A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.
Two former Tijuana policeman, Juan
Carlos Salgado Villada, 30, and Jaime Moreno Guillén, 34, were shot to death Wednesday in the Chapultepec neighborhood of Tijuana, authorities said. They were believed to have been involved in an attack on other police in the Centenario area of Tijuana in 2008, and when they were sought for questioning, they disappeared, authorities said. The two were apparently shot about 6 a.m. on the Privada Paris.
The stories in the following three newspapers differed. El Sol de Tijuana's Manuel Cordero had the most comprehensive story and said it had been rumored in 2008 that they were aligned with the Arellano Félix cartel, then commanded by Teodoro "El Teo" García Simental. El Teo later broke with the Arellano Félix cartel and set off a reign of terror before being captured on Jan. 12, 2010.
Sol and El Mexicano said four men, one of them with a gun, were picked up by police shortly after Wednesday's shooting.
Story, Sol de Tijuana. Story, Frontera.
A device that can knock down concrete walls and break down metal doors in order to rescue kidnapping victims was shown off Wednesday in Tijuana. The metal device, invented by Baja California Attorney General's office agent Francisco Ramón Choy, is operated manually. It does not use electricity, battery power, electronics or explosive charges to do its work. Its front serves as a battering ram that can be held by one or two people, and its scorpion-like tail serves to pry open doors, among other things. Choy, 49, says he has been perfecting the device over the past decade and has donated one to the San Diego SWAT team. El Mexicano reported that the device has saved more than 50 lives, while Zeta reported that it has helped rescue a countless number of people. Choy served eight years with the city police department and now has 11 years as a state agent, most of them working with the anti-kidnapping squad. He has been patenting the device in order to sell it worldwide.
Story, El Mexicano. Story, San Diego Union-Tribune. Story, Frontera. Story, Zeta (from May).
A marketing campaign for Tijuana residents to report crimes was launched Tuesday. The Tijuana 3D project was brought about by the Autonomous University of Baja California tourism and marketing department and Tijuana's Business Coordination Council. The campaign, which aims to reach a million Tijuana residents, resulted from a study by marketing students that tried to find out why the citizens were reluctant to report crimes.
Daniel de la Rosa Anaya, Baja California's public safety minister, said that in the last three years, calls to report crimes to the 089 number have increased 528%, helping result in the detention of more than 6,000 suspects. He said the system in the coming weeks will be able to accept text messages and receive photos and videos via cellphone. He said the system will be set up so that the reports can be made anonymously.
Story, El Mexicano. Story, Frontera.
Authorities in Mexicali said three brothers may be behind the killing of prostitutes there, the newspaper El Mexicano reported. It said the brothers were the sons of a prostitute who had been killed.
Story, El Mexicano.
Boston mob figure Whitey Bulger told authorities he traveled to Tijuana to buy medicine when he was on the lam and living in Santa Monica, the Los Angeles Times reported. It said agents found $822,198 hidden in his apartment, much of it inside the walls. He lived undetected in Santa Monica with his girlfriend for at least 14 years.
The U.S. did not require travelers to use passports or special border crossing cards until two years ago. Bulger, 82, had fake identification, authorities told the paper. Until 2009, people who crossed the border often were waved through the border without identity checks.
There was a purported sighting of Bulger at Horton Plaza in San Diego in 2006, when a security guard saw a man resembling Bulger leaving a theater and then catching a southbound trolley. Story, San Diego Union-Tribune.
The body of a prostitute was found in an irrigation canal west of the city in the colonia Gabriela Mistral, where three bodies of prostitutes were found in 2008 and 2009.
Story in El Mexicano's Mexicali edition front page. Jump page.
