Over the weekend: Mexico’s narco war intensifies in Michoacán; Honduras talks stalled

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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.

Saturday 7/18/09

 El Universal (Mexico City) 7/17/09

High-profile case re-opened 
The Mexican federal police arrested members of a criminal group known as “Los Petriciolet” for kidnapping and murder of adolescents Fernando Marti and Antonio Equihua.  The Marti case, in which the 14-year-old son of a prominent Mexico City businessman was kidnapped and then murdered after the ransom had been paid, was thought to have closed almost a year ago with the arrests of members of another gang, “La Flor.” [M3 Report 9/8/08].  Friday’s arrest, however, re-opened the case with the arrests of Noe Robles Hernandez, a.k.a Noe Alejandro Soto Garcia, 31, and Jose Antonio Montiel Cardoso, 34, in Mexico City.  Noe Robles Hernandez confessed that he had kidnapped and murdered the  Marti youth and that the La Flor gang had nothing to do with it.  The arrest of members of Los Petriciolet gang put the Attorney General of the Federal District (DF) on the defensive.  The year-old arrests of members of La Flor had been based on seemingly credible testimony of one of Marti’s bodyguards who had been left for dead at the scene of the youth’s kidnapping, but survived to identify his attackers.  Alejandro Marti, Fernando’s father, criticized the government’s efforts in pursuing such cases as too slow.  His son’s death over a year ago triggered a national grassroots call for government action against the growing crime problem that resulted in promises of increased efforts.  The government’s good intentions aren’t enough, Marti said.


Mexico rejects charges
Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Relations, Patricia Espinosa, rejected the charge that Mexico violates human rights or acts outside the law in the fight against organized crime.  For this reason, she rules that out as an obstacle to receiving support from the Merida Initiative.  “There is no way of thinking that the Mexican government is encouraging a fight outside the law against organized crime,” she told reporters.  Espinosa is looking forward to next month’s summit meeting in Mexico of the heads of state of Canada, the United States and Mexico, where she will meet with her counterparts, Lawrence Canon and Hillary Clinton.


 La Hora (Ecuador) 7/17/09

Headline: “Honduras on verge of civil war”
Social organizations in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, demanding the restitution of the presidency to Manuel Zelaya, announced today that if by Sunday an accord has not been reached regarding the political crisis in the country, they would call a general strike the following week.  Venezuela President Hugo Chavez warned of “a bloody civil war” in Honduras that could spread throughout Central America.  He also asked the US to withdraw troops from Honduras.


 Cambio de Michoacán (Morelia, Michoacán) 7/17/09

Governor charges Army abuses in Michoacán
While at the same time requesting respect for the federal authorities and demanding major cooperation with them in the operations taking place in his state of Michoacán, Governor Leonel Godoy Rangel told of a series of acts that point to alleged abuses brought on by federal forces.  “There are worrisome cases like the one on Saturday,June 20, when federal forces entered [state offices] without authority or forewarning,” he said. The governor went on to cite two other specific examples of excessive authority.  “What is happening in Michoacán, in light of the evident decision not to coordinate with the state government, is not the indication of lack of government, but rather the indication of the occupation of a free and sovereign state.” he said.


 Novidades de Quintana Roo (Cancun, QR) 7/17/09

Nexus between FARC and president of Ecuador
Bogota, Columbia (Notimex).  A video broadcast today revealed that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) might have monetarily supported the 2006 presidential campaign of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa.  According to information, in the recording transmitted by Caracol de Colombia, an independent station, rebel leader Jorge Briceno, alias “Mono Jojoy,” admits that FARC provided “resources” to Correa’s campaign.  In the tape, confiscated by Colombian authorities, Briceno alludes to “assistance in dollars to Correa’s campaign and later conversations with his emissaries, including some agreements.”  According to the military chief of FARC, the documents that frame the accord between the guerilla group and the Ecuadorian president are “very compromising in our connection with those friends.”  In the video, Briceno also alludes to the Venezuelan government and expresses his worry for the “difficulties of President (Hugo) Chavez to govern,” due to opposition “stimulated and financed by the gringos (United States).”


