A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.
A 33-year-old man who served time in El Hongo state prison for murder took a bus full of passengers hostage after police surrounded it while seeking to detain him after he allegedly threatened his sister-in-law with rape. When bus driver Ismael Rivera Valencia, 23, would not drive the bus anywhere, saying he could not because it was surrounded by police, Jesús Santos "El Tito"
Guzmán Bañuelos shot him twice in the neck and the shoulder, authorities said. Passenger Manuel Jesús Echeverría Álvarez,
31, was shot in the trachea. Police then entered the bus and took Guzmán Bañuelos into custody; authorities said he was under the influence of crystal meth. Police said the man claimed he had previously shot a worker at the Mini Market Don Carlos in the Valle Verde neighborhood. Frontera reported that he also claimed that he had killed a policeman. A federal policeman was killed in Ensenada on Oct. 25 but a young man at the scene was detained in the crime. Story, Ensenada.net. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Story on the Oct. 25 shooting of the federal policeman (PDF).
Update, Dec. 3: Youth arrested in Oct. 25 shooting death of state policeman released after confession of Guzmán to the slaying.
A 30-year-old man who withdrew 16,000 pesos ($1,178) from a bank and then drove off in a large pickup was shot and wounded in the arm by would-be robbers in Tijuana. Martín Escamilla Rico, when he saw he was being followed by a green Astro van, accelerated to arrive at the windshield company where he worked on Río Nuevo between 11th and 12th streets. officials told El Mexicano newspaper. His assailants shot out the driver's side window and wounded him; he was taken to a Red Cross clinic. The assailants did not get any money, which had been withdrawn from a bank on Agua Caliente Boulevard in Colonia Cacho. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Authorities in Tijuana found an entrance to a 550-meter cross-border tunnel where another entrance was found on Cactus Street on the San Diego side of the border, Tijuana media reported. It was in a warehouse near the Tijuana aiport, media reported. Tons of marijuana were found in the warehouse, which had an elevator to the tunnel. Front page, Frontera (PDF). Story, Frontera. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump
Update, Nov. 30: 32 tons of marijuana were found in the tunnel. Story, El Mexicano.
The Democratic Revolution Party of presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador said it will challenge the Insitutional Revolutionary Party's coalition with the Green and New Alliance parties. Because the coalition only is a partial one, it will unfairly be entitled to more broadcast spots than the PRD's coalition with the Workers Party and the Citizens Movement, the PRD.
Nepomuceno Moreno Muñoz, 56, was shot to death in his vehicle at a stoplight in Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora state. Story in Frontera (PDF). Story, La Jornada. Moreno Muñoz had loudly complained for the past year that his son, Jorge Mario Moreno León, and other youths had been kidnapped by police in Ciudad Obregón on July 1, 1910. The bodies of the other three youths were later found, but Moreno León's was not. Moreno Muñoz had participated in the Peace with Justice and Dignity movement of Javier Sicilia and was part of the movement's recent visit with President Felipe Calderón in Chapultepec Castle. Then-Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora had been asked to ensure Moreno Muñoz's safety, but then Blake Mora was killed in a helicopter crash. Sicilia visited Tijuana earlier this month. He held responsible Sonora Gov. Guillermo Padrés for Moreno Muñoz's death.
Moreno Muñoz had his own past to contend with: he was convicted in connection with a 2005 armed robbery of a residence and was released from prison last year. Story, El Heroico.com. Authorities also said he had been sentenced in the United States in 1979 for heroin trafficking and claimed in 1997 that he had been kidnapped by brothers Ambrosio y Ramón Vázquez Villagrana, who have been linked to drug trafficking. Story in Frontera (PDF). A Peace with Justice and Dignity member asked the Sonora government not to "criminalize the victim," but seek justice for him.
A man has been given a 50-year prison sentence in the December 2009 killing of Baja California anti-kidnapping team official José Luis Humberto Vázquez Cervantes, Frontera reported. Jorge Manuel Alarcón Jacobo, 36, originally from Navolato, Sinaloa, was convicted of shooting Vázquez Cervantes in Playas de Tijuana after the official had left his office. Story, Frontera (PDF). Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Alarcón Jacobo is also named as a suspect in the slayings of four Tijuana police on April 27, 2009, the slayings in three police on Sept. 19, 2009 and of state policeman José Miguel Guerra Acuña on Jan. 7, 2011. When Alarcón Jacobo was captured in July, officials said he was tied to 22 slayings. Story on his arrest, Frontera (PDF). El Mexicano's story on the Jan. 7 slaying (PDF). Jump.
Alarcón Jacobo reportedly worked for Teodoro "El Teo" García Simental, who was arrested on Jan. 12, 2010 in La Paz in Baja California Sur. El Teo had broken off from the Arellano Félix cartel and had reportedly forged an alliance with Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán's Sinaloa Cartel.
In the Dec. 1, 2009 shooting, Vázquez Cervantes lost control of his vehicle and it crashed into the bottom of a canyon, the papers said. The man who gave the order to kill the official was named as Paul Salomón Sauceda, also known as "El Paul." One of Alarcón's nicknames is "El Ceviche." Frontera said Alarcón Jacobo was paid about 5,000 pesos a week, or about $400, to kidnap and execute people. That translates to more than $20,000 a year, more than what most police earn. Mexican police salary study. What one kidnapper got per victim. $214 weekly pay as hired gun. Cross-border tunnel diggers paid $98 weekly.
