|Photo 1. PG-29 Round Held by Ioan Grillo|
Saturday, November 30, 2013
La Jornada: By Simón Vargas Aguilar
Why has this savagery succeeded in robbing us of public places, changing our lives, and taking our loved ones from us? When exactly did the youth decide to follow the path of organized crime to live the fast life and die early? Why is our society eroding so rapidly?
Today, our outlook is dominated by poverty, inequality, social exclusion, lack of opportunity, corruption, impunity, weak institutions, and meager economic growth. Thanks to these variables, the violence associated with organized crime and drug trafficking found favorable footholds to flourish and obtain million-dollar earnings at the cost of the destruction of forward-looking perspectives and the development of the entire country.
The family ceased to be the cornerstone of society, social ties became increasingly fragile, and our values—which once distinguished us in the world—were replaced by anti-values such as hatred, intolerance, and individualism.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Mexican drug cartels have muscled in to the country's lucrative mining industry during a mafia-style takeover of great swathes of the economy, officials warned.
This month, federal officials confirmed the cartels have even entered the country's lucrative mining industry, exporting iron ore to Chinese mills.
Los Zetas enter Coal Business
That news served as a wake-up call to Mexicans that drug traffickers have penetrated the country's economy at unheard-of levels, becoming true Mafia-style organizations, ready to defend their mines at gun point.
Three Michoacan state detectives were wounded in an ambush earlier this week when they were traveling to investigate a mine taken over by criminals.
When reinforcements arrived, those officers were also ambushed, part of a string of attacks on police in Michoacan on Wednesday and Thursday that left two officers dead and about a dozen wounded.
But so deeply entrenched was the cartel connection to mines, mills, ports, export firms and land holders that it took authorities three years to confront the phenomenon head-on. Federal officials said they are looking to crack down on other ports where drug gangs are operating.
"This is the terrible thing about this process of (the cartel's) taking control of and reconfiguring the state," said Guillermo Valdes Castellanos, the former head of the country's top domestic intelligence agency. "They managed to impose a Mafia-style control of organized crime, and the different social groups like port authorities, transnational companies and local landowners, had to get in line."
Valdez Castellanos said that even back in 2010, the La Familia cartel would take ore from areas that were under concession to private mining companies, sometimes with the aid or complicity of local farmers and land owners, then sell the ore to processors, distributors and even, apparently, foreign firms.
Mexico's Economy Department said the problem was so severe that it prompted the government to quietly toughen rules on exporters in 2011 and 2012 and make them prove they received their ore from established, recognized sources.
Many exporters couldn't. In 2012, the department denied export applications from 13 companies, because they didn't meet the new rules. And the problem wasn't just limited to Michoacan, or the Knights Templar cartel.
"Since 2010, evidence surfaced of irregular mining of iron in the states of Jalisco, Michoacan and Colima," the department said in a statement to The Associated Press.
"That illegal activity was encouraged by the great demand for iron by countries such as China, to develop their industries," according to the department. "Many trading companies began to build up big stockpiles of legally and illegally obtained iron (ore), that was later shipped out for export."
From the archives
In this video, making its rounds on Youtube, shows several unidentified gunmen with a man that is blindfolded and his hands tied behind his back. They make fun of him and tell him they are going to execute him with the an AK-47 they are holding for being a criminal.
The date on which the recording was made is unknown, but it is believed that the incident occurred in Tepalcatepec, Michoacan.
In the video the group of sicarios say that the man held captive is a rat and that is why he is going to pay for everything he has done. For several minutes they play a psychological game with him, pretending they are spraying him with bullets and telling him he is going to be beat/tortured while they pretend to hit him with a branch from a tree.
In the video the men seem to be armed, some are seen with handguns on their waist and are in three luxurious SUV's. Their faces are revealed and their nicknames are given, but it is not certain if they are real nicknames or they are just joking around. They main guy and the one who appears to be filming the video calls himself "El 90."
In the recording one of the gunmen "El 90" is seen armed with an AK-47 (Cuerno de Chivo), while they accuse the man of being a criminal and they threaten to take his life.
The video does not show him being executed or if he ever was murdered.
Anyone that may have further information on this video post it up.
Servando Gomez "La Tuta" leader and founder of the La Familia Micoacana and now the Knights Templar released a video on November 27 in which he states that in November of 2006 in Michoacan he abducted Reyes Alfonso Hinojosa who is supposedly the cousin of then President-elect Felipe Calderon Hinojosa. The leader of the criminal group claims that the abduction was a response to a debt of 30 million pesos ($2,291,388 dollars).
