Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mexico President Blasts US After Casino Massacre

Calderon declares 3 days of mourning, says America partly to blame for drug violence.

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared three days of mourning Friday for the 52 victims of a casino fire set by presumed drug traffickers, branding the attackers "true terrorists" and ordering authorities to offer a $2.4 million reward for their capture.

Calderon also once again lashed out at the United States, saying it is not doing enough to reduce the country's high demand for illicit drugs or to stop the illegal trafficking of U.S. weapons into Mexico.

Armed assailants burst into the casino Thursday afternoon, swearing and shouting for customers and employees to get out. But many of the terrified victims fled farther inside the building, where they died trapped amid the flames and thick smoke that soon billowed out of the building.

Calderon described the incident as the worst attack on innocent civilians in recent memory.

"We are not confronting common criminals," he said in a televised nationwide address. "We are facing true terrorists who have gone beyond all limits."



The federal Attorney General's Office announced the reward money, equal to the amount the government has offered for information leading to the capture of the nation's top drug lords.

Surveillance video shows at least eight gunmen arriving at the Casino Royale in four cars. The they then head to the main entrance as customers rush outside to their cars in an attack that lasted just a little more than two minutes. The attackers are also seen carrying three large bottles, which Gov. Rodrigo Medina said probably contained gasoline, while others stand guard by several awaiting vehicles.

Medina said investigators are talking to 13 witnesses and are looking for the owner and the legal representative for the casino.

Family members arrived at the morgue all through the night in Monterrey, a modern metropolis and one of Mexico's most important business centers that has been the scene of a ferocious turf battle between the Gulf and Zetas drug cartels.

Medina lowered the death toll to 52 early Friday. He had said late Thursday 53 people had died in the fire at the Casino Royale. He said 33 victims have been identified.

Nuevo Leon state Civil Protection Director Jorge Camacho said there were 35 women and 10 men among the victims. He said another seven could not be identified because they were badly disfigured.

Camacho said most victims died of asphyxiation and that most of the bodies were found in hallways leading to the exits.

Santiago Loera, 53, went to the morgue looking for his brother, Miguel Angel, a cook at another casino who had gone to the Casino Royale to sign a new contract.

"We think he's here," Loera said.

Loera said authorities have asked him for a DNA sample.

A visibly angry Calderon urged the United States to do more to curb demand for illegal drugs and stop weapon trafficking into Mexico.

"If ... they are resigned to consuming drugs, then they need to find alternatives ... and establish clear points of access different from the border with Mexico, but this situation can't keep going on like this," he said.

President Barack Obama condemned the attack as "barbaric" and "reprehensible."

In a statement issued from Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, where he is wrapping up a vacation, Obama said Friday that the Mexican government and its people are waging a brave fight to disrupt violent transnational criminal organizations and that the U.S. will remain a partner with Mexico in that fight.

On the home front, Calderon called on Mexicans to convert their shock and anger into action.

"Today Mexico is upset and saddened and we have to transform this sadness and this grief into courage and valor to face ... these criminals in a united way," he said.

Calderon later visited the site of the attack, accompanied by first lady Margarita Zavala and several members of his security Cabinet.

The group, all dressed in black, arrived in a long motorcade and held a minute of silence outside the burned hulk of the Casino Royale before placing a giant green wreath in the circular driveway leading up to the building.

Calderon, Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna and Defense Secretary Guillermo Galvan Galvan then left without saying a word.



Nuevo Leon state Attorney General Adrian de la Garza said a drug cartel was apparently responsible for the attack, though he didn't name which one. Cartels often extort casinos and other businesses, threatening to attack them or burn them to the ground if they refuse to pay.

It was the second time in three months that the Casino Royale was targeted. Gunmen struck it and three other casinos on May 25, spraying the building with bullets, but no was reported injured in that attack.