Leo Zuckermann has a good column about the cost of electoral alliances and how the Institutional Revolutionary Party leadership has angered PRIistas in Quintana Roo and Chiapas by giving nominations for top posts to Green Party and New Alliance Party politicians. The New Alliance Party is run by teachers union leader Elba Esther Gordillo. Zuckermann's column (PDF)
The San Diego Union-Tribune's Sandra Dibble looks into the uses drug money is put to in light of last week's $15.3 million seizure of cash in Tijuana. The money is believed to have belonged to Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán's Sinaloa Cartel. She writes that Mexican efforts to curtail money laundering are causing more cash to be sent north of the border as supposedly legitimate proceeds, and cited ICE figures showing "a $300 million rise in declared currency heading from Mexico into California from 2009 through last year." The article cites Eric Olson, a senior associate at the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, as saying "reasonable estimates peg the value of Mexico’s export drug market at $7 billion to $9 billion per year, though there are far higher figures cited." Story, San Diego Union-Tribune.
The Los Angeles Times Ken Ellingwood and Tracy Wilkinson, in a report datelined Mexico City, said Mexican anti-laundering efforts appear to be causing more money also to be sent to the Caribbean and Central America. They also wrote: "Officials here say the tide of laundered money could reach as high as $50 billion." The story focuses on efforts to curtail money laundering. Story, Los Angeles Times.
The bet here is that the amount being laundered is much lower than the figure cited by the Times. See the MexicoPerspective article: "It's time to stop exaggerating drug money numbers"
Update, Nov. 28: A second Los Angeles Times story on the laundering issue, entitled:
"U.S. blacklisting seems to have little consequence in Mexico."
See photo, Frontera (PDF).
Paper says "Turn-of-the-century America, particularly New York, comes alive at his fingertips," in telling story of Teresa Urrea, the Saint of Cabora. Luis Alberto Urrea is her grand nephew. Review, Los Angeles Times.
Update, Dec. 25: New York Times review.
President Felipe Calderón was accused of war crimes at the international court of justice in The Hague, Netherlands. The complaint filed by human rights activist and lawyer Natzai Sandoval cites human rights violations by the army and police during Calderón's war on drugs. Story, Associated Press. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump page. It is not likely that the complaint against Calderón will go far.
Update, Nov. 30: PRI presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto defends Calderón against accusations, says battle against organized crime must be carried on. Story in El Mexicano (PDF). Jump. (See Dec. 5 update below.)
Columnist Eduardo Ruiz-Healy says Calderón has not committed crimes against humanity. Ruiz-Healy's column (PDF).
Update, Nov. 29: Columnist Sergio Sarmiento says Calderón badly overreacted in saying he would legally pursue those who brought the war crime charges against him. Sarmiento's column in Frontera (PDF).
Update, Dec. 3: Calderón decides not to pursue legal action against those who brought the charges. El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, Dec. 5: Columnist Leo Zuckermann says Peña Nieto's stance may draw him PAN support if the presidential race comes down to one between the PRI and the PRD. His column.
Ciudad Juárez residents protested against alleged rights violations under police chief Julián Leyzaola, the former police chief of Tijuana. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump page. Last week, Heriberto García, the human rights prosecutor for Baja California, recommended that Leyzaola be sanctioned for rights violations for incidents that occurred when he was Tijuana police chief. Story, 4vientos.org. Earlier in the month, the magazine Quien named Leyzaola as one of Mexico's top 50 movers and shakers. Story, Frontera (PDF).
The group Madrugadores de Tijuana named the dean of Tijuana's journalists, Óscar Genel, as the forjador (shaper, or forger) of the year. Genel, who has been recovering from a serious illness, received the award Thursday. Story, Frontera (PDF). Genel, born in 1930, is one of a number of journalists who have a street named after him in the Camino Verde neighborhood of Tijuana. There also is a mural of him on the street, as seen in photo at left; last week, a mural to the late Zeta newspaper founder Jesús Blancornelas was unveiled on the nearby street that bears Blancornelas' name.
Jeova Israel Ilhuicatzi Morales, alias "El Cuervo", or "The Crow", was captured by federal agents Tuesday, state Attorney General Rommel Manjarrez said. The location of the arrest was not given. "El Cuervo" was alleged to be the successor to Héctor "El Güicho" Guajardo Hernández, who was captured in a shootout in Mexicali earlier this year, then escaped custody in Mexico City before being recaptured in September. Both allegedly worked for Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán's drug organization. "El Cuervo" was wanted on murder and other charges. Story, Frontera (PDF).
The dollar hit 14.24 to the peso, its highest point since 2009. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update. Dec. 2: Peso recovers to 13.5 to the dollar.
The Mexican military seized $15.3 million in cash in Tijuana's Cumbres de Juárez neighborhood and said it belonged to Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán. Three kilos of cocaine and four weapons were also seized in the operation Friday at a home that appeared to be abandoned; there were no arrests, authorities said. In the doorway were late payment notices going several months back for utilities for the home, Frontera newspaper reported.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
Mayor Carlos Bustamante delivered his first state of Tijuana address Tuesday night in the old Jai Alai fronton downtown, defending his decision to renegotiate the city's debt. He made a strong defense of top official Yolanda Enríquez, who had been subject to an impeachment investigation by the state legislature because of her delay in recommending action involving police who had a stripper perform for them in their police station. Bustamante noted many other accomplishments, including coming to a boundary agreement with Tecate.
Story, Frontera. Among those in attendance was San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, Frontera reported (PDF).
Ensenada Mayor Enrique Pelayo rejected the idea of splitting off San Quintín as a separate municipality. A committee has been formed to explore forming the new municipality; Pelayo said it would only bring more complications to San Quintín residents. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Sonora Sen. Manlio Fabio Beltrones, facing the apparently insuperable lead in the polls of former Mexico state Gov. Enrique Peña Nieto, announces he will not seek the Institutional Revolutionary Party nomination for president. Story in Frontera (PDF).
