Over the weekend: Italian Parliament approves strong immigration bill; 651 robberies in Juarez in June; car jackings decapitations and homicides on the increase; U.S. Army report warns about growth of paramilitary groups in Mexico

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Foreign News Report

The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO) extracts and condenses the material that follows from Mexican and Central and South American on-line media sources on a daily basis. You are free to disseminate this information, but we request that you credit NAFBPO as being the provider.

Friday, 7/3/09

El Universo (Guayaquil, Ecuador)  7/3/09  (full transl.)

The Italian Parliament yesterday approved a controversial law backed by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government, which makes clandestine immigration a crime, directly affecting the work and residency of the Ecuadorans and other foreigners who work in this country without documents. According to a study made by the Ministry (read: Dep’t.) of Interior in 2008, there are some 15,000 fellow countrymen who reside “without papers” while another 70 thousand are deemed legal. The most controversial article is that which makes illegal immigration a crime and punishes it with a fine from 5,000 to 10,000 euros (7,000 to 14,000 dollars) and expulsion. Further, it prolongs the detention of immigrants from two to six months in reception centers, but prison is excluded as punishment. Except for physicians and educational center directors, the new law obligates public officials to denounce immigrants without documents.   Renting an apartment to a clandestine immigrant or offering accommodations will be sanctioned with up to three years in jail, (and) marriages between illegals will not be permitted even when one has documents, and to avoid marriages of convenience to obtain Italian citizenship faster the spousal applicants must live together two years.   But the most emblematic measure, adopted by pressure from the xenophobic Liga Norte extreme right group, is that “citizens’ associations” will carry out rounds to watch the cities at night, which was exclusively in the hands of the police.    The law obligates foreign parents of a newborn to present their residence permit in order to register the birth, which would increase the “invisible children” phenomenon.  Pedro (fictitious name), a 37 year old Ecuadoran who arrived in Genoa two years ago as a tourist and stayed working illegally, exclaimed “We are in a dead end alley.” He said, “The little old man that I take care of tried to arrange my papers but they did not approve his application since he had low income, now I don’t know what I’ll do, I’ll have to live in hiding because I don’t want to return to Eucador.”  The president of the non-governmental organization Tierra de Hombres, Raffaele Salinari, condemned the measures that deprive foreign children of “elemental rights.”  

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Diario de Xalapa (Xalapa, Veracruz)  7/3/09

The second-in-command of Mexico’s “INM” (Natn’l. Immigration Agency) in the state of Tabasco said that the number of “immigrants” in Tabasco has risen by some 20% and that this could rise even higher because July to September is harvest time in the United States and for this reason many persons attempt to pass through with the “illusion” of finding work in that country. He added that the “INM” detects 700 to 1 thousand migrants in that state , mostly from Honduras and the rest from other Cent. Am. countries. (Tabasco is just north of Chiapas – Mexico’s southernmost state- on the north side of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec)

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Norte (Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua)  7/3/09

There were 651 robberies in Ciudad Juarez in June; the victims were 267 commercial establishments, 113 homes, 50 pedestrians and 24 educational establishments. The rest were street vendors and theft of items from vehicles.

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La Jornada  (Mexico City)  7/3/09

Yesterday there were five cases of persons decapitated in the states of Mexico, Coahuila and Guerrero; the victim in the last location was an election official. Furthermore, 23 assassinations presumably linked to organized crime were reported in Chihuahua, Guerrero, Zacatecas, Durango, Sinaloa and Michoacan. Three decapitated bodies were found in areas of the state of Mexico: the cadavers of three males without a head were found in plastic bags, abandoned in Axapusco. The third body was found in Teotihuacan, and the state’s attorney’s office did not discard the possibility that the head found in Naucalpan might correspond to this cadaver. The head of Rogelio Garcia Carachure, an elections official, was found in Tlapehuala, Guerrero; he and his brother-in-law had been carried off by force last Tuesday. The fifth decapitated case was found in Ramos Arizpe, a satellite city of Saltillo, Coahuila.

Meanwhile, 12 homicides, eight of them in Ciudad Juarez, were reported in Chihuahua, all presumed linked to organized crime. Another four assassinations took place in Guerrero, two in Zacatecas and two more in Durango; besides, one each took place in Sinaloa and Michoacan. Dead person number 23 for the day was a man who died at the hands of killers while attempting to prevent the kidnapping for ransom of a 16 year old in Cardenas, Tabasco; the thugs are asking for one and a half million pesos. Another Tabasco businessman was also kidnapped.               In Durango, the president of a businessmen’s association stated that federal police practice extortion against automobile drivers at checkpoints with the pretext that the vehicle in which the persons are traveling have “irregularities” in their documentation, “for which reason they would not be allowed to proceed.” Lastly, in Mexicali, Baja Calif., city police arrested a woman and three men in possession of 700 grams of cocaine.

