Category Archives: Mexico

Are Mexico’s Missing Students the Victims of US-Backed Drug War? Interview with John Gibler and Laura Carlsen

‘Amidst outrage in Mexico over the disappearance of 43 students, we look at the U.S. role in the country’s violence. According to the Center for International Policy, the United States has spent approximately $3 billion to fund the so-called war on drugs in Mexico. Since the war on drugs began under President Felipe Calderón in 2006, more than 100,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence. That includes $2.4 billion in taxpayer funds through the Merida Initiative, launched as a three-year aid program for Mexican security forces under the administration of George W. Bush. The Obama administration has extended the Merida Initiative “indefinitely.” We are joined by Laura Carlsen, director of the Mexico City-based Americas Policy Program of the Center for International Policy, and journalist John Gibler.’ (Democracy Now!)

Citing Failed War on Drugs, World Leaders Call for Widespread Decriminalization

Deirdre Fulton reported last month for Common Dreams:

‘In the face of a failed War on Drugs, a global commission composed mostly of former world leaders recommended that governments decriminalize and regulate the use of currently illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and psychedelics.

“The international drug regime is broken,” reads the report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy, whose members include former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan; former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz; former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and former high commissioner for human rights at the UN Louise Arbour; and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, as well as the former presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Portugal.  “[O]verwhelming evidence points to not just the failure of the regime to attain its stated goals but also the horrific unintended consequences of punitive and prohibitionist laws and policies.”

Punitive drug law enforcement has done nothing to decrease global drug use, the Commission says in “Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work” (pdf). Instead, such policies have fueled crime, maximized health risks, undermined human rights, and fostered discrimination — all while wasting tens of billions of dollars.’

READ MORE…

Mexico’s Drug War is Killing Children

Laura Carlsen writes for The Guardian:

‘Many countries prohibit deploying their military for domestic law enforcement: it’s a recipe for violent authoritarian abuse.

But the Obama administration’s prohibitionist drug war is funding and encouraging abuse and brutal, corrupt, mass-grave-level murders throughout Mexico and Central America – enough that even drug-war apologists admit that the appalling increase in human-rights abuses are a result of sending the military and police into communities in the name of anti-trafficking.

In just nine years, the drug war waged by the US and Mexico has created a climate of violence that has claimed more than 100,000 lives throughout the country, many young people – including two horrific massacres and a mass disappearance in the last six months connected to law enforcement nominally tasked with battling the spread of drugs.’

READ MORE…

Report: Torture in Mexico rose 600 percent during past decade

Kate Kilpatrick reports for Al Jazeera:

‘According to the report, use of torture by Mexican police and military is widespread, with a 600 percent rise in the number of reported cases over the past decade. Yet despite the huge increase in incidents, there is little being done to combat it or, in fact, discourage it.

“Torture is so widespread in Mexico and sort of expected as an investigative technique,” said Maureen Meyer, the Washington Office of Latin America associate for Mexico and Central America.

Meyer authored a 2010 report on human rights violations committed by the military in Mexico, with a focus on Ciudad Juárez, where cartel violence combined with federal militarization made it the deadliest city in the world from 2008 to 2010. “It’s not sanctioned. It’s not necessarily a state policy to torture but in fact it’s very much permissive and the torturers are never investigated,” she said.’

READ MORE…

Mexico Turns to Army, Drones for Security

From The Associated Press:

‘The Mexican government say it is increasingly using the army and drones in security patrols, reducing the role of Marine forces. In an annual report on the state of the nation submitted to Congress Monday, President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration said army patrols had increased 52.2 percent in the nine months ending in July compared with the same period the year before.

The number of marine patrols decreased 28.3 percent in the same period. The marines have made some of the biggest arrests of major drug lords. The government also gave a detailed accounting of its use of drones, saying it had flown 149 drone missions with over 581 hours of flying time. The report said homicides, especially those relating to organized crime, had dropped over the last year.’

