A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.


Friday, Sept. 30, 2011

tony wayneNew U.S. ambassador means business, and partnership

Earl Anthony Wayne visits San Diego and 
inaugurates U.S. Consulate in Tijuana — <<<


Only one U.S. governor shows up 
at border governors' conference in Ensenada

Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer, who had said she would come, backs out at last minute

Only one U.S. governor, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, attended the border governors' conference in Ensenada. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who had said she would come, backed out at the last minute, citing scheduling problems. 
The New York Times tries to explain the lack on interest on the part of U.S. statehouse occupants.
San Diego Union-Tribune: Border Conference Suffers from Low Turnout

Man who was shot and drove himself to Red Cross hospital
was ex-policeman linked to organized crime, Frontera reports

A man who was hit by four bullets while driving a Volkswagen Jetta near the Red Cross hospital in Tijuana and drove himself to the hospital for treatment of his wounds Sept. 22 has been taken into custody by authorities for illegal possession of weapons found in the vehicle, Frontera reported. Pablo Eduardo Ramírez Salinas is a former Tijuana policeman linked to drug traffickers, officials told the paper. authorities found an a Uzi, two other guns and bullets in his car, Frontera said. His vehicle had about 40 bullet holes, the paper said.
Story, Frontera (PDF).

3 ordered bound over for trial in 2009 day-care center fire in Hermosillo

Two former state officials and one former city of Hermosillo official were ordered bound over for trial in the 2009 fire that killed 49 children at a day-care center. Fausto Salazar Gómez, the former director of collections for the state finance ministry; Jorge Luis Melchor Isla, the former director of the state's vehicle agency; and Jesús Davis Osuna, former director of Hermosillo's department of inspection, had been detained last week. Salazar Gómez posted bail of 2.5 million pesos that allowed him to leave state prison No. 1 in Hermosillo on Thursday.

On June 5, 2009, fire broken out in a finance ministry warehouse sharing the same building with the ABC day-care center funded by the federal Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) but operated privately. The center had passed safety inspections, even though there were numerous anomalies. The fire started in an air-conditioning unit in the warehouse; there was no sprinkler system.

Others who have been detained are the former regional head of the IMMS, Arturo Leyva Lizárraga, and the former IMSS coordinators responsible for overseeing day-care centers, Yadira Barreda and Noemí López Sánchez.
Story, Proceso.


Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011

Robbers in Tijuana kill man on bus 
who had withdrawn money from ATM

A man who had withdrawn cash from an automatic teller machine in Tijuana and then boarded a bus was shot and killed by two men who followed him onto the bus, Frontera reported. The bus driver on the Verde y Crema line, who did not want to give his name, said all three boarded the bus near the IMSS Clinic No. 7 on Boulevard Díaz Ordaz. The killing took place after Díaz Ordaz bisected into Bulevar Salinas and Bulevar Caliente, near the Rodeo restaurant on Bulevar Salinas north of the country club. After the man who had withdrawn the money and the other two men struggled, and while other passengers looked on with fear, one of the robbers' gun went off. The two robbers took the man's bag and escaped; the man who had withdrawn the money died at the Hospital General de Tijuana. He was identified as Jorge Luis López, 56. Story, Frontera (PDF).

barack obamaObama says Mexico 
needs to improve
educational system

<<<Read more>>> (including excerpts from, link to, speech)


Baja California's constitutional change protecting life
from conception stays in effect as Supreme Court 
falls one vote short of invalidating it

Mexicali bishop causes uproar by saying pope intervened in case

Baja California's constitutional change protecting life from conception remains in effect as the nation's Supreme Court fell one vote short of invalidating it. Seven of the 11 justices said Article 7 of the state constitution violated women's rights, but eight votes were needed to invalidate. The court was considering the matter because the state ombudsman brought it. The four who voted not to invalidate were Jorge Pardo Rebolledo, who joined the court in February; Salvador Aguirre and Guillermo Ortiz, who leave the court in November 2012; and Margarita Luna.
Story in Frontera (pdf file) 
Eduardo Ruiz-Healy column (PDF): "Mexican women lost yesterday"
Federal legislator Miguel Osuna Millán of Tijuana likes non-ruling (Frontera PDF file) 
Ruth Zabaleta column in Excelsior

President Felipe Calderón's wife had been making statements this week opposing an invalidation. 
Update, Sept. 30: Court divides along same lines in not invalidating San Luis Potosí constitutional amendment protecting life from conception.Story in Frontera (PDF).
Pope's intervention cited: Mexicali bishop Jose Isidro Guerrero causes uproar by saying a call from the pope won the day in the court case; the court, the government and other church officials say bishop's statement was inaccurate. 
Story in Frontera (PDF).
Catón writes a poem about the pope's alleged phone call (PDF). 

Another tributary of Tijuana River to be lined with concrete

Mayor says city has gotten 50 million pesos ($3.7 million)
from federal government for work on Arroyo Pastejé

Mayor Carlos Bustamante said he has obtained 50 million pesos from the federal government to line the Arroyo Pastejé with concrete. The city's representative in the Otay Mesa section of Tijuana, José Osuna Camacho, said residents have wanted something to be done about the waterway for years, as it floods their homes during the rainy season. He said the Arroyo Pastejé starts in the United States, goes through the Tijuana airport property, the Lomas Taurinas neighborhood and then through the lower part of Colonia Libertad. Story, Frontera (PDF) Story, Frontera (web page).

The state also is lining the Arroyo Alamar with concrete, to the dismay of environmentalists.
Previous story on Arroyo Alamar being lined with concrete.

12 migrants kidnapped in La Rumorosa area freed by authorities

Twelve migrants who had been kidnapped and tied up in La Rumorosa area were freed by Tecate police, Grupo Beta and the army, news media reported. The men hailed from Mexico City and from Querétaro, Guerrero, Puebla, Tabasco and Sinaloa states and had planned to cross illegally into the United States before being intercepted by three armed, masked men. Two other migrants fled when the kidnapping occurred and one called the emergency number 066 to report the incident to authorities. When authorities neared the area, the kidnappers fled, Frontera reported. 
 Story in Frontera (PDF file).

Dollar closes at 13.67 to the peso

Story, Frontera (pdf).
Update, Oct. 1: Story, with graphic, in Frontera (PDF)

Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011

Mexico's convoluted war for independence
agustin de iturbidemay have lessons for today

Mexico's Congress, formed 190 years ago today,
needs to finally get its act together

<<<

relatos e historias de mexico coverWhy is Mexico called Mexico?

One name put forth two centuries ago 
was Mexico Septentrional; another, Anáhuac

Felipe Calderón tried to change country's name in 2003

<<<


Columnist says he hopes paramilitary groups are not taking root in Mexico;
Interior Minister Blake Mora says only state can fight crime

Columnist Leo Zuckermann worried that paramilitary groups could be taking root in Mexico, with the group MataZetas taking responsibility for killing 35 presumed members of the Zetas, whose bodies were dumped under a bridge in front of a shopping center in Veracruz last week. Zuckermann said paramilitary groups formed to fight rebels in Colombia became major criminals themselves.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora, in a four-minute speech, said only the state can legitimately fight crime.
Zuckermann's columnStory on Blake Mora's speechLa Jornada editorial.
Update, Sept. 30: Government spokeswoman says there is no proof that Mexico has paramilitary presence. Frontera (PDF).

Five heads left in front of primary school in Acapulco;
41 killed in Mexico on Tuesday, La Jornada says

U.S. Consulate in Matamoros issues warning

Five heads, most of which were in a state of putrefaction, were left in a wood box in front of a primary school in Acapulco, along with messages.Story in Frontera.
La Jornada reported that 41 people were killed in Mexico on Tuesday, and that the U.S. Consulate in Matamoros issued a travel warning after a gunbattle between the military and organized crime between 5:45 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Tuesday. Story, La JornadaThe U.S. warning.

Body of hunter found in Zacatecas; he and 7 other hunters went missing
in December after police turned them over to drug traffickers

Body was found in common grave; other hunters likely to be identified

The body of a hunter from León in Guanajuato state has been found in the mountains of Zacatecas state, Guanajuato authorities said. The hunter was part of a group of eight hunters who were turned over to an organized crime group by police in Joaquín Amaro, Zacatecas. Authorities said a common grave containing a number of bodies was found and that the hunter's was the first to be identified. His name was Ernesto Cordero Anguiano, 37. Seven police have been detained in the case. Eight members of an organized crime group who had belongings of the hunters were killed by authorities in February. A suspected member of the Zetas, Juan Carlos Lozano Sandoval, was detained in Jalpa in possession of the Suburban the hunters were traveling in. The other seven hunters: Cordero's brother, Diego, 47; Juan Diego Cordero Valdivia, 22; Alan Josué Bocanegra López, 19; Sergio Sánchez Pérez, 32; Mario Alberto Reyes, 26; José Javier Martínez, 46; and Héctor González Cervantes, 37.
Story in La Jornada

Frontera's story on Tijuana observance of 190th anniversary of consummation of independence.

