Oct 21, 2011

Week's Top Articles on Mexico: October 14-20, 2011

In the drug war this week, in an interview with the New York Times, President Calderón asserted that his military strategy was the correct and only one. Calderón, who belongs to the National Action Party (PAN), also raised hackles in Mexico by suggesting that if an Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate wins the 2012 presidential election, the new president will make a deal with the drug cartels. Also, in a meeting with the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, led by Javier Sicilia, Calderón rejected two of its key demands. 

From Veracruz, a report describes the chaos, confusion and fear that come with living in a state where it is virtually impossible to tell the "good guys" from the "bad guys." From the U.S., a study by the U.S. Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute raises alarm over a possible flood of "narco-refugees" to the U.S. And a Gallup poll finds, for the first time, that 50% of U.S. citizens favor legalizing marijuana. 

Regarding the U.S.-Mexico border, one report focuses on increasing corruption in Customs and Border Patrol, while another looks at the potential cost of a border fence along the entire frontier, something that several Republican presidential contenders say they will build if elected.

In the area of immigration, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked some provisions of the Alabama anti-immigrant law and Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced a record level of deportations for the just-ended federal fiscal year. 

And on a happier note, there is a very nice story about the growing phenomenon of celebrating the Mexican Day of the Dead in the U.S.. 

Drug War 

Calderón Defends Militarized Response to Mexico’s Drug War 
NYTimes.com: Oct. 15, "As the twilight of his presidency sets in, President Felipe Calderón of Mexico is striving to lock in the militarized approach to drug cartels that has defined his tenure, pushing aside public doubts and pressing lawmakers to adopt strategies he hopes will outlast him." read more

Government Frustrates Dialogue with Peace Movement 
IPS ipsnews.net: Oct. 17, "The failure of the dialogue on which the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity had staked its hopes was perhaps predictable, after the federal government twice postponed the meeting and changed the format to include participants who agree with its policy of a militarised war on drugs. "I don't hold out much hope," Javier Sicilia (the Movement's leader) said, a few days earlier.

But on Friday Oct. 14, the president dismissed out of hand two of the movement's key demands: a reversal of the militarised security policy, and the creation of a truth commission to investigate the countless reports of abuses by the state security forces."  read more

Shadowy group says it targets Mexico drug cartel; some are glad
latimes.com: Oct. 19, "It is a sign of the desperation and outrage over drug-war violence (in the state of Veracruz) that the vigilantes are not only tolerated but welcomed. But there is a disturbing question: Just who is behind their killings?" read more

"Narco-Refugees": The Looming Challenge for U.S. National Security 
Strategic Studies Institute: Oct. 17, "Since 2006, when Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels, there has been a rise in the number of Mexican nationals seeking political asylum in the United States to escape the ongoing drug cartel violence in their home country. Political asylum cases in general are claimed by those who are targeted for their political beliefs or ethnicity in countries that are repressive or are failing. Mexico is neither. Nonetheless, if the health of the Mexican state declines because criminal violence continues, increases, or spreads, U.S. communities will feel an even greater burden on their systems of public safety and public health from "narco-refugees." " read more

For The First Time, 50 Percent Of Americans Say U.S. Should Legalize Pot 
NPR: Oct. 18, "Since Gallup started asking Americans in 1969 whether use of marijuana should be legal, most have said no. But in a Gallup poll released yesterday, half of Americans said the government should legalize pot use. That is a record high." read more

The Border 

Customs agency's rapid expansion parallels rise in corruption
latimes.com: Oct. 17, "Since October 2004, 132 U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees have been indicted or convicted on corruption-related charges. Rapid expansion and lack of funds for background checks are blamed." read more

Border Fence Raises Cost Questions 
NYTimes.com: Oct. 20, "Proposals for an imposing border fence have drawn cheers at Republican rallies. Border security appears to be an area where some Republican candidates are ready to set aside their priority on fiscal discipline, since security analysts say very little research is available on how much a border-length fence would cost.

Based on what studies do exist, the analysts say that building and maintaining a fence through the remote or hostile terrain along the border would run into billions of dollars, with no documented impact on diminishing illegal crossings. ... (Estimates) yield a rough projection of $22.4 billion for a single fence across the 1,400 miles remaining (unfenced) today. These estimates do not include the costs of acquiring land, nor the expense of maintaining a fence that is exposed to constant efforts by illegal crossers to bore through it or under it or to bring it down." read more


Court blocks Alabama from checking student status 
CBS News: Oct. 15, "In a blow to Alabama's toughest-in-the-nation immigration law, a federal appeals court sided with the Obama administration Friday when it blocked public schools from checking the immigration status of students. The decision from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also said police can't charge immigrants who are unable to prove their citizenship, but it let some of the law stand, giving supporters a partial victory. The decision was only temporary and a final ruling wasn't expected for months, after judges can review more arguments." read more

U.S. deports nearly 400K in a year - a record 
CBS News: Oct. 18, " U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton said Tuesday his agency deported nearly 400,000 individuals during the fiscal year 2011 that just ended in September. Morton announced the numbers in Washington, saying they were the largest in the agency's history. ICE said about 55 percent of the 396,906 individuals deported had felony or misdemeanor convictions. Officials said the number of individuals convicted of crimes was up 89 percent from 2008.

Officials could not immediately say how many of those crimes related just to previous immigration violations. Individuals can be convicted of a felony just for returning to the U.S. or being found in the U.S. after the government orders them to leave. Among those deported were more than 1,000 people convicted of homicide. Another 5,800 were sexual offenders, and about 80,000 people convicted of drug related crimes or driving under the influence." read more

Viva Mexico 

Day Of The Dead' Expanding In US 
AP/Fox News: Oct. 20, "Growing up in South Texas, Kiko Torres saw the Day of the Dead as an obscure holiday celebrated in southern Mexico. Few people dared to discuss it in his small but strongly Catholic, Mexican-American community. But that's changing. In the last decade or so, this traditional Latin American holiday with indigenous roots has spread throughout the U.S. along with migration from Mexico and other countries where it is observed. ...

... The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, honors departed souls of loved ones who are welcomed back for a few intimate hours. At burial sites or intricately built altars, photos of loved ones are centered on skeleton figurines, bright decorations, candles, candy and other offerings such as the favorite foods of the departed. Pre-Columbian in origin, many of the themes and rituals now are mixtures of indigenous practices and Roman Catholicism." read more

No comments:

Post a Comment