Over the weekend: Plans for tightening the border; Latinos encouraged by health reform

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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 3/27/10

 El Financiero (Mexico City) 3/26/10

 Latinos celebrate amendments to US health reform

The Mexican news agency Notimex, reporting from Washington, DC, writes that Hispanic organizations celebrated the approval of amendments to the new health law by the US Congress that will benefit nine million Latinos who are without medical insurance, although it excludes 11 million of those who are undocumented.  “This is a victory for Latinos, many of whom presently have no insurance and soon will get coverage,” said the president of the National Council of La Raza, Janet Murguia.  “It was a hard battle and we Latino leaders are proud to say that we did everything we could to assure that the concerns and needs of Latinos were answered in this historic health insurance reform,” she emphasized.  Legal immigrants, nevertheless, will have to continue waiting five years to receive public health benefits, except women who are pregnant and children who are legal permanent residents.  [The article included the accompanying photo, apparently showing aliens illegally crossing through the Arizona desert.]


Chavez criticizes Hillary Clinton, OAS and Colombia

Quito, Ecuador – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, speaking from the Ecuadorian capital, said that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “is out of step with the times,” that the Organization of American States (OAS) “is an unburied cadaver,” and that Colombia has shown “great disrespect” for its neighbors.  Referring to Clinton, he said, “she still believes herself to be the imperial woman; she’s out of step with the times, she still believes the United States is the leader of this continent, it has ended its time, it has ended its fifteen minutes of yankee imperialism, but they persist.”  Referring to Colombia, he said. “It is the narcotraffic, paramilitarism, kidnapping, criminal underworld, assassinations, all that comes from our sister republic of Colombia.”


Immigration reform will resolve medical insurance for the undocumented

Notimex – Washington, DC – The exclusion of some 11 million undocumented aliens from the new medical insurance provisions will be resolved with immigration reform, assured the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House, Cecilia Munoz.  In a teleconference, Munoz indicated that Congress lacks sufficient votes to include the undocumented in the benefits of the health care reform passed by President Barack Obama.  Under the new law, to lower costs, the undocumented will not be able to buy private health insurance inside the program administered by the government.  “The vision of the president is that we need an immigration reform,” said Munoz, who pointed out that Obama will continue efforts to assure changes in the “broken” immigration system.


 El Universal *Mexico City) 3/26/10

 US senators plan fight against narcos

US Senators John Kerry and Robert Menendez introduced a bill to strengthen the fight against drug traffic in Latin America.  They said in their presentation that the bill has as its objective a more direct focus for the efforts against the scourge of drugs in the region.  It also seeks to strengthen the civil institutions, reduce military intervention and increase Federal, state and local police forces as well as improving the judicial institutions.  Kerry is president of the Committee on Foreign Relations and Menendez is on the Subcommittee for International Development.


Gun battles continue in Nuevo Leon

Cerralvo, Nuevo Leon, [some 45 miles SW of Roma, TX ] became a battle camp when elements of the Mexican Marines were met with gunfire by criminal gangs who attacked from about a dozen vehicles, resulting in the deaths of six of the thugs.  From early in the week, rumors of a convoy of criminals roving about had kept the residents on edge.  After the gang finally found the action they were seeking, the results were the loss of six of them, the seizure of six of their vehicles along with 15 rifles, 10 pistols, two grenades and related equipment.


 El Debate (Sinaloa) 3/26/10

 Two officials murdered in Nogales

A police commander and his military escort were gunned down near the police office in the border city of Nogales, Sonora.  The two were attacked by AK-47 assault rifle fire from a passing pickup truck.


 La Jornada (Mexico City) 3/26/10

 Another police commander killed

The body of the Chief of Police of Agualeguas, Nuevo Leon, was discovered in the trunk of his police patrol vehicle along with that of his brother.  The Chief had been decapitated.  The bodies were located near the town of General Trevino, northeast of Monterrey.


 Sunday 3/28/10

 El Sol de Mexico (Mexico City) 3/27/10

 14 assassinated in Ciudad Juárez, including three police

A federal police agent and two municipal police were assassinated  in Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua, where the total of such deaths reported for the day was 14.  The three police officials were gunned down together at the entrance of a hotel in Cd, Juárez.  Two others were gravely wounded.  The other murders occurred throughout the city.


