The news had several separate reports regarding concerns over elections in 2009. Following are excerpts from four.
– The national leader of Mexico’s PRD party called for the other major parties, PAN and PRI, to quickly form an accord to prevent the infiltration of narcotraffic into next year’s political campaigns.
– By the end of the year there will be no “Christmas truce” agreement by political parties to avoid the dirty fight and low blows in the political contests in 2009. The Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) will have to apply the law to prevent the entry of illicit money into the campaigns.
– The government and people of Mexico will have to find a model in which there is no room for organized crime to corrupt the authorities or to have their own “armies.”
– President Felipe Calderon: “We can no longer accept the attitude of indifference to the problem of insecurity that, by continuing to ignore or cover up, would lead to higher risk to the national security.”
– The Mexican Army captured 15 members of the Sinaloa Cartel Saturday morning during an operation in San Pedro, Nuevo Leon, [near Monterrey]. The gang members were arrested in a luxurious home in a neighborhood considered to have the highest income per capita in Latin America. The raid interrupted a reunion party for members of the cartel, “the most powerful in the country,” the leader of which is Joaquin “El Chapo Guzman who is presently reported exiled in Central America.
Frontera (Tijuana, Baja California) 12/20/08
– The Secretary of the Board of Directors of Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies [House] called for the Justice Department to open an inquiry against ex-President Vicente Fox and his ex-spokesman to clarify if there was collusion or negotiation with narcotraffic cartels in Mexico, since this would constitute a crime for a government leader. The Secretary, Jorge Manuel del Rio Virgen, said that President Calderon was correct in pointing out that it was during Fox’s term that narcotraffic grew and that “everyone knows” that it was because of the dismantling of government intelligence and the disorganization and incapability of security to combat organized crime head-on, he said. Del Rio recalled that the main person in Fox’s government, principally in the area of security and justice, is today Attorney General, Eduardo Medina Mora. “In whose hands are we in?” he asked.
– In a span of 12 hours Saturday, five people were “executed” in various parts of Culiacan, Sinaloa.
Entorno a Tamaulipas (Tamaulipas) 12/20/08
Three military and one civilian were killed in a shootout in Reynosa, Tamaulipas [across from McAllen, TX ] last Thursday evening. The article complains that even after 26 hours, at press time, there were no details released regarding the battle. It is presumed from local witnesses that the shooting started when an Army convoy on patrol was confronted by several vehicles of armed men. A taco vender caught in the crossfire said when the shooting started, he began running away and then heard a grenade explode. Five reporters who arrived on the scene were treated roughly by soldiers who took away their cameras with photos of the battle. One reporter charged that, besides taking his camera, soldiers also took several cell phones and his wallet with 4,000 pesos, as well as his “visa”, credentials and several bank cards. Another reporter said they took his video camera as well as keys to his car.
La Prensa Grafica (San Salvador, El Salvador) 12/19/08
El Salvador’s General Bureau of Migration and Aliens has sanctioned more than 80 firms all around the country for hiring alien personnel who are in illegal status or who lack the proper work authorization issued by the Government. The fines were imposed from January to early December of this year after completing 650 routine inspections in the different places where the various businesses are located.
El Heraldo (Tegucigalpa, Honduras) 12/19/08
In Tegucigalpa, two men who’d been tied up were thrown out of a “microbus” and then gunmen in the vehicle opened fire on them immediately. Then, the bodies of two other men were found by the side of the highway leading east; like the first two, their hands and feet were tied. A fifth victim, an unknown, was also found shot to death. Yesterday there were three other gunfire victims in the northern part of the country.
El Universal (Mexico City) 12/21/08
– Police in Chilpancingo, Guerrero state, today found the severed heads of nine presumed military men in the business center of the city. The bodies were located along a highway on the edge of the city. There was a narco-message with the heads that read, “For each one of mine you kill, I will kill ten of you.” It appears that the men were intercepted at random while on a day off from military duties in the city.
– By latest count, the states of Sinaloa and Chihuahua were the leading targets of organized crime with 11 executions in different places, while in the states of Guerrero, Michoacan and Jalisco, six more were assassinated.
– Mexico’s Secretary of National Defense reports that an average of 17 narcotraffic arrests are made daily. Seizures of marihuana average more than four tons, and cocaine, 11 kilos per day. The averages are based on fugures from the beginning of this year.
El Porvenir (Monterrey, Nuevo Leon) 12/21/08
At least three presumed members of organized crime were killed in an armed confrontation with the Mexican Army in the north of Guerrero state. After the battle, the Army also seized an Outlander station wagon containing two assault rifles, two pistols, a fragmentation grenade, and several plastic bags containing what appears to be cocaine.