El Mexicano's Tijuana edition reported on its front page that Osvaldo Ramírez Landa, considered to be the man behind the videotaped striptease show in a police station in March that caused 14 Tijuana policemen to suspended from their jobs, has been arrested again on charges of use of false documents. The paper said Ramírez Landa's modus operandi has been to partner with prostitutes to steal their clients' credit cards and then use the cards to buy goods at stores. The paper said Ramírez Landa, 40, originally from Oaxaca, has been arrested at least five times in Baja California. El Mexicano said he had been detained by police with a woman in March, and that he had turned in to prosecutors and apparently was later released on bail. The paper said police did not turn his partner in to the prosecutor's office in exchange for the striptease, in which she was groped by police. The cell-phone video was leaked to the media and went viral worldwide after city official Yolanda
Enríquez de la Fuente (the síndico procurador) did not immediately take action on the matter; she could face legal action from the state legislature in the case for neglect of duty.Story, El Mexicano's Tijuana edition front page. Jump page.
UPDATE, June 30: Woman testifies that before she danced for and was groped by police, she performed oral sex on two policemen. She that police later gave her money to catch a taxi home. Story, El Mexicano.
UPDATE, July 1: Legislature has postponed action against city official Yolanda Enríquez de la Fuente until at least July 13.
Story, El Mexicano. Follow-up story on the oral sex allegations, in which Mayor Carlos Bustamante says it appears the incident at La Presa police station was worse than he realized: El Mexicano front page. Jump page.
El Mexicano reported Monday that minors who have finished sentences for crimes committed in the United States are being deported to Tijuana, even though they do not have family in the city.
An average of three minors between ages 16 and 17 are being taken to the Youth Social Protection Center a week, with the goal of establishing contact with their families so that they can return to their homes in Mexico, Gerardo Díaz
Ortiz of the DIF (city agency for Integral Family Development) told the paper. He said there have been cases where youths from Chihuahua state have been deported to Tijuana rather than deporting to Chihuahua state, which borders Texas and New Mexico.
Story, El Mexicano. Jump page.
President Felipe Calderón said he was not informed in advance about the Jorge Hank raid, but lamented Hank's release considering that two arms found on his property were linked to murders and blasted the support that Catholic bishops gave to Hank. <<<rest of story>>>
Former Tijuana police chief Julián Leyzaola's entourage was attacked by armed men in Ciudad Juárez, where Leyzaola now heads the police force. Leyzaola was unhurt; one attacker was shot by Leyzaola's forces. A second attacker escaped. The wounded man was identified as Roberto Ló-
pez Valles, 24. Story, El Mexicano. jump page.
Mexican officials reacted vociferously Wednesday to the U.S. Border Patrol's shooting of an apparent border crosser, saying that the firing of weapons is an inappropriate response to rock throwing. A stick with a nail in also apparently was thrown, wounding a U.S. officer.
A protest with Mexicans carrying a coffin at the San Ysidro border crossing took place.
Protest photo and story, Frontera. Photo of partner, Border Patrol's version, Frontera.
Mexico, Brazil and Argentina have the most truck merchandise thefts in Latin America, an insurance company executive says. Reforma reported that Thomas Gillen, head of the loss prevention section of the Chartis insurance company, said thefts in Brazil tend to be more violent and in Argentina to involve more electronics. The worst Mexican entities for theft are Mexico City, Mexico state and Jalisco, Durango and Nuevo León states, Gillen said. He spoke at a conference in Mexico City held by the U.S. Commercial Service. Reforma's story in Frontera
Although the detention and freeing of former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon has been seen as more damaging to President Felipe Calderón and his National Action Party than to Hank's Institutional Revolutionary Party, the damage to Hank's future political aspirations appears to have been significant. <<<rest of story>>>
El Mexicano and Frontera reported that a border crosser apparently was killed by the U.S. Border Patrol after 8 p.m. Tuesday night in an incident that U.S. officials said involving the throwing of rocks at U.S. personnel. El Mexicano said the dead man was identified as José Alfredo Yáñez Reyes, 40, originally from Sinaloa who has been living in Playas de Tijuana. It said he was crossing with a woman believed to be his partner, Mayra Paredes Nino, 18.
