Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Sinaloa Governor: Don't Worry, Be Happy!

Thursday, March 3, 2011 |


Governor denies that murders impact Mazatlan’s image.
Mazatlan is a popular tourist destination with a “golden zone” of hotel lined beaches and also has one of the largest commercial ports on Mexico’s west coast, and until earlier this year was a popular cruise ship destination.

For the past several weeks west coast cruise ships have dropped Mazatlan as a port of call due to a security situation widely perceived as deteriorating. After having received assurances that security was adequate in the affluent tourist area of the city, the Norwegian Star docked in the port city February 23, with its thousands of passengers vital to the tourist industry.

Unfortunately there was a shootout with two men killed in the tourist zone that same day, reportedly occurring close to dozens of cruise ship passengers who were not hurt in the incident.

The Norwegian Star, Sapphire Princess and Carnival Splendor immediately cancelled all further stops in Mazatlan.

This past Monday morning at about 5:00am, the bodies of five men were hung from two different highway overpasses in the northern and southern entrances to Mazatlan.

The murders occurred in spite of the fact that security in the city had increased with the annual Carnaval festivities set to begin. In a sign of the impunity with which these murders occur one of the sites of the hangings was only several hundred meters from a federal police station.



Banners with messages that were not released by authorities or the media were left at the sight of the hangings, along with hundreds of corn tortillas whose symbolism was unknown.

In an effort to shore up Mazatlan’s declining tourist economy Sinaloa’s Governor, Mario López Valdez (Malova), went on the offensive and announced to the news media from the state capitol of Culiacan that incidents of violence like the five young men murdered and hung from the two bridges in Mazatlan would not affect the image of the tourist port.

"I don’t see how you can link that incident with Mazatlan," said the Governor, "The truth is that these are situations we don’t want to see happen and we are investigating, we are asking the cooperation and assistance of the Army.”

"Of course it doesn’t help that this occurs, but in spite of these killings the incidence of homicides is dropping.”

The Governor also reiterated that Sinaloa has the support and cooperation of the Army and Navy to guard the Carnaval Mazatlan festivities that run thru March 8 and added that a further 200 specially trained state police officers would also be present to maintain security.

Malova also rejected that there is a sense of panic in the port city.

"I do not see it that way, Mazatlan is on the move, it’s a hard working city. The hotel sector is enthusiastic and is offering great choices so that visitors will leave with the best of impressions.”

When asked if Mazatlan was in control Malova answered, “I can’t say that we are in complete control but we are working hard to guarantee safety, to have a presence and be vigilant and be ready to fight back.”

Last Friday, Sinaloa’s head of Public Safety, Franciso Cordova Celaya, traveled to Florida to meet with representatives of the cruise ship lines and again insure that further steps had been taken to increase security in the city’s “golden zone”.

On Saturday, the Governor had announced that the Norwegian Star had re-instated its Mazatlan stop and would disembark its passengers Tuesday, March 1st.

On Tuesday, the cruise ship never arrived. Officials of the cruise line in Florida stated no agreement to re-instate the stop had ever been reached.

30% decrease in homicides
Answering criticism from the PAN opposition that two months into his tenure the PRD Governor still has no security plan to combat organized crime, Malova delared that he will be tolerant of those views.

"The criticism is welcome and I would have to say that we can’t please everyone, but in spite of 2011 looking far more violent nationwide than 2010, here in Sinaloa after 2 months in office we are seeing a 30 percent decrease in murders and if this trend continues we will have fewer than 600 deaths (related to organized crime) this year when compared to 2010," (in Sinaloa between 1,200 and 1,300 murders related to organized crime were recorded in 2010)

Malova also announced that in two weeks an elite state police group will be deployed to work against violence.

Bad Math
Figures on homicides released on Tuesday, March 1st, by the state of Sinaloa’s Attorney General’s office and media outlets, however, failed to match the Governor’s optimistic outlook.

