What to Expect From Mexico’s Election

Posted on Updated on

Enrique Peña Nieto, político mexicano.

Enrique Peña Nieto, político mexicano. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Interviewee: Shannon K. O’Neil, Douglas Dillon Fellow for Latin America Studies

Interviewer: Brianna Lee, Production Editor June 29, 2012

Mexicans head to the polls on July 1 to vote in a presidential election that looks likely to return to power the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ran the government from 1929 to 2000. Polls show PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto in a wide lead over rivals Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) and Josefina Vazquez Mota of the center-right National Action Party (PAN), despite the emergence of the “YoSoy132” student movement that has rallied against the PRI’s legacy of corruption. Peña Nieto’s “rhetoric is that he is from a different generation, it’s a different PRI,” says CFR Mexico expert Shannon K. O’Neil, but, she says, “it’s hard to tell.” The new president will need to accelerate the economy’s “stable but fairly slow growth” and will inherit a violent drug war that has led to increasing insecurity for Mexicans, O’Neil says. On combating the drug cartels, she says that “the focus will probably change, but the actual policies implemented will see a lot of continuity.”

Is it a foregone conclusion that Enrique Peña Nieto is going to win, or is there still room for surprises?

It’s becoming increasingly hard to imagine a scenario where he doesn’t win. There is still, depending on the polls, roughly 15 percent of the population that says they’re undecided, and for most polls that would be enough of a percentage to change the results, assuming that that whole 15 percent didn’t go to Peña Nieto, but that’s kind of a large assumption.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jalisco Cartel Promises Mexico Govt it will Take Down Rival Gang

Posted on Updated on

Jalisco Cartel Promises Mexico Govt it will Take Down Rival Gang It’s not always clear what is motivating this tendency for gangs to paint themselves as the good guys and their enemies as the villains. Sometimes, it’s clearly in a group’s interest to distance themselves from a particularly heinous crime or assuage fears that they might seek to overthrow the government, to try deflect the attention of the authorities. But most citizens, to say nothing of the government, will put little stock in any group’s proclamations that they are the noblest of the gangsters. 

The video is also interesting for what it says about the Caballeros. The fact that the CJNG targeted them rather than the Familia indicates that the Caballeros have consolidated themselves as Michoacan’s foremost gang, definitively displacing the older organization. It seems unlikely, however, that they have such a firm hold over Guerrero. Acapulco in particular has been contested by a bevy of different groups in recent years, from the

Zetas to the Sinaloa Cartel, the South Pacific Cartel, and the Barredora. The Caballeros, and now the CJNG, are just one group among many trying to win control. 

Finally, the speaker alleges that

Nazario Moreno, who was reported killed in December 2010 in a shootout with government forces, is still alive and remains at the head of the Caballeros. The same claim was made by a captured Mexico City gang boss last year, and previously in posters signed by the Familia. Given that his death was a major success for the government and precipitated the collapse of the Familia, this allegation would be a bombshell if it proved true.</p> <p>Such conspiracy theories are common in Mexico. One popular tall tale is that Amado Carrillo, the Juarez Cartel founder who died in plastic surgery in 1997, faked his own death and remains at large. Anabel Hernandez, in her muckraking 2011 book “Los Señores del Narco,” claimed that the deceased Sinaloa boss Ignacio Coronelwas also still alive. There’s not much evidence to support any of these allegations, and there’s little reason to believe any of them are accurate. 

However, it is also true that while the Hernandez had a clear interest in winning publicity with scandalous stories — a tactic that has landed her in

legal trouble with former Attorney General Jorge Carpizo, who was attacked in the book — it’s not obvious what the CJNG would have to gain by falsely claiming that Moreno was still alive.

Mexico’s Drug Cartels

Posted on Updated on

Enlarge Graphic


According to the Mexican government, cartel-related homicides claimed around 12,900 lives from January to September 2011 — about 1,400 deaths per month. While this figure is lower than that of 2010, it does not account for the final quarter of 2011. The Mexican government has not yet released official statistics for the entire year, but if the monthly average held until year’s end, the overall death toll for 2011 would reach 17,000.

Indeed, rather than receding to levels acceptable to the Mexican government, violence in Mexico has persisted, though it seems to have shifted geographically, abating in some cities and worsening in others. For example, while Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, was once again Mexico’s deadliest city in terms of gross numbers, the city’s annual death toll reportedly dropped substantially from 3,111 in 2010 to 1,955 in 2011. However, such reductions appear to have been offset by increases elsewhere, including Veracruz, Veracruz state; Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state; Matamoros, Tamaulipas state; and Durango, Durango state. Read the rest of this entry »

Diplomat in Miami linked to Iran-Venezuela cyber-terror plot

Posted on Updated on

Islamic, socialist regimes allegedly colluded to infiltrate White House, FBI, Pentagon, nuke sites

Posted: December 16, 2011
1:00 am EasternBy Art Moore

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

Venezuela’s top diplomat in Miami has been linked to an alleged cyber-terrorism plot against the U.S. in collusion with Iran and Cuba that already has prompted alarmed members of Congress to schedule hearings.