El Universal reports that 40,000 Mexicans have fled the country during President Felipe Calderón's term to avoid being caught up in drug-trafficking violence. It said 5,000 were living in Canada under the status of refugees or political exile, 1,384 in the United States and 51 in other countries. Story and graphic (El Mexicano). Jump page.
Eight to 10 teachers and principals who complained about drug pushers operating in or near their schools have been threatened and moved to different campuses, Baja California Education Minister Javier Santillán Pérez said Saturday. He said most of the cases, which he called isolated ones, were in Tijuana and Mexicali, El Universal reported.
He also said that a fourth-grader was found selling drugs and that authorities found that his family was involved in drug sales.
David Gaddis Smith's review of former Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda's book, "Mañana Forever: Mexico and the Mexicans," appears in Sunday's San Diego Union-Tribune. The review.
The Los Angeles Times' Reed Johnson also reviewed the book Sunday. That review.
Residents who live along the Arroyo Alamar in Tijuana complained at a forum Friday that authorities were using concrete to line the streambed without taking the residents' needs into consideration, Frontera and El Sol de Tijuana newspapers reported Saturday. <<<rest of story>>>
Jaime Flores Martínez in his Cicuta (Hemlock) column Friday writes that the guns found at former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon's compound <<<rest of story>>>
Eight of 26 Tijuana policemen who were arrested on suspicion of being involved in organized crime and sent to a prison in Veracruz state last summer before being exonerated in April have accepted indemnization payments, El Mexicano reported. The city is to make a 45,000 peso payment (U.S. $3,750) to each policeman in addition to 45,000 more pesos to go toward the support of their families. Story, El Mexicano. Jump page.
Previous story in MexicoPerspective.com.
Diario de San Diego writes about a report that says San Ysidro's air is badly polluted. (Unfortunately, the story is no longer available online as the publication stopped operations on June 30.)
Jorge Fernández Menéndez began his column Thursday about the failure of the federal and Baja California state government's cases against Jorge Hank Rhon by relating them to the comedian Groucho Marx's quote: "Politics is the art of looking for trouble,
finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies."
"Who is responsible for this fiasco?" the national columnist asked. <<<rest of story>>>
Tuesday was World Blood Donor Day, and the head of the Baja California blood transfusion center, Dr. Víctor Abel Ocampo Lozano, was reported as saying by El Mexicano newspaper: "In Baja California we need 30,000 units per year, and of those only 5% are from volunteers and the other 95% are from donations for family members."
He said the state was initiating a campaign, "Make another heart beat, donate blood."
Mexico does not have a tradition of altruistic blood donations, unliked countries such as the United States, Germany. Ocampo said the state's goal is to boost altruistic volunteer donations to 25%.
The paper ran a photo of the Hospital General de Tijuana's blood donor room and said that more than 100 volunteers donated blood there on Tuesday. Story, El Mexicano.
The theme of World Blood Donor Day was "More blood. More life."
While two judges found Tuesday there was not probable cause to bind over Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon in two criminal cases, a judge did find cause to bind over a former Chiapas state governor in a corruption case.
Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía, 56, is currently being held without bail <<<rest of story>>>
One could detect a certain amount of satisfaction in the Tijuana weekly Zeta's coverage of former Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon's arrest on suspicion of possessing illegal weapons, seeing as how two of Hank's employees were convicted in the 1988 killing of Zeta cofounder Héctor "El Gato" Félix. Zeta refused to run city government advertising when Hank was mayor. >>>rest of story>>>
President Felipe Calderón's sister, Luisa María Calderón, opened her campaign for the National Action Party nomination for governor in their home state of Michoacán on Saturday. She started campaigning a minute after midnight in Morelia, the capital, where the Calderóns grew up. She also campaigned in Apatzingán, where drug traffickers have been holding sway. Reforma reported that when she was asked why she was campaigning there, she replied: "It is also a place of the constitution and we want to return it to our Morelia, to our Michoacán, to each one of our pueblos its origins; in Apatzingán institutions were born," she said. She was referring to a major event during Mexico's fight for independence from Spain, where the Congress of Anáhuac passed a constitution on Oct. 22, 1814. Story (pdf file).