Servando Gomez "La Tuta", leader of the Knights Templar (CT or Templarios), said in the video that the Luisa Maria Calderón had a pact and made indirect contact with the Templarios in 2006 and 2011.
In the video posted on YouTube "La Tuta" rejects the previous accusations made by Calderon Hinojosa that state government officials led by PRI Fausto Vallejo met with the Knights Templar.
Luisa María Calderón was quick to hold a press conference and deny the allegation made in the Tuta video that she considered a threat made against her and demanded a federal investigation to the comments made by Tuta where he admitted to some of his criminal activities. She said that the video is an affront to the institutions of the state, which was made in response to statements made by her about the presence of Templars in the Senate and forcing an investigation.
Without taking questions from the media, Luisa María Calderón said that the video is a public threat to herself and said that the local government recongnizes the intent of this criminal "this is the best evidence of their link, at least effective, with the local authority.
"He attacks me and tells me "to keep down my bullshit" shows that there has been no dialogue between me, it bothers him for me to say what happens, and it is also clear he is not happy with the current government."
Politicians and friends standing next to Luisa María Calderón in support during the press conference reminded the media of who they were dealing with, a criminal.
He also has five outstanding arrest warrants that includes 13 preliminary investigations. The law enforcement community of the Mexican government considers him one of the most violent drug traffickers in the country.
Luisa María Calderón said she is maintaining constant communication with federal authorities on the issue of insecurity in Michoacan and took advantage of this to ask the government to "take note of the confessions that Tuta makes of his criminal activities in the video and proceed with an investigation. The price I pay for speaking the truth is a threat from a confessed criminal through a video."
Source: open media sources, too many to mention.
Will the people of Michoacan find a solution to the violence through their Auto Defensas or comunitarios? Will the political corruption in Michoacan someday come to an end to stop protecting organized crime? Here is a video for incase we forgot how it has been and how it is now; Michoacan in 2009:
Thursday, November 28, 2013
From the Archives
The general public and vehicles that were travelling under the bridge were witness to the scene as the two bodies were dangling from the bridge. The authorities quickly arrived and they attempted to secure the scene.
The bodies were hanging from what appeared to be yellow plastic chords.
The other banner on the other side of the bridge had a similar message but the exact words were not available.
Sources: Noticiero El Circo, Testigo Noticias TV and social media.
There were reports throughout the day and into the night of clashes between armed men pretending to be part of the “citizen defense groups” (auto defensas) and police forces. The bloodiest confrontation occurred in Cuatro Caminos and Uspero, communities in Paracuaro and Apatzingan.
The fire fights were intense on the outskirts of the town but never reached the heart of the towns. The social media forums warned the "civilian defense groups" to remain inside their home through the night, to ensure they did not get caught in the cross fire between the police and the heavily armed gunmen.
The silent night was broken at around 10pm by the sounds of helicopters as they landed to pick up the injured to transport them to the militarized zone 43 in Tapalcatepec.
This comes after the advances of the "citizen defense group" were denied to prevent further advancements into Acahuato and the southern part of Apatzingan. The military had set up a perimeter and prevented the mobilization of the citizen groups to prevent confusion and potential for friendly fire from stray bullets.
Earlier in the day a ministerial police and a forensic investigator were ambushed and seriously injured, resulting in the pending violent confrontation.
Source: Reports form social media and Agencia Esquema
It is believed that the gunmen that ambushed the FP and the ministerial police were Templarios (CT).
The video below is from the incursion of the Auto Defensas into Tancitaro that resulted in clashes between the Defense Groups and gunmen last week.
The Rise of Michoacan
Pictures by Proceso
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
"I'm already picturing myself as a good man," said "El Ponchis" in an interview with Proceso
|"El Ponchis" shortly after his arrest Dec. 2010|
Early this morning under heavy security of elements from state, federal and State Attorney General's Office, Edgar Jimenez Lugo, alias "El Ponchis" or "El Niño Sicario" left the Court of Justice for Adolescents in Morelos.