The Los Angeles Times' Brian Bennett has an excellent front-page story on how Tohono O’odham Nation members are working with the U.S. government to track border drug smugglers in Arizona. The Shadow Wolves are a team of eight native Americans patrolling in "an 11,000-square-mile parcel of land in southern Arizona that shares a 73-mile border with Mexico." Story, Los Angeles Times.
José Galicot and Tijuana Innovadora's organizing committee visited Cuernavaca in Morelos state and Netzahualcóyotl in Mexico state. The two cities are looking into putting their own version of Tijuana Innovadora to highlight the positive in their cities, El Mexicano reported. Last month, Ciudad Juárez put on its version of the conference, Juárez Competitiva. Mention of Juárez conference on Tijuana Innovadora website. KFOX14's report on the conference.
A second Tijuana Innovadora is planned for 2012. The 2010 Tijuana Innovadora conference.
Cuernavaca is city where poet-activist Javier Sicilia's son was killed earlier this year, sparking nationwide marches against violence. Story on Sicilia's recent visit to Tijuana.
Frontera, in person-in-the-street interviews, asks Tijuana residents whether they will celebrate Thanksgiving. While one respondent said absolutely not, that Thanksgiving was a U.S. tradition, others said they would, noting that it provides one more meal to spend important family time together. Story, Frontera (PDF).
On Wednesday, this sign was spotted in the Camino Verde neighborhood of Tijuana. The Hong Ki restaurant was preparing about 50 turkeys for Tijuana families for Thanksgiving.
Many Tijuana residents work in San Diego and get the holiday off. Many others have family in the U.S. and have come to observe the holiday. Some families whose members have to work on Thursday and Friday in Tijuana wait until the weekend for their Thanksgiving dinner.
Police said Sergio Rodolfo Esquivel Algandar, after being thrown out of Tijuana's Hong Kong nightclub, went home and got a gun and then shot the bouncer who tossed him. The slain security guard was identified as Rodrigo Oceguera Garduza, 25. Esquivel is 41. Story, Frontera (PDF).
WildCoast founder Serge Dedina was profiled by Frontera. The Imperial Beach activist has spent more than 10 years trying to protect the border region's coastline and the environment. He got a Ph.D. at the University of Texas, where he wrote his thesis about saving the gray whale in Mexico. He is the author of "Saving the Gray Whale" and "Wild Sea," which came out this year.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
Sunday's parade in Tijuana honoring the 101st anniversary of the start of the Mexican Revolution lasted four hours. About 30,000 attended, Frontera reported. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Paul Vanderwood, the San Diego State University historian who chronicled Mexican history, and particularly the Mexican Revolution and its antecedents and aftermath, died in October at age 82. A tribute to Vanderwood and an account of his talk last year about the Mexican Revolution, which began on Nov. 20, 1910. <<<rest of tribute>>>
Former Tijuana Mayor and gambling magnate Jorge Hank Rhon often has his birthday in the paper, so why not Sen. Fernando Castro Trenti, Hank's likely opponent for the Institutional Revolutionary Party gubernatorial nomination in 2013 for Baja California? Castro Trenti was feted for his 56th birthday in Mexicali's Vicente Guerrero Park on Saturday.Story, Frontera. The Tijuana papers, which ran word-for-word identical stories, said more than 2,500 attended. Frontera credited its editorial staff for the story; El Mexicano gave no credit, unlike in May, when it, Frontera and El Sol de Tijuana all ran the same story about a Castro Trenti political event. El Sol de Tijuana's sister paper in Mexicali, La Voz de la Frontera, ran its own story about the birthday but gave no attendance figure.
Castro Trenti has been delivering state of the Senate reports in the state's municipalities. His Tijuana one got rained out, although it has been rescheduled for Saturday in Tijuana.
The story about Castro Trenti's appearance in Tecate on Nov. 12 also was word-for-word in El Mexicano and El Sol de Tijuana. Sol de Tijuana.
Hank turned 55 Jan. 28 (PDF). He did not have his normal birthday blowout because of the serious illness his wife was suffering from.
Frontera reported that 187 generals, colonels and lieutenants were promoted, but not Gen. Alfonso Duarte Múgica, commander of the Second Military Region in Baja California. Duarte got into a confrontation with Cuauhtémoc Cardona, the state's secretary general, after Cardona showed up late and left early for a military dinner-dance honoring the Niños Heroes in Mexicali in September. Story, Frontera (PDF)
Previous stories in September.
Update, Nov. 21: Eleven top military officials in Baja California promoted; Duarte Múgica says desertion has been reduced by two-thirds. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Mexicali-born writer Daniel Sada died as a result of complications from kidney disease shortly after sharing the 2011 National Arts and Sciences Prize with José Agustín.
Story, Fox News. Story, Frontera (PDF). 2006 Bombsite.com piece on Sada.
Update, Nov. 28: Writer Elena Poniatowska pays tribute to Sada during her Televisa TV news editorial spot.
Update, May 2012: Tijuana's book fair was dedicated to Sada and to writer Carlos Fuentes.
Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante has decided to sell the old police station and jail at 8th Street and Constitución. Some had wanted to turn the facility, which has housed many Americans over the decades, into a museum. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Previous mention of police station museum proposal.
Update, Nov. 28: El Mexicano writes about a protest movement against the sale.
Bustamante says it is not worth saving a building so full of bad memories.