The fire in the two-story casino, which advertised sports book and bingo, was reported just before 4 p.m. local time (5 p.m. EDT; 2100 GMT), a slow time of day when normally about 80 people played the tables and slots, said former security guard Alberto Martinez Alvarado, 30. Martinez, who was on his way home from work Thursday when he saw the fire, said the casino could hold hundreds, perhaps 1,000 people.

"We're lucky we weren't there," he said. "Why couldn't the people who did this do some honest work instead?"

State police officials quoted survivors as saying armed men burst into the casino, apparently to rob it, and began dousing the premises with fuel from tanks they brought with them. The officials were not authorized to be quoted by name for security reasons. De la Garza said the liquid appeared to be gasoline.

Monterrey Mayor Fernando Larrazabal said many of the bodies were found inside the casino's bathrooms, where employees and customers had locked themselves to escape the gunmen.

Authorities commandeered backhoes from a nearby construction site and made a brief attempt to break into the casino's walls as smoke billowed from the main entrance, hindering firefighters.

Maria Tomas Navarro, 42, stood weeping at the edge of the police tape stretched in front of the smoke-stained casino building. She was hoping for word of her brother, 25-year-old Genaro Navarro Vega, who had worked in the casino's bingo area.

Navarro said she tried calling her brother's cell phone. "But he doesn't answer. I don't know what is happening," she said. "There is nobody to ask."

Monterrey has seen bloody turf battles between the Zetas and Gulf cartels in recent months. Once Mexico's symbol of development and prosperity, the city is seeing this year's drug-related murders on a pace to double last year's and triple those of the year before.

Last month, gunmen killed 20 people at a bar in Monterrey. The attackers sprayed the bar with rounds from assault rifles, and police later found bags of drugs at the bar.

State police officials initially said witnesses reported hearing three explosions before Thursday's fire started, but later said a flammable material was used. The officials were not authorized to be quoted by name for security reasons.

The reports of explosions may have been the sound of the ignition of the liquid.

Norma Reyes, 45, was one of the people who received good news Thursday. Her son called her before she even heard about the fire to say he was all right. Jonathan Reyes, 25, who worked as an area supervisor, told his mother he was at the hospital trying to find out what happened to his co-workers.

"God took care of us today," she said.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

30 comments:

  1. Instead of blaming the US, which it in part culpable but at this point it is like beating a dead horse, he should look to his right side and blame his corrupt cabinet, starting with Garcia Luna. That man is a crook!!

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  2. Calderon is a little bitch for blaming the Us for all his problems Mexico consumes drugs too and its Mexicans pulling the trigger on all those guns that mexico allowes to be smuggled in. There are two kinds of people in this world bad and good good people do the right thing even when nobody is looking

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  3. Blame the US?!?!? What a joke! If it wasn't drugs, it would be something else! As seen by their other means of money making like human trafficing, extortion, kidnapping. This guy can't blame anyone but his dirty and corrupt country that is so entrenched in illegal activity that it will never change!

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  4. Thank you BB, this is my only source for news on cartel crime in Mexico, I am proud to be labeled as a "BB loyalist."

    I live in the US but have family in Mexico, it really gurts deep when I hear all this bullshit from commentors and flamers!

    The only way this misery and violence is ever going to stop is for both the US and Mexico working together and doing their part in their own country to curtail the illicit drug profit and assisting each other when combating criminal cartel organizations. The billions of dollars in the Mexican drug trade do come from the US, a true fact. The mayhem and uncontrolled violence fueled by corruption in every level of government is pervelant in Mexico, true fact. Stop the bullshit about "us versus them" inciting rhetoric and instead why don't we all unite together to take control of this cancer that is gripping Mexico and soon it will do the same to the US.

    STOP!

    I am tired of the blame game, just get the shit fucking done!

    God!

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  5. blah blah blah.....its the US fault. Im tired of hearing the same shit from these politicians and presidents, they always put the blame one someone else. Its Mexico's fault for allowing corruption to continue and not implementing the death penalty. Now they need the US to go in and clean this shit up for them starting from the top! Fuck it go Gestapo on these mofo's.