El Financiero (Mexico City) 7/17/09

Hugo Chavez: “US the top narcotrafficker on the planet”
La Paz, Bolivia.  In answer to a US Congressional report naming Venezuela as an important center of distribution of drugs on the continent, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stated that the US is the leading narcotrafficker in the world.  Chavez described the Congressional document as a “new falsehood” and “lie,” which he claimed was a trick by Washington to “satanize” those governments that “don’t suit them,” like his, Bolivia and Nicaragua.  He said that Venezuela has begun to strike back hard at narcotrafficking now that US Drug Enforcement has left, because DEA is “mined with narcotraffic and conspirators.”


 Sunday 7/19/09

 El Universal (Mexico City) 7/18/09

Honduran negotiations stalled
The new Honduran government, presided over by Roberto Micheletti, voiced disagreement with the conditional re-installment of deposed President Manuel Zelaya that had been proposed by the president of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias.  Vilma Morales, ex-president of the Honduran Supreme Court and a member of Micheletti’s delegation to the Costa Rican meeting, said “we are in no way going to achieve any accord without consideration for our institutions and without respect for the Constitution of the Republic.”  In a conversation on a local Costa Rican radio station, Morales said that it is necessary to discuss “point by point” and analyze all that the proposal of [Costa Rican President] Arias means. [The continuing dialogue with Morales indicates that the parties are making a serious effort to reach accord.]


Federal justice fights back
A Mexican federal judge ordered 10 municipal police of Areaga, Michoacán, to be held for 40 days while investigations are conducted into their connection with the murders of 12 Federal Police in various parts of the state.


 El Financiero (Mexico City) 7/18/09

Kidnapping arrests
Mexico’s federal Office of Public Security (SSP) reported that during the present administration [beginning Dec. 2006], the Federal Police have arrested 680 presumed kidnappers, rescued 486 of their victims and broken up 89 kidnapping gangs.  Of four of the gangs taken down so far in 2009, three were linked to La Familia Michoacána and one to Los Zetas, the armed branch of the Gulf cartel.


 Monday 7/20/09

 El Universal (Mexico City) 7/19/09

Mexican police capture suspect wanted in US
Mexican federal agents arrested Emigdio Preciado, one of the FBI’s 10 most wanted.  Preciado was arrested in Santiago Escuintla, Nayarit.  He is wanted for crimes committed in Los Angeles, California, in 2000, including an AK-47 rifle attack on two police officers making a routine traffic stop.  One of the officers was severely wounded.  Extradition proceedings are underway


The rage of “La Familia Michoacána”
After the capture of Arnoldo Rueda, one of the leaders of the crime organization “La Familia,” a major four-day offensive against the federal forces was unleashed by the cartel in the states of Michoacán, Guerrero and Guanajuato.  In all, 21 violent attacks were carried out against federal authorities and installations, leaving 16 agents dead, 12 of their bodies found tossed in a pile near La Huacana, Michoacán.  Moments before their executions, the 12 had been videotaped by their assassins.   After the attacks, a subject identifying himself as Servando Gomez Martinez, considered one of the leaders of La Familia, had requested a “pact” with the federal government.  The government’s response was to send in 4,000 troops – Army, Navy and Federal Police.  The response has been met with disapproval from the state officials complaining that the federal authorities had not coordinated with them.


Federal government defends its response
The Mexican federal government explained that the increase in the number of enforcement personnel sent to Michoacán is due to the gravity of the attacks against federal agents in the state.  The federal government holds that the increase in its forces is “legitimate defense.”
In reply to complaints by Michoacán’s Governor Leonel Godoy, Mexico’s Secretary of Government, Fernando Gomez Mont, said that “the gravity of the situation required an immediate response” in order to protect federal forces who were “targets of the aggression” by organized crime. 


 El Financiero (Mexico City) 7/19/09

Curfew in Tegucigalpa
As negotiations to resolve the political crisis in Honduras stall, the Honduran government imposed a curfew in the capital city of Tegucigalpa until midnight Sunday.  “We request understanding from the Honduran people and make a call to comply willingly with this order for the protection and safety of people and their belongings and to guarantee order and social peace,” stated the message broadcast via TV and radio by the presidential office.  [By close of business Sunday, there had been no report of progress in defusing the situation.]


 -end of report-

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