Impeachment process against Tijuana official suspended

Sindico procurador Yolanda Enríquez de la Fuente was being investigated by state legislature
for neglect of duty in case of Tijuana cops who had woman strip in police station

The Sixth District Court has indefinitely suspended the state legislature's investigation into Tijuana official Yolanda Enríquez de la Fuente. The legislature initiated action against her for neglect of duty after she initially did not take action against police officers who had a woman strip for them in a police station in apparent exchange for not bringing charges against her. Story, Frontera.

Meanwhile, Enríquez said Tuesday that she has found another apparent case of a top city official in the previous administration who drew a salary but did not work for it. Such people are known as aviadores, or aviators or fliers. 
Story, Frontera.

Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011

El Chapo Guzmán's wife gives birth to twin girls in Lancaster

Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán's wife gave birth to twin girls in Lancaster, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reported. Emma Coronel Aispuro, 22, a former beauty queen from Durango state, was born in the U.S. and thus can cross the border freely. The girls were born Aug. 15. Guzmán, 54, married Coronel on the day she turned 18. Proceso's story on the 2007 wedding, in Frontera.
Update, Sept. 28: Reforma's story on Los Angeles Times' story, in Frontera. 

Clandestine airstrip found near Puerto Peñasco

A clandestine airstrip was found 22 miles south of Puerto Peñasco in Sonora state, authorities said. The 200 meter long and 15-meter wide airstrip appeared to have been graded with heavy equipment. No one was arrested. The airstrip was made unusable Saturday by crossing it with ditches, officials told El Mexicano. 

35,000 geoduck clams destroyed by "furtive fishermen"

35,000 geoduck clams that had been seeded in the Bay of San Quintín have been "totally destroyed" by "furtive fishermen," Miguel Ángel González Murillo told El Mexicano. He is a technical adviser to the fishing group Integradora Rocas de San Martin. He said that not only had the clams been destroyed, but that a boat named HANNA with a Suzuki motor was stolen. He said he thought that fishermen who had been caught with illegal catches had destroyed the clams out of spite. He also said the clandestine fishermen also often carry guns. An official with the fishing group said the clam beds were subjected to high pressure from a pump and because the clams were still so young and highly vulnerable, the pressure broke them apart. 
geoduck clamsStory,

The project involved a major multiyear study by government scientists and cost at least 5 million pesos ($375,000).

At right, photo of geoduck clams for sale in a Hong Kong restaurant (photo by Starest Westst)

Integradora Rocas de San Martin receives seeding clams from state and federal governments.
Web page showing where Rocas de San Martin had seeded the clams.
Video about the seeding

The clam is known in Spanish as the almeja generosa or almeja chiluda, and also goes by the name elephant trunk clam and king clam. It is prized as a delicacy in Asia and is a highly valued export.

General shakes hands with Cardona, says he can enter military bases

Gen. Alfonso Duarte Múgica shook hands with state secretary general Cuauhtémoc Cardona on Monday and said Cardona would be welcome at military bases, El Mexicano reported. Duarte had earlier said Cardona would not be welcome after Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán's second-in-command showed up late and left early for a military dinner-dance. Duarte had told the governor that during a celebration of Mexican Independence Day in the governor's offices; a video camera for the state TV channel had been left running and captured the exchange, although Osuna Millán later said the video had not captured Cardona's later apology.

Previous stories: Benedicto Ruiz columnGeneral thunders against Cardona.

Gonzalez falls five points behind in batting race

Monday, Sept. 26, 2011

New York Times writes about extortion against teachers across Mexico.

The New York Times writes about the growing extortion attempts against teacher salaries across Mexico. The paper says the gang that is believed to have dumped the bodies of 35 members of the Zetas in Veracruz state last week also left a sign that said: "People of Veracruz, don’t let yourselves be extorted. Don’t pay any more 'quotas.' " Story, New York Times.
Update, Oct. 1: Teachers in Guerrero end strike. 
Previous story in MexicoPerspective about extortion against teachers

In Tijuana, members of the New Alliance Party tied to the teachers union last week said teachers' pay is being extorted or stolen and asked the state government to release data about the matter, El Mexicano reported. 

Business group, Baja California agency seek 
to reduce extortion against business owners

The Chamber of Commerce in Tijuana and a state agency are trying to get more people to denounce extortion attempts, thefts and robberies against businesses by promoting a telephone number where such threats and crimes can be reported anonymously, El Mexicano reported. 
Update, Sept. 27: Juan José Alonso, an adviser to the state Attorney General's Office, says extortion is not a big problem in Baja California. Story in Frontera.

Study shows paucity of police salaries

Some make as little as $300 a month

Baja California police among the better paid

<<<

scissors monument modelFrontera writes about monument in Tijuana that many call 'The Scissors'

Frontera devotes a page to the monument between the Plaza Rio shopping center and the Tijuana Cultural Center that many call "Las Tijeras" (Scissors) or "Los Ganchos" (The Hooks.) The 30-meter-high sculpture by Angela Gurría was inaugurated in 1981. Story, Frontera.


Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011

Rigoberta Menchu to speak at Tijuana COPARMEX breakfast in October

Frontera reported that Guatemalan human rights activist Rigoberta Menchu, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992, will be the Tijuana COPARMEX's next monthly speaker. The Mexican Employers Association Tijuana branch normally holds its monthly breakfast on Wednesdays, but her talk will be on Tuesday, Oct. 18. Story in Frontera.

González falls 3 points back in batting race; 
Xolos, América tie 1-1

Disney Cruise Line ship arrives in Ensenada

The Disney Cruise Lines ship Wonder arrived in Ensenada with 1,800 passengers. The captain told El Mexicano it plans to make five more stops in the port in the next year. State tourism minister Juan 
Tintos Funcke said the next visit will be in March, El Mexicano reported. It came from Los Angeles and was headed for Los Cabos. Cruise ship stops to Mexico have dwindled because of Mexico's violence.

Rosarito library burglarized, six computers stolen

The Rosarito Beach library Plan Libertador was broken into and six computers were stolen, authorities told El Mexicano. The lock was removed from a metal security door to gain entry, El Mexicano reported.

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011

Arellano Félix operative, arrested in 2004, given 166 years of sentences;
term is shortened to 60 years, the maximum possible

Ramón "El Piro" Barraza Pérez or Barraza Perea, an Arellano Félix operative arrested in October 2004, has been given sentences totaling 166 years. Officials said the term would be shortened to 60 years, the maximum possible. The story did not give his age. Story in Frontera.

Irish prosthetics maker Ossur opens shop in Tijuana

The Irish prosthetics maker Ossur opened shop in Tijuana. Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán said the company has made a nearly $6 million investment that is providing 100 jobs in the city.
Story, Frontera

Seven men arrested in Tijuana;
assassination orders found in their cellphones

One suspect says he was paid $214 a week as a hired gun

Seven men were arrested in Tijuana after assassination orders were found in their cellphones. The cellphones were examined after a vehicle was stopped for speeding in the city Monday, officials said. Four were from Tijuana, two from Nayarit state and one from Culiacán in Sinaloa state. One man, Juan Carlos "El Primo" Álvarez Almaraz said he had participated in an assassination and that he was  paid 3,000 pesos ($214) a week as a hired gun. 
Story, Frontera


Friday, Sept. 23, 2011

padre kino300th anniversary of Padre Kino's death marked
by ceremony, introduction of commemorative wine
at monument in Tijuana traffic circle

<<<


Columnist analyzes Cardona case, says he cannot stay and cannot go

Benedicto Ruiz says Baja California's secretary general has been ineffective in part 
because so many state workers are loyal to Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora

Columnist Benedicto Ruiz analyzes this week's news about Gen. Alfonso Duarte Múgica's public berating of state secretary general Cuauhtémoc Cardona after Cardona showed up late and left early for a military dinner-dance honoring the Niños Heroes earlier this month. Ruiz says Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán can't fire Cardona because that would reveal the power the military has over the state government (Osuna Millán this week has been saying that he is the person in charge of security matters) but can't keep Cardona either because Cardona no longer can be effective in the position. Ruiz says Cardona has been ineffective in part because so many people in the state government are still loyal to Francisco Blake Mora, who held the secretary general post until joining President Felipe Calderón's Cabinet last year as interior minister. Blake is expected to make a run for the National Action Party's nomination for governor in 2013. Ruiz says Cardona also has not been able to come to a meeting of the minds with the Institutional Revolutionary Party majority in the state legislature nor with the state workers' union. Ruiz's column in Frontera.