SOURCE

NAFTA Is 20 Years Old

Editor’s Note: Regional and global trade deals like NAFTA and the TPP currently being negotiated are not designed to benefit the populations they affect, they are designed to benefit the biggest corporations. Multinational corporations will move to countries where they can exploit cheap labour, don’t have to fund health care and have less environmental controls in order to enhance their bottom line. They don’t care about the people they leave behind, nor do they care about the people they exploit for low wages in the countries they move to. 

Michael Snyder writes for The Economic Collapse:

NAFTA-Logo-300x300‘Back in the early 1990s, the North American Free Trade Agreement was one of the hottest political issues in the country.  When he was running for president in 1992, Bill Clinton promised that NAFTA would result in an increase in the number of high quality jobs for Americans that it would reduce illegal immigration.  Ross Perot warned that just the opposite would happen.  He warned that if NAFTA was implemented there would be a “giant sucking sound” as thousands of businesses and millions of jobs left this country.  Most Americans chose to believe Bill Clinton.  Well, it is 20 years later and it turns out that Perot was right and Clinton was dead wrong.  But now history is repeating itself, and most Americans don’t even realize that it is happening.  As you will read about at the end of this article, Barack Obama has been negotiating a secret trade treaty that is being called “NAFTA on steroids”, and if Congress adopts it we could lose millions more good paying jobs.

It amazes me how the American people can fall for the same lies over and over again.  The lies that serial liar Barack Obama is telling about “free trade” and the globalization of the economy are the same lies that Bill Clinton was telling back in the early 1990s.  The following is an excerpt from a recent interview with Paul Craig Roberts

I remember in the 90′s when former Presidential candidate Ross Perot emphatically stated that NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) would create a giant “sucking sound” of jobs being extracted away from the U.S.  He did not win the election, and NAFTA was instituted on Jan. 1, 1994. Now, 20 years later, we see the result of all the jobs that have been “sucked away” to other countries.

According to an article by the Economic Policy Institute on 1/3/14:

“Clinton and his collaborators promised that the deal would bring “good-paying American jobs,” a rising trade surplus with Mexico, and a dramatic reduction in illegal immigration. Considering that thousands of kids are pouring over the border as we speak, well, how’d that work out for us?

Many Americans like to remember Bill Clinton as a “great president” for some reason.  Well, it turns out that he was completely and totally wrong about NAFTA.’

READ MORE…

Keeping count of Mexico’s missing

Emily Pickrell reports for The Christian Science Monitor:

‘One of the startling unknowns in the story of Mexico’s recent wave of violence is just how many people can be counted among its disappeared.

An estimated 14,000 to 45,000 people disappeared in Mexico between 2006 and 2012. That’s a big discrepancy, and depends on whether you’re looking at recently revised government statistics or numbers compiled by human rights groups.

But Mexico’s disappearances – a country that isn’t officially at war or suffering a dictatorship – rival the numbers of missing from notable conflicts around the region. Roughly 30,000 people disappeared under Argentina’s military dictatorship in the 1970s and ’80s, and the more recent estimates of 30,000 disappeared in Colombia’s decades-long internal conflict.’

READ MORE…

Billionaire Carlos Slim calls for three-day working week to improve quality of life

Helen Davidson reports for the Guardian:

Carlos Slim‘Mexican billionaire tycoon, Carlos Slim, has called for the introduction of a three-day working week, offset by longer hours and a later retirement, as a way to improve people’s quality of life and create a more productive labour force.

Slim made the comments when speaking to a business conference in Paraguay, suggesting that the workforce could be spread over a full week, with employees working up to 10 or 11 hours a day. “With three work days a week, we would have more time to relax; for quality of life,” the Financial Times reports Slim saying.’