Livia Antonieta Acosta Noguera – the current Venezuelan consul in Miami – was the second secretary at the Venezuelan Embassy in Mexico in 2006 when a leftist professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico allegedly began to recruit student hackers to build a cyber-weapon to attack the White House, the FBI, the Pentagon and U.S. nuclear sites.

The plot, initiated by the Cuban embassy, eventually drew in diplomats from Iran’s radical Islamic regime and Venezuela’s revolutionary socialist government led by Hugo Chavez, according to a documentary broadcast by the U.S.-based Spanish-language television channel Univision. Read the rest of this entry »

El Salvador appoints army general to combat murder rate | World news | Guardian Weekly

Posted on Updated on

Leftwing president’s choice of general to serve as justice minister angers his ruling party allies

Paulo Paranagua Tuesday 6 December 2011 13.59 GMT

Mara Salvatrucha street gang

Crackdown time … a member of the Mara Salvatrucha, street gang, detained by police. Photograph: Roberto Escobar/EPA

For the first time since the civil war, which left 75,000 dead or missing in El Salvador between 1980 and 1992, a former member of the military has been asked to restore law and order. Last month Mauricio Funes, the country’s first leftwing president since the end of the conflict, swore in retired general David Munguia Payes, previously the defence minister, as the new minister of justice and public security.

The Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), the former Marxist guerrilla organisation and now the ruling party, condemned the decision. Human rights campaigners and magistrates joined in the protest, maintaining that his appointment was a violation of the almost 20-year-old peace agreement, which banned the military from law enforcement and set up a national civilian police force.

With 16 murders a day, El Salvador is vying with Honduras for the dubious distinction of the highest rate of homicides in the world. On the route from Colombia to Mexico, Central America is the prey of drug traffickers, and to make matters worse mara youth gangs have terrorised the country for the past decade. Read the rest of this entry »

Cartel Plot: Use U.S. Guns for Massive Mexico City Attack

Posted on Updated on

November 18, 2011

In October of 2008, Chicago-based drug trafficker Margarito “Twin” Flores was summoned to the Sinaloa Cartel’s mountaintop compound. The leaders of the Mexican narcotics syndicate were pissed. The brother of a top lieutenant had been arrested by the government and risked being extradited to the United States; the Sinaloans wanted to retaliate — in a massive and deadly way, and in the heart of Mexico City.

“Let it be a government building, it doesn’t matter whose. An embassy or a consulate, a media outlet or television station,” cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman said. Even the U.S. embassy might be fair game.

“Twin, you know guys [in the U.S. military] coming back from the war,” the lieutenant’s son, Jesus Vincente Zambada Niebla, told Flores. “Find somebody who can give you big powerful weapons, American shit. We don’t want Middle Eastern or Asian guns, we want big U.S. guns, or RPGs [rocket propelled grenades].”

“You know what I’m talking about,” Zambada added. “We don’t need one, we need a lot of them, 20, 30, a lot of them.” Read the rest of this entry »

Organized crime unleashes a wave of violence in Mexico

Posted on

5,200 people were murdered in 2008

By Zidane Zeraoui, 5th March 2009

Why the war between the drug cartels themselves has broken out in Mexico. The opium coming from Afghanistan. The corruption of the police and the legal system. The lack of action by the United States. The express kidnappings. Felipe Calderón and his war against organized crime.

(From Monterrey) THE WAVE OF VIOLENCE pummeling Mexico has been growing at an alarming rate for the past few years. In 2004, 1,200 people lost their lives due to organized crime; the figure stood at 1,600 a year later and jumped to 2,700 the following year before reaching 5,200 in 2008. A third of these murders took place in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, on the border with El Paso, Texas. Last year, there were 1,656 deaths in the city alone.

“The slaughtering has its roots in a complex problem, national as well as international”

The border town has taken a beating during the first two months of this year: 158 deaths in January and 160 killings in February. If this trend continues, the end-of-the-year total will be well above 2008’s already horrific figure. The bloodshed in Ciudad Juárez has to do with its strategic position: it controls the entry into the American market via Interstate Highways 10, 20 and 25. Read the rest of this entry »