A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.
María Elvia Amaya de Hank and her husband, former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon have returned to Tijuana from Switzerland, where she received a bone-marrow transplant. Hank Rhon made a public appeareance on Tuesday, while his wife is still recuperating. Story, Frontera.
Only 23% of Tijuana public schools have a library, Frontera newspaper reported on Tuesday. The space a library would take often is needed for classrooms, state education system representative Adriana Mendiolea told the paper.
A young member of the National Action Party in Tijuana, Omar González Rivera, 20, has been arrested in the killing of a Hyundai executive. Although González Rivera was originally identified as a youth leader of the PAN by a party official in Tijuana, other party officials later said González Rivera actually had only recently joined the party, was not a leader and had not been attending party meetings. Story, El Mexicano; jump page. Wednesday's story; jump page
More than 80 percent of those polled in Baja California oppose abortion, Frontera newspaper reported on Monday. But 63 percent also said criminalizing abortion violates a woman's rights. Story, Frontera.
Previous story on women jailed in abortion cases.
A Rosarito policeman was shot and killed and his wife badly wounded around 4 p.m. Sunday when the vehicle she was driving was attacked. Three children in the back seat, at least two of whom were believed to be the couple's daughters, were not hurt. The girls apparently had been at soccer practice shortly before the attack at Roberto Barrios and 5
de Mayo streets in the Crosthwaite neighborhood. The policeman was identified as Carlos Ventura Isida, age 39 or 40, and his wife as Claudia Zulema Cuevas, 35. Ventura Isida headed the police department's Primo Tapia section, El Mexicano reported.
Monday's Page One story, El Mexicano; jump page
Tuesday's Page One story, El Mexicano; jump page
Tuesday's story, San Diego Union-Tribune
Ventura Isida may have been killed to avenge Friday's death of José Julián Peña Padilla, 33, killed by a policeman when Peña Padilla fired an assault rifle at him. Ventura Isida apparently had been coaching a girls' soccer team before the shooting.
According to Ecos de Rosarito, Ventura Isida had been lightly wounded in an attack in December that killed another policeman and a bystander who had been eating tacos in the Constitución neighborhood.
Frontera on Sunday devoted an entire page to photos of vehicles illegally parked in downtown Tijuana on Friday, including one owned by the city government. The paper said the person driving the city's car refused to move it and then walked inside a bank.
The Chihuahua state government reports that there have been four swine flu (AH1N1) deaths in the state. Two were of Ciudad Juárez traffic policemen. Story, Frontera.
Columnist José Woldenberg, in his national column on Saturday, cites a report in Reforma newspaper that 23 women are jailed in abortion cases in Baja California — nine of them denied bail and 14 sentenced. The column cites feminist groups who say some of the women suffered spontaneous abortions. The groups say Lesly Karina Díaz Zamora suffered a spontaneous abortion at 27 weeks and her family took her to the hospital in Mexicali, where health workers who believed she had had an elective abortion reported her to prosecutors. In January, she was sentenced to 23 years on murder charges. Abortion charges would have carried a much lighter sentence. The government in Baja California is run by the National Action Party, traditionally a conservative party with strong ties to the Catholic church.
Previous mention of Tijuana abortion case arrest.
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders visited Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante on Thursday. El Mexicano's headline said Sanders was concerned about the flow of U.S. arms to Mexican criminal gangs. Frontera's headline said the mayors pushed the idea of Tijuana and San Diego as a unified region.
By David Gaddis Smith
The man falsely accused as being a second gunman in the 1994 assassination of Institutional Revolutionary Party presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio attended the annual memorial for the slain politician for the first time Wednesday in Tijuana's poor Lomas Taurinas neighborhood.
Othón Cortez Vazquez, left, who now works for Tijuana's parks department, had long worked as a driver and doing other jobs for the PRI before he was arrested nearly a year after the March 23, 1994 assassination. Although there was no evidence against him, he was imprisoned from Feb. 24, 1995 to Aug. 7, 1996. He was like the accused man in the documentary that has recently captivated Mexico, "Presunto Culpable,"or "Presumed Guilty." The charges against him came out of thin air. >>rest of story>>
In a possible sign that its recovery from a staggering debt is continuing, the Mexican cement giant Cemex's charitable foundation ran full-page ads in Mexican newspapers Wednesday. The Monterrey-based company recently increased a bond sale in an attempt to reduce its debt more quickly. A March 15 Business Insider article outlines how Cemex got into trouble and how it might benefit from having a more transparent business operation.
A ceremony to mark the 17th anniversary of the death of PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio in Tijuana is to take place at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Lomas Taurinas neighborhood of Tijuana. Frontera newspaper ran a cartoon wondering when Mexicans will ever know the truth about the assassination, although it could well be that they already know it but do not believe it. Frontera also ran a full page of photos from that fatal day 17 years ago.