Ruiz also says he did not believe the charges Duarte Múgica made against Cardona when Duarte Mújica called Cardona "rude, drunk, disrespectful and conflictive." 
Cardona discusses the incident
Cardona says state will take more care in what gets broadcast over state TV network
Previous story on the Cardona-Duarte Múgica incident

Update, Sept. 24: Frontera has three columns on the same page dedicated to the issue, by José Roberto Vásquez, Rafael Licéaga, and Cosme Collignon, who opines that Blake will get Duarte Múgica transferred, just as Collignon said Blake had Gen. Sergio Aponte Polito removed from his post. Duarte Múgica is Aponte Polito's successor.
Update, Sept. 27: Duarte Múgica says Cardona can enter military bases.

Update: Cardona later left office, considered a run for the PAN's gubernatorial nomination, and then was elected to the state legislature in July 2013 when he was placed at the top of the PAN's list of at-large, plurinominal candidates.

Construction begins on Casablanca-Liga Corredor 2000 connector in eastern Tijuana

As Tijuana continues to grow to the east, construction has begun on a 1.16-kilometer, six-lane thoroughfare that will connect the Corredor 2000, Boulevard Casablanca, Boulevard Clouthier and the Vía Rápida. Baja California officials said that upon completion, the hydraulic-concrete connector will help cut travel time from the Corredor 2000 to Insurgentes boulevard from 25 minutes to 12. A ceremony marking the beginning of the 24.6 million peso project ($1.75 million) was held Thursday. Officials said the project will benefit 120,000 people. Story, Frontera

Man with fake gun shot at border, disrupts crossings

A man with a fake gun was shot by U.S. Customs officers at the border Thursday, causing the second major disruption in crossings at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in a week. Story, FronteraStory, San Diego Union-Tribune.  
Update, Sept. 24: Frontera says the man with the fake gun is identified as being originally from Tijuana.
Story on last week's scaffolding roof collapse.

American woman arrested for counterfeiting in Tijuana

An American woman identified as Jamie Biggs Lopez, 35, was arrested for passing counterfeit money in Tijuana. Authorities said she tried to pay for a motel room with counterfeit $10 bills; officials said she had nine $10 bills in her possession with the same serial number, El Mexicano reported. 

Interior Ministry says Casino Royale operated illegally

Mexico's Interior Ministry said the Casino Royale in Monterrey, hit by an arson attack that killed 52 people in August, had operated illegally since its opening. Story in Frontera.

Frontera profiles border activist Víctor Clark Alfaro

Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011

New U.S. Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne to inaugurate 
new U.S. Consulate in Tijuana on Sept. 30;
he will speak to Institute of Americas in San Diego on Sept. 29

The new U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Earl Anthony Wayne, is to inaugurate the new U.S. Consulate in Tijuana on Sept. 30. El Mexicano newspaper said there is a possibility that he will attend the Sept. 28-29 Border Governors' Conference in Ensenada. (Tuesday's mention of Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer's announcement that she will attend the conference.)

Wayne also will speak at the Institute of the Americas in San Diego at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29. That event will be the last former ambassador to Mexico Jeffrey Davidow will host as president of the institute; incoming president Charles Shapiro will be at the event.

Wayne's confirmation hearing
Wayne is nominated 
Wayne meets with Calderón

L.A. Times Ken Ellingwood has a good article on political fallout from Monterrey casino arson

Story says fallout from Monterrey mayor's brother being seeing accepting wads of cash in casino put the spotlight on the National Action Pary and took it off a scandal on the debt Institutional Revolutionary Party leader Humberto Moreira ran up while governor of Coahuila state.
Update, Sept. 29: PAN members of Coahuila's Congress yell, "¡Rateros, no más deuda!" Story in Frontera (PDF file)


Adrián González breaks slump, has seven-point lead in A.L. batting race with a week to go 
in his bid to become first Mexican in 57 years to win a major-league batting title

Tijuana police receive training from California Highway Patrol on recovery of stolen vehicles

Tijuana police on Wednesday received training from the California Highway Patrol on how to more quickly recover stolen vehicles and detect whether a vehicle's serial number has been altered, El Mexicano reported.

Four tied to El Chapo Guzmán arrested in Tijuana

Four men tied to René "La Rana" (the Frog) Arzate García, who authorities say is an operative for Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, were arrested in Tijuana. Tests indicated that two of the guns seized were found to have been used in previous crimes. Story, Frontera.

Calderón, at U.N., urges U.S. to curb drug demand, illegal arms exports

President Felipe Calderón, speaking at the United Nations, urged the U.S. and other nations to curb drug demand and illegal arms exports to Mexico, saying drug traffickers are killing more people than dictatorships. Story in Frontera.

Study says 59% of Mexican students polled would rather have Internet connection than a car

The Cisco Connected World Technology Report found that 59% of Mexican college students who responded to an online survey said they would rather have an Internet connection than a car. The U.S. figure was 46%.
Story, FronteraThe Cisco report (1.3 megabyte PDF file)



Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011

Senate approves constitutional change
to require high school education to be offered to all,
to be phased from 2012-13 to 2021-22 school years

<<<


Cafe shot up in Tijuana

The Luna Cafe in the Hipodromo area of Tijuana was shot up early Tuesday. No one was hurt as the establishment was closed. Story, Frontera.

35 bodies left under a bridge near shopping center in Veracruz state

35 bodies were left in broad daylight under a bridge near a shopping center Tuesday in Boca del Río in Veracruz state, officials said. The day before, 32 inmates escaped from three prisons in the state. On Thursday, a state prosecutors' conference opens in the state. In Michoacán state, Saúl Solis Solis, a top leader of the Knights Templar organized crime group, was captured. Stories, photo in Frontera.
Update, Sept. 23: Eleven more bodies dumped in Veracruz state.
Update, Sept. 25: Proceso takes a look at the violence in Veracruz; a reigning theory is that one organized crime is trying to remove the Zetas group from the state.

enrique pena nieto shot from televisaPeña Nieto says he will run for president

Former Mexico state Gov. Enrique Peña Nieto told Televisa's Joaquín López-Doriga on Tuesday that he will seek the Institutional Revolutionary Party's nomination for governor and also said he hoped the presidential campaign season would not be one full of mudslinging. He offered up no statements on the issues. He did say he would be working to help provide Mexicans the tools to better their lives. He also said he hoped there would be an open election for the PRI nomination; his major contender is Sen. Manlio Fabio Beltrones, the former governor of Sonora state who is leagues behind Peña Nieto in the polls. Last week, at the ceremony in which Peña Nieto left the governor's office and Eruviel Ávila was sworn in as new governor, Peña Nieto and Beltrones were standing almost right next to each other when the audience began chanting "Enrique Presidente." The story appeared in El Mexicano.

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011

Ariz Gov. Jan Brewer to attend border governors' conference in Ensenada this month

It was announced that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer plans to attend teh Sept. 28-29 border governors' conference in Ensenada this month. Brewer has not been attending the conferences, in part because of Arizona's moves to restrict illegal immigration. Story, East Valley Tribune. Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora also will attend the event.

Xolos hire new coach: Antonio Mohamed of Argentina

cuauhtemoc cardonaGeneral thunders against governor's right-hand man

<<<

Monday, Sept. 19, 2011

232 kilos of cocaine seized in Tijuana; 
man linked to "El Chapo" Guzmán captured

In separate incident, alleged assassin for "El Guicho" captured

Authorities found 232 kilos of cocaine in a raid on a house in the Francisco Villa neighborhood of Tijuana on Sunday, El Mexicano reported. Officials said Jesús Hernández Valenzuela, 48, was arrested. Two guns and ammunition also were seized. The value of the cocaine was put at 232.3 million pesos, or about $17.7 million.

Authorities also announced that they had captured José Gilberto García Naranjo, alleged assassin for "El Guicho." El Guicho is an alleged Chapo Guzmán operative who was captured in a Mexicali shootout in May, escaped from custody while recovering from his wounds in a Mexico City hospital in July and then was recaptured earlier this month. García Naranjo was sought in the July 2010 slaying of state investigative police commander José Antonio Sánchez Vázquez in Rosarito. García Naranjo was captured by state investigative police Sept. 9. Frontera reported that the motive behind the slaying was that Sánchez Vázquez had captured several gang members involved in the trafficking of persons.

