Archive for the ‘Mexico’ Category

Mexico To Buy $680 Million In Black Hawk Helicopters From U.S. To Combat Drug Trafficking

| April 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

The Obama administration notified Congress that it approved the possible sale of 18 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, equipment and logistical support to Mexico for $680 million, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, or DSCA, said.

The State Department approved the foreign military sale, which was requested by Mexico, and notified Congress last Thursday of its plans, the DSCA said in a statement.

Lawmakers have 30 days, as of April 17, to express objections or else the sale will be final.

“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner. Mexico has been a strong partner in combating organized crime and drug trafficking organizations,” the DSCA said.

The sale covers 18 UH-60M Black Hawks, 40 T700-GE-701D engines, navigation systems, 36 M134 7.62 mm machine guns and other gear.

“Mexico intends to use these defense articles and services to modernize its ... Read More

Central American Criminal and Terrorism Nexuses are Maturing

| April 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
Mexi Data

By Jerry Brewer

As Central America’s northern cone nations set records for willful deaths, Honduras leads the world with a murder rate of 90.4 per 100,000. El Salvador, Guatemala and Belize’s homicide rates are averaging, collectively, 42 percent per 100,000, as people literally fight for their lives.

These seemingly unabated rates of murder, plus the kidnappings and assassinations of public figures, police, members of the armed forces and journalists, are the continuing and expanding product — and chosen role — of transnational organized criminals (TOC). And much of their achieved movement would not have been possible without facilitation and nurturing by rogue leftist political regimes, and paramilitary and guerilla-like forces, within this hemisphere.

Each of the countries in the northern cone of Central America, as well as Mexico and the United States, have shared borders within the regions of hostile operational activities that witness fluid and seemingly unstoppable encroachment by the criminal insurgent-like actors. These ... Read More

Mexico Arrests Mayor for Drug Cartel Extortion

| April 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

Prosecutors in western Mexico arrested the mayor of a city that once served as a stronghold of the Knights Templar drug cartel on charges that he helped the gang extort money from city council members.

Prosecutors in Michoacan state said late Tuesday that they arrested Uriel Chavez Mendoza, the mayor of Apatzingan, after three city council members claimed he forced them to gather in a rural area, where cartel gunmen demanded each hand over 20,000 pesos (about $1,500). The gunmen allegedly said the money was to buy weapons.

The meeting was held in January 2012, when the cartel was at the height of its power, according to prosecutors.

The “self-defense” vigilante movement that sprang up last year to fight the cartel had long claimed the Knights Templar controlled, or extorted money from, municipal governments in the western, largely agricultural state.

Some town governments were forced to hand over 10 ... Read More

Mexico Homicides: Something Doesn’t Add Up

| April 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
From In Sight


The government of Mexico‘s declarations of a dramatic reduction in homicides linked to organized crime does not correspond with the figures produced by the National System of Public Security. Someone is counting poorly.

Michoacan in flames. The State of Mexico in crisis. Kidnappings at historic levels. Extortion at epidemic levels.

But, good, homicides have diminished. That is what the government brags about with the least provocation. On February 21, Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong affirmed that, at the end of the previous administration, “there occurred between 1,400 and 1,700 deaths due to organized crime; the month of January had 567, a thousand less. That 567 is terrible, but a thousand less; this speaks to highlight the reduction of violence.”

Translated and reprinted with permission from Plata o Plomo, Alejandro Hope’s blog on the politics and economics of drugs and crime published by Animal Politico. Read the Spanish original here. 

For his part, Monte Alejandro Rubido Garcia, recently named National Commissioner ... Read More

Mexico’s drug homicides down, but problems persist

| April 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
UT San Diego


Mexico’s crackdown on powerful drug cartels has succeeded in driving homicides down for the second year in a row, but it has opened the door for an increase in crimes, such as kidnapping and extortion, that affect greater numbers of ordinary citizens, according to report released Tuesday.

The crimes are being carried out by smaller and weaker groups “that focus on making money where they can,” said David Shirk, one of the authors of the University of San Diego study. “Unfortunately, improvements in the homicide rate did not entail universal improvements in citizen security.”

The study comes as President Enrique Peña Nieto is well into the second year of his six-year term. Unlike his predecessor, Felipe Calderón, Peña Nieto has played down public rhetoric against drug trafficking organizations, focusing instead on the need for political and economic reforms. But analysts say that Peña Nieto’s administration has continued ... Read More

Latin America the World’s Most Violent Region

| April 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon


Latin America is now the world’s most violent region but is receiving less U.S. military and financial assistance, according to a recent report and other figures.