READ MORE…

Nixon’s Failed Drug War and Immigration from Central America: Interview with Dana Frank

‘Thom Hartmann talks with Dana Frank, History Professor at University of California, Santa Cruz / author of Bananeras: Women Transforming the Banana Unions of Latin America / currently writing a book about the AFL-CIO’s cold war intervention in the Honduran labor movement – about a surge of children coming from Hondorus and El Salvador illegally to the United States.’ (Thom Hartmann)

Corporations Making a Killing As Billions Are Poured Into Border Enforcement: Interview with Todd Miller

The Zapatistas Success Threatens Global Status Quo: Interview with Bhaskar Sunkara

Abby Martin speaks with Bhaskar Sunkara, founding editor of the magazine Jacobin, going over the last 20 years of Mexico’s Zapatista movement, discussing the recent murder one of the group’s members, and the announcement that movement leader, Subcomandante Marcos, is stepping down.’ (Breaking the Set)

Awash In Cash, Drug Cartels Rely On Big Banks To Launder Profits

John Burnett reports for NPR:

The Sinaloa Cartel, headquartered on Mexico’s northern Pacific Coast, is constantly exploring new ways to launder its gargantuan profits. The State Department reports that Mexican trafficking organizations earn between $19 and $29 billion every year from selling marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines on the streets of American cities.

And Sinaloa is reportedly the richest, most powerful of them all, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The capture last month of the Mexican druglord Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman has cast a spotlight on the smuggling empire he built.

One key to the Sinaloa Cartel’s success has been to use the global banking system to launder all this cash.

READ MORE…

Top Drug Kingpin Captured But Will Anything Change?

Mexico Just Legalized Vigilantism And Then Captured A Huge Cartel Leader

AP Photo/Hans Maximo MusielikFrom AP:

Mexico essentially legalized the country’s growing “self-defense” groups Monday, while also announcing that security forces had captured one of the four top leaders of the Knights Templar drug cartel, which the vigilante groups have been fighting for the last year.

The government said it had reached an agreement with vigilante leaders to incorporate the armed civilian groups into old and largely forgotten quasi-military units called the Rural Defense Corps. Vigilante groups estimate their numbers at 20,000 men under arms.

The twin announcements may help the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto find a way out of an embarrassing situation in the western state of Michoacan, where vigilantes began rising up last February against the Knights Templar reign of terror and extortion after police and troops failed to stop the abuses.

READ MORE…

The DEA Struck A Deal With Mexico’s Most Notorious Drug Cartel

REUTERS/Daniel AguilarFrom Business Insider:

An investigation by El Universal found that between the years 2000 and 2012, the U.S. government had an arrangement with Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel that allowed the organization to smuggle billions of dollars of drugs while Sinaloa provided information on rival cartels.

Sinaloa, led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, supplies 80% of the drugs entering the Chicago area and has a presence in cities across the U.S.

There have long been allegations that Guzman, considered to be “the world’s most powerful drug trafficker,” coordinates with American authorities.

But the El Universal investigation is the first to publish court documents that include corroborating testimony from a DEA agent and a Justice Department official.

READ MORE…

20 Years on, Mexico is NAFTA’s Biggest Lie

Money Laundering and The Drug Trade: The Role of the Banks

From Global Research:

Mexico is in the grip of a murderous drug war that has killed over 150,000 people since 2006. It is one of the most violent countries on earth. This drug war is a product of the transnational drug trade which is worth up to $400 billion a year and accounts for about 8% of all international trade.

The American government maintains that there is no alternative but to vigorously prosecute their zero tolerance policy of arresting drug users and their dealers. This has led to the incarceration of over 500,000 Americans. Meanwhile the flood of illegal drugs into America continues unabated.

One thing the American government has not done is to prosecute the largest banks in the world for supporting the drug cartels by washing billions of dollars of their blood stained money. As Narco sphere journalist Bill Conroy has observed banks are ”where the money is” in the global drug war.

HSBC, Western Union, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase&Co, Citigroup, Wachovia amongst many others have allegedly failed to comply with American anti-money laundering (AML) laws.

The Mexican drug cartels have caught the headlines again and again due to their murderous activities. The war between the different drug cartels and the war between the cartels and government security forces has spilled the blood of tens of thousands of innocent people. The drug cartels would find it much harder to profit from their murderous activity if they didn’t have too big to fail banks willing to wash their dirty money.

READ MORE…

Mexico vows to stop vigilante expansion

From AFP:

Mexican authorities warned Thursday that they would not allow vigilante “self-defense” groups to take over more towns in a western state where civilians are arming themselves to combat drug gangs.

