A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.
Former Tijuana police chief Julián Leyzoala is seeking a federal injunction against being barred from serving from office in Tijuana. The Ciudad Juárez police chief has been the subject of a Tijuana city investigation that he tortured his own personnel.
Leyzaola left the Tijuana post when Mayor Carlos Bustamante took office in late 2010; he became the police chief of Ciudad Juarez the next year. Leyzaola, a retired military officer, has long been the subject of allegations that he committed human-rights violations in his successful effort to reduce violence in Tijuana during the 2007-2010 administration of Mayor Jorge Ramos.
Síndico Procurador Yolanda Enríquez has been investigating the case. She also has barred many other former officials from holding office in Tijuana because of misdoing.
Front-page story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump page.
Authorities raid 57 recycling centers in Tijuana on Friday and shut down 16 of them. Stolen items, including parts of stolen automobiles, were found at some of the centers.
Theft of metal objects has been a major problem in Tijuana; earlier this year, a statue of an Indian woman was broken off from its base. Meanwhile, a man apparently trying to cut electric wires to be able to sell them for their copper content apparently electrocuted himself in the Maneadoro area of Ensenada, Frontera reported (PDF).
Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump page. Story, Frontera (PDF).
The Tijuana History Symposium on Thursday and Friday honored journalism professor Jesús Cueva Pelayo. Cueva Pelayo, who teaches journalism at the Tijuana Technical Institute, has a strong interest in Tijuana history and donated a large cache of old newspapers he had collected to the archive.
The symposium had a panel on the history of the burro-zebra on Avenida Revolución, and one of the burro-zebras and its colorful cart were stationed in the courtyard of the old City Hall (Antiguo Palacio Municipal) in downtown Tijuana for both days of the conference. El Mexicano (PDF) has a photo of Cueva Pelayo on the burro-zebra. There is a move afoot to save the tradition of the burro-zebra; while once 16 were stationed up and down Avenida Revolución, now there are only seven.
Previous mention of effort to save the burro-zebra.
A cadaver has been at the Mexicali morgue for 18 years, El Mexicano reported. The paper reported that morgue chief Francisco Acuña Campa said the body has not been identified, and the cause of death and even where it was found are not known. The body apparently still is being held because the state attorney general's office in 1995 thought the person might have been murdered and asked that it be kept at the morgue as part of the investigation.
The paper said another body, believed to be that of a female found at Kilometer 28 of the Mexicali-Tijuana highway, also has been frozen for 12 years. The identity of the body in question and cause of death are not known.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump page.
Update: State attorney general says the issue needs action from both his office and the morgue. Front-page story, El Mexicano.
El Mexicano editorial (PDF): "Incomprehensible Oversight"
Tijuana's City Counil on Thursday voted to transfer the old city jail property to the Downtown Trust, which will try to sell it. Mayor Carlos Bustamante had the jail demolished in December 2011 and January 2012 over the objections of many who wanted it to become a museum. Opposing the transfer of the property to the trust were the council's National Action Party members and Najla Souraya Webhe Dipp of the teachers union-aligned New Alliance Party. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
El Mexicano reported that eastbound Avenida Internacional along the border from Playas de Tijuana to downtown will still flood despite months of construction work to fix the problem. The 70-million-peso ($5.5 million) project has been elevating three eastbound lanes, putting in better drainage and building a 10-million-peso ($788,000) fence to keep would-be border crossers and other people off the road. It cited Urban Development chief Esteban Yee as saying flooding has been a problem in the area for 50 years, getting downtown's runoff. He said that while the road work will finish before Mayor Carlos Bustamante's administration ends this fall, work to resolve the overall drainage and flooding problem will have to be done during the next administration. The road is to reopen in late August. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump (PDF). Story, Frontera (PDF).
The Tijuana Toros lost the deciding seventh game of the Northern League championship series to the San Luis Río Colorado Cotton Growers, 5-4, at Tijuana's Gasmart Stadium on Wednesday night. Mexico's national soccer team also lost to Panama, 2-1, in the Gold Cup semifinals in Arlington, Texas, while the United States beat Honduras 3-1; the United States will play Panama on Sunday, while Mexico very well may be getting a new national team coach. Stories, El Mexicano (PDF).
State income official Nolberto González Grajeda told El Mexicano newspaper that beginning Aug. 1, vehicles needing registration and license-plate renewal must be smog-checked at one of the 16 smog-check centers in Baja California. In June, the weekly Zeta said the state's smog-check centers were in ruins.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, July 26: Follow-up story, Frontera (PDF).
Mention of the Zeta story.
Update, July 27: Smog-check centers nearly empty, Frontera reports (PDF).
Update, July 29: El Mexicano (PDF) reports that only 140,000 of state's 1,076,000 registered vehicles have gone to smog check centers.
A new $1.5 million crane that will help move containers more quickly arrived at the port of Ensenada on Monday. The RTG crane is made by China's ZPMC company, port concessionaire Ensenada International Terminal said. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
The oral-trial system may begin in Tecate in August, Baja California Attorney General Rommel Moreno said Monday. The change already has taken place in Mexicali, but not without a lot of complaints. The new system is to be carried out in Ensenada in 2014 and in Rosarito and Tijuana in 2015. El Mexicano said Rommel made the announcement in conjunction with a visit by the directors of the documentary "Presumed Guilty"; the directors have been strong backers of Mexico's move to an oral-trial system. The directors, Roberto Hernández and Layda Negrete, face 19 lawsuits in Mexico, which are hindering the sale of the movie on DVD in Mexico, Cine Tropical reported.
Ironically, the media was barred from a courtroom hearing in one of those cases.
