Drug war news this week had three themes. First, it was revealed by the New York Times that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) of the Department of Justice was participating in laundering drug cartel money ostensibly to track cartel systems and find the leaders. Predictably, this raised challenges by Congressional Republicans and Mexican politicians, including the leading candidate for the presidency.
Secondly, at a summit meeting hosted by Mexico, the presidents of all the Central American countries, as well as those of Colombia and Chile, issued a demand to the U.S. to either reduce drug comsumption or act to regulate the drug market and arms sales.
Thirdly, the violence continues. Within a period of two months, a third member of the Mexican Movement for Peace was killed. Two other articles document the emotional trauma wreaked upon Mexicans by the violence and the virutal impossibility of escaping it by becoming internal refugees.
Immigration news brings four reports: 1) the majority of undocumented immigrants have lived in US for over a decade, 2) apprehensions of undocumented migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border has dropped to a 40 year low, 3) sixty-seven percent of U.S. citizens polled maintain that undocumented immigrants who have been here for many years and have broken no other laws should be allowed to stay legally, and 4) the U.S. immigrant detention system remains badly broken, endangering the health and violating the rights of detainees.
Border news brings two critiques of U.S. attempts to "secure" the border. One finds the value of having National Guard troops patrolling the border to be dubious at best, and the other finds that "secruing the border" in any absolute sense is functionally and financially impossible.
U.S. Drug Agents Launder Profits of Mexican Cartels
NYTimes.com: Dec. 4, "Undercover American narcotics agents have laundered or smuggled millions of dollars in drug proceeds as part of Washington’s expanding role in Mexico’s fight against drug cartels, according to current and former federal law enforcement officials. The agents, primarily with the Drug Enforcement Administration, (have done so), officials said, to identify how criminal organizations move their money." read more
Lawmakers to Open Inquiry on Undercover D.E.A. Operation
NYTimes.com: Dec. 5, "Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said ... that the committee would open an investigation into undercover operations by the Drug Enforcement Administration in which agents have laundered and smuggled millions of dollars in drug money as part of an effort to help Mexico fight organized crime." read more
Mexican Presidential Candidate warns of possible conflict with U.S. over DEA money laundering for cartels
Translated by MexicoBlog from Reforma, Dec. 6, "The (leading) candidate for the Presidency of the Republic from PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), Enrique Peña Nieto, said in an interview, "I think that the involvement of U.S. government agencies in our country, with (the) ignorance of government of Mexico, jeopardizes the cooperative relationship between our countries." He added that it would be even more serious if the Mexican authorities were colluding with the U.S. agency operations." (Reforma allows access to its website only by subscription)
Mexico, Central American Countries Demand U.S. Curb Drug Consumption or Act to Regulate Sale
Translated by MexicoBlog from El Universal Dec. 6, "The presidents of the Latin American countries attending the eighth summit meeting of the Tuxtla System for Dialogue approved a formal request to the United States and other drug consuming countries that they curb drug consumption or, if they are unable to do that, act to regulate consumption. The declaration also included a demand that the U.S. stop the transit of arms to the criminals that provoke violence and the deaths of civilians and members of the security forces in Latin American and Caribbean nations." read more
Third Activist from Mexico Peace Movement Murdered in Two Month Period
Translated by MexicoBlog from CNN Mexico Dec. 8, "A third activist of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity has been murdered in less than two months. José Trinidad de la Cruz Chrysostom ... was found dead Wednesday in the state of Michoacan, a day after being kidnapped by armed men. Trinity, 73,was kidnapped on Tuesday, during an assault on a convoy of the Movement that was traveling to the community of Santa Maria Ostula, near Xayakalan.
Activist Pedro Leyva, also a community leader from Xayakalan, was murdered in October. In late November, Moreno Nepomuceno, another activist, was murdered in the northern state of Sonora." Spanish original: CNN Mexico
Mexican Citizenry suffers post-traumatic stress
CSMonitor.com: Dec. 3, "There is a growing sense – as violence spreads to new parts of Mexico, like Veracruz – that there is another kind of victim (than direct deaths). Most Mexicans are not direct targets.... but many feel that they are more than mere bystanders. They have been forced to change how they live: how they commute to work, how they travel, what they do in the evenings, how they dress, and how they socialize.
"People are experiencing terror from this world of death and violence," says Raúl Villamil Uriarte, a social psychologist and anthropologist at the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City. "The nation is suffering post-traumatic stress disorder from all this violence playing out."" read more
Mexico drug war refugees escape to more bloodshed
The Associated Press: Dec. 4, "... thousands of Mexicans make up the internal diaspora trying to escape drug violence that seems to migrate rather than cease. ... Recent survey results... found that 1.6 million Mexicans have moved because of drug violence since 2006. One study by the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre put the number at 230,000 in 2010, estimating that half fled to the United States." read more
Majority of Undocumented Immigrants Have Lived in US for Over a Decade, Report Says
Fox News Latino: Dec. 2, "The majority of the 10.2 million undocumented adult immigrants in the United States have lived in this country for at least 10 years, according to a new report by the Pew Hispanic Center. ... 35 percent of unauthorized adult immigrants have lived in the US for more than 15 years, 28 percent for 10-14 years, 22 percent for 5 to 9 years, and 15 percent for less than five years." read more
Arrests of illegal migrants on U.S.-Mexico border plummet
The Washington Post: Dec. 4, "Arrests of illegal migrants trying to cross the southern U.S. border have plummeted to levels not seen since the early 1970s, according to tallies released by the Department of Homeland Security last week, a historic shift that could reshape the debate over immigration reform. The Border Patrol apprehended 327,577 illegal crossers along the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2011, which ended Sept. 30." read more
Public Wants Immigrants to Be Able to Stay
NationalJournal.com: Dec. 8, "... a substantial majority of Americans say they would prefer to allow some or all illegal immigrants to remain in the United States, the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll has found. When asked what should be done with the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, just 25 percent of those polled said that they should all be deported ...”
Another 28 percent ... said that all illegal immigrants should be allowed “to stay, provided they have broken no other laws and commit to learning English and U.S. history.” The largest group, at 39 percent, said that the United States should “deport some, but allow those who have been here for many years and have broken no other laws to stay here legally.”" read more
A Broken, Dangerous Immigration Detention System
NYTimes.com: Dec. 6, "After reports of chronic abuses — of detainees beaten and sometimes left to die of untreated injuries and illness — the Obama administration in 2009 vowed an overhaul of the nation’s immigration detention system, the sprawling patchwork of prisons and prison-like institutions that confines nearly 400,000 people a year as they await deportation or asylum.
... Despite that vow, the last two years have seen only meager progress toward reform. Detainees are not being punished for crimes, but according to a recent report by Human Rights First, half of them are still being held in jails, the same proportion as in 2009. (The majority) remain in a world of prison uniforms and barbed wire. New standards to guide officials in making reforms have not yet been developed." read more
National Guard deployment on U.S.-Mexico border has mixed results
The Washington Post: Dec. 6, " A growing number of skeptics say the deployment by President Obama last year (of) 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border is an expensive and inefficient mission that has made little difference in homeland security. Critics of the deployment include budget hawks, who say it is a waste of money, and residents ... along the border, who say they are tired of seeing armed troops in their back yard." read more
Border Impossible To Secure, Experts Says
Fox News Latino: Dec. 6, "A border that is sealed off to all undocumented immigrants and drugs flowing north is a promise none of (the Republican candidates) could keep. "Securing the border is a wonderful slogan, but that's pretty much all it is," said Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute. "Even to come close would require measures that would make legal commerce with Mexico impossible. That's an enormous price for what would still be a very leaky system."" read more