The Federal Electoral Tribunal's ruling disallowing the National Action Party leadership from directly naming candidates may affect former Baja California Gov. Ernesto Ruffo's Senate candidacy, El Mexicano newspaper reported Saturday. Ruffo was the first modern opposition governor in Mexican history when he was elected in 1989. He previously served as mayor of Ensenada. .
Oct. 21 mention of PAN presidential candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota asking PAN leadership to refrain from appointing candidates.
Update, December: Ruffo is named PAN Senate candidate.
Update, July 2012: Ruffo is elected senator.
Sen. Francisco Labastida (left) said Institutional Revolutionary President Humberto Moreira is damaging the PRI's image as a result of the huge debt rung up while Moreira was Coahuila governor from 2005-2011. Moreira's brother Rubén, who has close ties to teachers union leader Elba Esther Gordillo, now is running the state. Labastida, a former Sinaloa governor and interior minister who lost the 2000 presidential race to Vicente Fox of the National Action Party in 2000, also said making deals with Gordillo's New Alliance Party probably is not the best thing for the PRI.
Gordillo's party has been promised a number of federal legislative candidacies through an arrangement with the PRI and its Green Party coalition partner, Reforma reported Sunday. Story in Frontera (PDF). They include Senate candidacies for Gordillo's daughter and son-in-law. PRI politicians in Sinaloa state and in Chiapas were outraged by the machinations, saying they wanted to be able to choose their own candidates.
Update, Nov. 22: Columnist Leo Zuckermann discusses why PRI is dealing with the Green Party and Gordillo. His column (PDF).
Alejandro Poiré was named interior minister Thursday, six days after the death of his predecessor, Francisco Blake Mora, in a helicopter crash. Story in Frontera.
Poiré will be President Felipe Calderón's fifth interior minister. A former spokesman for Calderón, Poiré has headed the CISEN intelligence agency since September. Story mentioning his move to CISEN.
Columnist Eduardo Ruiz-Healy writes that he does not think Poiré is up to the task of negotiating with Congress and his other duties as interior minister. Ruiz-Healy's column (PDF).
Update, Nov. 22: Columnist Sergio Sarmiento also says Poiré is not up to the task. Sarmiento's column (PDF).
Stories on Blake Mora's death.
Neither it nor the Union-Tribune story mentioned a sales price, but the Los Angeles Times story did: It said the paper sold for more than $110 million. It also said Platinum Equity had bought the paper from the previous owner, David Copley, for less than $35 million in 2009, and that the Tribune Co., which owns the Los Angeles Times, had almost bought the paper before that for $20 million. The Times and The Associated Press said the Union-Tribune's September circulation was 219,347.
Manchester's website says he is a San Diego International Sports Council Member Emeritus. The council's mission "is to promote San Diego/Tijuana as the preferred region for sporting events and activities that benefit the community."
A Zeta gas deliveryman was robbed of the 300 pesos ($22) he was carrying and shot and killed in Tijuana's Vistas del Valle neighborhood Thursday, El Mexicano reported. José Iván Santana Paez, 18, and Ángel Molina Inzunza, 19, were detained in the killing, authorities told El Mexicano. The victim was identified as Gonzalo Cercas Gutiérrez, 31.
El Siglo de Torreón newspaper was attacked Tuesday. A vehicle was set on fire in front of the building around 2:40 a.m. and a nearby sales office was shot up.Story, Frontera (PDF). Meanwhile, two El Financiero reporters disappeared in Zacatecas. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Nov. 19: The humor columnist Catón says El Siglo de Torreón
aided his career. Catón's column.
A recreational area in Tijuana's Campos neighborhood, which includes soccer fields, basketball courts and other facilities, is being named for Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora, who died in a helicopter crash last week. It is in the Los Pinos subdistrict in eastern Tijuana. Story, Frontera.
Stories on Blake Mora's death.
U.S. authorities found a drug tunnel in a warehouse on the U.S. side of the border that crossed over into Mexico to a building under construction near the Tijuana airport, authorities said. About 17 tons of pot were found on both sides of the border. Some of the pot was packaged with images of Captain America, traditionally an identifying mark for the Sinaloa Cartel of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán. Story, San Diego Union-Tribune. Story, Frontera (PDF). 2nd story, Frontera (PDF).
A U.S. woman and her grandparents ages 68 and 69 were rescued after being kidnapped in the Mariano Matamoros neighborhood. Authorities said the U.S. woman, age 26, rented apartments and was called there by tenants on an urgent matter involving rent money. The grandparents also lived there. The woman's sister drove her there and waited outside in the vehicle. When the sister in the car heard a gunshot and saw the woman forced into the home, the sister in the car called police using the 066 emergency number. Eight people were detained. The names of the U.S. woman, her sister and the grandparents were not released; the names of those detained were. Story, Frontera (PDF)
Rosarito is paying two policemen to protect former Mayor Hugo Torres Chabert, who owns the Rosarito Beach Hotel and shook up the city police force during his 2007-2010 term. Frontera reported that the combined monthly salary for the two policemen is 20,000 pesos ($1,471, or $17,652 annually). It also said there are 40 vacancies in the police department. Story, Frontera.
Frontera reported that 50 recent police academy graduates have been working without pay, perhaps because of some kind of bureaucratic foulup. The police have to buy some of the equipment they are supposed to carry but have been unable to do so because they have not been paid for eight weeks' work, the paper reported. Story, Frontera.
Eight people were detained and 14 held as witnesses in Tijuana's Zona Norte in an investigation into possible forced recruitment of women to be prostitutes and the possible recruitment of underaged women to be prostitutes. Two hotels were raided. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Nov. 17: A third hotel was raided, El Mexicano reported.
