Jan 20, 2012

Week's Top Articles on Mexico: Jan. 13-19, 2012

Drug war news this week centered on the politics of the war strategy. The new president of Guatemala, former general Otto Perez Molina--following Mexico's model--ordered the army into the countryside to fight the cartels. However, a few days later, he also called for an international discussion of decriminalization of drugs.

Later in the week, President Calderón of Mexico met with U.S. CIA director, former general David Petraeus, and the U.S. ambassador in Mexico, Anthony Wayne, to discuss mutual security issues. In contrast, continuing its efforts to counter this militarized strategy, the Mexican Movement for Peace and Justice, lead by poet Javier Sicilia, announced it will organize a protest caravan to Washington, D.C. this summer.

On the U.S. side of the border, a district federal judge upheld the right of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Agency (ATF) to require that arms sellers in the border states report to the agency multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles made to the same individual within a five day period. Meanwhile, the devastation of the war goes on. A report by a Mexican NGO reported that at least 30,000 children in Mexico are involved in some sort of organized crime,

Human rights and rule of law news brought a study from a Mexican researcher that, nationwide, 80% of murders in Mexico never lead to a trial or conviction. In some states, there is 90% impunity.

Meanwhile, investigations continue into the killing of two normal school students by police in Guerrero on Dec. 12. The Guerrero state attorney general detained two state policemen and plans to charge them with the killings, while releasing ten other police. This action seemed to conflict with information released by the federal attorney general that at least nine police, including federal as well as state police, had fired their weapons at the demonstration.

Immigration and border news includes an in-depth, personal story of the struggles of Mexican-American students who are U.S. citizens living with their families in Mexican border cities while attending U.S. public schools. And the Border Patrol announced an ostensibly new strategy for deterring undocumented border crossings, called the "Consequence Delivery System," which consists of such actions as shipping captured crossers to towns far from where they crossed or transporting them to Mexico City.

The Articles

Drug War

Guatemala president orders army to join drugs fight
BBC News: Jan. 16, "One day after his inauguration, Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina has ordered the army to join the fight against drug cartels. Mr. Perez Molina, who is a retired general, called on the military to "neutralise organised crime". Officials say the police in some areas of Guatemala have been infiltrated by drug gangs. --- President Perez Molina, who is the first military figure to lead Guatemala since the return to democracy in 1986, has promised tough action against violent crime and drug trafficking." read more

Guatemala's Otto Perez Molina Calls for Drug Decriminalization
Fox News Latino: Jan. 19, "Only days after taking office on the promise of an "iron fist" approach to security, Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina called for a discussion about decriminalizing drugs. --- The former general argued on Mexican television that a regional strategy for decriminalization should be looked into as soon as possible. “Here we are speaking from the southern area, where it occurs, through all the countries like Guatemala that are transit points to Mexico and the United States." Pérez Molina ... criticized the United States for not matching Mexico’s effort and for being the world’s largest drug consumer." read more

Calderón Meets with CIA Director to Discuss the Security Agenda
Justice in Mexico: Jan. 19,  "President Felipe Calderón met in private today with Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director, General David Petraeus, U.S. ambassador in Mexico, Anthony Wayne, Nobel Prize economist, Nouriel Roubini and members of his security cabinet. The meeting ... focused on the security agenda between the two countries. --- According to a statement issued from the Office of the President, Calderón and Petraeus discussed “different topics in the bilateral agenda and agreed to continue strengthening ties in the area, driven by both governments.”" read more

Movement for Peace with Justice plans caravan to the U.S. capital
CNN Mexico: Jan. 17, In August, Mexican poet Javier Sicilia will lead a new caravan, this time to the United States, to call for the U.S. Government to put an end to the illegal arms to Mexico, which “has only left pain and many dead.” --- Sicilia announced that the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD), which he leads, will prepare a protest in the U.S. capital, in which he hopes various Mexican and U.S. civil organizations will participate. read more

US Gun Dealers on Mexico Border Must Report Multiple Sales
InSight Crime: Jan. 19, "Federal Judge Rosemary Collyer upheld an order made last year by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The ATF asked more than 8,000 gun dealers in Arizona, Texas, California and New Mexico to report sales of multiple semi-automatic rifles to one individual within five business days, reported Reuters." read more

Children in Mexico's Drug War: Criminals or victims?
CNN.com: Jan. 18, "At least 30,000 children in Mexico are involved in some sort of organized crime, according to a nationwide alliance of civic and social organizations. The Child Rights Network in Mexico says many of these children are taking part because of death threats or because of economic and social necessity. It is urging the government to start recognizing them as victims of child abuse." read more

Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Murder Impunity at 90% in Some Areas of Mexico
Justice in Mexico: Jan. 16, "According to a new study on rule of law in Mexico, impunity runs rampant throughout the country. Guillermo Zepeda, a professor at Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente (ITESO), ... authored a study to measure the level of impunity for murder in Mexico. His findings were dismal. In 2010, 80% of homicides in Mexico went unpunished, without trial or conviction." read more

2 state police charged in deaths of students, 10 others released
Milenio: Jan. 16, "The attorney general of the state of Guerrero released from detention four members of the state ministerial (investigative) police and six members of the preventative police who ... had been held for 28 days. Simultaneously, the Guerrero prosecutor announced that he is filiing criminal charges against two ministerial police,... inidicating that they are probably responsible for the murders of normal school students Alexis Herrera Pino y Gabriel Echeverría de Jesús." read more

9 police that shot their guns remain free
Milenio: Jan. 17, "Studies conducted by the federal Attorney General's Office (PGR) indicate that at least nine police officers fired their guns during the confrontation with the Ayotzinapa normal school students on December  12. --- Among the list of names of those officers, from both federal and state ministerial and preventative police, the names of neither of the state police detained yesterday appear. --- The nine listed include a federal policeman who has not been summoned before authorities. In addition, four state ministerial police are named who were released from custody by the Guerrero attorney general on Saturday. Four state preventative police are also named." read more

Immigration and the Border

Young U.S. Citizens in Mexico Up Early to Learn in the U.S.
NYTimes.com: Jan. 17, "(In some areas along the border) frustration is focusing locally on border-crossers who are not illegal immigrants but young American citizens, whose families have returned to Mexico yet want their children to attend American schools. --- Called “transfronterizos,” these students migrate between two cultures, two languages and two nations every day, straining the resources of public school districts and sparking debate ... over whether it is in American interests that they be taught in the United States." read more

Border Patrol to toughen policy
The Associated Press: Jan. 17, "The U.S. Border Patrol is moving to halt a revolving-door policy of sending migrants back to Mexico without any punishment. The agency this month is overhauling its approach on migrants caught illegally crossing the 1,954-mile border that the United States shares with Mexico. --- ...The "Consequence Delivery System" — a key part of the Border Patrol's new national strategy to be announced within weeks — relies largely on tools that have been rolled out over the last decade.... It divides border crossers into seven categories, ranging from first-time offenders to people with criminal records." read more

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