She is competing in the PAN's July 31 nominating election with Marko Cortés, who has taken leave from his Senate seat to run for governor.
Luisa María Calderón has served twice as a federal deputy and also as a federal senator. She was accompanied by her brother Juan Luis Calderón and her sister, María del Carmen Calderón.
If she wins the nomination, she will face off against former Morelia Mayor Fausto Vallejo of the Institutional Revolutionary Party and a Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) candidate. The PRD holds the governor's post now.
Cipriana Jurado was granted U.S. asylum, her lawyer told The Associated Press. Carlos Spector said she had accused the Mexican army of persecution. She applied for asylum this year, following the slaying of her friend and human rights activist Josefina Reyes in Chihuahua state in January 2010.
In February, Reyes' sister, brother and brother-in-law were killed; in August, another brother was killed. Reyes' mother's home also was set on fire. Story.
Wire story (incorrectly says Reyes killed in January of this year; she was killed in January 2010. It also says she was killed in Ciudad Juárez when she was killed in nearby Guadalupe.) Amnesty International story on her slaying).
The AP said Jurado began defending workers' rights, then aided families of women slain in Juárez and then became a critic of the militarization of Juárez during Mexico's ongoing drug war.
Poet Javier Sicilia's "Caravan for Peace" protest against the drug war reached El Paso on Saturday. At a rally in San Jacinto Plaza, also known as the Plaza de los Lagartos, others who have sought political asylum appeared with him. Story, Proceso. He asked the U.S. to suspend the Mérida Initiative providing Mexico aid for the battle against drug trafficking. Sicilia began a protest movement against the drug war after traffickers killed his son earlier this year. The caravan left Cuernavaca, where Sicilia is from, on June 4. Story, San Antonio Express-News
Authorities said Friday that two of the 88 weapons found in former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon's compound have been linked to murders in Baja California. Story, Frontera. They were .40 and .380 caliber guns, the paper said. The Frontera page has a photo of a gun with Hank's name on it; it was not clear whether this was one of the 10 guns that were legally registered with the government. Zeta reported, however, that neither of the two guns found with Hank's name on them were registered. In recent years, ballistics tests have been found to be much less reliable than previously thought, depending on how distinct the markings guns make on bullets.
Meanwhile, Hank's lawyers said that closed-circuit videos taken by cameras at his compound will show that events during Hank's arrest on June 4 did not occur the way the military says they did. Hank's wife, María Elvia Amaya de Hank, also held a press conference Friday contradicting the military's version. Story, Frontera.
Former Tijuana Mayor Héctor Osuna Jaime (1992-1995) has received an amparo (injunction) against any possible arrest by federal authorities, apparently for any action he took as president of the Federal Telecommunications Commission
(Cofetel), El Mexicano newspaper reported. Osuna Jaime, who represented Baja California in the Senate from 2000-2006, became president of Cofetel in 2006 after being nominated by then-President Vicente Fox. He left the post last year.
El Mexicano said unconfirmed reports indicated he might be trying to protect himself from any action stemming from a 2009 leaked-conversations affair involving Luis Téllez when Téllez headed the Communications and Transportation Ministry. The leaked conversations eventually brought about Téllez's resignation. The paper said Téllez accuses Purificación Carpinteyro, former head of the Mexican postal service and former deputy minister in the Communications and Transportation Ministry, of leaking recorded telephone calls. However, a judge ruled in March that there was not enough evidence to charge Carpinteyro with violating privacy laws. Story, Mexico Weekly. Téllez now heads the Mexican stock exchange. El Mexicano said Téllez has indicated the calls were possibly leaked with the complicity of Osuna Jaime.