Former Mexico City Mayor Andrés Manuel López Obrador won the Democratic Revolution Party nationwide poll over Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard and will be the PRD presidential candidate again in 2012. He likely will face Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, who has a wide lead in the polls, and the National Action Party candidate. Currently, Josefina Vázquez Mota has a wide lead in the race for the PAN nomination.
López Obrador should have a hard time winning. The PRD lacks nationwide strength: After its third-place finish in the Michoacan gubernatorial elections Sunday, the only major entity it now governs is Mexico City. Most polls indicate the the populist López Obrador will finish third in the July 1 election.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump. El Mexicano editorial (PDF). Story, Frontera (PDF)
Update, Nov. 16: Columnists Rubén Aguilar and Leo Zuckermann say they think Ebrard has a deal to be a Senate candidate for the PRD for Mexico City and to have the way open for a 2018 presidential run. Aguilar also said he thought Ebrard would be the PRD bloc leader in the Senate. The columns (PDF).
Update, Nov. 17: López Obrador offers to create 4 million jobs in 42 days (PDF).
A look at the 2012 presidential race.
A mural was dedicated to the late Zeta newspaper journalist Jesús Blancornelas on Monday on the street that bears his name in the Camino Verde neighborhood of Tijuana. The mural was created by Efrén Miranda as part of the "Quiero Mi Camino Verde" spearheaded by the federal Social Development Ministry, headed locally by former federal deputy Carlos Torres Torres. Blancornelas, who died on Nov. 23, 2006, would have turned 75 Monday.
Story, photo in Frontera (PDF).
President Felipe Calderón's sister lost the governor's race to the Institutional Revolutionary Party's Fausto Vallejo by more than 2 percentage points and is blaming "the mafia" for her defeat. Columnists Sergio Sarmiento and Leo Zuckermann raise their eyebrows at her claims. Zuckermann finds it odd that she would blame the mafia, which is also who Andrés Manuel López Obrador blamed for his loss to Felipe Calderón of the National Action Party in the 2006 presidential election. In the Michoacán case, Zuckermann points out, Luisa María Calderón is blaming the real mafia, not a perceived political mafia. Sarmiento points out that in La Piedad, the municipality where PAN Mayor was killed Nov. 2,
the PAN had one of its best results in the state, winning a majority of the vote.
Zuckermann and Sarmiento's columns, in Frontera (PDF).
News story on election, Frontera (PDF).
Monday's story on her defeat.
Update, Nov. 18: El Mexicano editorializes on Luisa María Calderón's grudgingly accepting her defeat.
Javier Sicilia, the poet who has led a protest movement against the government after his son was killed in an apparent outgrowth of the war against organized crime, will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Casa de la Cultura in Tijuana. He will be presenting his new book, "Estamos Hasta La Madre."
Press release, Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura.
The Education Ministry published desertion rates for elementary school, middle school and high school as part of a report on the country's move to require high-school education for all. The report said that of every 100 students who enter primary school, only 38 finish high school.
For every 100 students who enter primary school:
65 finish middle school
62 start high school
38 finish high school
28 go on to university
Reforma story in Frontera (PDF).
Three-time Morelia Mayor Fausto Vallejo of the Institutional Revolutionary Party defeated President Felipe Calderón's sister, Luisa María Calderón Hinojosa, 35.4% to 32.7%, in Sunday's Michoacán state governor's race, preliminary results showed. Luisa María Calderón ran on the ticket of the National Action Party.
The Democratic Revolution Party candidate, Silvano Aureoles, had 28.9%. The PRD has been running the state, but many residents have become disillusioned with the party.
In state legislature races, the PRI and it allies won 11 directly elected seats, the PRD and its allies eight and the PAN and its ally five. The PRI also had a 211-vote lead in the mayor's race in Morelia, the capital. The PRI and its allies appeared to have won 45 municipalities; the PAN, 28; the PRD and its allies, 34.
Update, Nov. 20: In the Morelia Mayor's race, the PRI's Wilfrido Lázaro Medina now has a 2,858 vote lead over the PAN's Marko Cortés. There will be a vote recount. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump. Story in Frontera (PDF).
The data-analysis company IMS Health reports that the market for products to treat diabetes has been growing 8% annually in Mexico since 2007. Private pharmacies sold $3.96 billion in treatments; IMSS $918 million; and ISSSTE $286 million, IMS Health said. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Much of Hospital General de Tijuana's patient visits have to do with diabetes: Frontera, Nov. 15 (PDF)
Columnist Denise Dresser calls for resignation of Institutional Revolutionary Party President Humberto Moreira for the debt rung up in Coahuila state when he was governor from 2005-2011. Moreira's brother Rubén was elected governor this year. Dresser said the debt is nearly 34 billion pesos ($2.5 billion). She said some of the money appears to have gone to projects that helped Rubén Moreira get elected. She said the debt amounts to 12,500 pesos ($923) per Coahuila resident. She also writes: "The computers that had all the information from the Coahuila business owners who made complaints against the state government are mysteriously stolen."
She also said the finances of Mexico state, governed by PRI presidential frontrunner Enrique Peña Nieto from 2005-2011, also should be scrutinized, and said the governor should be asked why his state was ranked last in transparency by the Mexican Competitiveness Institute. Dresser's column (PDF).
Peña Nieto is beginning a four-day trip to Washington and New York on Monday. Story in Frontera (PDF).