Vigilantes are now providing security in six Michoacan state towns after self-defense forces seized the municipality of Tancitaro last weekend following clashes that left three people dead.

Self-defense leaders say they next plan to take over another town, Los Reyes, with about 40,000 residents, as part of their drive to chase the Knights Templar drug cartel out of the region.

But Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam insisted that the self-defense groups “will not spread. I assure you.”

“The Mexican state will guarantee this,” he told reporters in Mexico City.

READ MORE…

NSA spied on phones of 35 world leaders

German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets with President Obama in the White House in 2009. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)From RT:

The National Security Agency eavesdropped on hundreds of phone numbers belonging to dozens of world leaders, newly leaked documents supplied by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden reveal.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper wrote Thursday that a classified memo provided to them by Mr. Snowden suggests that the NSA encouraged officials within the United States government and intelligence community to share among their colleagues contact information pertaining to international heads of state.

According to the Guardian, the memo made reference to an unnamed US official who had reportedly supplied the NSA with over 200 numbers, including 35 belonging to world leaders.

These numbers plus several others have been tasked,” or monitored, reads the memo.

The leaders themselves are not identified in the memorandum, but classified documents previously disclosed to the media by Mr. Snowden have suggested that the NSA spied on conversations involving citizens of France, Germany, Brazil and elsewhere.

READ MORE…

 

 

The Mexican village ignored by mobile companies built its own network

From BBC News:

The Mexican village of Talea de Castro has long been ignored by Mexico’s mobile phone companies as too remote to put on their networks, but as the BBC’s Will Grant reports, they have responded by building their own.

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, has a lot of customers.

In Latin America, Carlos Slim’s telecommunications giant, America Movil, has around 262 million subscribers, and in Mexico alone handles more than 70% of the country’s mobile phone users.

But the residents of the tiny coffee-producing village of Talea de Castro are not among them.

For years, the locals have asked the main networks in Mexico to install a mobile phone antenna in the village.

They kept getting the same answer: it was not worth sending an engineer into the remote mountains of Oaxaca for fewer than 10,000 customers.

READ MORE…

‘Mexico’s war on drugs is one big lie’

Anabel HernándezFrom The Guardian:

During January 2011, Anabel Hernández’s extended family held a party at a favourite cafe in the north of Mexico City. The gathering was to celebrate the birthday of Anabel’s niece. As one of the country’s leading journalists who rarely allows herself time off, she was especially happy because “the entire family was there. There are so many of us that it’s extremely difficult to get everybody together in one place. It hardly ever happens.”

Anabel Hernández had to leave early, as so often, “to finish an article”, and it was after she left that gunmen burst in. “Pointing rifles at my family, walking round the room – and taking wallets from people. But this was no robbery; no one tried to use any of the credit cards – it was pure intimidation, aimed at my family, and at me.” It was more than a year before the authorities began looking for the assailants. And during that time the threats had continued: one afternoon last June, Hernández opened her front door to find decapitated animals in a box on the doorstep.

Hernández’s offence was to write a book about the drug cartels that have wrought carnage across Mexico, taking some 80,000 lives, leaving a further 20,000 unaccounted for – and forging a new form of 21st-century warfare. But there have been other books about this bloodletting; what made Los Señores del Narcodifferent was its relentless narrative linking the syndicate that has driven much of the violence – the Sinaloa cartel, the biggest criminal organisation in the world – to the leadership of the Mexican state.

Her further sin against the establishment and cartels was that the book became, and remains, a bestseller: more than 100,000 copies sold in Mexico. The success is impossible to overstate, a staggering figure for a non-fiction book in a country with indices of income and literacy incomparable to the American-European book-buying market. The wildfire interest delivers a clear message, says Hernández: “So many Mexicans do not believe the official version of this war. They do not believe the government are good guys, fighting the cartels. They know the government is lying, they don’t carry their heads in the clouds.”

Hernández’s book will be published in English this month with the titleNarcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and their Godfathers, so that we in the English-speaking world that consumes so much of what the cartels deal, and which banks their proceeds, might learn the lie of “cops and robbers”, of “upright society versus the mafia” – the received wisdom that still contaminates coverage of drug wars and the “war on drugs”.