According to data from the Morelos government secretary, Jorge Vicente Guillén Messeguer, who said in an interview with Mexico’s Milenio news channel that the youth, had served all but about a week of his three-year sentence, had family in San Antonio. Once in the United States, Jimenez would be sent to what he referred to as a “support center” where he would be treated as a “boarder,” not as an inmate. 'El Ponchis', 17, left the detention center at 2:30 am Tuesday to be transferred to the International Airport in Mexico City .
The official explained that Edgar departed from Mexico City en route to San Antonio, Texas, USA, where his family is waiting for him to be admitted to a rehabilitation support center.
A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City released a statement Tuesday morning that shed little light on the fate of the youth, who was born in San Diego.
“We are aware of Edgar Lugo’s upcoming release by the Mexican authorities following completion of his sentence,” the statement said. “We are closely coordinating with our Mexican counterparts and appropriate authorities in the United States regarding Edgar Lugo’s release. Due to privacy considerations, we do not publicly discuss details of matters involving U.S. citizens.”
In a separate TV interview, Morelos Gov. Graco Ramirez said that Edgar's rehabilitation had been "notable," and that he would continue it in the United States.
Ramirez confirmed that the youth was not being extradited to the U.S. Rather, he was being sent there because his life was at risk if he remained in Morelos.
It may be recalled that on 20 November, it first was reported that the teenager would not leave prison until December 3, after spending three years in captivity.
the child assassin better known as "El Ponchis", is looking for alternatives to continue his social rehabilitation process and one that is being considered is his return to the United States, where he was born.
El Ponchis was born in the United States but has spent much of his time growing up in in Mexico, where sisters and an aunt live.
His mother now lives in San Diego where she has another family.
Upon serving his sentence, the Court of Justice for Adolescents Center in Morelos the adolescent will be released from the facility and whether or not he has been able to overcome his criminal behavior remains uncertain.
Edgar "El Ponchis" Jimenez Lugo was arrested three years ago when he tried to board a flight to San Diego, California, where the flight originated. BB Dec. 3, 2010
The child, admitted to being a member of the South Pacific Cartel and participated in kidnapping, torture and murder of at least four people.
Édgar Jimenez Lugo, who at the time only14 years old, admitted to being a cartel member and participating in kidnapping and torture. He was convicted of beheading four men whose bodies were found in August 2010 under a bridge near Tabachines. He was accused abduction, of torture by beheading, transportation of drugs possession of weapons military use-only weapons, and military use during his participation in the South Pacific Cartel.
Authorities later linked him with 300 violent deaths which occurred in Morelos where he had the task of beheading and mutilating his victims.
"Edgar fulfills his sentence and will be credited with time served before or on December 3, 2013. Since he faces no U.S. charges, he will be free to move north upon his release should he so choose. The court has been considering several possibilities for his future" said Ana Perez Gomez Virinia.
The avalanche of facts, research, reports, statements, comments and interviews conducted by the press, their reporters and commentators on radio and television, reveal a scenario characterized by three phenomena:
- Proliferation and multiplication of criminal organization groups that now extend across a majority of the more than 100 municipalities in the state and that combine movement of drugs and illegal logging with extortion of agricultural producers, traders and families;
- The impotence, indifference and even complicity of state and municipal governments with these criminal groups;
- A legitimate citizen reaction of self-defense, now represented by the community police, that add new towns and municipalities every day.
If the Michoacán movements connect with their equivalents in Chiapas and Guerrero and with the various regional organizations in Oaxaca, it foretells and sketches a new corridor of community, municipal and regional self-management--an extensive area where social and citizen power takes precedence
It is likely that the case of Michoacán, with its nuances and differences, might already be the emblematic example. Some 5,000 years ago, when the first unequal societies appeared, where a minority exploited the majority, the heart of the social model has been the same: an interplay between three powers, the political, economic and social.
Today, in modern times, characterized by a maximum concentration of mega-monopolies represented by some 500 corporations, the political class, regardless of its color or ideology, now plays at capital's side. Hard data, coming from scientific research, confirm the expression that once seemed outlandish: today 1 percent of the species exploits the other 99 percent.
Michoacán government spokesman, Julio Hernandez, accused
Mireles, without presenting any evidence, that Mireles had been in jail from 1988
to 1992 on charges of planting and harvesting of marijuana, the doctor rejects
accusations flatly and there has not been any evidence produced to support this
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
|Jesus Coronado Salvador Rosales, "el Negro"|
Monday, November 25, 2013
Along with the police defense groups (auto defensas) taking matters in their own hands to take the fight to the cartels, I have also noticed something else lately. I call from social media networks to encourage citizens, who may be armed, to take out dangerous sicarios from criminal groups. This is an example post from "Por una Ruana con Libertad" a Facebook forum reporting on criminal activity in the region of Felipe Carrillo Puerto (La Ruana).