The military and city police intercepted an Estrellas del Pacífico bus transporting a machine gun in Tijuana. The seizure took place near the main bus station. The bus was headed for Guadalajara, officials said. Two men were arrested. The machine gun was one that would be mounted on a vehicle, authorities said. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Francisco Blake Mora, the Tijuana politician who became interior minister in 2010, died Friday morning in a helicopter crash while traveling from Mexico City to Cuernavaca to inaugurate a conference on judicial reforms. President Felipe Calderón said the helicopter had been well maintained and had gone down in cloudy conditions.
José Narro was reappointed rector of the Autonomous National University of Mexico and now will serve until 2015. The weekly magazine Cambio recently reported that Narro had its recent issue critical of him removed from the campus.
Story in Frontera (PDF)
Alleged Sinaloa Cartel member Ovidio Limón Sánchez was captured in Sinaloa state. The U.S. had offered a reward of up to $5 million for his apprehension. He was sought on cocaine trafficking charges. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Human Rights Watch has released a report saying the Mexican military is continuing to commit rights abuses in the war on organized crime. Human Rights Watch said the abuses are not being adequately investigated and said the war on drugs appears to have increased violence, not reduced it. The government, while acknowledging abuses, said the main problem continues to be organized crime.
Tracy Wilkinson's Los Angeles Times story on the report focuses on recent abuse cases involving the military.
The report: "Neither Rights Nor Security: Killings, Torture, and Disappearances in Mexico's 'War on Drugs' " (PDF)
Human Rights Watch's press release on the report.
Columnists Sergio Sarmiento and Leo Zuckermann discuss the report and are critical of the government (PDF).
Reforma's story on the report in Frontera (PDF).
Sandra Dibble's story in the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Update, Nov. 11: Human Rights Watch questions performance of Mexico's Human Rights Commission, which is headed by Raúl Plascencia, originally from Baja California. Cambio reported in its Oct. 23 edition that Plascencia has seen his salary go up 31% since he arrived at the commission in 2009 and now makes 2,740,502 pesos annually, or $203,000, and is seeking a salary of 2,942,000, or $218,000, for 2012, an increase of 7.3%.
Update, Nov. 11: Columnist Antonio Magaña discusses Elorduy's decision in light of a drop in support for the PAN and says it opens the door for a Senate run by another former Baja California governor, Ernesto Ruffo. Magaña's column (PDF).
The latest poll for the National Action Party race for the presidential nomination shows former Finance Minister Ernesto Cordero at 14%, former Interior Minister Santiago Creel at 27% and former Education Minister Josefina Vázquez Mota at 49%.
Meanwhile, a poll shows that front-runner Enrique Peña Nieto would win Baja California handily if the election were held today. A previous poll had indicated that Baja California was the only state the PRI would not win in the July 1 presidential election. October poll says PRI ahead in Baja California, too (PDF)
El Mexicano newspaper reported Thursday on its front page that an act of vandalism at the Hospital General de Tijuana conceivably could have caused a major disaster at the facility. The incident may have involved disgruntled hospital workers, El Mexicano reported.
PRIistas who are not in the camp of former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon and PANistas are objecting to a city giveaway event that took place last weekend at Hank's racetrack compound. The event was to give more than 9,000 poor Tijuana families construction materials to rainproof and further improve their homes. On Tuesday, the head of the National Action Party in Tijuana, Enrique Méndez Juárez, and the head of PAN for Baja California, Sócrates Bastida Hernández, registered their objections to Mayor Carlos Bustamante's actions. Hank is planning to run for the Institutional Revolutionary Party nomination for governor in 2013.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
Sunday's story on giveaway (PDF).
Meanwhile, PAN council member Erwin Areizaga Uribe objected to the city's 15 million peso $1.1 million) contribution to the Tijuana Xolos soccer team sponsored by Hank's Grupo Caliente, saying the cash-strapped city has better places to spend the money. Story on the Xolos, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Nov. 16: Mariano Escobedo Lavín, head of the Tijuana Convention and Tourism Committee, defended the contribution, calling the Xolos the city's No. 2 tourist-sports attraction.
Relics from Pope John Paul II will be on display Saturday and Sunday in Tijuana, Rosarito and Tecate. In Tijuana, they will be in the main cathedral on Second Street; the Guadalupe
del Río cathedral in the Río Zone; and the Inmaculado
Corazón de María church in
El Florido. They will be in Guadalupe church in Tecate and
in the Santísimo Sacramento church in Rosarito. John Paul II served from 1978-2005. On track to become a saint, he was beatified May 1.
Tijuana, Tecate and Rosarito formed themselves into a metropolitan zone on Tuesday, with the thought in mind that the grouping may help them get more government money and allow them to coordinate more efficient joint projects. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Nov. 10: Grupo Metropolitano de Transporte becomes part of zone in attempt to streamline transportation among the three entities; state Deputy Gregorio Barreto, who works with transportation companies and organizes busing operations to move people in poor neighborhoods to political events such as Jorge Hank Rhon rallies, opposes the Grupo Metropolitano de Transporte action.
Story in Frontera.
Update, Nov. 11: Columnist Antonio Magaña says the Baja California state legislature "irresponsibly" appoints Roberto Vidrio as head of the Tribunal of Administrative Conflicts that he said will keep favoring Barreto's "nefarious transport company." Magaña's column (small item at bottom, PDF).
Police suspicious of a panel truck parked at kilometer 33 along the free road to Tecate arrested six men, some of whom were digging along a Pemex pipeline in an apparent attempt to steal gasoline. Police said a man named José Martiñón Hernández, 50, showed up in 1998 Honda after five men were arrested and offered that vehicle in exchange for the freedom of the men, which included his brother, Galdiño Martiñón, 48. One of the men said they were offered 500 pesos for the job at a bar by a man called "El Chopis." Story, Frontera.