Osuna Jaime, who is trained as an architect, will turn 54 this month. He is frequently mentioned as a top candidate for the PAN's 2013 gubernatorial nomination for Baja California.
Update: Osuna Jaime said he dropped the injunction after he discovered there was no legal threat against him.
Former Tijuana Mayor Federico Valdés Martínez, who died Saturday at age 72, was honored Thursday in a ceremony at city hall. Well over 1,000 were in attendance. <<<rest of story>>>
An ultralight plane was found by Mexican authorities in the valley of San Luis Río Colorado along with 5.5 kilos of marijuana, Frontera reported. No one was arrested. Radar-evading ultralight planes have been widely used to transport drugs across the border. Story, Frontera. May 19 Los Angeles Times story on ultralights.
Authorities in Mexico City released details about the 88 weapons found early Saturday during a raid on former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon's compound. Patricia Bugarín, a prosecutor with the Deputy Attorney General's Office Investigating Organized Crime, (Subprocuraduría de Investigación Especializada en Delincuencia Organizada, or Siedo) said 78 of the 88 weapons were not licensed. She said 49 were for the exclusive use of the Mexican armed forces. She said that of 9,250 rounds of ammunition found, 8,944 were for the exclusive use of the military and 306 could be used if the owner received a license for them from the military. Reforma story, in Frontera. San Diego Union-Tribune story.
Sergio Sarmiento writes about recent corruption cases in Mexico. He and many others wonder whether the lack of a search warrant and other irregularities will cause the government's case against Hank to fall apart. A thoughtful Víctor Espinosa column.
Diario de San Diego published a series of tributes to its 7 1/2 years covering San Diego and the border; the weekly will end publication this month.
Two men were hanged from a bridge in Monterrey, one of them still alive, on Wednesday. Rescue workers trying to free the man who was alive fled the area after they heard shots, but returned after police secured the area. The man who was still alive had a message of the Gulf Cartel against informants who work for the Zeta cartel. Later, in Terán, about 50 miles south of Monterrey, four men at a car wash were killed by gunmen using AR-15 rifles, EFE reported.
Thirteen were killed at a drug rehab center in Torreón. Story, Frontera. Meanwhile, at least 21 bodies were found in Morelia, the capital of Michoacán state.
Here is how the humor columnist Catón, using his real name Armando Fuentes Aguirre in his daily "Manganitas" item, sees the detention of former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon (he misspelled Rhon) on suspicion of illegal arms possession:
"Aprehenden a Jorge Hank Rohn"
"They arrested Jorge Hank Rohn"
In a not so humorous column, Antonio Medina de Anda of the National Pedagogical University Tijuana campus calls President Felipe Calderón a fascist for arresting Hank. Column, Frontera.
A letter to Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora signed by 149 Tijuana lawyers, which ran as a full-page ad, protests the manner in which Hank Rhon was arrested and decries that he was transferred to Mexico City even though he had an obtained an amparo (court injunction) disallowing such a transfer. The letter. Lawyer Carlos Rubio Alonso was responsible for the letter's publication. Hank Rhon's handwritten letter to the Supreme Court.
Columnist Sergio Sarmiento goes through Jorge Hank Rhon's dark past, but laments the manner in which he was detained Saturday. Sarmiento says he hopes Hank was not detained for political purposes and that weapons were not planted in Hank's compound, saying Mexico does not have the luxury of using the justice system for political purposes. The column.
Leo Zuckermann's column Monday explains the possible political reasoning behind Hank's arrest: the PRI is far ahead in the polls in next month's governor's race in Mexico state, where Hank is originally from; President Calderón wants to cut the lead in the polls that Mexico state Gov. Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI has for next year's presidential race; and the PAN wants to sow doubts about Hank Rhon before the 2013 Baja California gubernatorial race. He said if the arrest of Hank Rhon turns out like the drug arrests of Michoacán mayors who were later freed for lack of evidence, the PAN will have wound up backfiring on itself again. The column.
