A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.
U-T San Diego's Sandra Dibble, in an article on the paper's local section front, writes about arrested Mexican teachers union leader Elba Esther Gordillo's home in Coronado Cays. Gordillo is accused of illegally using teachers union money to buy the home, another property, and to pay for hospital and shopping bills in San Diego County, among other things.
The paper found the $4.7 million home's front door open, with no one answering, and contacted Coronado police, who secured it after finding no one inside. Story, U-T San Diego.
Many had wondered how Gordillo had been able to afford her luxurious lifestyle on an official pay of $29,000.
Gordillo has been opposing a recently passed education reform sought by President Enrique Peña Nieto of the Insitutional Party, who broke off an election-coalition deal with the Gordillo-backed New Alliance Party more than a year ago after PRIistas in numerous states complained that the deal gave too much power to Gordillo.
El País March 2012 interview with Gordillo.
Gordillo has had ties with PAN Baja California gubernatorial candidate Francisco Vega.
Update, March 13: Gordillo's Coronado Cays home searched. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Elba Esther Gordillo, the head of the teachers union who had opposed reforms put forth by President Enrique Peña Nieto's government, was arrested on suspicion of misuse of union funds Tuesday. Story, Los Angeles Times.
A Human Rights Watch report charges that the Mexican military has been involved in many disappearances, and that Mexican security forces sometimes handed over detainees to criminal organizations, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The paper said as many as 20,000 might have disappeared during the drug war by the hands of criminal organizations and security forces. The The Human Rights Watch report focuses on abuses by Mexican Navy forces.
Eighteen inmates graduated from El Hongo prison open-high-school classes in Tecate over the weekend. That brings to 52 the number of graduates since 2008, El Mexicano newspaper reported (PDF).
Inmate Fernando Balanzar Álvarez said it is difficult being in prison, but that thanks to the opportunity of being able to study "and my desire to be a better person," he had made some major gains.
The Los Angeles Times takes a look at Acapulco in the aftermath of the recent rapes of six Spanish women, and through the eyes of a man who has been dedicating his time to defend it. The story was was entitled, "Accentuating Acapulco's positives in a time of negatives."
Feb. 13 Los Angeles Times story on six arrested in rape case.
Previous mention of rapes, in context of rising violence in Acapulco.
Update, Feb. 18: Story on Los Angeles movie stuntwoman, who got her big break by winning a cliff-diving contest in Acapulco.
Arnulfio Valdivia, the head of the Mexican government agency that works with Mexicans abroad, said three recent major accomplishments show that contrary to belief, the Mexican Congress can act.
Speaking at the Institute of the Americas in San Diego, he said the passage of labor and education reforms and the three major parties' signing on to the Pacto por México show that the Congress is moving the country forward. Under the pacto, Mexico's three main parties agreed to work together to accomplish broad objectives for the country.
Valdivia spoke at a border conference on U.S.-Mexico Competitiveness.
Also speaking was San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who said he will formally open his liaison office in Tijuana next week, and former U.S. ambassador to Mexico John Negroponte.
It took 34 minutes to cross the border into Mexico at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Otay Mesa crossing because U.S. border authorities were opening every trunk and inspecting every vehicle looking for spree killer Christopher Dorner.
However, a return through the SENTRI lane at 6:30 p.m. only took six minutes because the former Los Angeles policeman had apparently been killed in a cabin near Big Bear by that point.
Because Dorner had discarded some of his identity documents in San Diego, some thought he had gone into or was headed for Mexico. El Mexicano newspaper even ran an incorrect teaser headline across the top of its front page Tuesday saying, "Spree killer crossed into Mexico."
U-T San Diego had a good story on the end to the manhunt, along with a timeline.
The Via Rápida Oriente expressway in Tijuana was given the added name of the mayor's late father, hotelier Alfonso Bustamante, on Monday.
El Mexicano (PDF) reported that among those in attendance at the ceremony were Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán of the National Action Party and Mayor Carlos Bustamante of the Institutional Revolutionary Party.
The Municipal Convention Center serving Tijuana, Rosarito and Tecate is to open next month, El Mexicano reported. The convention center is located on the northern outskirts of Rosarito off the Tijuana-Rosarito toll road.
In April, the center is to be officially inaugurated. The opening ceremony for the National Olympics also is to be held at the site in April, the paper said. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Photo: A billboard announcing the convention center, with the center in the background, while construction was taking place in December.
Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante, asked last year whether the center being built was too small, said it could be added on to, if need be, just as San Diego's convention center has been.
A 300-meter drug tunnel that had not reached the U.S. side of the border was found in the Otay section of Tijuana by the Mexican military, and 17 people were detained. It was the third such tunnel discovered in Baja California this year; the others were found in Mexicali and Tecate. Story, El Mexicano.
The United States and Mexico tentatively reached a tomato agreement that would likely raise the price of Mexican tomatoes, The Associated Press reported.
Florida tomato farmers had complained of dumping, and the Commerce Department had started an investigation in the fall, during the heat of a tight presidential race in Florida.
The AP said Mexico had $1.8 billion in tomato trade with the United States in 2001, slightly less than the value of U.S.-produced tomatoes. Previous mention of the tomato fight.
Excélsior columnist Leo Zuckermann wryly writes about how Andrés Manuel López Obrador's coalition, which claimed that the Institutional Revoluionary Party had stolen last year's presidential election by buying votes, got a bigger electoral fine. López Obrador's coalition was found to have exceeded its campaign spending limit and was fined 129.8 million pesos (U.S. $10.2 million), while the PRI was fined 54.6 million pesos (U.S. $4.3 million), and was not found to be in violation in the Monex cash-card case López Obrador had vociferously complained about. The National Action Party, which spent well below its limit while finishing third in the presidential race, was fined 2.2 million pesos (U.S. $173,000) for campaign violations.
Zuckermann laments that Mexicans don't really know what the parties spent, while noting that the PRI does seem to have good accountants. He notes that the left is pushing hard to see its fine reduced in addition to pushing, along with the PAN, for the PRI to get a bigger one. Zuckermann's column.
News story on the campaign spending fines.
National Action Party politician Alejandro Monraz finally presented his book, "Alejandro Monraz, memories of a Tijuanense," months after putting up billboards announcing it. Mexican politicians have been putting up billboards with their faces announcing this or that as a way to skirt electoral rules on advertising. After the billboards went up, Monraz became the de facto PAN candidate after a poll showed him to be the most popular of his party's mayoral hopefuls. Previous mention of billboard.