Previous story about pipeline being tapped.
Alleged drug trafficker Juan Francisco Sillas
Rocha, also known as "El Sillas," had three female relatives of "El Mayo" Zambada kidnapped after Sillas' sister disappeared in Nogales on July 30, 2010. The three female relatives were kidnapped Sept. 25, 2010, in Tijuana. They were rescued by the military Oct. 30 after a confrontation in which an organized-crime gunman was killed. Two others were later arrested. The Attorney General's Office said Fernando "El Ingeniero" Sánchez Arellano ordered Sillas, starting in 2008, to fight "El Teo" García Simental wherever he could for control of the Tijuana plaza. García Simental, who was particularly violent, was captured by authorities on Jan. 12, 2010, in Baja California Sur.
Sillas was captured Friday in Tijuana.
Update, Nov. 9: Some of the cases against him (PDF).
Story on his capture, transfer to Mexico City.
The candidates for governor of Michoacán state held big rallies on Sunday in advance of Sunday's (Nov. 13) election that features President Felipe Calderón's sister.
Luisa María Calderón of the National Action Party faces Fausto
Vallejo Figueroa, a former Morelia mayor running on the Institutional Revolutionary Party/Green Party ticket and Silvano Aureoles of the Democratic Revolutionary Party. Aureoles complained that teachers are going to be mobilizing for Calderón; indeed, her party has allied with teacher's union leader Elba Esther Gordillo's New Alliance Party for this election.
Polls on who will win have been mixed.
Reforma story, in Frontera.
Update, Nov. 8: Columnist Sergio Sarmiento discusses governor's race, says Calderón could win.
The alleged organized crime leader Juan Francisco Sillas
Rocha, also known as "El Sillas" or "El Ruedas," was captured Friday by military and police forces and sent to Mexico City for questioning by the Attorney General Office's organized crime unit. The capture came after a couple was shot and wounded while driving in Tijuana on Friday. Sillas allegedly worked for Fernando "El Ingeniero" Sánchez Arellano. Frontera said five others believed to have been captured along with Sillas also were believed to have been flown to Mexico City. Sillas has long been wanted on homicide and kidnapping charges or for allegedly running extortion rackets. Sillas' brother Jorge was arrested in California earlier this year.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
A newspaper building was doused with gasoline and set on fire in Córdoba in Veracruz state. The newspaper, El Buen Tono, is of recent origin. It was reported that about 15 men set the building on fire; although about 20 employees were in the building at the time, no one was reported hurt. The Associated Press said the paper has been critical of local authorities. Associated Press story in Frontera.
A raid by 500 state and federal forces on a state prison in Acapulco found 100 plasma, LED y LCD TVs; video games, liquor, 19 prostitutes, sharp-pointed weapons; two bags of marijuana; two peacocks; and diverse electronic devices, a spokesman for Guerrero state governor said. Officials said 60 prisoners — 59 men and one woman — would be transferred to federal maximum-security prisons.
Story from Milenio.
Update, Nov. 9: Columnist Leo Zuckermann says the next time you consider vacationing in Acapulco, you might consider staying in a state prison for the luxuries it can offer. His column.
The Ensenada-Rosarito Beach border dispute continues to linger. On Oct. 24, Ensenada Mayor Enrique Pelayo asked the state legislature to resolve the dispute. Deputy Julio Felipe García Muñoz, however, that the legislature cannot act on Pelayo's petition as it is written. Story in Frontera (PDF)
Update, Nov. 10: Rosarito business group seeks intervention of governor, legislature in boundary dispute. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Mexican President Felipe Calderón assumed the leadership of the G-20 at Friday's meeting in Cannes, France, and will host the next summit on June 18-19 in Los Cabos in Baja California Sur. It will take place two week's before Mexico's presidential election. Story in Frontera.
Baja California Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán opened the "Mexican Modern Painting" exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art. The paintings belong to Andrés Blaisten, who attended the opening. Story, El Mexicano. The exhibit will be on display until Jan. 29, when it will move to Dallas.
Heavy rains in Tijuana were going to cause a low turnout for Sen. Fernando Castro Trenti's speech on his legislative accomplishments, so the address was postponed to an as-yet undetermined date. Large pools of water reported blocked access to the Centro de Espectáculos Alamar, where he was to speak. Frontera said the senator was hoping for an attendance of more than 10,000. Story in Frontera (PDF). Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump page.
Update, Nov. 7: Antonio Magaña writes a tongue-in-cheek column about how supporters of Castro Trenti's likely 2013 gubernatorial opponent, former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon, were overjoyed by the rainout, with Hank's zoo animals even going crazy about it. Castro Trenti is often called the devil, and Magaña has a top Hank official say water puts out fire. Magaña's column in Frontera.
Castro Trenti's Oct. 29 state-of-the-Senate address in Mexicali.
"Los Señores del Narco" author Anabel Hernández said Thursday night at San Diego State University that the Mexican military studies narcocorridos to learn more about drug traffickers.
She said the ballads offer up about 80% fact and 20% fantasy.
That also may be about what she offers up with her work, which is full of conspiracy theories. On Thursday night, in a speech sponsored by the SDSU chapter of MECHA, she claimed that Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán had paid President Vicente Fox $20 million to allow Guzmán to escape from prison in 2001; that the CIA had DEA agent Enrique Camarena killed in 1985; and that President Carlos Salinas' government had Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo killed at the Guadalajara airport in 1993 and then invented a cover story that the Catholic prelate was killed in a crossfire between the Arellano Félix and Guzmán drug-trafficking organizations.