Latin America surpassed Africa as the region with the most murders per 100,000 people, according to the new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Several countries in the Western Hemisphere had murder rates that eclipsed 25 per 100,000 people in 2012, compared to the global average of about six.

The report said 30 percent of the homicides in the Americas could be attributed to a proliferation of organized crime and gang-related violence.

For example, Honduras had one of the world’s highest murder rates with 90.4 per 100,000 people. Mexican drug cartels and transnational criminal groups such as the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and 18th Street gangs have infiltrated the country in recent years.

Some of the violence is fueled by those groups’ drug smuggling operations into the United States. ... Read More

Mexico pledges own anti-money laundering list

| April 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

BY E. EDUARDO CASTILLO Mexico has announced plans to fight money laundering by using “kingpin” lists like those issued by the United States, although unlike the public U.S. list, Mexico will make its registry confidential, a Mexican official said Monday.Alberto Elias Beltran, the official in charge of implementing a new money laundering law at the Finance Department, said the list will be made available only to authorities, anyone accused of money laundering and financial institutions.

“There could be a person who follows the procedure to be excluded from the list and we don’t want them to affect their reputation by making this list public,” Elias Beltran said.

The criteria that will be used to put a person or a business on the list hasn’t yet been determined but the government hopes the first list will be ready by the end of April, he said.

Elias Beltran added that the list will be immediately sent ... Read More

Sheriffs warn of violence from Mexican cartels deep into interior of U.S.

| April 11th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Article Appeared in The Washington Times


Outmanned and outgunned, local law enforcement officers are alarmed by the drug and human trafficking, prostitution, kidnapping and money laundering that Mexican drug cartels are conducting in the U.S. far from the border.

U.S. sheriffs say that securing the border is a growing concern to law enforcement agencies throughout the country, not just those near the U.S.-Mexico boundary.

“If we fail to secure our borders, then every sheriff in America will become a border sheriff,” said Sam Page, sheriff of Rockingham County, N.C. “We’re only a two-day drive from the border and have already seen the death and violence that illegal crossings brings into our community.”

Sheriff Page, whose county has about 94,000 residents, noted that a Mexican cartel set up one of its drug warehouses about a mile from his home.

“These men are coming into our county with more firepower than I have,” he said Wednesday. “I’m literally outgunned.”

The sheriff in North ... Read More

Hoping for Asylum, Migrants Strain U.S. Border

| April 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times


HIDALGO, Tex. — Border Patrol agents in olive uniforms stood in broad daylight on the banks of the Rio Grande, while on the Mexican side smugglers pulled up in vans and unloaded illegal migrants.

The agents were clearly visible on that recent afternoon, but the migrants were undeterred. Mainly women and children, 45 in all, they crossed the narrow river on the smugglers’ rafts, scrambled up the bluff and turned themselves in, signaling a growing challenge for the immigration authorities.

After six years of steep declines across the Southwest, illegal crossings have soared in South Texas while remaining low elsewhere. The Border Patrol made more than 90,700 apprehensions in the Rio Grande Valley in the past six months, a 69 percent increase over last year.

The migrants are no longer primarily Mexican laborers. Instead they are Central Americans, ... Read More

Son of Mexico drug lord turns informant

| April 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post


The son of one of Mexico’s most-wanted drug traffickers has been “flipped” by U.S. prosecutors as part of a plea deal in Chicago federal court, the U.S. Justice Department announced.

High-ranking Sinaloa cartel lieutenant Jesús Vicente Zambada-­Niebla, also known as “El Vicentillo” or “El Mayito” after his father, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, pleaded guilty a year ago to helping direct a vast drug trafficking operation that smuggled “multiple tons of cocaine” into the United States.

According to the plea deal unsealed Thursday by U.S. attorneys, Zambada-Niebla, facing life in prison, will be eligible for a lesser sentence in exchange for cooperating with the government. Prosecutors also said the 39-year-old agreed not to challenge a $1.37 billion forfeiture judgment against him, assets that U.S. officials said could include cash, real estate, businesses, vehicles and other property.

