, serious crime and bloodshed are now being seen in areas that historically have been calm, such as Monterrey and other areas of the country. This means U.S. citizens living and traveling in Mexico -- as well as the many U.S. companies operating there -- face more risk than ever before. While the already dangerous security situation continues to deteriorate, an uptick in the number of attacks against multinational corporations can be expected.

The June 12 robbery at a U.S. electronics company's warehouse near Mexico City highlights this threat. In that case, a large group of armed men stole two full semi-trailers of electronics after having assaulted the security guards, secured all the employees on site and ordered the workers to report that things were running smoothly. Company officials suspect the perpetrators conducted extensive pre-operational surveillance on the facility, though it also appears likely that someone on the inside cooperated with the robbers.

One of the problems is that the cartel wars are occupying more and more police and federal resources. Another fundamental problem is that the cartels exercise de facto control over large portions of the country. Maintaining this control includes, in many cases, buying off police and government officials at all levels of government, as demonstrated by the June 14 indictment of four former top police officials in Tabasco state on charges brought by a special prosecutor's office on organized crime. Police officers not receiving bribes to cooperate with a cartel risk being killed, while those on a cartel's payroll risk being killed by a rival gang.

This kind of environment is leading to a situation in which crime in general can flourish. As a result, heists at commercial enterprises, with electronics and pharmaceuticals at greatest risk, can be expected to increase.

These problems are not new for Mexico, but as the federal government continues to crack down on organized crime, the drug gangs will continue to respond -- and the violence will soar. Problems like widespread corruption only mean that police and army efforts will continue to fall short. The one bright spot is that Mexicans overwhelmingly support Mexican President Felipe Calderon's efforts against the cartels. A recent poll published by Mexico City daily Reforma indicates that 83 percent of respondents support Calderon's use of the army in the fight against organized crime.

While the federal security presence increases in Monterrey, the cartels could move on to other areas of Mexico -- and then combat troops will be needed in those places as well.
Frequent Poster
Posts: 50

« Reply #148 on: June 20, 2007, 04:03:18 PM »

Hola a todos grin, la última vez que hable sobre las elecciones y el conflicto posterior a ellas, cerré mi comentario con la frase -ya veríamos dentro de tres años-. Sin embargo no tuvimos que esperar tres años y aprovecho para compartir con todos algunos hechos del presente gobierno en México, aprovechando los mismos para contrastar con los comentario de Raul Tortolero, en relación con estos mismos temas.

Añoradores de la violencia.
Acuérdense que las marchas bloqueos, mítines y huelgas en general es la forma histórica en como las personas afectadas por las decisiones de una autoridad responden, es decir no son formas de agravio sino de defensa. Personalmente recorrí muchas veces (en diferentes horas del día y la noche), el plantón de zócalo-reforma, nunca vi expresiones de violencia contra los automovilistas o los que cruzaban a pie (porque a diferencia del bloqueo de la PFP al Congreso, en el de reforma la gente podía caminar libremente por ahí además los cruces principales estaban abiertos al paso de los automóviles), en cambio observe un activismo muy creativo, animo de informar a las personas sobre lo que pasaba y porque estaban en ese sitio. Las actividades eran de lo más variadas: juegos de ajedrez, radio comunitaria, proyección de videos, talleres de lectura, conferencias de los mas diversos temas (y con intelectuales de renombre como Lorenzo Meyer), se hacían cortes de pelo por una módica cooperación, había juegos mecánicos, se organizaban relampagueantes torneos de futbol, se hacían los mas variados guisos y se invitaba a la gente a comer ahí. Quienes portaban los estandartes de Lenin y de Stalin solo era una carpa situada en el lado NE de la plancha del zócalo, la cual permaneció ahí hasta hace unos meses (pertenecía a la APO de Oaxaca) y no tenia nada que ver con la protesta de la gente por el fraude del 2 de julio; además las personas que se dicen “leninistas-stalinistas-marxistas”•desprecian y jamás participan en este tipo de movimientos de protesta por considerarlo de “carácter burgués”. Quien si denota una inclinación por políticas de tipo represiva y de control es el actual presidente Calderón, quien siendo un presidente civil (aún en su carácter de general supremo del ejercito mexicano), se vistió parcial y desmañadamente como soldado: con una chaqueta y gorra militar. Todavía me pregunto ¿que mensaje nos dio? Presidentes como De Gaule o Tito en el pasado; o Chávez, Castro, Hussein, incluso el presidente Bush han vestido uniformes de militar, los primeros efectivamente por su formación y el ultimo por ser veterano de la guerra de Vietnam; pero el de México, ¿que pretensiones militaristas nos quiere expresar? Ni siquiera el general Cárdenas volvió a vestir el uniforme militar después de tomar la envestidura de presidente.