In photo, Danny Morales of Riverside, who also works with the Desert Angels, poses with Hernández at SDSU.
The Second Conference on Ethnicity, Race and Indigenous Peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean opened Thursday at the University of California San Diego.
In the "Immigration to Mexico" panel, Pablo Yankelevich of the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia said Mexico has never gotten past having more than 1% of its population foreign born, in part because it is a transit and sending country for people migrating to the United States.
He said the Mexican Revolution that began in 1910 was fought in part to curtail foreign influence in Mexico, and that this has had an impact on immigration to Mexico. He noted that Article 33 of the 1917 Constitution allowed the Mexican president to deport any foreigner for whatever reason.
He said there has long been secret orders that regulate how many foreigners or members of a race can enter Mexico.
He said that although a law prohibiting foreigners from exercising their profession in Mexico was declared unconstitutional by the Mexican Supreme Court, it only came off the books when the North American Free Trade Agreement was negotiated.
UCSD immigration expert David Fitzgerald and others noted that Latin American countries historically have been quite restrictive on what nationalities and races they would let in, with many nations having restricted Chinese, Gypsy, African-American, Japanese and Middle Eastern immigration.
The group Hackers Anonymous
Iberoamérica said a hacker who had reportedly been kidnapped by the Zetas in Veracruz state is now free. The hackers had threatened to expose information that would damage the Zetas online if the hacker were not freed. The group said the hacker was kidnapped while distributing pamphlets during "Operation Paperstorm."
Story in Frontera.
Protesters opposed to the 11 de Julio project to construct a tall building as a meeting space for Tijuana residents and bridges across the Tijuana River to the Tijuana Cultural Center and the Plaza del Río shopping center were removed from city hall grounds on Wednesday in a police operation.
Protesters said the project, spearheaded by Mayor Carlos Bustamante's ex-wife, Carolina Aubanel, would destroy trees and the character of the Benito Juárez Park adjoining the city hall. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Protesters had established a tent city (right photo) on the grounds more than a year ago. It was unclear where the money for the protest was coming from.
On Oct. 22, a rally in favor of the project was held. It was attended by the mayor and Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, who was a key player in the decision to remove the protesters. Oct. 23 story in Frontera (PDF).
Shortly before, what may have been a trial run for the removal of the protesters and the tent city took place when demonstrators rallying under the cry of Occupy Tijuana were removed Oct. 18 from their encampment in front of the Plaza del Río shopping center. The protest was modeled on the U.S. Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. Oct. 19 story in Frontera (PDF).
On Tuesday, the city also came to an agreement with Antorcha Campesina protesters, who had been camping out at the nearby state government center for three months. A state official said the state has agreed to pay for some scholarships and work to provide water and sewer service for some neighborhoods. Story, El Mexicano.
Update, Nov. 4: Protesters against Plaza 11 de Julio project return to city hall, causing disruptions, and vow to reoccupy grounds at some later point.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Nov. 9: The state legislature rejects a request for it to investigate former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Ramos for allowing the 11 de Julio project to go forward. Story, Frontera.
Update, Dec. 7: Carolina Aubanel says she expects project to be finished by end of 2013.
Update, Dec. 9: Protesters set up table outside City Hall to gather signatures against 11 de Julio project.
A reported threat to set off a car bomb at the main border crossing in Mexicali has slowed down border crossings in the city, El Mexicano newspaper said, citing sources. It said that while no official information was forthcoming, U.S. agents were revising vehicles 25 meters farther away than what they normally do and that sharpshooters were placed atop buildings. The paper said the reported threat appeared to be related to U.S. operations against organized crime.
The military and Tijuana city police raided a home in the Jardines de la Mesa neighborhood and seized 6.5 tons of pot in the basement, in addition to weapons and six people. Authorities suspected that the drugs belonged to Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán's drug cartel. Story, Frontera.
Alfonso Bustamante Achondo, in charge of binational affairs for the city of Tijuana, said authorities are preparing "A Day in TJ" for university students to get to know Tijuana and see that it is not as dangerous as has been portrayed. Students would tour maquiladoras, Avenida Revolución and party in Playas de Tijuana in January or February. The California State University system has blocked official travel to Mexico because of the perceived danger of violence.
Authorities in Guerrero said new data confirm an increased presence of women involved in organized crime. They said the percentage of women involved is 15%. This year, it seems more and more pictures of women are being taken in arrest photos. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Eduardo Martínez Palomera, who has twice served as mayor of Mexicali, said he wants to be the Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate for governor in 2013. He may face an uphill battle against former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon and Sen. Fernando Castro Trenti.
This week's story on Hank's gubernatorial aspirations.
Update, Nov. 3: Former Tijuana Mayor Francisco Vega of the PAN says that if nominated, he will beat any PRI candidate, including Hank.
Update, Nov. 5: Journalist Cosme Collignon discusses governor's race. PDF.
A small plane crashed after takeoff from the Tijuana airport Monday, killing the pilot, his daughter and a man working in auto body shop on the ground in the Upper Colonia Libertad neighborhood. The pilot of the Ted Smith Aerostar 601P made in 1976 was Francisco Zermeño, 62, a retired Aeromexico pilot. His daughter, Olivia, was 17. The body shop worker who died was Alberto
González Ochoa, 43, who was the brother of a federal police agent. Seven repaired vehicles at the shop were damaged or destroyed, El Mexicano newspaper reported. The plane had been headed for Loreto. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump. Picture page.
Front page photo, Frontera(PDF). Story, Frontera. Second page.