"The person in the photograph (below) goes by the name of Enrique Ruiz Hernandez AKA "El Templar chikito"
He is a sicario for the cartel Knight Templar (templarios) who works in the plaza of Apatzingan under the command of a person who goes by the nick name "la Matraca" (if anyone has the name of Matraca send it to me in my inbox)
Enrique Ruiz Hernandez is one who hangs out with the narco municipal police (narcomunicipales) in Apatzingan abducting people to demand a ransom and then murders them.
Be careful with this scourge if you happen to see him and if you are armed, shoot him, as this is the only way to rid of this type of garbage. We are talking about a very dangerous man that has committed numerous murders of innocent people, if not, then report him to 088 so they can arrest him, although it will not take him long to get out because there are many narco-attorneys that will bail him out immediately"
Vato and Chivis for Borderland Beat translation by Vato
|Autodefensas stopped by the military who demanded their weapons|
Note: This is the translation of the audio from a video that appeared on Televisa’s Punto de Partida. Thank you to the reader who brought this to my attention. The mayor referenced is the same mayor that caused headlines recently when he stated the autodefenzas should stay of the government is not going to provide security. This video is an excellent portrayal of a day in the life of autodefenzas beginning before day break they encountered an army blockade who once again demands their weapons. The life and death of an autodefenzas. Chivis and Vato
Sunday, November 24, 2013
|Arellano Felix family reunion|
On that part of the border, there's kind of a transnational family structure. Do you breach both sides?
The line's at least two hours right now. Don't even try. Wait until it dies down." This is before radio. Now there's a radio that every 15 minutes tells you how many cars there are. And this is before the DEA and everybody put up on the American side so the border is long now on both sides. It used to be that the only borderline you would make was coming from Tijuana, Mexico, into San Diego.
And in those days, when Tijuana and San Diego were smaller towns, you guys and your families were really part of an elite?
Well, most of us all went to Augustine. It's an all-boys school. Most of the girls went to Our Lady of Peace. If you went to school in Tijuana, you went to. . . an elite school. There are other ones, but at that time everybody went there. For example, my father went to Augustine, my little brother went to Augustine, I went to Augustine. And almost everybody of the elite from Tijuana went to these schools.
They wouldn't put you in the same prison cell or the same jail cell in the county jail. They would take you to the office and then call your parents or your uncle and say, "Let's fix this. We have a problem here. Let's take care of this business here," without making a big thing out of it. So you were very, very privileged. That's something that's almost unheard of now.
Right. I got tired of being a stockbroker, went to law school and became an attorney. My intention was to become a securities attorney. As a stockbroker, I'd see them. They were getting paid as much as me, or more, and weren't out doing as much hustling as I was. I was living in planes and hotels at the time. I opened my office right next to an MCC, right across the street from the federal courthouse, so it was just perfect. That's the best location there is in San Diego to have a law office for criminal defense--ninety-eight percent of my cases were drug traffickers, drug trafficking charges.
So you had ninety-eight percent drug trafficking cases, because that's what was in the MCC?
And it was all drug trafficking. I knew when it was the pot season and I was going to get border bust cases, I had to charge less. If I knew it was coke season, it was going to be more coke cases, and I could charge more. Then when crystal meth cases started coming in, they were so penalized I knew I could charge even more. They were usually were white guys, at that time. And the coke guys were either Mexican or Colombians.
And the pot guys were almost always Mexican. And so we knew how to price. We knew the seasons. We knew the dry seasons. We learned the pot world and the cocaine world and the drug world just by being attorneys, because we could tell after a while, cyclically, what kind of clients we were getting. And that's how I started. That how I started being a defense attorney.
So you're making good money, and a lot of clients coming in?
And you started traveling into Mexico?
Well, first I started with Colombia. A lot of them would say, "Okay. If you need that kind of money, it's not a problem, but you need to fly to Cali or Medellin or Bogota and meet my brother or my father or my wife or my sister and talk to them. Tell them exactly. Take the paperwork. Show them what's going on. Plus, you're going to save my life, so they know I didn't steal this. They'll know how the bust went down." So my job was to go down there and make sure that people understood what's going on.