READ MORE…

SEE ALSO:

 

 

Van sold by US gov’t had cocaine in dashboard

From The Guardian:

A Mexican family says that a van bought at a U.S. government auction came with an unwanted extra: an undiscovered package of cocaine beneath the dashboard.

Sergio Torres Duarte, 18, and his 19-year-old friend Julio Cesar Moreno were driving to a soccer match in November when they stopped at a routine police highway checkpoint near the Pacific Coast resort city of Mazatlan. They say they were stunned when officers discovered a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cocaine beneath the dashboard of their blue 2004 Toyota Sienna. Eight months later, they are still in jail fighting drug trafficking charges.

Torres Duarte’s father, also named Sergio Torres, says he bought the van for $3,900 through a friend at a Customs and Border Protection auction in February 2012 in McAllen, Texas.

After his son’s arrest, Torres said this week, he began investigating and found that the van had been confiscated after U.S. customs agents had found five bundles of cocaine while inspecting the car at the international bridge in Pharr, Texas, in October 2011. Every brick of the drug had the word “Good” written with a black marker — just like the one seized by Mexican police, the father said.

U.S. officials acknowledge they might have missed part of the drug.

RELATED NEWS:

Mexican Cartels Are Recruiting US Soldiers As Hitmen, And The Pay Is Good

soldiersFrom Business Insider:

Mexican cartels are looking to recruit U.S. soldiers to carry out contract killings.

In April a leaked FBI confidential bulletin revealed that the Los Zetas cartel, which was founded by former elite Mexican troops, has been vigorously expanding its U.S. connections for years by collaborating with U.S. gangs in drug dealing and enforcement activities on both sides of the border.

But the recruitment of U.S. soldiers for the sole purpose of knocking people off is a disturbing trend, especially given how much sense it makes.

SEE ALSO:

Uruguay votes to create world’s first national legal marijuana market

From The Guardian:

The measure now goes to the Senate, where passage is expected to make Uruguay the first country in the world to license and enforce rules for the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adult consumers.

Legislators in the ruling coalition said putting the government at the centre of a legal marijuana industry is worth trying because the global war on drugs had been a costly and bloody failure, and displacing illegal dealers through licensed marijuana sales could save money and lives.

They also hope to eliminate a legal contradiction in Uruguay, where it has been legal to use marijuana but against the law to sell it, buy it, produce it or possess even one plant.

SEE ALSO:

Why a Spanish-language TV network has the best ratings in an English-speaking country

From Quartz:

Univision, America’s top Spanish language TV network, says it’s delivering a summer ratings beating to the big four US broadcast networks. While a month-long summer TV ratings survey  shows that English-language stations had more viewers in total, the most viewers that advertisers covet most—those in the 18-34 and 18-49 age brackets—watched Univision’s Spanish-language programming.

FULL ARTICLE @ QUARTZ

Mexico captures leader of brutal Zetas drug cartel ~ Reuters

SEE ALSO: Mexican smuggling boats race up California coast (NBC)

A handout photograph released during a news conference by the Mexican government on July 15, 2013 shows a series of photographs of Miguel Angel Trevino. REUTERS-Secretaria de Gobernacion-Handout via ReutersReuters

The Mexican government said on Monday it captured the brutal leader of the Zetas drug cartel in an early-morning raid, marking the biggest victory for President Enrique Pena Nieto in his fight against gang violence.

Marines arrested Miguel Angel Trevino, aka Z-40, after intercepting his pick-up truck with a helicopter a few miles (km) from his home town of Nuevo Laredo on the U.S. border, government spokesman Eduardo Sanchez said in Mexico City.

“Not a single shot was fired,” Sanchez reporters.

The Zetas have been blamed for many of the worst atrocities carried out by Mexican drug gangs, acts that have sullied the country’s name and put fear into tourists and investors alike.

Following a tide of gang-related beheadings, massacres and gunfights that have claimed more than 70,000 lives since the start of 2007, Pena Nieto said his number one priority was to restore stability when he took office in December.