“Zambada-Niebla admitted that between May 2005 and December 2008, he was a high-level member of the Sinaloa Cartel and was responsible ... Read More

Mexico’s Energy Revolution: A Tank Half-Full

| April 9th, 2014 | No Comments »


For the last few years, the challenging security situation has been the headline issue in Mexico. Turf wars between increasingly-fragmented cartels—enfeebled by the capture or killing of high-profile kingpins—not to mention the recent proliferation of vigilante groups, have overshadowed the remarkable progress that President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government has made on other fronts. Last year, Peña Nieto forged a broad political consensus around a set of revolutionary constitutional reforms touching everything from the country’s economy to its educational system to its fiscal management. Reforms to the energy sector have generated particular excitement, opening the door to foreign participation in the country’s energy industry and raising hopes of a new round of growth that will benefit Mexico and foreign investors alike.

These are indeed exciting times for Mexico, but as we explain in a new report, any exuberance about the country’s prospects should be tempered ... Read More

Brazil and Mexico: Hope or hype?

| April 3rd, 2014 | 1 Comment »


Key points in this Outlook:

Key Latin American governments, such as Brazil and Mexico, must adopt economic, fiscal, and energy policies that will maximize job creation, sustainable growth, and energy self-sufficiency. The performance of Latin American economies has a disproportionate effect on US prosperity, heightening the costs of the Obama administration’s indifference toward the region. The American economy will benefit from more vigor and vision as US policy encourages economic partnerships with Latin America that cultivate a healthy private sector, energy interdependence, and greater competitiveness in a global market.

During the last three decades, most of Latin America has benefited from important gains in the consolidation of democratic institutions and implementation of orthodox economic policies that have tamed hyperinflation, reined in debt, and liberalized trade. Of course, Venezuela, Cuba, and other countries are dramatic exceptions to this regional progress. Even in countries that generally have chosen a more ... Read More

Mexico Is The Fifth Most Dangerous Country In Latin America For Business Says FTI Consulting

| March 27th, 2014 | No Comments »


Despite efforts by the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto to reduce the alarming levels of violence that Mexico has become known for, there are no signs of significant improvement. According to FTI Consulting, Inc. (NYSE:FCN), a Palm Beach-based global business security assessment firm, Mexico is one of the five most dangerous countries for companies and executives who conduct business in Latin America. After Venezuela, Honduras, Guatemala and Haiti, Mexico ranks fifth in FTI’s 2014 Latin American Security Index, published this week.

“After some initial success in lowering homicide rates,” writes Frank L. Holder,  Chairman of Latin America for FTI Consulting FCN -3.62%and author of the Latin America Security Index, “the  overall security situation in Mexico shows little sign of further improvement. The growth of militias to fight the drug cartels, infighting among the cartels themselves and continued government actions has shown a similar level of public insecurity, kidnappings and violence as prior years, with increases in some areas such ... Read More

Vast Web Hides Mexican Drug Profits in Plain Sight, U.S. Authorities Say

| March 26th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times


The United States calls Hugo Cuéllar Hurtado a longtime trafficker of the cocaine coming from South America, working with one of the men believed to command Mexico’s biggest drug cartel now that its leader, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, has been captured.

But while Mr. Guzmán — known as El Chapo, or Shorty — spent 13 years on the run, sometimes even escaping through underground tunnels dug under bathrooms, Mr. Cuéllar walks freely around Guadalajara, attending luncheons and chatting up diplomats. He says he even won a government grant for an ostrich farm he runs here.

“Let them come and investigate me,” he said leisurely over a breakfast of ostrich steaks and sausages at his 57-acre ranch, which the Treasury Department just designated a money-laundering pit for Mr. Guzmán’s Sinaloa cartel. “I have nothing to hide.”

If arresting the cartel’s leader proved to ... Read More

Mexico’s rising threat: extortion

| March 20th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in The Christian Science Monitor


When the phone rang at a small community center in a poor Mexico City suburb, the voice on the other end of the line belonged to a member of the criminal group, La Familia Michoacana – or so the caller claimed. He was demanding money, and when the director of the center, Raúl Solís Pineda, said he had none, the extortionist said he wasn’t asking for “millions” and that Mr. Solís Pineda must pay.

This type of call is common in Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl, or Neza, as the locals refer to it. The poor municipality is located in the State of Mexico, which wraps around three sides of Mexico City. It had the highest number of reported extortions in 2013 – a year when that crime surged in the country as a whole.

Although Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto has pointed to successes in his country’s fight against organized crime, extortion has become more ... Read More

Police in Mexico detain Knights Templar cartel member suspected of trafficking children’s organs

| March 19th, 2014 | No Comments »
National Post-01

By Olga R. Rodriguez

Police in Mexico’s western state of Michoacan detained an alleged member of the Knights Templar cartel, saying he is suspected of trafficking organs.