About $582,000 in assault rifles, other weapons and ammunition were handed out to various police agencies in Baja California on Tuesday. Tijuana received 172 of 180 rifles that were distributed; Mexicali received the lion's share last year. The most common weapon purchased was the Beretta ARX 160 semiautomatic 5.56x45mm. Story, Frontera.
The columnist Catón starts off his column on Tuesday with a joke about a guy who says he keeps seeing less and less of his girlfriend. When asked why, he replies, "Because she is anorexic."
Catón uses that joke to point out the opposite, that Mexico's census shows the population has grown beyond the expectations of demographers, to 112 million, 336,000 inhabitants. Despite there being about 4 million more than demographers expected, Mexico has over the last few decades brought down its fertility rate tremendously. Catón's column
Jesús Zambrano Grijalva and Dolores Padierna Luna were elected president and secretary-general of the Democratic Revolution Party on Sunday and are charged with not allying the party with President Felipe Calderón's National Action Party in next year's presidential election. The PRD and the PAN have been teaming up to back the same gubernatorial candidates in many states in order to defeat the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which is favored to win next year's presidential race. Story, El Universal.
Columnist Sergio Sarmiento points out that former Mexico City Mayor Andrés Manuel López Obrador held a rally in Mexico City on Sunday as part of his campaign to run for president again in 2012, but never mentioned the PRD, under whose banner he ran for president in 2006 and for mayor in 2000. He said Dolores Padierna attended the rally on the same day she was elected to the party's No. 2 post, secretary-general. Padierna is the wife of René Bejarano, who continues to wield strength among PRD members despite having been involved in what became as the videoscandal in which he received $45,000 under the table in 2004. The man who was elected party president, Jesús Zambrano, is an ally of outgoing PRD president Jesús Ortega, who has been at major odds with López Obrador. Sarmiento's column
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Early Saturday, a vehicle containing narcocorrido balladeer Gerardo Ortiz, his father and three others were shot at in Colima state. Ortiz's driver and representative were killed.
Early Sunday, an explosive device was thrown at the group El Coyote y su Banda Tierra Santa while it was playing during the San José del Valle festival in Nayarit states, seriously injuring two musicians. Story, El Mexicano.
Many singers have been attacked and killed in recent years by drug traffickers, some of whom were upset that the performers in question had sung ballads about other drug traffickers.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who announced the resignation of U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual on Saturday, should name a new ambassador who is married and will not become another character in a Mexican soap opera.
Pascual, right, resigned in large part because of his analysis of Mexico's drug fight that became public as a result of Wikileaks. President Felipe Calderón of the National Action Party announced his displeasure about the contents of the leaked diplomatic cables March 3 during an interview with the Washington Post.
But a contributing factor may have been Pascual's romance with Gabriela Rojas Jiménez, the daughter of a prominent member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. >>more>>
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"Obra Negra," an exhibit about how art has evolved in Tijuana, has opened at El Cubo museum in the Tijuana Cultural Center. Story, Frontera. Obra Negra means dark or black art.
José Woldenberg, the former president of the Federal Electoral Institute, writes a thoughtful column about the legal machinations surrounding the documentary "Presunto Culpable," or "Presumed Guilty." He wonders how people can defend themselves when they feel defamed by a sector of the media, whether it be the press, radio, TV or movies. In the popular documentary "Presunto Culpable," a man who was a prosecution witness in a case where the man's cousin was killed sought an injunction for the film to be removed from movie screens because he had not given his permission to be filmed. The man, who was a minor at the time, was filmed during courtroom scenes. The movie makes a strong case that the man testified against the accused at the behest of police officers who basically invented a suspect. Despite the suspect having strong alibis and not having any relation to the cousin, he was convicted. However, an appeals court judge later overturned the conviction. The movie essentially makes the prosecution witness look like a manipulated fool, and the witness complained that his reputation has been shattered. A Mexico City judge granted the injunction he requested, but higher authorities decided to allow the movie to continue to be screened. Now the judge that granted the injunction has ordered that the face of the prosecution witness be blocked out in prints of the documentary, likely causing another round or more of legal machinations.
Update, April 13: The movie no longer is playing in Tijuana. The poster above was on display at the Cineteca Plaza Río Tijuana in March.
The movie was shown at the University of California San Diego's Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies on the evening of April 12. The documentary's director also spoke.
The Los Angeles Times' Ken Ellingwood has a good take on the story on Sunday, March 20
La Jornada story on Monday, March 28, in which some cineasts argue that the legal machinations over the movie are more a matter of ethics than of the law, and express concern about the accusing witness's being the subject of a "lynching campaign"
The Mexican tax administration Service will allow Mexicans to pay their taxes by credit card beginning in April, but only if it is a BBVA Bancomer card. Story, Frontera.
