The media debut a week ago, in the state of Veracruz, by a group calling themselves the Mata Zetas, the Zeta Killers, raised discussion in the press of whether or not they were a "paramilitary" group or just another cartel spinoff. In one article, the Mexican government denied the existance of paramilitary groups in the country, but another article discusses the reality of such groups, which are tied to political and economic powers in various parts of Mexico.
In Acapulco, the government announced an agreement to protect teachers who have been on strike because of extortion demands and threats to their lives. However, by late in the week, many supposedly re-opened schools still lacked teachers.
This week, a developing master narrative in the drug war emerged from the Mexican government, with support by some outside experts. It portrays the Sinaloa cartel and the Zetas as the two drug cartels which have emerged on the top of the heap, as other cartels have been fractured by government attacks. The story line sees a looming final battle for dominance of one cartel over the other, with two possible outcomes: the victory of one as "the" cartel controlling the drug trade through Mexico, or mutual self-destruction, producing a government "victory" in the drug war.
Meanwhile, in Ciudad Juarez, as the federal police -- who replaced the army -- get set to hand duties back to the municipal police, a report portrays how poorly trained and equiped that force remains.
Lastly, a leading Mexican political analyst, Enrique Krause, writes about the critical importance of the emergence of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity -- and other citizens action groups -- for the future of democracy in Mexico.
The Justice Department of the Obama adminstration announces that it plans to challenge more state immigration laws. Hispanic children in Alabama begin to disappear from the school system as the law requiring schools to document students' citizenship status goes into effect. And the immigrant flow across the border boils down more and more to those who have lived a significant part of their lives in the U.S., have families there and are, therefore, determined to return no matter what the U.S. Border Patrol does to disuade them on one side or the Mexican cartels charge on the other.
Mexico denies that paramilitaries operate
The Washington Post: Sept. 30, "Top Mexican security officials said Thursday that there is no evidence that true paramilitary groups are operating in Mexico, countering video boasts by a shadowy group of masked men who asserted responsibility for the torture-murder of 35 alleged drug cartel members last week."
Acapulco Teachers End Strike
NYTimes.com: Sept. 30, "Teachers in Acapulco have agreed to go back to work on Monday after more than a month on strike in protest over crime. Thousands of the city’s teachers have stayed home after receiving extortion threats demanding half their salary. Leaders of the teachers signed an agreement with the state government late Thursday that lays out increased security measures around schools."
Two Cartels Poised To Battle For Drug Markets
Huffington Post: Oct. 1, "Mexican federal authorities, who asked not to be named for security reasons, told The Associated Press that the Zeta and Sinaloa cartels are now the nation's two dominant drug traffickers. One or the other is present almost everywhere in Mexico, but officials are braced to see what happens next in a drug war ...
The government's success in killing or arresting some cartel leaders has fractured most of the other gangs to such an extent that they have devolved into quarreling bands, or been forced to operate as subsidiaries of the two main cartels. That has often meant expanded territory and business opportunities for the hyper-violent Zetas and drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's Sinaloa cartel.
InSight Crime: Oct. 4, "As federal police withdraw from the troubled Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, a newly-published report paints an alarming picture of the municipal police force as underequipped and overburdened. ...
The report, entitled “A Comprehensive Diagnosis of the Municipal Police in Ciudad Juarez,” is based on a collection of survey responses from over 2,400 of the city’s 3,146 police officers, which amounts to one of the most comprehensive independent studies of a local police force in the country. The authors asked the policemen a number of questions regarding different aspects of their work, ranging from their degree of experience to their perceptions of corruption in the department.
Can This Poet Save Mexico?
NYTimes.com: Oct. 2, "Enrique Krauze is the editor of the magazine Letras Libres and the author of “Redeemers: Ideas and Power in Latin America.” This article was translated by Hank Heifetz from the Spanish.
SOMETHING amazing is happening in Mexico. A few weeks ago, a 14-bus caravan, which had been traveling under the leadership of Javier Sicilia, a poet and the founder of the Movement for Peace With Justice and Dignity, arrived here after a 10-day trek around the country. Its every move was followed by the national media, and thousands showed up to greet its return.
The caravan was organized in protest against the onslaught of drug-related violence that has cost my country 40,000 dead and at least 9,000 unsolved “disappearances” since 2006 — a few weeks ago, 35 bodies were left on a busy highway in Veracruz. It was just one part of a larger awakening of civil society here, which can be seen in the strengthened investigative efforts of the press, a more aggressive application of anticorruption laws, and the formation of voluntary associations, focused on everything from the environment to poverty."
Obama administration widens challenges to state immigration laws
The Washington Post: Sept. 30, "The Obama administration is escalating its crackdown on tough immigration laws, with lawyers reviewing four new state statutes to determine whether the federal government will take the extraordinary step of challenging the measures in court.
Justice Department lawyers have sued Arizona and Alabama, where a federal judge on Wednesday allowed key parts of that state’s immigration law to take effect but blocked other provisions. Federal lawyers are talking to Utah officials about a third possible lawsuit and are considering legal challenges in Georgia, Indiana and South Carolina, according to court documents and government officials."