Over the weekend: US participation in drug war questioned; Monterrey suffering narco traffic jams

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 3/20/10

 El Financiero (Mexico City)  3/18/10

16.5 million illegal arms in Mexico
According to Athanasios Hristoulas, professor of the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), narco and organized crime groups in Mexico generate annual earnings of 24 million dollars in the US market.  According to the specialist, across Mexico approximately 300 to 460 tons of cocaine annually pass to the US where 20 million people regularly consume drugs.  On the other hand, it is calculated that in Mexico there exist 16.5 million illegal arms.  Just between 2000 and 2008, five million illegal arms entered the country, of which 90 percent came from the US, he asserted.

In view of this reality, Hristoulas foresees that the Merida Initiative will not yield positive results because it doesn’t combat in an efficient manner the money generated by the traffic in narcotics, inhibit the use of drugs and, above all, it doesn’t stop the arms traffic.  The academic argued that the narcotraffic process has three phases: the production, principally in Colombia; the distribution, principally in Mexico; and the consumption that is principally in the US.  Nevertheless, the Merida Initiative only partially combats  the problem of distribution and doesn’t address the problems of production and consumption.

The professor states that although, in itself, the Merida Initiative demonstrates the co-responsibility between Mexico and the US to stop narcotraffic, it doesn’t seek to combat the corruption that exists in the US.  “That is to say, it is designed to try to manage the existence of corruption in Mexico, but actually there is no recognition of the existence of corruption in the US where the distribution networks cannot function without the complicity of US authorities,” he is quoted.

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US assistance welcomed

3/19/10 – A high ranking official of the Mexican Federal Department of Justice (PGR), Marco Fastlich, said his government should now, more than ever, accept the assistance of the US in combatting organized crime because “that country is the cause and part of the problem.”  He said such help should be put to use because the US has experience and intelligence strategies more advanced than Mexico’s and is willing to help.  He pointed out that, despite Mexico’s reluctance to accept such help, the assistance would serve to obtain important information to combat the criminal organizations.  He expressed that the Mexican federal government forces cannot carry on the fight alone and need to involve the efforts of the state and municipal governments.

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 El Universal (Mexico City) 3/19/10

 Organized crime resistance heating up around Monterrey

Elements of criminal groups in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, staged a new tactic in the government’s war against them by blocking major thoroughfares in the city, paralyzing the metropolitan zone.  Using public transport buses, the gangs blocked the major routes and then proceeded to hijack the stalled vehicles to add to the blockade.  These tactics began Thursday evening and continued through Friday.  In a few armed confrontations with the authorities, one of the thugs was killed and a youth died in the crossfire.  The highway leading to the border city of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, was blocked by a hijacked truck.  There were also confrontations in Reynosa.  The criminal groups were not identified and no arrests were reported.  [Photo relates.]

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Grenades seized

Probably in relation to the actions reported above [the article wasn’t clear on this], the Mexican Army, responding to a citizen report,  seized 10 hand grenades abandoned on the side of the Monterrey-Reynosa highway.

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 El Diario de Ciudad Juarez (Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua) 3/19/10

 Deportations drop through Cd. Juarez

Since this past March 10, the US has stopped using Cd. Juarez to deport undocumenteds arrested in that country, resulting in a drastic drop in migrants arriving in this city.  The coordinator of the municipal migrant program said that since last week, they have noted the drop in deportees.  Before, they received up to 100 repatriates per day and now only about that in a week.  The Mexican immigration department (IMN) advised that because of the high rate of violence in the city, they have suspended receiving deportations of any kind.

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 Sunday 3/21/10

 El Universal (Mexico City) 3/20/10

 Highway blockades continue for second day

For the second day, the streets and highways around metropolitan Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, have had more than 30 traffic blockades created by supposed organized crime gangs.  Most of the blockages have been on main thoroughfares leading to the border cities of Reynosa and Ciudad Aleman, Tamaulipas.  Authorities say the disrupting activities are a response by the criminal gangs to measures by the government to seek out and confront them.  There have been occasional pursuits and confrontations with the gangs, but the blockades tend to thwart coordinated enforcement efforts.  Rodrigo Medina, governor of the state of Nuevo Leon, announced that enforcement strategies would be put in force to prevent and contain future blockades.  “We will continue the combat against crime, we are reinforcing and performing in a coordinated manner to confront these desperate criminal acts by those who are trying to put  the citizenry against the authorities by provoking chaos and rejection,” the governor said. 

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Gun battles in Mazatlan leave 8 dead

A running gun battle between rival gangs on the highway between the tourist city of Mazatlan and Culiacan in Sinaloa state left at least eight dead.  The fight with high-powered firearms and grenades resulted in casualties scattered along several miles of the highway in a number of vehicles.  Other violent similar events in the state brought the known total for the day to 16. 

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Army seizes marihuana in Tijuana

The Mexican Army and municipal police in Tijuana, Baja California, seized over a ton of packaged marihuana hidden in a storehouse and arrested three people.  No location was given, except that the storage area was connected to a house in the vicinity of the offices of the federal justice department (PGR).