Assassin story, FronteraCocaine story, Frontera.
Story on El Güicho's recapture.


kiko vegaPaper says former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Ramos likely to run for Senate;
says sources close to ex-PAN Mayor Kiko Vega say he was courted by PRI

<<<rest of story>>>


Columnist laments impasse over naming IFE counselors,
says it could imperil next year's elections

Columnist Leo Zuckermann says next year's presidential election is at risk because of a longstanding impasse over naming the final three counselors of the Federal Electoral Institute.

<<<rest of story>>>

San Ysidro port of entry back to normal 
following last week's collapse of scaffolding roof

Story, Frontera.

Man killed outside bar, 2 bodies 
found over weekend in Ensenada

A man was shot to death when he left a bar in Ensenada on Saturday night. Two other bodies were found, one on Friday and one Friday, along roads. The body found Friday was burned and the body found Saturday was so mangled that authorities told El Mexicano newspaper that they did not know whether they had been men or women.

Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011

Xolos fire coach after team loses 2-0 to Estudiantes

Adrián González barely hanging on in quest to become first Mexican
to win major league batting title in 57 years

Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011

Dogs kidnapped for ransom in Nayarit

Mexican criminals are getting ever more creative in their goal of amassing money from victims: La Jornada reports that dogs are being kidnapped for ransom in Nayarit state. La Jornada said a non-profit reports that at least 50 dogs, most of them purebred, have been stolen in the space of a month. Some of the dogs were sold to dog fanciers rather than ransomed, the paper said. Story, La Jornada.

Governor laments release of 4 casino arson suspects

Nuevo Leon Gov. Rodrigo Medina said it was frustrating that four suspects implicated in the Aug. 25 Casino Royale arson massacre were released, and said more changes are needed in the criminal justice system to prevent such occurrences. He also allowed for the possibility that the charges against the four were poorly drawn up. Story in Frontera.

Critical column of former health minister, 
now running for governor of Guanajuato

Gustavo Leal of Autonomous Metropolitan University-Xochimilco writes a critical column of José Angel Córdova, who left the Health Ministry this month to run for the National Action Party nomination for governor of Guanajuato. Leal, writing in La Jorrnada, says Córdova's actions as health minister have damaged the Seguro Social health system (IMSS) and the ISSSTE health system. He called Córdova a neotechnocrat.

Leal says the Seguro Popular health system seeking to provide universal health coverage for Mexicans is burying the IMSS and ISSSTE systems. Leal also wondered where the money was going to come from to fund Seguro Popular. He noted that at one point Córdova had said the value added tax could be raised a point or two.

Leal says that before leaving office, Córdova estimated that that although 520,000 Mexicans die annually, only 10,000 of the deaths are related to the violence in President Felipe Calderón's war against organized crime. Those deaths are well below the 75,000 that die from diabetes and its complications and also don't compare with deaths from cardiovascular illnesses.

Leal concludes: "Poor IMSS and ISSSTE, but, above all, poor Guanajuato y poor luck for the abandoned patients of the National Health System of Córdova and Calderón."

Previous story on Calderón touting health-care advances 
Deported cook becomes Baja California's millionth registered with Seguro Popular



Friday, Sept. 16, 2011

proceso coverAnalyst predicts Vázquez Mota's closest challenger
for PAN nomination will be Cordero, not Creel

<<<rest of story>>>

2 men in 50s shot to death near prison in Tijuana

Two men in their 50s were shot to death early Thursday near the state prison in the Otay Mesa area of Tijuana. Authorities aid Fernando Molina Germán, 54, and Salvador Cárdenas 
Coronel, 55, were killed after getting out of an apartment and into a 2010 Dodge Journey being driven by a woman, who was unhurt. Gunmen in two other vehicles then sped away.

In Playas de Tijuana, police arrested four men in possession of two AK-47s who were traveling in two vehicles after getting a call on the 066 line for emergencies, El Mexicano reported. 

WTO ruling favors Mexico on dolphin-safe tuna

The World Trade Organization said U.S. dolphin-safe labeling for tuna is too restrictive in a ruling that may eventually allow Mexican tuna back in the U.S. canned-tuna market. The U.S. said it would appeal the ruling; a ruling on the appeal might take place in January. 
Story, FronteraStory, Associated Press
Update, Sept. 19: Columnist Sergio Sarmiento's take on the ruling.


Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011

11 arrested in Baja California migrant kidnapping ring

Former Tijuana policeman arrested; police uniforms confiscated
Group charged $3,000-$6,000 to release victims
Gang members reportedly previously worked for El Teo 

Authorities announced that they had arrested 11 people, including a former Tijuana policeman, on suspicion of involvement in a migrant kidnapping ring. Six were arrested Aug. 17 and four more on Aug. 30. Three women were among those arrested.

José Ramón Cruz Soria, arrested Aug. 30, was a Tijuana policeman from 2002 to 2010. He was nicknamed "El Pato," or "The Duck." He attained supervisor status and was a deputy section chief. In one of the vehicles used by the gang, police uniforms were found. Also discovered were six guns, shackling devices, radios with police frequencies, 22 migrant IDS and 25 cellphones, most of them from foreign phone companies, believed to have belonged to migrants. 
Authorities said the group answered to "El Güero Camarón", now detained, who used to work for 
Teodoro "El Teo" García Simental "El Teo", a feared cartel enforcer who was arrested in 2010.
Story, Frontera
Story on Gael García winning human rights award for bringing attention the problem of kidnapping of migrants.

Collapse of temporary construction roof at San Ysidro port of entry
injures 11, causes chaos, delays at border crossing

The collapse of a temporary, flat wooden roof involved in construction work at the San Ysidro port of entry injured 11 people and caused major delays at the border crossing. The scaffolding roof fell onto six or seven cars that had just crossed from Mexico into the United States. Pedestrians did not regain access to the crossing until 6:30 p.m., almost eight hours later. Four construction workers were hurt, one seriously. The roof was built to protect motorists from debris falling from the dismantling of a building, and had pieces of concrete on it.

Mario Lopez, executive director of the Economic Development Council of Tijuana, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that it took him 3½ hours to cross the border.

Story, Union-TribuneFront page, FronteraPage 12, Frontera (with map). Page 13, FronteraPage 14, Frontera.
Update, Sept. 16: Vendors have bad day as far right lanes are blocked off. Story, photo, Frontera.
Update, Sept. 17: All lanes at port of entry due to reopen. Story, Frontera
Update, Sept. 19: Border back to normal. 

Columnist analyzes report on high incidence of ninis in Mexico: 
young people who don't study or work

Study also says Mexicans are hardest working in OECD, 
but has highest rate of relative poverty

Columnist Sergio Sarmiento analyzed the recent Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation report on young people who don't study or work. Mexico ranked third in the OECD in this category on ninis, those who ni trabajan ni estudian. He said this is in due in part to Mexican labor law, and lamented that the Institutional Revolutionary Party killed a bill it had introduced to help resolve the problem because the political costs of the bill might have hurt its chances in next year's national elections.

Sarmiento said the study shows Mexicans work more minutes per day than any other OECD country, 595 minutes, or just five minutes short of 10 hours. Germans only work 420 minutes, or seven hours, but create the most value out of that work. Sarmiento also said the Mexican figure is so high because women work 4 hours and 21 minutes more per day than men for unpaid work, mainly housework.  This differential is the highest in the OECD. The differential in the rest of North America is one hour and 42 minutes; the lowest different is in Denmark, with women doing 57 minutes more unpaid work than men. Sarmiento's column in FronteraToronto Globe & Mail story on report. The Globe & Mail said market research company Euromonitor International predicts Mexico will surpass Italy in the next four years and become the world’s 10th largest economy.

FBI honors state and Tijuana police who freed
kidnapped grandchildren of U.S. Rep. Gary Miller

The FBI honored state and Tijuana police Wednesday who had participated in the freeing of the grandchildren of Rep. Gary Miller, a Republican who represents Brea and Diamond Bar in Southern California. Jennifer López Dejongh, the ex-wife of Miller's son, and her current husband, George Dejongh, took the couple's three boys in 2007. 
Story, Frontera.
Previous story in MexicoPerspective.

Mystery shrouds origins of Mexican Independence Day

miguel hidalgoColumnist offers his interpretation of the Grito de Dolores

Mexico begins celebrating its Independence Day Thursday night with the "Grito."

The columnist Catón, who also is a historian, writes Thursday that Father Miguel Hidalgo's cry for independence took place at 5 a.m. on Sept. 16, 1810, and that independence from Spain was not achieved until 1821.