A group of city council members, including members of Mayor Carlos Bustamante's Institutional Revolutionary Party, are protesting that they are being left out of decision-making by the mayor and his cabinet. Story, El Mexicano. Jump page. The Alliance for the Dignification of Tijuana was integrated by PRI council members Míriam Ayón Castro, Francisco Gómez Medina and Javier Merino Duarte, the paper reported. The group also includes Claudia Ramos Hernández, María Luisa Sánchez Meza y Erwin Aréizaga Uribe of the National Action Party; Mariano San Román Flores of the Green Party; Julio César Vázquez Castillo of the Workers Party; and Rodolfo Hernández Bojórquez of the Social Encounter Party.
Mayor Carlos Bustamante said Sunday he thought the arrest of former Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon on suspicion of illegal arms possession Saturday was arbitrary and political, El Mexicano reported. He particularly objected to Mexican forces barging into Hank's home at 3 a.m. "That you wake someone at that hour, with their whole family, seems at least a little arbitary to me," he said. Story, El Mexicano.
UCSD professor Teddy Cruz wanted Political Equator 3 to have international impact — and it already has with the wide distribution of stories and photos about its mass, legal "political theater" crossing of the San Diego-Tijuana border through a smelly drain culvert Saturday.
Federico Valdés Martínez, mayor of Tijuana from 1986-1989, died Saturday at age 72. Valdés, who had diabetes and had to have a leg amputated a number of years ago, had suffered a respiratory stoppage more than two weeks ago.
Saturday's early morning arrest of former Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon meant that Valdés' death appeared below the fold of the front page of El Mexicano. >>>rest of story>>>
Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante and Tecate Mayor
Javier Urbalejo met Thursday in Tecate and said they would work to resolve boundary issues between the two Baja California municipalities.
Story, El Mexicano.
Ensenada and Rosarito also have boundary issues, and saw an armed confrontation involving them two months ago. Ensenada and Rosarito's efforts to work through the conflict.
Ensenada police point guns at Tecate mayor on April 2. jump page. April 5 El Mexicano story.
Tijuana's top urban development official, David Navarro Herrera, said Thursday that the lack of an agreement could be costing residents in the affected Tijuana-Tecate boundary area. He said federal funding for the area could be five times higher if the dispute were resolved.
There also is talk of making San Felipe and San Quintín into separate municipalities.
The Baja California state legislature voted Tuesday to require mandatory auto insurance next year. El Mexicano said the annual cost of basic insurance would be no more than 897 pesos and 30 centavos ($77.50) and cover damages up to 260,000 pesos ($22,475).
El Mexicano reported that the military fired shots at a Tijuana used auto parts junkyard, frightening workers and passers-by Tuesday. The shots were fired at the Yonke El Tapatio around 4:30 p.m. on Díaz Ordaz Boulevard near Bernardo O'Higgins Boulevard during an operation to search for drugs, the paper said. None were found, and no one was hurt, the paper said. It said the nearby Scotiabank closed its doors. Three people were killed at the junkyard two years ago. Story, El Mexicano.
The huge flag that flies over Tijuana was recently torn off by winds. A relatively small green piece of the flag is still flying. Military authorities said the flag mechanism is broken and that they cannot even take down the piece of flag that remains until specialists from Mexico City arrive to fix it. The flag went up 14 years ago, on May 31, 1997, in a ceremony presided over by then-President Ernesto Zedillo. Story, El Mexicano. Last week, presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador decried the condition of the flag, which was visible from the spot where he held a rally at the intersection of Consitutución Avenue and 2nd Street. Story on the rally.
UPDATE, June: A new flag has replaced the old one.