Prensa Libre (Guatemala City, Guatemala) 12/21/08
Official sources reported today that Guatemala will close the year 2008 with a record number of more than 28,000 undocumented (persons) deported from the United States. A spokesman for Guatemala’s Direccion General de Migracion stated that “up until today, 27,312 undocumented migrants have been deported” from the country of the north. The source revealed that that number “could surpass 28,000 since at least four airplanes are expected to arrive next week from various points of the United States, with hundreds of deportees.” The increase in the number of deportees is due to the hardening of the migratory policies of the United States. Twenty-three thousand 62 Guatemalans were deported in the year 2007, a number significantly above the 18,305 deported in 2006 and more than triple the 7,029 of 2005. Thirty-five thousand 250 deported by land by the migratory authorities of Mexico are added to the 27,312 deported immigrants.
Despite the increase in deportations, the family remittances that are sent by the immigrants to the country, (and) which constitute 10 percent of the Gross National Product, have not ceased coming although the rate of growth has decreased in relation to past years. According to Bank of Guatemala figures, Guatemalans abroad sent monetary remittances of $3 billion 973.39 million US dollars in the first eleven months of this year, an amount larger by $182 million 39 (sic) to those sent in the same period of 2007, when $3 billion 791 million US dollars came in.
According to Guatemala’s Chancery (read: State Dep’t.) 1.2 million Guatemalans reside in the United States, and 60 percent of them (do so) in undocumented status.
El Universal (Mexico City) 12/22/08
– The Mexican federal government has identified four routes of arms traffic that, according to security department reports, is carried out by groups and by individuals, although no criminal organization, national or foreign, has been found to be exclusively dedicated to this operation. The “Mexico-USA Arms Traffic” report of November 27 indicates that the Gulf Cartel is the most active as it has entry points at Cd. Acuña and Piedras Negras, Coahuila state, and at Nuevo Laredo, Miguel Aleman, Reynosa and Matamoros, Tamaulipas state. These routes lead to the states of Veracruz and on to Chiapas.
The Pacific route starts at Tijuana and Mexicali, Baja California, and at San Luiis Rio Colorado and Nogales, Sonora. It extends through the states of Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco, Michoacan, Guerrero and ends in Oaxaca.
The Central route begins in Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, and descends through the states of Chihuahua and Durango to join in Jalisco with the Pacific route.
The Southern route has entry points at Balancan de Dominguez, Tabasco, and at Cuautemoc, Tapachula and Cd. Hidalgo in Chiapas state, from which it turns toward Veracruz and Oaxaca to join the national routes of arms traffic.
Investigations by the Mexican Department of Justice and the Army, along with exchanges of information with US authorities, has found that the traffickers prefer to buy arms through citizens or legal residents in the US. Besides the 19 ports of entry named, smugglers also use the innumerable other “informal crossings” along the border.
The Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas, the most violent organizations, have acquired the most weapons including antitank rockets and launchers, grenade launchers and Barrett .50 caliber rifles as well as the “new generation” arms like submachine guns and pistols known for their ability to penetrate armored vests.
– Following up on Sunday’s news of the decapitated bodies found in Chilpancingo, Guerrero state, the nine have been identified as eight soldiers and an ex-director of the state police. Their heads were in a plastic bag left near the Sams Club store in the capital city with the challenging narco-message. Their bodies were found in two different places along highways leading out of town. An unconfirmed version of events is that the eight soldiers were abducted while off duty from their military base in the city. Another source said the crime was likely in retaliation to an Army confrontation last Monday in Teololapan, Guerrero, in which three criminal gunmen were killed. In other violent events in the state Sunday, four other bodies were found, including one cut in half in the town of Igual and a police commander and his wife killed in the city of Quechultenango.
– The following item, in its entirety, appeared in Monday’s paper and apparently refers to a much longer story of the ordeal of an 18-year-old girl and her family following her kidnapping in April. The article was followed by angry commentary from readers, mostly calling for the death penalty. One, however, accused the paper of unprofessional sensationalism.
More that six thousand hours, one after another, of anguish, of uncertainty. And infinite pain after receiving a video with horrendous images of the kidnappers and their daughter. And afterward, in a package, the cruel proof of it, their young daughter, having been mutilated. Living death. They paid the premium ransom. They waited. Nothing. The child would arrive afterward. This is the story of a kidnapping like thousands that happen in a country held hostage by criminal bands. (In the longer story she was released and no specific mention made of mutilation other than that she was “scarred.” )
-end of report-