Michoacan state Public Safety Secretary Carlos Castellanos Becerra alleged that Manuel Plancarte Gaspar was part of a cartel ring that would target people with certain characteristics, especially children, for kidnapping and harvesting organs.

He did not give any specifics or present cases. He said investigators are looking into alleged cases that occurred in previous years.

“We have several statements in open investigations,” Castellenos said at a news conference Monday.

Plancarte Gaspar, 34, was detained last week along with another suspect in a stolen car. The men were carrying cash and crystal meth, Castellanos Becerra said. He said Plancarte Gaspar is the nephew of Enrique Plancarte Solis, a top Knights Templar leader.

The federal government generally handles cases of trafficking that have to do with cartels, such as drugs and ... Read More

Mexico Drug Cartel Makes More Dealing Iron Ore

| March 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press


Forget crystal meth. The pseudo-religious Knights Templar drug cartel in western Mexico has diversified to the point that drug trafficking doesn’t even rank among its top sources of income.

The cartel counts illegal mining, logging and extortion as its biggest moneymakers, said Alfredo Castillo, the Mexican government’s special envoy sent to restore the rule of law in Michoacan, the state controlled by the Knights Templar the last several years.

Iron ore “is their principle source of income,” Castillo told The Associated Press. “They’re charging $15 (a metric ton) for the process, from extraction to transport, processing, storage, permits and finally export.” The ore itself doesn’t go for that price; the cartel skims $15 for every ton arriving in port. While it’s long been known that Mexican cartels engage in other types of criminal activity, including trafficking of people and pirated goods, this is the government’s first official ... Read More

Mexico charges vigilante leader with murder

| March 14th, 2014 | No Comments »

One of the main leaders of the civilian armed movement that formed to drive a drug cartel out of Mexico’s Michoacan state was charged Thursday with the murder of two members of a rival vigilante group.

State prosecutor Jose Martin Godoy said investigators had found enough evidence to link Hipolito Mora to the killings of two men whose bodies were discovered in the back of a burned pickup truck over the weekend.

The “self-defense” groups had a falling out and fractured into two factions in the town of La Ruana when Mora had a dispute over leadership with Luis Antonio Torres Gonzalez, another vigilante leader known by the nicknames of “El Simon” or “El Americano” because he grew up in the U.S.

The two dead men were allies of Torres Gonzalez. Prosecutors said witnesses testified that Mora had threatened to kill one of the men for opposing the way Mora wanted to collect ... Read More

Vice President Joe Biden: Questions & Answers with El Mercurio

| March 9th, 2014 | No Comments »

This is your second trip to Chile and one of many to Latin America in general. But critics say that the Obama administration is not paying enough attention to the region and that it should be more involved in the Americas issues, such as the crisis in Venezuela.

1. In this respect, is the US prepared to go a step further, diplomatically —beyond the measures to reciprocate decisions such as the expelling of diplomats— and for example engage or sponsor an effort with other countries to help resolve the crisis in Venezuela, or eventually put in place  sanctions, much like the efforts the Administration made in Ukraine? Has the OAS been weak in acting in this crisis?

The situation in Venezuela is alarming.  The Venezuelan government has a basic responsibility to respect universal rights, which include freedoms of expression and assembly; to protect people from violence, ... Read More

La OEA ausente en Venezuela

| March 5th, 2014 | 2 Comments »
The American

La Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) se mantiene inerte en Venezuela, y la inestabilidad política, la crisis económica y la violencia del gobierno contra los manifestantes estudiantiles son hechos que están apunto de colapsar al país sudamericano. Desde hace años la OEA fue secuestrada por la petro-diplomacia de Venezuela y ha sido atada y amordazada.

El “consejo permanente”, compuesto por los embajadores de la región, tenía previsto reunirse la semana pasada para revisar los eventos en Venezuela a solicitud del presidente de Panamá, Ricardo Martinelli. La reunión fue abruptamente “pospuesta” después de que el presidente de la Republica Dominicana, Danilo Medina,  le pidiera a su representante ante la OEA, quien preside el consejo permanente, que no regresara a Washington para postergar la reunión. Medina siguió las instrucciones de Venezuela. El embajador dominicano regresó a Washington ayer y convocará al consejo con la venia del gobierno venezolano.

Los estados miembros de la OEA ... Read More

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