Catón wrote that although Hidalgo is considered the father of his country, "We don't know what Hidalgo said to those who heard his words. As incredible as it may seem, no record survives of them. It is probable, yes, that the Dolores priest spoke in defense of the king of Spain and of the Catholic faith. Fernando VII, it was said, was Napoleon's prisoner, and the French were enemies of the faith. New Spain authorities were conniving with them. One had to, then, rise up in arms to save the altar and the throne." Still, Catón wrote that Hidalgo, "as a criollo, wanted to separate 
the 'Mexican nation' from Spanish domination. But if he declared his proposition, surely the populace would not have followed his enterprise. So to achieve popular support Hidalgo had to count on that empty phrase '¡Viva Fernando the Seventh and death to the bad government!' All this to cover his final idea, that of independence. It is quite probable, then, that the movements that culminated 11 years later with the independence won by Iturbide had begun with a demagogic speech. That is the way things are. So does it surprise you to hear demagogy in 99.99% of the political speeches we hear?" Catón's column.

Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011

U.S. House holds hearing on Mérida Initiative

Republicans seek counterinsurgency plan

Two U.S. House of Representatives subcommittees held a hearing Tuesday: "Has Mérida Evolved? Part One: The Evolution of Drug Cartels and the Threat to Mexico's Governance." Reforma newspaper reported that Republicans want to substitute the Mérida Initiative for a counterinsurgency plan. El Universal reported that Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere chairman Connie Mack, R-Fla., said Mérida is not the way to go. Story in Frontera.

All Headline News quoted Mack as calling organized crime violence in Mexico "a well-funded criminal insurgency raging along our southern border, threatening the lives of U.S. citizens and harming the U.S. economy by undermining legal business."

Scheduled to speak at the hearing were Gary M. Shiffman of Georgetown University; Andrew Selee of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars; Robert J. Bunker of the Small Wars Journal El Centro; and Pamela Starr, director of the U.S.-Mexico Network at the University of Southern California. All Headline News said witnesses spoke about how the Mexican judicial system needs to be strengthened.

Update: State Department, in reaction to Republican statements, praises Mérida Initiative

New ambassador meets with Calderón, says
U.S.-Mexico relationship is about more than security

earl anthony wayneNew U.S. Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne met with President Felipe Calderón on Tuesday and said the U.S.-Mexico relationship is about far more than security. Wayne said that while the Mérida Initiative remains the major focus, the binational agenda is about far more than just security. Wayne said he thought there could be yet more cooperation on security issues between the two countries.Story, El Universal.

According to La Opinión of Los Angeles, Wayne said Tuesday that there was no comparison whatsoever between Mexico and Afghanistan, his most recent posting. The Mexican humor magazine El Chamuco had a recent article about "Mexganistán."

Sept. 9 Washington Post story on Wayne: In this story, the Post quotes a person who was at a recent daylong briefing for Wayne by Mexico experts in Washington as saying it appeared that Wayne did not know all that much about Mexico. It also said pollster Jorge Buendía predicted that Josefina Vázquez Mota would win the PAN nomination for president.

Columnist writes about what, if anything, the PRI has learned

Columnist Leo Zuckermann writes about what the Institutional Revolutionary Party has learned since its defeat by the National Action Party in the presidential election in 2000, quoting Soledad Loaeza quoting Talleyrand as saying of the 1814 Bourbon monarchical restoration in France (which he had helped engineer): "They had learned nothing and forgotten nothing." The PRI is expected to win next year's presidential election. Zuckermann said PAN presidential hopeful Ernesto Cordero made a similar, unattributed quote Sunday. The columnist said some PRIistas obviously have learned lessons from their 2000 and 2006 presidential election defeats and other electoral losses, but wondered how well they have learned them and whether they will seek to exact some sort of revenge. Zuckermann's column.

2 police killed in Nogales; 7 arrested

Deputy city police chief Raúl Suárez and state police base chief Gil Castelo were shot to death early Tuesday in Nogales, officials said. Gov. Guillermo Padrés said seven men were arrested in the shootings. Story in Frontera.

In Cuernavaca, in Morelos state, two 17-year-old boys were shot to death outside a small grocery around 10 p.m. Monday. Four youths ages 15-18, including an 18-year-old girl, were wounded by armed men traveling in two vehicles, authorities said.
Update, Sept. 15: Authorities now say nine arrested in Nogales killings. Story in Frontera.

gael garciaGael García receives human rights prize,
denounces kidnapping of migrants in Mexico

Mexican actor Gael García, after receiving the Washington Office on Latin America's human rights prize, denounced the kidnapping of migrants in Mexico. He was honored for the documentary series "The Invisible Ones", produced by Amnesty International. He interviewed migrants, and said migrants told him -- months before last year's massacre of 72 migrants in Tabasco state came to light -- that their biggest fear was being kidnapped in Mexico. Story in FronteraWOLA website.

Tijuana government TV channel to begin Thursday

The Tijuana city government TV channel will begin operating on cable Thursday, covering events related to Mexican Independence Day. Officials said about 135,000 homes have cable. Item in Frontera. 
Update, Sept. 15: Story in Frontera: Government official Antonio Cano said the 325,000 peso ($25,000) monthly cost of the channel, which will operate from 6 a.m. to midnight, will be covered by businesses.

Cross-border gas price differential nearly a dollar a gallon

Differential increases despite Mexican price hike because peso fell this week against the dollar

Following a small rise in gasoline prices in Tijuana, Frontera published gasoline costs in Tijuana and San Diego.
In Tijuana, gas is now 9.48 pesos per liter of regular, while it put the price in San Diego at 12.97. That translates to about U.S. $2.87 a gallon in Tijuana and $3.80 in San Diego. The differential in cross-border gas costs has grown despite the Mexican price hike because the peso has been taking a tumble against the dollar. This story uses an exchange rate of 12.92 pesos to the dollar. Story, Frontera.

American who lives in San Quintín area badly beaten while trying to prevent theft

American Ron Hoff and his wife, Cristina Montes Monjo, were severely beaten in the San Quintín area of Baja California on Saturday, authorities said. Hoff's jaw was broken after he tried to prevent three young men from dismantling a vehicle at a neighbor's house. Three young men were arrested in the case. Story, San Diego Union-Tribune.


Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011

2nd version of Tijuana Innovadora
planned for Oct. 12-21, 2012 in Tijuana

The second version of Tijuana Innovadora is planned for Oct. 12-21 of 2012 in Tijuana, Plantronics executive Alejandro Bustamante said. The first conference, which brought in big-name speakers, was designed to help improve Tijuana's image and attract investment. 
Stories on last fall's Tijuana Innovadora.

Gov. Osuna Millán, in Taiwan, witnesses pact
for integrated solar energy plant to built in Mexicali

Baja California Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, in Taiwan on the tail end of his Asia trip, witnessed an agreement for a solar plant to be constructed in Tijuana that will build solar cells and also provide energy to both Mexico and the United States.

Baja Sun Energy is a joint venture among Arima Eco Group of Taiwan, Silicon Border of the United States and Grupo Maíz of México.

The project was estimated to bring 4,240 direct jobs and 8,000 indirect jobs to the region. About $560 million was projected to invested over four years.

An initial $60 million investment for the plant in the Silicon Border clean technology park would provide 10 megawatts of power initially, with an additional $500 million planned to eventually generate 100 megawatts of power. 

Story, San Diego Union-Tribune.

Peso hits 13 to the dollar; closes around 12.85 Monday

The peso hit 13 to the dollar on Monday on fears about the U.S. economy before strengthening to about 12.85, according to a story in El Mexicano.

Former policewoman arrested in Nuevo León
on suspicion of heading Zetas operation

Former policewoman Veronica Mireya Moreno Carreón, also known as "La Flaka" ("Skinny") or La Vero, was arrested on suspicion of being the head of the Zetas operation in San Nicolás de los Garza near Monterrey in Nuevo León state, El Universal and Milenio reported. She was arrested by naval forces when she was discovered riding in a stolen car Sunday. In 2009, she was commended after being wounded in a gunbattle while helping prevent the kidnapping of a car dealer. Two people were arrested in the attempted kidnapping. She is believed to have become the chief of Zeta operations in San Nicolás de la Garza after Raúl García Rodríguez (El Sureño) was captured by naval forces last month.  Milenio's story.

Commission created to investigate Casino Royale fire

The Nuevo León state legislature created a commission to investigate the Aug. 25 Casino Royale arson in Monterrey that killed 52 people. It is to make its report in 30 days. Story, Frontera.
Update, Sept. 15: Alleged Zeta leaders in casino attack identified. Story in Frontera.

