Archive for February 22nd, 2010

Over the weekend: Tons of explosives hijacked; Ciudad Juarez remains under siege

February 22, 2010

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FORMER BORDER PATROL OFFICERS
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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.
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 Saturday 2/20/10

 El Porvenir (Monterrey, Nuevo Leon) 2/19/10

 Tons of explosives stolen

An armed group hijacked a tractor-trailer truck transporting 18 tons of explosives on the Monterrey-Saltillo highway near Monterrey, Nuevo Leon.  The truck’s two operators were abducted and are missing.  Only the truck’s tractor has been located by the federal agents where it was abandoned near Saltillo, the capital city of neighboring Coahuila.  The missing cargo of explosives, used in mining operations, was originally destined for Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.

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 El Financiero (Mexico City) 2/19/10

 “The US should give more help to Mexico against the cartels: The Examiner”

The major Mexico City newspaper quoted salient points made by an editorial from The Examiner.  The original editorial, conveniently in English, can be accessed at: 

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/Mexico-needs-U_S_-help-against-cartels-84768182.html

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European Union demands protection of journalists in Mexico

Pointing out the surge of violence in Mexico by criminal organizations, the European Union has demanded that the Mexican government arrest the assassins of journalists in order to contain the violence that profession has suffered throughout the country, pointing out that the only objective of such murders is to restrict the freedom of the press and professional expression.  It is well known that Mexico occupies the dishonorable first place in the world in assassinations of news reporters, making European journalists fearful of working in the country.

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 El Universal (Mexico City) 2/19/10

“The narco in Sinaloa has not been touched”

An expected candidate for governor of Sinaloa, Manuel Clothier Carrillo, decided not to throw his hat in the ring, stating, “In Mexico, in order to be a candidate means having to kiss someone’s bottom.”  Clothier is presently a representative in the federal Chamber of Deputies [House] and says that to accept the candidacy would require him to compromise his opposition to some of his party’s policies.  He said that to be governor of Sinaloa, one either has to make a deal with the narco or with the federal government; one can’t govern without a deal with one or the other.  He said the federal government has not taken the war on narcotraffic into Sinaloa and has shown no interest in doing so, leaving the state untouched.  “I wouldn’t  make any deal with the narco and since the federal government won’t commit itself in Sinaloa, what a mess that puts one in,” he said.  When asked if he had suggested in an earlier interview that the present federal government was protecting the Sinaloa cartel, headed by “El Chapo” Guzman, Clothier answered, “I declared that they haven’t touched him, that everything indicates that in three years of war against narcotraffic, Sinaloa has not been touched; as one might read into this, they have hit all the cartels except the Sinaloa cartel. That is evident.  What does that mean?”

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 El Imparcial (Hermosillo, Sonora) 2/19/10

 Opinion re: Strategy in Cd. Juarez

[Columnist Ana Maria Salazar, a political analyst, expressed the following views.]

We can say that Ciudad Juarez represents an important thermometer of what is happening in questions of criminality and violence, not only in that city and state, but of what can happen in the rest of the country.  I consider that Ciudad Juarez is advising us of the imminent danger that could face the rest of Mexico.  

 With the announcement of President Felipe Calderon that part of his new strategy for this border city includes the arrival of more than two thousand additional federal police in Juarez to complement or replace the Mexican Army, since it has provoked a debate about the effectiveness of putting soldiers on the streets to combat organized crime.  This debate, in truth, has cast a shadow over what is the fundamental question:  What to do with the municipal police?  Get rid of them?  Professionalize them?  And it is, that in many cities in the country, plainly and simply, they have been converted into the armed branch of organized crime.  In other cities, these departments are dedicated to espionage and the collection of intelligence for some criminal group and in others, plainly and simply, they do nothing, either because of fear, incompetence or corruption.

 By trying to maintain a certain appearance of legality, in place of getting rid of the police in Juarez, there were months in which two or three soldiers were assigned as “chaperones” to each police officer to assure that they didn’t give information to the mafia, didn’t get involved in armed actions, or facilitate the massacres that, with increasing frequency, are happening in this border city.  The strange thing is that now the “chaperones” are the questionable ones.  If the police cannot be relied on to exercise even minimum responsibilities, why keep up the farce?  Why aren’t they dismissed from the municipal police of a city like Juarez?

