Dec 30, 2011

Week's Top Articles on Mexico: Dec. 23-29, 2011

Drug war news this holiday week was, inevitably, sad. Four U.S. citizens of Mexican heritage, a mother and her two children and a high school boy were killed in two incidents while visiting relatives south of the border for the holiday.

Meanwhile, the "success" of Ciudad Juarez's chief of police in reducing violence apparently comes at the price of torture and other violations of human rights. This week the supposed "chief of security" of the reputedly biggest and richest cartel, the Sinaloa, was captured, but this may as much point to poor strategy by the Mexican government as to another drug war "success".

As for the cartels themselves, they are looking forward to a productive new year. They are busy expanding their capacities, including building a nation-spanning private radio network and taking over both "paradise," ie. Costa Rica, and "hell," aka Honduras.

Immigration and border news did have its happy holiday components. The immigration Scrooge, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, was enjoined by a federal judge from continuing his anti-immigrant arrests. And, surprise! The Pew Hispanic Center announced that two-thirds of Hispanics oppose President Obama's deportation crackdown.

On a merrier note, in reponse to having Mary and Joseph knock on its door on Christmas Day, a Chicago hospital said it would treat undocumented migrants free of charge. And a border news service looks at the mixing of Mexican and U.S. Christmas customs--and commerce--along the border, and elsewhere. But reality, in the form of NAFTA, intrudes of course, especially at Christmas. U.S. Christmas trees--a fairly recently imported tradition, are dominating Mexican ones in Mexican mercados.

Drug War

3 US citizens among 7 killed in bus attacks in northern Veracruz
Washington Post: Dec. 24, " Three U.S. citizens traveling to spend the holidays with their relatives in Mexico were among those killed in a spree of shooting attacks on three buses in northern Veracruz, Mexico.... The Americans killed were a mother and her two daughters from Texas." read more

Chicago area teen killed in Mexico
Chicago Tribune: Dec. 28, "Alexis Marron, 18, a Chicago area high school senior, had worked all summer so he could afford to visit relatives and see his girlfriend in Michoacán, near Guadalajara, over Christmas. On Friday, he was driving with two friends to exchange Christmas gifts with her. He never made it." read more

Mexican Police Chief of Ciudad Juarez Produces Results, and Scrutiny Dec. 24, "Chief Leyzaola ... has been under a spotlight that keeps getting hotter. Positive and negative developments have intertwined: violence has declined in Juárez, ...; at the same time, complaints of human rights abuses by the police have increased, including some against the chief himself; and now that La Linea is gone, ..., the Sinaloa cartel, has become more powerful." read more

Chief of Security for Mexican Sinaloa Drug Cartel Captured
AP/ Dec. 26, " The Mexican army said Sunday that it had captured the head of security for the Sinaloa drug cartel’s leader, Joaquín Guzmán, known as El Chapo, one of the world’s richest and most wanted men." read more

Capture of Sinaloa Cartel security Chief Shows Mexico Lacks Patience
InSight Crime: Dec. 28, "Mexico's capture of a 'Chapo' Guzman's "security chief" means one of two things: Mexican authorities are close to seizing the most wanted drug trafficker in the world; or Mexican authorities are not disciplined enough yet to capture the most wanted drug trafficker in the world." read more

Mexico’s cartels build own national radio system
AP/Washington Post: Dec. 26, "... stretching hundreds of miles (kilometers) across Mexico, (the Zeta drug cartel has built) a shadow communications system allowing the cartel to coordinate drug deliveries, kidnapping, extortion and other crimes with the immediacy and precision of a modern military or law-enforcement agency." read more

For Costa Rica’s ‘pura vida,’ a drug war test
Washington Post: Dec. 29, "...with Mexican drug cartels moving in, Costa Rican exceptionalism is being challenged by the same criminal forces dragging down the rest of Central America. Costa Rican officials and U.S. drug agents say this country ... is one more chess piece in the traffickers’ push for control of smuggling routes through the region, now the primary conveyance for billions’ worth of South American cocaine bound for the United States. " read more

Grim toll as cocaine trade expands in Honduras
Washington Post: Dec. 29, "Honduras’s ... homicide problem goes back decades. But as Mexico’s billionaire drug mafias expand their smuggling networks deeper into Central America to evade stiffer enforcement in Mexico and the Caribbean, violence has exploded, as if the cocaine were gasoline tossed on a fire. Honduras’s grim tally reached 6,239 killings in 2010, compared with 2,417 in 2005, and researchers say the count will be even higher this year. " read more

Immigration and the Border

Judge Rules Against Arizona Sheriff Arpaio For Illegal Stops
Reuters/Huffington Post: Dec. 24, "A federal judge on Friday barred Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio from detaining people simply for being in the country illegally, in a ruling that faulted the local lawman for enforcing federal immigration law. The opinion by U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow came on the same day he issued legal sanctions against Arpaio over destroyed documents." read more

Most Latinos Oppose Obama’s Deportation Policy
Pew Hispanic Center: Dec. 28, "By a ratio of more than two-to-one (59% versus 27%), Latinos disapprove of the way the Obama administration is handling deportations of unauthorized immigrants, according to a new national survey of Latino adults by the Pew Hispanic Center. read more

Chicago Hospital Opens Doors to Undocumented Immigrants
Fox News Latino: Dec. 29, "Pro-immigrant activists in Chicago are celebrating a "Christmas miracle." After Members of  Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Mission ... and other religious groups and immigration activists ... held a Christmas "posada" ceremony (a traditional re-enactment of Joseph and Mary knocking on doors, seeking a place to stay) on Christmas Day at Rush University Medical Center, the Center said it will provide free treatment for undocumented immigrants lacking health insurance, including several who need urgent organ more.

Reclaiming Mexican Holidays North of the Border
Frontera NorteSur: Dec. 26, "The El Paso-Ciudad Juarez borderland was hopping with activity in recent days.... In the reconverted quarters of an old garment plant now rechristened Mercado Mayapan, La Mujer Obrera (The Woman Worker) staged its annual Christmas posada. El Paso’s Mariachi Gala entertained a crowd that enjoyed a corn and chocolate drink called champurrado and bunuelos, sugary pastries, all for free." read more

American Christmas trees take over Mexico
GlobalPost: Dec, 26,  "US and Canadian Christmas trees have flooded into Mexico in recent years .... This holiday season alone, more than a million trees have been imported over the Rio Grande to decorate homes celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, Mexico’s Environment Department reported. The imports now outnumber the 700,000 trees provided by Mexican growers this year." read more

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