In the first two months of 2011, the municipality of Mazatlan with slightly more than 400,000 residents has actually recorded an increase in murders related to organized crime. For the first two months of 2011, 70 murders have been recorded in Mazatlan, as compared to 67 murders tallied for the same period in 2010.

For the entire state of Sinaloa, 296 murders have been recorded in the first two months of 2011. If this rate continues for the remaining ten months of the year, 2011 will see a minimum increase of 500 more homicides than the total for 2010.

Although it is hoped that a corner will be turned in Sinaloa, as in all of Mexico, in terms of the violence and insecurity this year, if the first two months of 2011 are any indication then Malova’s optimism may be dealt a severe blow.

Sources:
Matan a 28 en Mazatlan.....
http://www.noroeste.com.mx/publicaciones.php?id=665932
Aparecen 5 jovenes colgados.....
http://www.noroeste.com.mx/publicaciones.php?id=665667
Balacera en la zona dorada
http://www.oem.com.mx/elsoldemazatlan/notas/n1977534.htm
No llega cruzero
http://www.noroeste.com.mx/publicaciones.php?id=666233

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9 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

Gotta stay positive!

Smurf said...

i can understand the POV of the mayor, Aca has the same problem... Its a self fulfilling prophesy: a city with a violent image will discourage tourism and invest, thereby dooming it to become a slum and a warzone.

However, it is disingenous to suggest that the problems can be solved without a public discussion about who the main offenders are, and how to go about removing them. With all the lip service that the authorities give to these issues, nothing is ever done to solve them.

This is the true nature of the problem. Ignore the symptoms and you party at your own peril.

Anonymous said...

The powers that be are using fuzzy math. While they attempt to secure the golden zone the rest of the town is on fire. Gangs of extortionist run through the town. Extortion has business shuttered and families in hiding.Children and teachers are shaken down by groups.

The outlying areas (El Quelite and La Noria) see business and schools Closed.

this is where it all started. You have families that have been involved in criminal activities for 4 to 5 generations.

I will not attend Carnival . Last year do to a rumor mass hysteria a stampede happened .

I pray for my city .

Anonymous said...

It does not matter, the damage is done. The Carnival cruise lines are not going to risk the safety of their customers with weak assurances from the Governor, who's only interest is the tourist cash flow.

Anonymous said...

@Gerado

Where did he say Dont worry, be happy? He even recognized the problem "I can’t say that we are in complete control but we are working hard to guarantee safety, to have a presence and be vigilant and be ready to fight back.” I think this is the first time when I have ever heard a governor say we are not in "complete control" like other governors like Tamaulipas and Chihuahua.

Anonymous said...

The governor doesn't understand the other math concerned here.

Managing a cruise line is an expensive, risky business at it is. Cruise lines are already struggling to attract customers and make a profit in a bad economy globally. Keeping hundreds of passengers safe at sea is challenging enough. They've had to shell out thousands in refunds over the last several years due to operational issues and failures. The last thing these lines need is a major liability lawsuit (or ten) should disembarking passengers end up missing, or worse.
Passengers are required to sign waivers when they disembark, but this has not prevented US-chartered and Europe-chartered lines from getting sued in the past.

A total collapse of law and order, pervasive corruption and all-out machine gun shootouts in the streets of Mexico - it's one straw too many.

Ardent said...

The problem is not so much the security situations in places like Mazatlan and Acapulco alone. You can have cities with zero crime but if people are afraid to drive down to them from the US, or even to take the bus, it makes no difference how tranquilo people like the mayor may see their particular cities and towns. People will be scared off and rightfully so...

Anonymous said...

I can assure you the governor of Sinaloa works for the Sinaloa cartel, if he didn't, he would be headless by now

Anonymous said...

el cabron governador de Sinaloa trabaja para el cartel de Sinaloa, porque si no trabajara para los cabrones asesinos del cartel de Sinaloa, este cabron Mario Lopez Valdez (Malova) ya estaria muerte y sin cabeza...el puto ya va a morir a mano de otro cartel

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