 In fact, Senator Ramon Galindo made a call to do exactly that.  In a report that he will issue next week, he told me that “there, the action of the federal government should be much more dramatic, they should take control of the municipal police and also the state police operating in Juarez.  The situation is so grave that they can’t wait for the training of the police …”  But there is a fundamental problem in this approach.  It has to do with the Constitution.

 Azucena Olivares, The mayor of Naucalpan, who is also the president of the Association of Cities in Mexico, commented that whoever promotes this, ignores the history of our country and also ignores article 115 of the Constitution where the municipalities must be autonomous with respect to their rules of governing.  She says she is aware of the problem of insecurity we have throughout the country, but excluding the cities is not the way of confronting it.

 What the Federal Government has proposed is not so much the dismissal of the police, but rather, that they implement a plan like in Colombia where the police are under the command of the Federation.  In my interview with the mayor of Juarez, Jose Reyes Ferris, he affirmed
 that “in the case of small and medium size towns, it would be very important to have a National Police so that they won’t need to have police departments.”

 I leave you with a final reflection:  Like many problems the country has, we have wanted to seek solutions and legislation that impact the whole country.  Now is the time to recognize that there are different Mexicos that require different kinds of answers.  The criminality of Juarez is not the same as that of Sinaloa, San Luis Potosi, or of Puebla.   The necessity of the present plan to do away with municipal police is perhaps only applicable for some cities.  Why not legislate in such a way that would facilitate the federal authorities assuming control of the municipal police temporarily if the situation requires it?

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 Sunday 2/21/10

 El Nuevo Diario (Managua, Nicaragua) 2/20/10

 Creation of Latin American organization proposed

In a summit meeting Monday of the Grupo del Rio in Mexico, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will propose to the gathering of heads of state of Latin American and Caribbean countries the creation of a new organization of those states that will exclude the US and Canada.  “The winds of change are blowing in Latin America,” he said, “it can be said that the majority accompany us in this proposal.”    Chavez, a strong critic of the US government, has threatened in the past with abandoning the Organization of American States, calling it an “imperial bureaucracy” that “does not respect the sovereignty of the countries.”  Chavez adds,”this is the century of the liberation of Latin America … and Venezuela will always play the role of vanguard in our continent.”

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 El Imparcial (Hermosillo, Sonora) 2/20/10

 No let-up in Cd. Juarez

Despite the national attention focused on Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, the steady rate of mob type executions continues unabated.  During the past 24 hours, 15 more have been gunned down in organized crime related incidents.

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 Monday 2/22/10

 Cambio de Michoacán (Morelia, Michoacán) 2/21/10

 Military operations in Michoacán 

So far in 2010, Mexican Army operations in Michoacán have resulted in the seizure of 4,118.4 kilos [9,080 lbs.] of marihuana, 89 vehicles, and 298 firearms, including explosives.

In addition, the operations have located and destroyed six narco-laboratories.  The Army also destroyed 182 marihuana fields and a field of opium poppies.  Among the arms seized were  163 rifles, 135 pistols, 11,140 rounds of ammo and 119 grenades.  In addition, they have arrested 46 subjects  suspected of links to the narco business.  Four other suspected criminals were killed in armed conflicts with the Army.

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 El Universal (Mexico City) 2/21/10

 Students imitate narcos in Juarez schools

Secondary students, some as young as 13 and 14 years, belonging to a gang of 20 adolescents attending a school in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, have taken over the hallways, courtyards, bathrooms and the security of the school, charging fees from one to seven pesos a day from the teachers and the other students.  Students reluctant to pay are roughed up and teachers are threatened.  According to the principal, “it started as a game.”  At first they thought it was because in that poor neighborhood, they were asking for lunch money.  “Then it became a daily request from everybody,” said a teacher by telephone who wouldn’t giver her name out of fear.  The youths say they are “La Familia” and operate on the playgrounds with cell phones.  The gang is believed to be made up of the children of local narco thugs.  Apparently, this is going on in several schools in the city, which has a total of 120 secondary schools.

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-end of report-


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