The Mexican government flew back 80 Mexicans from Japan in the aftermath of last week's devastating earthquake. They were not checked for radiation because they lived far away from the damaged nuclear power plants. Story, Frontera.
Meanwhile, earlier in the week, XX1090 radio sports talk show host Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton suggested that drug traffickers in Tijuana should show their humanity by donating their ill-gotten gains to earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan.
A doctor who was kidnapped three weeks before has been freed after paying a ransom, the newspaper El Mexicano reported. Dr. Jaime Sánchez Salazar had been kidnapped at gunpoint in his Río Zone office. Story, El Mexicano. Previous item, MexicoPerspective.com
Mexico is in last place in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries in pensions, with an average of U.S. $52,500 paid out over a lifetime. Chile is next-to-last place with $87,500; in first place is Luxembourg, with a payout of $1.665 million. The average received in the OECD's 34 countries is $470,000.
The new report says Mexicans stay in the labor force longer than any other OECD members, with women working on average until age 69.5 and men to age 72.2. The official retirement age in Mexico is 65. Story, Frontera. Story, Uniradio.
The overall thrust of the "Pensions at a Glance 2011" report was that OECD countries, to continue to provide pension benefits at current rates, must raise their retirement ages.
The secretary-general of the OECD is former Mexican Foreign Minister José Ángel Gurría, who also served as Mexico's finance minister.
Mexico's 2010 census found that 35% of Baja California homes have Internet access, making the state second in the country for such access after Mexico City, the newspaper Frontera reported. The census also found that Baja California ranks third in the country in having its population had, on average, 9.3 years of schooling. It trailed Mexico City and Coahuila; the national average is 8.6. Story, Frontera.
In 2010, Internet access in the state of California was 81%, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.
A Wikileaks document indicates that U.S. Consulate officials in Tijuana suggested that former Tijuana police chief Julián Leyzaola had a pact with the Arellano-Félix cartel, the newspaper El Mexicano reported on its front page. Leyzaola, who was not kept on by new Mayor Carlos Bustamante, was named police chief of Ciudad Juárez last week. U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual, who would have had access to far more information than that released by Wikileaks, has blessed Leyzaola's appointment in Juárez. Story, El Mexicano. jump page. Story in Frontera. Previous Leyzaola stories in MexicoPerspective.com
The U.S. consul in Tijuana, Steven Kashkett, tells the media that he has confidence in the Tijuana police force, but would make no comment about Wikileaks documents. Story, Frontera.
New Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC) Rector Felipe Cuamea Velázquez said 25,000 want to enter UABC, but there is only room for 10,000. He said the school will have room for 200 more students this year than in 2010. Story, El Mexicano. jump page.
Tijuana's Frontera newspaper said an alleged 19-year-old prostitute has been jailed after a
4-month-old aborted fetus was found in a hotel. The paper said it is Tijuana's first case of the sort, and Baja California state's second. Story, Frontera. Law allows abortion only in the case of rape or if the mother's health is in danger.
The head of the Fronteras Unidas Pro Salud non-profit providing health services to women, Marcela Merino, slams the jailing in the abortion case. Story in Frontera.
The new PRI government of Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamente ran an ad Wednesday of a big pothole in Frontera newspaper, saying this was the legacy the previous PAN government had left it. The ad said that although much work remains for Tijuana to "get out of the pothole," the government won't let it stop it or distract it from working on what is most important for the city.
The previous government of National Action Party Mayor Jorge Ramos embarked on a huge street reconstruction program using hydraulic concrete, but in some places the concrete collapsed or has broken apart already. And many streets that were not repaved are in very poor repair. The Tijuana newsweekly Zeta said the program has left the city with a debt of 1.45 billion pesos, or U.S. $120 million, payable over 18 years. Zeta ran a story last week saying 613 kilometers of the city's streets are in bad shape, and outlined the new administration's plan to repair them. Zeta's story.
Frontera runs story about Tijuana's Xicontencatl neighborhood, saying its streets look like a lunar landscape.
March 15 marks the 300th anniversary of the death of Padre Eusebio Kino in Magdalena de Kino, Sonora. The Italian-born Catholic missionary, pictured at right, founded more than 20 missions in what is now northwestern Mexico and southern Arizona.
Nogales International story by Jonathan Clark on Father Kino celebrations
Arizona Republic story by Ron Dungan on Father Kino
Magdalena also is known for being the hometown of Luis Donaldo Colosio, the PRI presidential candidate who was killed in Tijuana on March 23, 1994.
March 15 also is the 95th anniversary of the start of the Pershing expedition into Mexico that occurred after Pancho Villa shot up the town of Columbus, N.M., during the Mexican Revolution after the U.S. government cut off his access to weapons. The Mexican humor columnist Catón points out in a column on Tuesday that while Villa invaded Columbus in 1916, the mayor and police chief of Columbus have been invading Mexico by allegedly trafficking arms into the country. U.S. Gen. John Pershing is pictured at left.