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 El Debate (Sinaloa) 3/20/10

 Marihuana fields destroyed in Jalisco

State authorities in Jalisco have destroyed more than two million marihuana plants in 340 fields so far this year.  The state Secretary of Public Security said that the increased success in locating the fields is due to a greater presence of enforcement in the state, better intelligence and the use of helicopters.  The fields located and destroyed thus far this year are a significant advance over previous years, amounting to four times more than the same period in 2009 and six times more than in 2008.  So far this year, 7,545 people have been arrested in the anti-drug operations.

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The media according to Chavez 

The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, would seek to control the use of the internet because this space is maintained outside governmental controls, said a Venezuelan director of the journalist guild.  The Secretary General of the of the National College of Journalists (CNP), Roger Santodomingo, stated that “there is a speech by Chavez against the communications media that is outside the control of the government, which is the case of the internet.”  Last week, Chavez defended the necessity of regulating the use and contents of the internet pages after a local publication falsely reporting the death of a Venezuelan official in a supposed attack.  Chavez then called for a study of possible regulation of the internet, citing recent anonymous postings by his opponents calling for his ouster.

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 El Financiero and La Jornada (Mexico City) 3/20/10

 US President Barack Obama will continue his pursuit of immigration reform as presented by US senators Schumer and Graham, assured the ambassador of that country, Carlos Pascual.  In an interview, the ambassador said that the US president has never forgotten the immigration matter and proof of that is that there is a special team in the White House dedicated to it.  He said that the US leader “has not forgotten and has not stopped working on it,” but that the political necessities in the US have been on other internal topics such as health reform.

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 El Diario de Ciudad Juarez (Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua) 3/20/10

 “March for America”

[Quoting the article in part ] Tired of living in the shadows, hidden and without rights, Rosy Medina boards a bus in Dallas that will transport her to  Washington, DC, to participate in a march demanding an integrated immigration reform.  “We live in uneasiness, with panic, without power to buy a house, without  licenses to drive,” said Medina, a Mexican professional who, for eight years has resided illegally in Arlington, a suburb of Dallas, Texas.  “We are going to be the voice of millions who only want to be given the same opportunities  of everyone, that they be allowed to work and that they not be persecuted,” pointed out Rosa Maria Ramos, a resident of Brownsville, Texas, who immigrated (sic) 17 years ago from Mexico.

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 El Imparcial (Hermosillo, Sonora) 3/20/10

 Press one for English

One of the urgent goals of the Sonora state government is the instruction of primary students in English, according to Oscar Ochoa Patron , Secretary of Education.  Primary students would master English in a maximum period of four years under a national program.  Ochoa said his department has targeted resources for the training of English teachers, but are lacking many candidates.  “All students will master two languages: Spanish and English, and the indigenous will have the good fortune to have three languages, which will be a great thing,” he said.

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 Monday 3/22/10

 El Sol de Mexico (Mexico City) 3/21/10

 OEM wades in on Mexico-US relations

[The OEM news organization issued the first of two articles in which they analyze Mexico-US drug efforts from their point of view.]

Mexico City – In Mexico there are fears for the future of the Mexico-US relations, but the US government simply “hurled a scolding,” as always, even though they haven’t done their work regarding the matter of narcotraffic.  The link in the chain of the narcos doesn’t break off at the border.  Capitalizing on drugs continues into the US and their programs against it have not worked either.  [The lengthy commentary goes on in this vein emphasizing that the problem exists equally between the two countries and scolds the US for not recognizing its responsibility.  The article ends with:]  Unofficial figures calculate that each year, a million arms and diverse weapons such as grenades, grenade launchers and ammunition enter the Mexico while seizures are minimal, hardly 0.02 percent.

http://www.oem.com.mx/elsoldemexico/notas/n1564963.htm

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 Frontera (Tijuana, Baja California) 3/21/10

 More marihuana seized in Tijuana

The Mexican military seized 4.718 metric tons of processed marihuana from a storage building on Calle Diaz Ordaz in Tijuana.  According to military sources, they received an anonymous report about a strong chemical odor at the storage site.  When they arrived to investigate, they discovered the marihuana in 656 packages.  There were no arrests.  [Photo relates.]

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 Cuarto Poder (Chiapas) 3/21/10

 The difficulties of gathering news from Latin America

The Latin American EFE news agency from Oranjestad, Aruba, reports that Latin American news journalists are suffering the worst wave of violence in many years with murders and kidnappings that undermine free press and information, according to the Inter-American Press Society (SIP).  A total of 12 journalists have been assassinated in the past few months in violence unprecedented in such a short period of time, according to Robert Rivard, director of the San Antonio Express-News and president of the Free Press and Information Commission of the SIP.  The most dangerous and violent situation is in Mexico due to the struggle between the drug cartels and the government.  Many censor themselves in the face of  threats received.  A total of six Mexican news reporters have been murdered in the past few months while another six have been kidnapped.  Included in the recent murders,  three correspondents were murdered in Honduras, and one each in Colombia and Brazil.  The continuing verbal attacks and the pressures by the governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela and Honduras against a free press is with the intention of discrediting the media and manipulate public opinion.

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 -end of report-

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