Former foreign minister Rosario Green says
Mexico's foreign policy is submissive to U.S. policy

Rosario Green, a former foreign minister and Institutional Revolutionary Party member who now heads the Senate's foreign relations committee, said Mexico's foreign policy under President Felipe Calderón is submissive to U.S. policy. "Mexico does not have a foreign policy, it has been slowly disappearing since the PAN came to power," she said at a forum in Spain. Story in Frontera.

Five pawn shops closed in Mexicali

Five pawn shops that lacked permission to operate were shut by authorities in Mexicali, Frontera reported. It reported that Baja California has 310 pawnshops, 107 of which are in the state capital. Pawn shops also were searched to see if they had stolen items. Story, Frontera.

Actress Emily Watson visits Tijuana Cultural Center

The actress Emily Watson, who is filming "Little Boy" in Popotla, visited the Tijuana Cultural Center on Monday. Story, Frontera.

Monday, Sept. 12, 2011

Catón remembers 40th anniversary
of Mexico's Woodstock, Avándaro

He says it damaged aspirations of Jorge Hank Rhon's father

Columnist also cites his witnessing of Reagan-hippie confrontation

The Mexican columnist Catón dedicated part of Monday's column to the 40th anniversary of catonMexico's Woodstock, the Avándaro music festival. He said it drew 300,000 youths and frightened not only the organizers, who did not expect such large numbers, but also the government, still skittish after the 1968 Mexican student protests and the 1968 Tlaltelolco massacre. <<<rest of story>>>


More casinos to open in Mexicali

Xolos salvage 1-1 tie against Toluca

Foreign-born goals dominate for Tijuana 11; 
only one has been scored by a Mexico born player
<<<rest of story>>

Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011

Monterrey mayor says will of people is that he stay in office

Although the executive committee of the National Action Party requested that Monterrey Mayor Fernando Larrazabal step down after a video surfaced showing his brother accepting large wads of cash in a Monterrey casino, he said Saturday that the will of the people of Monterrey is that he stay in office. 
Story in Frontera.
Denise Dresser, in column, lists 35 reasons for the mayor to take a leave of absence.
Previous mention of issue in MexicoPerspective

Sept. 10, 2011

ernesto corderoFinance Minister Ernesto Cordero resigns
to run for PAN presidential nomination

Calderón makes several Cabinet changes
<<<rest of story>>>

Friday, Sept. 9, 2011

Moody's says Mexico's economic growth next year may be just 2.5% to 3%

The Moody's financial ratings agency said Mexico's economic growth next year may be just 2.5% to 3%, or even lower than 2.5%. Moody's did not lower Mexico's credit rating because it said the government's capacity to pay its debts is solid. Mauro Leos, regional senior credit officer sovereign, estimated at an annual Moody's conference that this year's growth would be 4%. Before Standard & Poor's downgraded the U.S. credit rating, many analysts had thought Mexican economic growth could be 5% after growing 5.5% last year. He said next year's growth will depend on what happens with the U.S. and world economies. Story in Frontera.

Why hasn't Mexico's economy grown better?

luis rubiogordon hansonAnalyst Luis Rubio says issue can be solved, and cites work 
of UCSD's Gordon Hanson in diagnosing the problem

<<<rest of story>>>

Migrant detentions lowest in four decades, Customs and Border Protection says

Customs and Border Patrol agents have detained fewer than half a million people trying to cross the U.S. Mexico border this fiscal year, the lowest total in four decades, officials said. The total as of this week was 447,000; the fiscal year ends Sept. 30. Some of those detained and deported were caught when they tried to cross the border again, so the actual total in terms of people is lower. While Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Alan Bersin credited increased enforcement under President Barack Obama, Frontera cited a recent Pew report that said fewer Mexican migrants were making illegal border crossings because of the high unemployment rate in the United States. Story, Frontera.
CPB's special Sept. 11 Frontline magazine edition is out

Casino Royale was subject of extortion attempt of up to $140,000, PGR says

The Casino Royale in Monterrey was the subject of an extortion attempt of up to $140,000, the federal Attorney General's Office said Thursday. The casino was set afire, killing 52 people, on Aug. 25. Story in Frontera.

El Universal story on the main casino owners in Mexico.

Frontera profiles coordinator of Latino vote for San Diego registrar

Frontera profiles Carmen López, an outreach coordinator to Latinos for the San Diego County Registrar of Voters. The story says she was born in Sonora state but moved with her family to Calexico when she was 5 when her father was offered work there. She said she had to learn English fast, because no teacher at the school she attended spoke Spanish. She has a master's degree in mental health, with an emphasis on Latinos, from San Diego State University. After working many years in mental health, she then went to work for the U.S. Census, and then for the registrar's office. She said he has long fought for the social rights of individuals. 
Story, Frontera.

A June 21 KPBS story says former Census worker Carmen Lopez is president of the Latina, Latino and Indigenous People Coalition.

Southwest's power outage also affected Baja California

The Southwest's big power outage that left millions without power Thursday also affected Baja California. Many Tijuana residents who needed gas to get home wound up temporarily stranded. One man said he had been trying to get gas for three hours, without success. One woman had her family come pick her up. Most of Tijuana had its power back by 11 p.m. Story on gas stations, FronteraStory, photo on blackout, FronteraPhoto, Frontera.

Band of 45 that robbed merchandise from trains in Tijuana railyard captured

Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011

Mexico goes from 66th to 58th on competitiveness list

Mexico moved from 66th to 58th on the World Economic Forum's "Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012." Brazil moved from 58th to 53rd. While columnist Sergio Sarmiento said the improvement was a good sign, he noted that Mexico ranks 103rd in institutions and "an abysmal 114th" in labor efficiency. He concludes: "México has maintained solid macroeconomic policies that have served to improve its competitiveness in recent years; but the lack of reliable institutions, among those of law-enforcement and justice, as well as the lack of an adequate labor law, have become obstacles causing enormous damage to the country and to Mexicans." Story in FronteraSarmiento's column.
Update, Sept. 21: Sarmiento analyzes report on economic freedom, where Fraser Institute ranks Mexico 75th out of 141 countries.

Grenade launcher discovered when 3 linked 
to El Chapo Guzmán arrested in Tijuana

Grenade also found in raid on home on Privada Granada (Grenade street) 

Two men and a woman linked to Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán's drug cartel were arrested Wednesday in Tijuana, along with weapons, crystal meth, meth precursors, cocaine and cash. Among the arms found was a .223 caliber weapon equipped to launch grenades and one grenade, officials said. Jesús Antonio "El Navo" Márquez Verdugo, 27, and René Vega Castro, both carrying 9mm pistols, and Melina Jacobo Ibarra, 27, were arrested after authorities received a tip about a drug lab on Granada street in the Montecarlo neighborhood of La Presa district, officials said.

Story, Frontera. 

Sicilia criticizes new Attorney General's office attending to victims of violence

Activist Javier Sicilia, whose son was killed earlier this year, criticized the new Attorney General's office attending to victims of violence as a cosmetic change. Story in Frontera.

Monterrey mayor says he will consult with citizens before deciding to resign over video showing brother accepting wads of cash in casino

Monterrey Mayor Fernando Larrazabal said he will consult with citizens before deciding whether to resign over a video showing his brother accepting wads of cash in a casino. His brother Jonás Larrazabal was seen receiving a large amount of cash from casino owner Sergio Gil. The mayor is a member of the National Action Party; his brother is not. Party leaders have suggested the mayor step down until the matter is cleared up. The brother says it was money he was receiving as part of a cheese business he owns. S

Update, Sept. 9: Columnist Leo Zuckermann said anyone in possession of his or her five senses could not believe the cheese excuse, and said the video has left the mayor naked: The mayor said he was fighting the casinos in Monterrey, but there was his brother taking money from them. Zuckermann also called the citizens' consultation idea an insult to Mexicans' intelligence. Zuckermann's column.

chamuco coverCalderón hits deadly jackpot on humor magazine cover

El Chamuco also does feature on Mexganistán

<<<rest of story>>>

Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011

El Güicho recaptured a month after escaping from custody in Mexico City;
American who allegedly smuggled grenades across border arrested in Mazatlan

Frontera says weapons were crossed at Calexico-Mexicali border; 
April 12 arrests of 2 suspects with grenades in Mexicali helped lead to suspect
El Güicho had been originally captured in May 9 Mexicali shootout

<<<rest of story>>>


marcelo ebrardEbrard break with López Obrador has begun, columnist says

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard's break with Andrés Manuel López Obrador has begun, columnist Leo Zuckermann writes. Zuckermann said Ebrard (left) had pledged not to shake hands with President Felipe Calderón of the National Action Party in public in support for López Obrador's complaint that the 2006 election was stolen from him. But Ebrard did so when Calderón gave a state-of-the-nation address Friday. Both Ebrard and López Obrador want to get the leftist Democratic Revolution Party nomination for president.