Story on the arrests
Catón's column mentioning the expedition
Mexico has gone about decentralization the wrong way and has created a looming, "great fiscal black hole," economist Deborah Riner told the Institute of the Americas last week.
"I don't know how they are going to solve it," said Riner, chief economist for the American Chamber of Commerce in Mexico City. "It's going to be extremely difficult and painful." ... more ...
Mexican Education Minister Alonso Lujambio (left) made a whirlwind tour of Tijuana last week, announcing support for Tijuana's public schools, including for the building of two badly needed high schools, kicking off a new reading program and meeting with National Action Party members who might support his possible bid for the presidency next year. ...more...
A 7-year-old was killed after a SUV was shot at on Capistrano Avenue in the Capistrano section of Tijuana on Sunday. His father also died, and his mother was wounded. A 1-year-old in the car was unhurt. Five other violent deaths were recorded, the newspaper Frontera reported on Monday.
Tijuana Archbishop Rafael Romo Muñoz blesses El Trompo museum, two years after its opening. Story, Frontera.
New Juarez police chief Julián Leyzaola has already received a death threat from traffickers. The message was placed on a dead body. Story, Frontera.
Ciudad Juárez Mayor Héctor Murguía announces he has hired former Tijuana police chief Julián Leyzaola to be the Chihuahua state border city's policy chief.
Story, El Paso Times. Previous mention in MexicoPerspective.com
Tijuana's newspapers on Tuesday dedicated numerous full pages to profiles of area women as part of International Women's Day. One of them was of South County immigrant rights activist Mar Cárdenas, who was arrested in Arizona last year during a protest of Arizona's new immigration law. Cárdenas also recently taught a course on immigration at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Diego.
Tijuana's Frontera newspaper on Monday provided a story with tips on how to avoid being kidnapped south of the border. The tips are more for Mexican business owners, as Americans generally have not been kidnapping targets. El Mexicano on Sunday ran a story about fears that have result from a recent wave of kidnappings. One tip is for people not to drive luxurious cars. While most kidnappers have cased their targets, some kidnapping and violent events have taken place as a result of the type of vehicle someone has been driving.
MexicoPerspective.com came across the business card of an old friend, news director Jim Westcott of Warrenton, Va.'s WKCW country radio station in the 1970s and 1980s. A search of the station today finds that lo and behold, it is now a Spanish-language radio station, 1460 AM La Ley. One of its shows is "De Mi Tierra Mexicana." Its signal reaches Washington, D.C. and Maryland.
A Mexico City judge has ordered a halt to the showing of the documentary "Presunto Culpable" ("Presumed Guilty") because the main accuser in the case, who was a minor when he testified, says he did not give his permission to be filmed in the courtroom. Story, El Mexicano jump page
The film, in which an innocent man appears to have been made the scapegoat for a murder, has caused a sensation in Mexico. It has been airing in several Cinepolis theaters in Tijuana.
The film's distributor, Cinepolis, says it will fight the ruling and attempt to keep showing the film. Analysts said they thought authorities made to look bad in the film were behind the witness's request for the film's closure in a case of censorship. Mexico City's government and other government entities said they thought the film should be allowed to be shown.
March 4: The judge in the case says she made the ruling because of the humiliation the witness has been experiencing and plans to issue a definitive ruling March 18.
Previous mention of "Presunto Culpable"
A Council on Foreign Relations report, "The Drug War in Mexico: Confronting a Shared Threat," has been released. The analysis is by David Shirk, the director of the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego. To see or order the report
IFE comes to San Diego
IFE president comes under fire from Mexican Congress, media
Federal Electoral Institute President Leonardo Valdés Zurita, who was in San Diego on Monday to try to get Mexicans living in the United States to register to vote, is under fire for actions he has taken at the institute.
An editorial in Cambio magazine entitled "El Cochinito de Leonardo" says the institute is undergoing one of its worst moments in its 20 years of existence. Much of the furor has to do with the IFE's creating a 348 million peso (U.S. $28 million) fund to buy real estate instead of returning the money to the nation's treasury. Valdés Zurita said the fund has the potential to save the agency up to $83 million over a five-year period. More
The president of Mexico's national human rights commission lamented the state of Mexico's judicial system but also held out hope that Mexicans, through education, would learn to exercise their rights and obligations to society.
Raúl Plascencia Villanueva (left), in a speech to the Universidad de Tijuana (CUT) on Monday, cited what he called the "dark statistics" from a report he released Feb.22 about migrant kidnappings in Mexico.
The Autonomous University of Baja California law school graduate said the commission determined that at least 11,333 migrants were kidnapped in Mexico during a six-month period last year, but that there were fewer than 200 complaints filed with authorities. ... MORE