    El Skipper

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  6. Read between the lines, "the US needs to address high consumption, and needs to find other access its illegal drugs other than Mexican borders." This is "one" time I agree with him.
    We must;
    -Legalize and regulate all drugs,
    -train physicians to diagnose abuse versus dependence,
    -Let the DEA regulate and control dispensing according to diagnosis,
    -Put CIA in charge of accessing drugs.."they are real good at that,"
    -Allow the Border Patrol to be just that, "Border Patrol"
    -Any medical problem resulting from the drug is the individuals responsible for as they are black label drugs,
    _Retrain ICE to be in charge of building a workforce from those discharged from prison for drug charges,
    -All law enforcement reduction could form a new agency to create a new drive in the US to create job and increase production, we need to return to the "Made in the USA" model that we produce the best,
    -Reward companies for "Not Offshoring"
    -Find pride in hiring US citizens and creating quality jobs here
    -Put one of the agencies in charge of creating an electrical grid across our nation to develop a self supporting energy supply for wind, solar and nuclear sources...big jobs and use discharging inmates too
    The trillions saved from our monstrous prison system alone would curtail the national debt in a few years. Creating new productive jobs and promoting pride in our nation would turn the oncoming depression into prosperity. Regulation and control would curtail most new use by teens because street access would be small due to lack of needs.
    Oh wait, I didn't use the words "family values" so the religious right will not go for it. It sounds like to much work and American don't like to do that either. It means working with our hands and most of us think production is done on a computer keyboard. Never mind!!! Let's just enjoy the oncoming depression.

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  7. ...just give the U.S. the chance to come in!!!!

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  8. jajjaa..one past pendejopresidente //proposing a "truce" (surrender ) to the cartels ..and the present pendejopresidente..blaming it all on the USA..the future looks good...that is if you are a proffesional CRIMINAL...

    HOW ABOUT YOU RICOS DE MEIJICO LETTING LOOSE OF ENOUGH MONEY TO ACTUALLY GUARD YOUR SOUTHERN BORDERS ..AND COASTLINES ....ENOUGH TO STOP MEXICO FROM BEING A SMUGGLING CORRIDOR...ahem senor carlos richest man on earth slim ..you listening?...

    besides this was an act of pure criminal extortion..not smuggling ...protection /extortion is its own brand of crime...

    this blame shifting shit is not gonna cut it forever...

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  9. Read the comments and the opinion columns in the Mexican papers. They revel in every little perceived failure and downgrade. S&P lowered the US credit rating one tick and the Mexicans are calling it the fall of capitalism. (Current issue of La Jornada on line) Mexicans don't want to be friends they just want that easy gringo money and to blame any problem on the US.

    The US is already doing too much. Let Mexico live or die on this hill. We'll stay the fuck out. We sure don't want to violate their soberania.

    It's our fault for taking too much cocaine - man, that is such a backass way of looking at it. Such a victim's viewpoint.

    The fact is that a lot of Mexicans are making a ton of money from the drug trade and they don't want that to ever change. 40K dead - BFD, the population of Mexico is well over 107 million.

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  10. Mexico poloticians are FULL of shit! They have laid in bed with these narco scum bags for decades and now when they wake up with fleas they want to pass the blame onto others? BULLSHIT!

    Mexico is its OWN worst enemy by coddling Chapo and the rest of the UNTOUCHABLE scum bags they have created their own fucking problems and they are to fucking stupid and uneducated to fix them so they lash out at the U.S.!

    The problem with Mexico is they are all fucking criminals and no one can be trusted, I say build a fucking fence around it and let them sort it all out, they made the fucking monster and now want to blame the U.S.? BULLSHIT!