López Obrador a pesar de su aparente lenguaje agresivo, desde las concentraciones por su desafuero y durante las posteriores a la elección; mostró la responsabilidad y el respeto por la integridad de la gente que lo acompañaba, por ejemplo, en el discurso previo a su comparecencia ante el congreso, concluyó su discurso con esta frase: -se que quieren acompañarme y se los agradezco, pero les pido que permanezcan en este sitio y sigan los acontecimientos por las pantallas que hemos instalado- Durante el mitin el 1º de septiembre, termino su mensaje diciendo: –nosotros vamos a permanecer aquí, que se queden con sus tanquetas y su ejercito en San Lázaro- El 1º de diciembre cerró su intervención así: -nuestro movimiento es pacifico y de dignidad nacionalista, vamos a marchar rumbo al Auditorio Nacional, pero les pido: ni un solo cristal roto, ni paredes grafiteadas... si sufrimos alguna provocación, nos sentaremos en el suelo y no ofreceremos ninguna resistencia; recuerden que la policía también es integrante del pueblo y no son nuestros enemigos-

Campaña de inestabilidad en México e intervención en política interior mexicana
Seguí muy de cerca la campaña de Marcelo Ebrard en la zona donde vivo, los actos masivos en la ciudad y en las reuniones de organización: efectivamente se organizaron redes ciudadanas pero nunca vi material de nada relacionado con el presidente Chávez o su gobierno. Sin embargo lo que si está documentado hasta en los medios de comunicación más conservadores fue la presencia y conferencias del ex presidente español José Ma Asnar (apenas hace unos días visito de nuevo a Calderón en los Pinos), apoyando abiertamente al candidato del PAN. También el semanario Proceso difundió un articulo sobre la participación del mercadologo estadounidense Dick Morris en la campaña del candidato panista, en el articulo decía: -el éxito de las campañas organizadas por Morris radica en una agresiva campaña en contra del candidato a vencer, a través de los medios de comunicación, como se comprueba en el slogan que diseñó en contra del candidato de la coalición por el bien de todos: López Obrador es un peligro para México-. En el mismo artículo concluía: -pese a que cualquier candidato que contrata a Morris triunfa, el lado negativo de su estrategia es la gran polarización social que provocan este tipo de campañas y el hecho de descalificar al adversario pero nunca dar datos concretos sobre la veracidad de sus afirmaciones-.

En lo referente a los “insultos” del presidente Chávez a “los mexicanos”, el periódico La Jornada hizo un balance al término de la administración foxista y en el tema de política exterior mencionaba: -el sexenio de Fox se distinguió por el nulo crecimiento en relaciones exteriores y por una política exterior torpe que originó sucesivos conflictos con varios gobiernos latinoamericanos... parece que toda su atención se centro en agradar al presidente Bush, el cual, a partir delos sucesos del 11 de septiembre le dio la espalda-. Las expresiones –México necesita- -lo que requiere México-, -ofende a México-, son comentarios tramposos de los medios de comunicación para involucrar en un problema o una acción, a personas o grupos que en realidad no son afectados. Con esto en mente: ¿los comentarios del presidente Chávez se dirigían a los mexicanos o solo a su presidente? Lo que dijo Fox sobre Chávez o la posición que tomo respecto a Cuba ¿eran las pociones y opiniones de el y su gabinete o las de la mayoría de los mexicanos?