Murders have fallen slightly, according to official statistics, but violent crime is still rampant in parts of Mexico and, until now, the new government had few outstanding successes to celebrate in its campaign to pacify the country.

FULL ARTICLE @ REUTERS

French FM in Mexico: US No Longer Dictates World Events ~ McClatchy

McClatchy

France’s foreign minister called Monday for far-reaching collaboration with Mexico, officially burying a diplomatic squabble that roiled relations between the two nations for years.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius hailed Mexico as a vital partner in a chaotic world in which he asserted that the United States is no longer the sole, overarching power.

“For a long time, we lived in a bipolar world. Then it became unipolar,” Fabius said, referring to the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall and the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. “France and Mexico hope for a multi-polar world with an equitable balance of power.”

But he said the reality is that the world today is “zero polar,” without a dominant power to force solutions on issues.

FULL ARTICLE @ MCCLATCHY

Death by ‘security': Israel’s services in Latin America ~ Al Jazeera

by Belen Fernandez
Al Jazeera

According to a Mexican news article that surfaced in May, the Israeli military will begin training the police force in Mexico’s southeastern state of Chiapas, where the predominantly indigenous Zapatista National Liberation Army is based.

Yaron Yugman, Israel’s defence ministry representative in Mexico, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic, is quoted as affirming that “a country’s security is fundamental to its growth” and that human rights would be one of the focuses of military instruction.

Of course, “security” and “growth” aren’t luxuries usually intended for domestic indigenous groups. A May article in The Electronic Intifada recalls the aftermath of the 1994 Zapatista uprising, which coincided with the inauguration of the North American Free Trade Agreement:

“The Mexican government found itself needing to respond to the dictates of foreign investors, as a famously leaked Chase-Manhattan Bank memo revealed: ‘While Chiapas, in our opinion, does not pose a fundamental threat to Mexican political stability, it is perceived to be so by many in the investment community. The government will need to eliminate the Zapatistas to demonstrate their effective control of the national territory and of security policy’.”

As for the alleged focus on human rights, Israel’s expertise in oppressing indigenous populations and squelching dignity happens to be more marketable.

The Israeli embassy in Mexico has reportedly denied military machinations in the southeast, but not even Fox News Latino is convinced:

“The Israeli Embassy’s denial of its government working in Chiapas is puzzling, given the long history that Israel’s government has of working with Mexico. Since the early 1970s, the Mexican government has purchased airplanes, helicopters, missile boats, small arms and other weapons from either the Israeli army or Israeli military contractors.”

FULL ARTICLE @ AL JAZEERA

US allies Mexico, Chile and Brazil seek spying answers ~ BBC

A woman burns US flags during a protest in support of Bolivian President Evo Morales in front of the US embassy in Mexico City, on 4 JulyBBC News

US allies Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Chile have joined other Latin American nations in demanding answers from Washington over spying allegations.

Brazilian media reported earlier this week that the US had seized web traffic and phone calls across the region.

Spying targets included oil and energy firms, Venezuela’s military purchases and information on Mexico’s drug wars.

FULL ARTICLE @ BBC NEWS

US Isn’t World’s Fattest Country, But It’s Close ~ Newser

Mexico is the world's most overweight country.by Matt Cantor
Newser

Amid near-constant news of the obesity epidemic, you’d be forgiven for thinking the US led the developed world when it comes to weight—but by at least one measure, you’d be wrong. Mexico actually has a higher percentage of obese adults, with 32.8% of its grown-up population meeting the description, a UN report finds. The US isn’t far behind, however, with 31.8% of adults considered obese.

In Mexico, some 70% of adults are overweight, al-Jazeera notes. Keeping fit isn’t easy for Mexican children in particular, who face both obesity and malnourishment, CNN reports. “They are exposed to high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt, energy-dense … foods, which tend to be lower in cost but also lower in nutrient quality,” says the World Health Organization. Amid climbing incomes and shifts to city life, Mexico is also seeing a more sedentary lifestyle among its population. Across the planet, obesity has doubled since 1980.

SOURCE: NEWSER