After Martí Batres, a López Obrador ally who headed the city's social development agency, called Ebrard disloyal following the handshake, Ebrard removed Batres from his post. An earlier attempt to remove Batres from the position had been unsuccessful, Zuckermann writes, because López Obrador's power in city politics at that point was still too strong. The columnist said Batres would like to be the left's candidate for mayor next year.

Ebrard, López Obrador, and the top National Action Party candidates all badly trail Mexico state Gov. Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party in the polls for the July 1 presidential election. Zuckermann's columnEbrard's firing of Batresjump page.
Meanwhile, Josefina Vázquez Mota left her seat in the Chamber of Deputies to run for the PAN's presidential nomination. 

Update, Sept. 8: Both Ebrard and López Obrador say they have not broken with one another. 

40 couples marry in state prison in Tijuana

Los de Adentro band performs as part of celebration

Forty couples married Tuesday in the state prison in Tijuana. In some cases, both husband and wife are inmates. Some already have children. Performing, of course, was the musical group "Los de Adentro" (Those Inside).
Story, Frontera.

Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011

Number of schools in Guerrero state that teachers 
are striking rises to 350 in protest of extortion;
number may rise 200 more, Proceso reports

Proceso reported Monday that the number of schools that teachers in Guerrero state are striking has risen to 350 in protest of extortion fees sought by organized crime gangs. Proceso said the number may rise 200 more. The protests began Aug. 26 in Acapulco; teachers say they want the government to guarantee their and their students' safety.

Netflix to start Latin America service; Mexico's to cost 99 pesos a month

Netflix said it would start Latin America service on Aug. 12. Service to get unlimited movies across the Internet in Mexico will cost 99 pesos. That is $8, the same such service costs in the United States. Story in Frontera.

Peña Nieto gives final state-of-the-state address in Toluca; 
might he be giving a state-of-the-nation address in coming years?

enrique pena nietoThe man who may become Mexico's next president gave his final state-of-the-state address on Sunday in Toluca. Enrique Peña Nieto, whose term as governor of Mexico state ends this week, presented the accomplishments of his six-year administration, including building 422 kilometers more of highways.

Frontera's story said that although the Institutional Revolutionary Party politician said homicides per 100,000 inhabitants fell from 16.5 in 2005 to 7.6, he did not speak of the increase in murders of women; it said that although he said 3.37 billion pesos had been spent on improving water, sewer and drainage issues, it has not been enough to stop the flooding that plagues the state during the rainy season. El Universal photo gallery on floodingStory, Universal.

He spoke of following the Constitution and boosting the economy so that Mexicans can live in freedom and without fear.

Many nationally prominent politicians were in attendance. National Action Party politician Diego Fernández de Cevallos was there, as he had been at four of Peña Nieto's previous five such addresses. He said he had been unable to attend last year because he had been kidnapped; he was released in December. Fernández de Cevallos said the address, while it had modern elements such as video accompaniments, seemed more like a speech from the previous century.'

elba esther gordilloAlso in attendance was national teachers union leader Elba Ester Gordillo. Peña Nieto did not mention her in speech, although he did recognize the efforts in the classroom of members of the teachers union in the state.


Former President Fox posts videos of his ideas on his center's website


Mother says Tijuana police entered her home, accused her son
of robbery of an OXXO store and took 5,000 pesos

Official says city gets about 80 complaints about police actions per month, 
and that half of those have merit

A mother told Frontera newspaper that Tijuana police entered her home, accused her son of robbery of an OXXO store and took 5,000 pesos they were planning to use to fix the home's roof. The raid on the home occurred between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Sept. 3 in the 10 de Mayo neighborhood. María Oralia Hernández Torres and her son, Jonathan Hernández Torres, made a formal complaint to city authorities. The paper said the OXXO clerk later said that the son was not the man who robbed the store. She said her son was asleep in the home when the raid took place, although police said they found him wandering the Las Torres neighborhood with a gun. She said they also took his cellphone and 700 pesos he had been paid as well as his work ID. She said her son has caused her and society trouble in the past but that he has been paying the price for those previous actions.

City official Juan Manuel Leal Venegas said that of the average of nearly 100 complaints the city receives a month, 80% are against police and that half of those merit reprimands.
Story, Frontera.

Dairy crisis in Baja California?

Frontera ran a long story on the dairy industry in Baja California, saying it is in crisis: it said there were 70 dairies in the state, but that 22 have disappeared and 25 are in crisis due to low milk prices, high alfalfa prices, competition from powdered or reconstituted milk and other factors. Carlos Zárate Chávez, president of the Association of Milk Producers of Tecate, said many dairies are selling part of their herds for meat to be able to feed the rest of their herds. A ton of alfalfa has gone from 1,600 pesos a ton to 2,600, dairy owners said. State legislator Fausto Zárate is pushing for the state to help the dairy farmers and said farmers had sold feed to foreign buyers, causing a reduction in a supply of good forage for cattle. State agriculture official Antonio Rodríguez Hernández said that enough alfalfa is being grown to cover the demands of the dairy industry and that the country has a nationwide problem with its dairies. He said the state is working with the national agricultural ministry to try to come up with solutions. Story, Frontera.

Baja California governor meets with Toyota executives in Tokyo

Baja California Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán met Monday in Tokyo with executives of Toyota, which has a manufacturing plant in Tijuana.Story, Frontera.

Monday, Sept. 5, 2011

Average annual cost of educating UABC student
put at 54,000 pesos, or U.S. $4,300

Frontera newspaper reported that the average annual cost of educating a student at the Autonomous University of Baja California is 54,000 ($4,300) pesos per year. 
Citing figures provided last fall, Frontera said the money coming in broke down this way for educating nearly 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students:
Federal government... 1.1 billion pesos ................... $88 million
State government.........850 million pesos ............... $67.7 million
Money UABC collects.....751.7 million pesos ............ $59.9 million
Other ............................4.8 million pesos ..................$383,000
Total.........................2.7 billion pesos ................. $215 million

The $4,300 cost is much less than the $6,489 tuition and fees that California State University system students pay, which is less than half of the nearly $12,000 state's annual cost. University of California system campuses charge more than $13,000 a year. The average cost of educating UABC students also is less than the $5,585 average cost of educating K-12 students in public schools in California.

Story, Frontera.

Smuggling tunnel found in Nogales, Sonora

A tunnel to smuggle migrants and perhaps drugs was found in Nogales, Sonora. It connected to a border storm drain on the U.S. side. Authorities said it was found as part of an investigation into a tunnel found Aug. 16 in Nogales. Story, Frontera.
Story on U.S. investigation into drug tunnels and how the tunnels have mushroomed.

Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011

State legislator Rosana Soto sworn in as leader
of PRI in Tijuana over protests

rosana soto mugState legislator Rosana Soto was sworn in as the leader of the Institutional Revolutionary Party in Tijuana on Saturday over protests of other PRIistas who considered the voting to have been unfair. Soto's victory was seen as a win for the forces of federal Sen. Fernando Castro Trenti over those of former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon. Both are vying to become the PRI candidate for Baja California governor in 2013. Hank Rhon lost the governor's race to José Guadalupe Osuna Millán in 2007. Story, Frontera.

Castro Trenti's group "La Fuerza de México" has a two-page ad in El Mexicano on Monday (Sept. 5) discussing Soto's swearing-in with a long list of her supporters. 

Gilberto Lavenant had a good analysis of what has going on behind the scenes in the Aug. 25 Sol of Tijuana. His analysis. Lavenant said that after Carlos Bustamante unexpectedly won the Tijuana mayor's post last year, he did not negotiate with Castro Trenti over municipal positions and instead named longtime acquaintances and allies of Hank Rhon. He concluded by saying that Bustamante is committing political suicide in going up against Baja California's most powerful PRI politicians, particularly now that Hank has been weakened by the federal arms stockpiling charges against him, even though they were dismissed because a raid of his compound was done without a search warrant. Hank also further would likely have big troubles winning a general election because he no longer has a visa to visit the United States: Would Baja Californians want to elect someone who is persona non-grata with the country's biggest trading partner?

Frontera has a profile on Monday (Sept. 5) on state legislator Julio Felipe García, a Castro Trenti ally from Mexicali who heads the commission looking into the impeachment of Tijuana official Yolanda Enríquez de la Fuente over her initial relative inaction in a case where Tijuana policemen had a stripper perform at their police station in apparent exchange for not being charged in a criminal case.

Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011

Tijuana psychiatrist addresses Monterrey arson massacre

Tijuana psychiatrist Ricardo Menéndez addresses a reader's feeling forlorn in response to the Monterrey arson massacre in his Saturday column in Frontera. He said, "The world looks at us with astonishment, and reading the statements of leaders or big intellectuals, you see that they also don't understand what is happening to us. Of course there is the context of drug trafficking and illegal arms, but that explanation conceals something more complex, the rough-and-ready Mexico (Mexico bronco) that astonished the world during our acclaimed Revolution."

Menéndez says barbaric Mexico is resurgent, and that all Mexicans must take responsibility for it. He said he disapproves of the way President Felipe Calderón is handling the blow to Mexico's national pride, saying it was incredible to him that the next day Calderón blamed Americans for arms trafficking to Mexico. Menéndez said this is like Americans blaming Mexico for the U.S. drug consumption problem. He called Calderón's declaration mistaken and dangerous, what psychiatrists called a defense mechanism.

Menéndez said what he called the terrorism of crime has triumphed and deters Mexicans from going out in the streets to express their indignation and to seek to put an end to corruption. He concluded: " It is not easy to change the personality of a culture, but we have to try."

Note: Last year, analyst Luis Rubio, when he was in San Diego, said sadistic and violent actions such as beheadings and mass slayings did not have to do with Mexican culture, or Mexico bronco, but rather were what he called political actions to achieve criminals' goals. 
Mention of his comments in MexicoPerspective.


SDSU historian Richard Griswold del Castillo profiled

Frontera profiles San Diego State University historian emeritus Richard Griswold del Castillo, who headed Chicano studies for 10 years. It talks of his 2008 book, "Chicano San Diego," among others. Frontera's story.
Previous mention of Griswold in MexicoPerspective.

Construction begins on Ermita bridge
in move to relieve Tijuana traffic congestion

Construction has begun on the 105 million peso ($8.5 million), three-lane Ermita bridge, which is to go over the Tijuana River and be part of a project connecting the westbound Via Rápida to a planned 1-kilometer beginning of the Alamar Sur road along the Arroyo Alamar to the Central Camionera bridge. Authorities say the bridge will relieve congestion and help boost Tijuana's economy. Two lanes of the bridge will be coming from the Vía Rápida and one from Avenida Ermita, El Mexicano reported.

35,000 minors work in Baja California, story says

Frontera reports that 35,000 minors work in Baja California, and that authorities only have records that 1,200 have had their parents give their permission for such work. Story, Frontera.

Four shot to death in Rosarito in 2 separate incidents
Tijuana dentist slain in his office, where bullets only for use of Mexican military are discovered

El Mexicano runs photo of one of three female bullfighters to perform Sunday in Tijuana, 
calling her so pretty you want to say olé

This week's MexicoPerspective story on bullfighting 

Friday, Sept. 2, 2011

Supreme Court votes 6-5 to allow fixed book prices in Mexico

The Mexican Supreme Court voted 6-5 to allow fixed book prices in Mexico. Columnist Sergio Sarmiento said this will hurt consumers and discourage the free market. Mexico already has a major problem that has hurt its progress; few Mexicans read books. Sarmiento said this ruling will do nothing to encourage more reading. His column.

Calderón, in state of nation address, 
says 21 of 37 most sought-after criminals captured

He says violence is obscuring the real progress taking place in the nation

President Felipe Calderón, delivering an address on his fifth state-of-the-nation report at the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City on Friday, said 21 of the 37 most sought-after criminals in Mexico have been captured during his term. His speech included a minute of silence for those killed in last week's arson attack at a Monterrey casino. He said his administration has spent billions improving health care, education, infrastructure and the justice system to make Mexico a better place and more strongly weave the social fabric, while noting that it will take a long time for these efforts to bear fruit. He defended his battle against organized crime, saying the nation could not afford to let criminals run rampant. He also blamed U.S. demand for many of Mexico's crime problems. Story in Frontera.

2 reporters from magazine Contralínea slain in Mexico City

Robbery seen as motive; one had withdrawn a lot of cash 
from money exchange she ran at airport

Two women who worked for the magazine Contralínea were found slain in Mexico City. Rocío rocio gonzalez trapagamarcela yarceGonzález Trápaga (left) and Marcela Yarce (right) were killed between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Their bodies were naked and bound in a park in the Iztapalapa section of the city. Mexico City had been considered the safest place in the country for journalists because of its large police presence and because of the large number of reporters there who theoretically would put any journalist's death under a continuous microscope. (Photos are from Facebook)

González, who formerly reported for Televisa, had been working as a free-lance reporter for the magazine. The Los Angeles Times reported that she also ran a money exchange at the Mexico City airport and had withdrawn a large sum of money Wednesday night. The paper said she and Yarce were longtime friends and had been seen having coffee at a cafe Wednesday night. Yarce was a cofounder of Contralínea and had taken over public relations duties at the magazine. The women were believed to be in their 40s.

El Universal reports Friday that robbery is the apparent motive in the attack.

The magazine's offices had been ransacked in April 2010.
Eduardo Ruiz-Healy's Friday column on the killing of journalists in Mexico.

State policeman linked to casino attack arrested

Authorities said a Nuevo León state policeman linked to last week's arson attack on the Casino Royale in Monterrey has been arrested. He was identified as Miguel Ángel Barraza Escamilla. Authorities said a study of the video of vehicles involved in the attack has led them to believe that more people were involved in the attack. Story, photo in Frontera.

Frontera reports that Rep. Bob Filner, running for San Diego mayor,
wants better communications with Mexico

Frontera reported Friday that Democratic Rep. Bob Filner, who is running for mayor of San Diego, wants better communications with Mexico. He also said he would like to find a way so that more jobs are created on both sides of the border. Story, Frontera.


Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011

Calderón speaks of Hank case again

President Felipe Calderón, interviewed Tuesday by Joaquín López-Doriga on the national Televisa newscast, spoke of the Jorge Hank Rhon arms stockpiling case again. Last week, a federal judge upheld a lower court's ruling throwing out the case because Hank's compound was raided without a search warrant. Calderón distinguished between what he called the legal truth — the case being thrown out — and the real truth — many of the arms found were illegal, and ballistics tests showed two of them had been used in murders.

Hank Rhon is former mayor of Tijuana and owner of many casinos. Calderón mistakenly called him Hank González. Hank Rhon's late father was Carlos Hank González, one of Mexico's most powerful politicians.

Story, Frontera.

Column is headlined 'Tijuana makes me happy'

palafox column headlineJousín Palafox has a column in Frontera newspaper today headlined, in English, "Why Tijuana makes me happy." He said he came to Tijuana 19 years ago with his family and said Tijuana may be the city that wakes up the earliest to go to work in all of Mexico. "While Guadalajara, Monterrey and Mexico City never sleep, Tijuana never rests," he said.

He said his friends in the center of the country seem surprised when he tells them he has had a nice day drinking coffee and walking on the Playas de Tijuana seaside esplanade. "Tijuana has a beach?" they ask. "Of course we have a beach, not only the border, we have mountains, dunes, whale watching and more to show off to the world!"

The Autonomous University of Baja California law school graduate and radio host said Tijuana is not all narcotraffickers, criminals or migrants.

He said his family moved to Tijuana to live, and never with the idea of crossing the border to live and work. He said Tijuana has given hundreds of thousands of Mexicans a new start in life and an opportunity to progress. He said many wake up at 3:30 to 4 a.m. to wait in line two hours to cross the border to work.

He said Puebla may have its sweet potatoes, the Oaxacans their black mole, Veracruz its pellizcadas filled tortillas and Yucatan its panuchos filled tortillas, "but not many know that our 'very humble' traditional meal is lobster with rice and beans! Beat that!" (El Mexicano on Wednesday reported that the lobster catch brought in $40 million to the region). In addition, Baja California is the land of "the best red, white and rose wines in all of Latin America, competing in quality with those produced in Chile, Napa Valley and the European Mediterranean."

He spoke of Tijuana as the TV-making capital of the world and now home of the first-division Xolos soccer team. He concludes, in English: "Tijuana makes me happy."

Tijuana to cut payroll

Tijuana, facing a budget shortfall, is going to cut its payroll, and salaries of top officials may be lowered, Mayor Carlos Bustamante said. The story was reported by El Mexicano.

Smoke bombs thrown outside Caliente sports book in downtown Tijuana

Someone threw smoke bombs outside the Caliente sports book at Eighth Street and Revolución next to the old Jai Alai fronton in downtown Tijuana on Wednesday. Three canisters were found; although El Mexicano said the smoke caused a bit of panic, no one was injured. Police said the smoke was harmless. 

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