Izquierda moderada e ideología
No entiendo de donde surge la fama de socialista de López Obrador? Su discurso es de lo más moderado de América latina, el problema es que esta enmarcado en una ideología republicana nacionalista, ¿donde está lo revolucionario o socialista en dicha postura? Por desgracia la mayoría de las personas no tiene una referencia histórica objetiva y no esta en la capacidad de comparar a los actores políticos modernos con determinada figura histórica. Nadie con “ideología socialista” se vincularía con “el monopolista” y tercer hombre más rico de la tierra, Carlos Slim o con el representante del “opio del pueblo”, el Cardenal Rivera, dos cosas que López Obrador realizó en su época de mayor popularidad como gobernante de la ciudad de México. La táctica seguida por López Obrador después de las elecciones y el hecho ser reconocido a través de una Convención Nacional como presidente legitimo es totalmente legal. En los manuales usados por el Instituto Federal Electoral de 1999 a 2003, se habla que los ciudadanos pueden organizarse en una fuerza opositora (fuera de un partido político), para que sirvan de contrapeso a las políticas publicas del gobierno, que consideren -contrarias al interés público-, en ese mismo manual menciona que además de utilizar las marchas y protestas sociales; -es deseable que envíen propuestas de leyes (o modificaciones a las mismas), a sus respectivos representantes en la cámara de diputados y senadores-. En otro capitulo de los mismos manuales señala la necesidad, de que ese “contrapeso” tenga voz en los medios de comunicación a fin de –generar una opinión pública objetiva y crítica-. Tomando en cuenta lo anterior: ¿qué importa que dicha organización se llame “gobierno legítimo”?, ¿que su líder se le conozca como “presidente legítimo”? o ¿qué el consejo directivo se le llame “gabinete”? De todas formas no interrumpe en nada la marcha normal del país o ejerce ningún presupuesto. Lo que hace es servir de contrapeso al actual gobierno a través de giras informativas, comunicados de prensa, marchas, denuncias e iniciativas de ley alternas. Recuerden que posterior a la elección de 1988 Manuel Cloutier el candidato panista a la presidencia de la república, organizo la marcha nacional por la democracia que concluyó en la creación de un gobierno legitimo, en cuyo gabinete se encontraba como secretario de agricultura al mismísimo ex presidente Fox, dicha acción de resistencia solo duro cerca de dos meses y le mereció el calificativo en la prensa progresista de: -digna y valiente lucha a favor de la democracia-. Precisamente en los tiempos en que el panismo recurría a las mismas tácticas que hoy reprueba, específicamente durante el conflicto posterior a la elección de gobernador en el estado de Guanajuato, una vez mas el ex presidente Fox utilizó las tácticas de la resistencia civil pacífica y una de sus accione más fuertes fue el cierre del aeropuerto de Guanajuato. La inconformidad del entonces candidato Fox se debía al margen cerrado de la elección con el candidato priista (2.6 % en ese entonces mientras que la diferencia del pasado 2 de julio fue aún más cerrada 0.5 %), tomando en cuenta esta información: ¿donde están las acciones de la izquierda trasnochada que busca un sistema amparado en la violencia y la sangre? La gente que acudió a las marchas o que permanecieron en reforma no buscaban la desestabilización del país, reclamaban con sus escasos medios a las instituciones correspondientes, que hicieran su trabajo imparcialmente y aclararan una elección que resulto muy cerrada, es decir exigían con medios democráticos, pacíficos y creativos que se estableciera en la realidad el orden democrático, legal y republicano; no romperlo. ¿Quién es el que ejerce la violencia cuando enfrenta a una marcha pacífica (compuesta en su mayoría de ancianos y mujeres), con un cuerpo de francotiradores, tanquetas y grupos antimotines? ¿por qué se le exige a la izquierda modernidad, cuando el presente gobierno en su “combate al crimen organizado” militariza al país? ¿Por qué los periodistas y analistas políticos claman que la izquierda debe ser moderada y no se escandalizan cuando el presidente Calderón visita algún sitio público y este es prácticamente cercado por decenas de cuerpos militares y cientos de barreras metálicas? ¿no es lo mismo que hacían las dictaduras militares latinoamericanas en los años 70 o de lo que se acusa al presidente Chávez o a Castro? El control de los medios de comunicación es otra prueba de la “modernidad” del presente gobierno, ya que los utiliza para justificar de una forma irreal y simplona la presencia del ejercito en las calles. Pero es inequitativo y no le da la difusión y el seguimiento necesario a la serie de abusos denunciados por las victimas y cometidos por los militares: violación de una anciana en el estado de Veracruz; violación de 5 mujeres menores de edad en el estado de Michoacán y el asesinato de una familia entera en un retén del estado de Sinaloa. A los disidentes al gobierno de Calderón (como se dice que sucede en Cuba o Venezuela), no se les proporciona ningún espacio televisivo, salvo para mofarse de ellos, descalificarlos y descontextualizar sus acciones.

Ultimas precisiones.
Decir que las personas mueren en las ambulancias por el bloqueo en la avenida Reforma o que los empleados de los restaurantes y hoteles se vieron en la necesidad de migrar por perder su trabajo es una exageración. Cualquier taxista o chofer (incluidos los de las ambulancias), tienen años trabajando en la ciudad y saben perfectamente rutas alternas para evitar el sin numero de marchas y plantones, que afectan a la ciudad diariamente. Durante el bloqueo, López Obrador daba conferencias informativas (de lunes a sábado), a las 19 horas y los domingos a las 12 del día; al terminar dichas actividades (durante todo el tiempo en que duro el plantón), la gente abarrotaba los cafés, restaurantes y fondas del las avenidas cercanas al zócalo de la ciudad, incluido el Samborns de Bellas Artes. Si los hoteleros de reforma se vieron afectados, fue por la propaganda negativa de las televisoras hacia los campamentos, la cual inducía a pensar en que al cruzar a pie por Reforma las personas serían atacadas o su auto seria desmantelado si se dejaba en la cercanía de los campamentos. Los posibles estragos ocasionados por una protesta de dos meses, no puede igualar los resultados de la política económica de los dos sexenios anteriores, en materia de desempleo y emigración ilegal; tan solo en el sexenio foxista se triplico la migración hacia Estados Unidos y se perdieron el doble de empleos que en los dos sexenios anteriores juntos.

Nuevamente cierro el espacio con el comentario que hice hace algunos meses: salgan y vean los acontecimientos de primera mano, no confíen en lo que les dice la televisión, platiquen con su gente, convivan con ella.
Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #149 on: June 23, 2007, 01:16:55 AM »


Gracias por tu "post"  (?Como se dice "post"?).  Lamento que con nuestro "Gathering" este fin de semana no tendre' tiempo para responder hasta la semana que viene.

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