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  11. ay presidente fecal, cuide de su gente, no le and hechando la culpa a ningun otro gobierno de su falta de autoridad y ganas de superar a su propio pais...es como los padres que culpan a los padres de el amigo de su hijo, porque el hijo le gusta andar en malos pasos....por favor, en lugar de buscar culpables, deberia de buscar una solucion, y acatarla....

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  12. The U.S. is a joke, a burla to intelijent peolple.

    oh, they splendidly exhibit the dislike and intent to stop human mexsicans into the US spending biluions on border patrol, survaillanse sistems and fenses. but what do they show about their inten on stoping all the drug that goes into their belovd cuntry ah no they dont cry there, they want it so bad.
    I say mexsico givem what they want they desevr it.

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  13. Hey Calderon does your country have an army is so use them to fight the cartels

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  14. I am POOR the Bank has MONEY, the Bank is greedy and will not SHARE the Money, if I rob the bank, THE BANK IS WRONG, and forced me to rob the Bank. LIBERAL attempted Logic, funny thing is these people actually exist, Calderon is not one he knows better BUT he is first a MEXICAN POLITICIAN.

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  15. Fuck Mexican politicians and the blame game. Stop importing your trash and we will continue to try to stop the export of ours. At least we try. Stick to something you're half ass good at siestas and futbol.

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  16. I just left Mexico after living there for many years. It is unbelievable how many new casinos have popped up, especially in areas where the people have little money. Everyone knows it is just another venue for the cartels to launder the dirty money. Guess who keeps approving the casino licenses..... the Mexican government. Calderon should cease approving these casinos and why does the US not jump on the Mexican government for approving all these new casinos/cartel laundry shops! WTF! So what bank is helping these Casinos now that Wachovia is gone?

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  17. @ 4:29 PM...Texas has that law too, and if you have been convicted for drugs past the year 2000, you can never get food stamps. This is good and bad.

    Food stamps are most widely used for adults with children. If you are addressing needs for children that have substance using parents, the child gets punished and even has to go hungry. I cannot agree with this because a child does not have a choice in who their parent or parents are. And the US cannot afford foster parenting for all children with substance abusing parent.

    This makes me lean to turning a blind eye but regulating enforcement of who actually uses the stamps to reduce the ability of the user to sell them.

    Withholding benefits from drug users is one thing, but if it causes a child to go hungry in the powerful United States of America, the law is in intent criminal as it discriminates against innocent children. If I withhold food from a child, it is child abuse. How can the government? It is wrong and will be overturned somewhere along the way.

    As far as the rest of your racist comment, maybe we need to enforce birth control in Florida or Kentucky (which ever you are from) so as to reduce the amount of morons by at least 10 because I am sure your dumb ass is going to have 10 kids.

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  18. All that Calderon is doing is Blaming the US for HIS countries problems......How convienet! Just because Mexico is a 3rd World Corrupt Narco State that cant Enforce let alone prosecute Criminals You shouldnt blaim the the US for DOMESTIC Local Law Enforement Failure to keep the Mexican People and Nation Safe. Shame on you Calderon, There are only 2 kinds of people in MX, Exreme rich (10 %) and Extreme poor, and very little Middle class.

    Thats Mexicos Real Core problem : Corruption and Poverty.

    Thank You Caldeon!

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  19. Reading the comments above, leads me to believe that most of you did not listen to Calderon speech. Someone fluent in spanish & English needs to translate it, it's a good speech. The question is can he and the Mexican people convert is speech into meaning full action for the bettering of Mexico.

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  20. Texcoco Mex said.

    I found the speech in writing, if any one is good in translating I will give you the link or if people are interested in knowing what the president said I will try to translate.
    This is the link for the speech in writing.

    http://embamex.sre.gob.mx/guatemala/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=347:mensaje-del-presidente-de-la-republica-mexicana-felipe-calderon-hinojosa-sobre-los-hechos-ocurridos-en-monterrey-nuevo-leon&catid=46:agosto-2011&Itemid=138

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  21. I thought this was over casino profits? What would legalizing drugs help?