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Saturday, 7/4/09

Crítica (Hermosillo, Sonora) 7/4/09

Near Cucurpe, Sonora, state police agents came across a “pollero” (sic) (read : people smuggler) and twelve undocumented Guatemalans being transported northbound. (Cucurpe is some 70 mi. south of Nogales, AZ)

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El Diario (Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua) 7/4/09

The incidence of carjackings in Ciudad Juarez has more than doubled in comparison with 2008. While 318 of those crimes took place there between January and May of last year, this year the number has risen to 795, an average of five a day.

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El Universal (Mexico City) 7/4/09

More than a hundred undocumented Central Americans were riding a northbound freight train near the border of the southern Mexican states of Tabasco and Chiapas when they were ambushed by a group of “Zetas”. The “Zetas” kidnapped fifty-one of them and were holding them in custody in a nearby ranch while relatives in the U.S. or in their countries of origin paid between $2,500 and $5,000 dollars for their release. A breakdown in the “Zetas’s” security system has now led to the rescue of the 51 Central Americans by Mex. military.

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El Debate (Culiacan, Sinaloa) 7/4/09

“At least 16 candidates who will be part of the 500 federal deputies (read: members of Congress) who will compose the next legislature have links with criminal cells.” Mexico’s Dep’t. of Government and Dep’t. of Justice have relating information but are not releasing names. An investigation believed to be taking place points to candidates from the states of Sinaloa, Sonora, Veracruz, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Tamaulipas and Chihuahua. All political parties are also represented. (Nationwide elections for members of Mexico’s next Congress are to be held on July 5)

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La Crónica de Hoy (Mexico City)  7/4/09

Police officials reported that eleven persons were executed yesterday in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, including several businessmen.

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Sunday, July 5

Prensa Libre (Guatemala City, Guatemala)  7/5/09

“The journey of violence which lashes the country left 11 dead yesterday in the capital city and the province.” (This article sub-headline was followed by 12 paragraphs with relating details. Likewise, “La Prensa Gráfica” – from El Salvador – today described the murder of five persons at one time and place, the sixth such massacre of the year there and the second one in the city of Colón)

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El Diario de Coahuila (Saltillo, Coahuila)  7/5/09

In Sinaloa, a Cessna aircraft with no flight plan or registration and “loaded with half a ton of drug” landed on a primitive strip at El Palmito, in the hill country of Badiraguato, Sinaloa. A Citation plane sent to chase it was unable to also land there and had to leave because its fuel was low. The occupants of the Cessna managed to flee and unload part of their cargo.

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“The U.S. warns about “narco insurgency” in Mexico”

(Though not news originating in Mexico, we are making an exemption and reporting the following article due to its high relevancy. It appeared today in both “El Universal” (Mexico City) and “Frontera” (Tijuana, Baja Calif.)  A full translation follows.)

A U.S. Army report sounds the alert about the growth of paramilitary groups in Mexico, some of which are used by the drug cartels to dominate territories and challenge the State, beside placing itself as part of “the third generation of crime.” In the report titled “Narco insurgency in Mexico and the anti-drug policy of the United States”, the Institute (sic) for Strategic Studies of the Army War College, an agency of the Pentagon, sets forth the need for Barack Obama’s government to modify its strategy against drug traffic and that it change it to a counter insurgency. It warns “A transition is being observed from traditional gangsterism by salaried assassins  to a paramilitary terrorism with guerilla tactics.”

The report is released less than a week that, from Cancun, a self-labeled Los Matazetas (“The Zeta killers”) paramilitary group made itself known through a video and a letter acknowledging the assassination of three alleged “zetas” as a way of avenging the kidnappings and abuses by that criminal group, but its members claim to support president Felipe Calderon’s policy against organized crime.

The report warns Washington that it will not be an easy task, but in order to face this new situation in Mexico it would be necessary to have “a successful counter insurgency, in which the use of force must be integrated within large political, military, diplomatic and economic schemes, which reinforce each other.”  Hal Brands, author of the analysis, mentions that Mexican cartels use private paramilitary forces which use modern weaponry and are recognized by their brutality. In this regard, Los Zetas are considered Mexico’s “most technologically advanced, sophisticated and violent private army.” Brands points out that the Mexican government must face this issue if it hopes to bring to a halt the insecurity that grew with drug traffic since 2006.

The report explains that the cartels’ paramilitary groups are found as part of the “third generation” that are larger and more powerful than the gangs, since they use violence and intimidation to weaken governmental institutions and corrupt the State’s authority. It adds that support programs such as the Merida Initiative do not attack the root of the problem.

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– end of report –

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