 El Universal (Mexico City) 3/27/10

 Calderón calls for improving Mexico’s image

[Op/ed column]  Facing the decline of international image because of insecurity, President Felipe Calderón has no recourse than to ask his leaders to speak well of Mexico, to spread the word that Mexico is a secure and reliable place and there are many reasons to visit it.  From the official residence of Los Pinos, he issued the request in a tone more of desperation, of urgency, to return to the idea that the tourist sector is being hit, the second strongest income of the country.  In order to make his point that Mexico is not as bad as perceived, he made comparisons.  First, he said that in Mexico there are 11.5 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, while in countries like Jamaica, there are 60; in El Salvador, 52; Guatemala, 47; Brazil, 22 and Costa Rica, 11, and he reminded that in Washington 31.5 murders are reported for every 100,000 inhabitants and in New Orleans, 95 cases.  Good to know, although of little consolation in Monterrey, Mazatlan or Ciudad Juarez these days.


 Monday 3/29/10

 El Universal (Mexico City) 3/28/10

 US groups impede stopping traffic in arms: Calderón

Mexican President Felipe Calderón pointed out that the US should control the flow of arms into Mexico to ease the battle against violence in his country.  “It is not a problem of law, but rather of putting it in practice because there is a law that prohibits exporting arms to countries where they are prohibited and this is the case with Mexico,” he said in an interview with CNN.  Calderón maintained that when the problem is brought up to the US authorities, “they say that they have to confront a strong opposition and some very powerful lobbies in Congress in order to change the situation.”


Plan to impede arms traffic

The US is employing a campaign to impede their citizens from being used by Mexican criminal organizations and drug cartels to acquire arms for them in the US.  The purchase of arms on behalf of a third party is against the law.  Doing so is a federal crime punishable by 10 years in jail, according to US law.  This prevention strategy was designed by the Office of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)  and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to detect and inhibit the purchase of a firearm by one person for another.  The ATF advises that Mexican cartels turn to US residents to purchase arms, since the members of criminal organizations cannot stand up to the verification process.  In the US, it is estimated that 40% of criminals obtain arms through friends or family.


“US guilty of violence in Mexico”

[The article is less accusatory than the headline suggests, saying: ] Mexico and the US agreed to work jointly to “dismantle the drug cartels that are carrying the war to the civil society” and thus threatening economic development.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted that the US is responsible for the violence in Mexico because of the enormous drug market in her country and the sale of arms.

 A reader’s comment from Pepe El Grillo in Guadalajara responded: Yeah, right, Calderón isn’t guilty of anything, the fault belongs to the gringos and the extraterrestrials… oh, also the Russians, the Communists and the hippies…


Four police assassinated in Cd. Juárez

In less than 12 hours, a state police officer and three federal agents were assassinated in the border city of Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua.  The first occurred Saturday evening when the veteran state officer was killed by gunfire while in his own car.  Minutes later, three federal agents were gunned down in the downtown area of Cd. Juárez.  The day of violence ended with a total of 18 such executions.


US toughens security controls on the border

[Op/ed column]  The appointment of Alan Bersin as Commissioner of the Customs and Border Protection agency is an unequivocal sign that the president of the US, Barack Obama, will toughen security controls along the border that it shares with Mexico.  The new border czar, who clearly assumes charge in an interim status, will be the one directly responsible for seeing that the violence shocking practically all the Mexican border states does not spill over to the US side as it appears to be at the point of doing.  There are 3,200 kilometers [1,988 mi. ] that will be under the watch of Bersin, who figured, some years ago, as one of those responsible for the implementation of Operation Guardian that had among its objectives to prevent the traffic of drugs and undocumenteds over the common border.  Bersin knows very well the problematic border and although he is from Brooklyn, New York, his professional life has been in California.  Not many days will pass before we know the actions to be taken to confront the powerful narcotics cartels that operate in one or another form on both sides of the border. 


 El Financiero (Mexico City) 3/28/10

 Drug debate useless if US doesn’t bring up the topic: Calderón

Mexican President Felipe Calderón sees as useless a debate about the legalization of drugs to reduce the problem if the US doesn’t enter the discussion.  “I believe that it is a very difficult debate.  But the main point in that sense is if the United States doesn’t legalize or even bring up this kind of debate, it doesn’t have meaning.”  Calderón said although there are serious arguments for and against the legalization of drugs, “I am not for it.  I believe it is possible to make the law work.  Allow me to say that my main objective is not to eliminate drugs, not to stop their use, that is impossible.  My primary goal is to enforce the law in Mexico.”


Frontera (Tijuana, Baja California) 3/28/10

Large marihuana seizure

A citizen report led the Mexican Army to a seizure of 4.8 tons of marihuana in the municipality of Rosarito Beach, Baja California.  The military arrived in time to arrest three men loading the 506 packages into vehicles.  Also seized were four rifles as well as the vehicles involved.


 -end of report-

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