    And as for the weapons...they used gasoline.

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  22. When Calderon blames the U.S. for Mexico's problems, it's because he's trying to turn the attention away from him. He knows that he has done all that he can do and so what's left is blaming the U.S.

    This makes him look real bad as a leader because it shows him to be inadequate and frustrated. At first he tried to imitate George Dubya by acting like the new sheriff in town. He took the tough leader route and prematurely made a public declaration of war against the cartels with no sensible strategy. Then when his basic plan failed miserably, he started playing the blame game and now he's trying to direct his failures on the U.S.. Wether his actions were motivated by the U.S. gov. or not, Pendejo Calderon is responsible for this catastrophe. He should swallow his pride and accept the consequenses.

    Pendejo Calderon will have to live with this till the day he dies. It is too late. It does'nt matter what he says now. There is too much blood in his hands.

    It is almost time for him to leave so now we can expect the next dipshit to take office and continue where Pendejo Calderon left off, in the further destruction of Mexico.

    The same goes with the Fucken Schmucks who are destroying the U.S.

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  23. Pendejo Calderon, George Dubya, Uncle Tom Obama, The Tea Bag Party and Fake Ass Conservatives, Fox News, Corporate America and the Filthy Rich, El Chapo Guzman, Los Zetas:

    Fuck All Of You! Go To Hell Where You All Belong!

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  24. As Mexico burns and is slaughtered.. Calderon does nothing but blame the US. That's taking the easy out, Mr PRESIDENT. What are you doing as a leader? Your problems are with lack of leadership.

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  25. givem hell Ajulio..

    the solutions are simple ..as are the reasons they are not implemented ..ALL these politicians assholes are in cahoots ..when the drugs cross the border..it is Americans handling it ...there is no real attempt on either side to stop it ..anybody who has ever spent ANY time along the border..especially S.Texas..Roma Rio Grande etc...knows it

    it is all smoke and mirrors ...one big charade

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  26. Orale Lito

    "smoke and mirrors. one big charade." that says it all my man. just one big business.

    It's All About The Benjamins.

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  27. Texcoco Mex said.

    Two people implicated on the Casino attack were arrested.

    Carlos Alberto Oliva y/o Nazario Mendoza Velázquez, better known as La Rana or the frog was arrested today.

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  28. Texcoco Mex said

    5 people involved on the casino attack were arrested

    Carrazco Lucio Carlos Espinoza, alias "El Chigua", 25, Javier Alonso Morales Martínez, alias "El Javo", 37, Jonathan Jahir Reyna Gutierrez , 18, Juan Angel Flores Leal, alias "The Fields", 20, and Julio Tadeo Berrones, alias "El Julio Reyes' 28.

    At the press conference, the Attorney Adrian de la Garza, presented a video which shows the group of people getting gasoline in fuel containers at a gas station minutes before perpetrating the attack.

    It also appears that the Equinox gray van seen in the video of the attack was found.

    The recording also showed that the group of vehicles, including a Minicooper and Optra, move through Gonzalitos Avenue, heading to the casino.

    The president said the motive for the attack would have been to pressed the establishment to pay a fee, which is known as derecho the piso or tax.

    Presumably there was a disagreement with the owners and thats why it was attacked, but this is still under investigation, said Medina.

    He said that apparently the attack was against the business and not against the population, but the criminals were out of control.

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  29. If you are so mad at the US Mr Calderon, blame your buddy who is now in charge, he refuses to prosecute anything that isnt White or Rich. When the DoJ wont enforce US Fedral laws and they send illegal weapons in to another country to try and pass laws against the US citizens well you are not an issue to them.

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  30. @2:11 - yeah, it's a joke that's why 10 million of your paisanos prefer to live in the US. They are safe, they can earn money, their kids can go to university FREE. No extortion, no kidnapping - except by fellow Mexicans.

    Yeah the US is a joke. Where do you live?

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