Update, Aug. 27: Implementation of system delayed until Francisco Vega takes office as governor.
Ensenada priest Ignacio Cortez Álvarez, 56, was found slain in his home on Monday morning, Mexican media reported. Known as Padre Nachito, he had suffered wounds to his abdomen, back and thorax. In March he had been honored for his 25 years as a priest.
He was the priest for the María Auxiliadora church in Ensenada's El Sauzal de Rodríguez neighborhood. Originally from Michoacán, he long lived in Tijuana, where he has family members, El Mexicano and El Vigia reported. He was the seventh of 12 children.
Robbery was being strongly considered as the motive, as the place was ransacked, and various items were missing. A pickup truck also was missing.
Parishioners told El Vigia that the church had been subject to various thefts, causing the priest to close its doors following religious ceremonies.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump. Story, El Vigia.
Update, Aug. 7: Man arrested in slaying.
Ensenada businessman Óscar Gerardo Molina
Michel, 48, was shot to death in his vehicle near El
Faro Beach hotel complex he co-owned with his nephews, the sons of his late brothers Guillermo and Rómulo, El Mexicano reported.
On June 7 2007, Rómulo Molina Michel, was kidnapped along with a veterinarian identified as Martín, the paper said. On July 22 of the same year their shot and tortured bodies were found behind the San Judas Tadeo church in the Valle Dorado neighborhood. State authorities concluded that the kidnapping had been carried out by a "black squad" composed of city police under Rosario "La Chayo" Flores Rojas, currently in El Hongo prison in Tecate.
In August 2007, Óscar Gerardo Molina Michel was seized by state police at El Faro and taken to Mexico City on suspicion of arms stockpiling, organized-crime and other charges. He was released after 30 days; his defense claimed that the raid violated his rights. He later obtained a concession to extract stone in the south of the city.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
The Ensenada community of colonia Villas Prado Segunda Sección has been without water for two weeks, El Mexicano reported. The neighborhood was supposed to get limited water service on Sunday. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump page.
The body of a truck driver involved in an April 26 accident that crushed three homes was found at the accident scene Friday. It had been thought that the driver had fled, as often occurs in Mexico. The truck driver had been transporting a retroexcavadora, or backhoe or backhoe-type machine, when it fell into three houses on
Manuel Suárez Soto Street in the Camino Verde neighborhood.
Killed in the crash was Juan Carlos Chacón; his wife, Beatriz Adriana Cardozo, and their daughter, Jennifer Guadalupe, were injured.
Suárez Soto is a Tijuana radio journalist; a number of streets in the community are named after Tijuana media personalities, including the late Zeta newspaper founder Jesús Blancornelas. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
The switch to all-digital TV signals for Tijuana took effect today, this time for good. Last time, the switch was reversed because of the possible effect it could have on the July 7 Baja California elections. El Mexicano reported today that hundreds who have not obtained converter boxes may be left without television. Notivisa Channel 12 has been reporting that some merchants have been selling televisions at a discount, apparently without letting buyers know that the televisions will be no good without a converter box, unless someone only wants to want recorded programming. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, July 19: Thousands without TV service (PDF). 4,000 estimated to be without TV service in Rosarito (PDF).
Update, July 24: The law firm Krasovsky y Asociados says more 50,000 homes are not able to receive digital TV service and seek an injunction to get analog TV service back. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
May-June: Stories on the temporary suspension of the final analog-to-digital switch.
October: Tijuana to become Mexico's first city to go to all-digital TV signal.
October: Tijuana power blackout affects Tijuana Innovadora on day front pages proclaim coming analog TV blackout.
The Oxxo convenience store chain opened its 11,000th store in the rural San Antonio de las Minas section of Ensenada on Tuesday, Mexican media reported. It was inaugurated by Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán. The company, based in Monterrey, says it serves 8 million customers in Mexico daily. Founded 35 years ago, it opened its first Baja California store in 1984, El Mexicano said. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Meanwhile, the Ensenada edition of the paper said around 20 demonstrators, at least some of them store owners, protested the Oxxo opening, saying profits would go to Monterrey rather than staying in the area. They said the Oxxo's being open 24 hours a day would hurt other store owners. Story, El Mexicano Ensenada edition (PDF).
The Oxxo website says it has more than 11,000 stores in more than 350 cities in Mexico and 34 in Bogotá, Colombia. Oxxo is part of Grupo Femsa, which also bottles Coca-Cola in Mexico.
U.S. authorities seized $762,930 hidden in the gas tank of a 2005 Honda Accord headed for the Mexicali border crossing from Calexico, El Mexicano reported. The vehicle was being driven by a 24-year-old U.S. woman who was not identified. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Story, U.S. Customs.
Former federal police commander Bernardo Oliver Camarena Monforte, 59, was shot to death while eating breakfast in a Rosarito restaurant, El Mexicano reported. Two suspects were captured after a chase; one suspect was wounded, the paper said. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump page.
Update, July 17: Gun found in vehicle of suspects appears to have been used in three Tijuana killings, officials say. The suspects were identified as Sergio Antonio Moreno Toscano, 42, and Julio César Palomino Navarro, 35. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Abel Galván Gallardo, head of the state attorney general's office fighting organized crime, said criminals deported from the United States are now running drug-peddling operations in TIjuana. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
National Action Party candidate Francisco Vega's final margin in the Baja California governor's race over the Institutional Revolutionary Party's Fernando Castro Trenti was 24,959 votes.
The PRI had fiercely denounced the preliminary vote results from Sunday's election and then pushed for and got what appears to have been an illegal vote-by-vote count in many electoral districts. But the preliminary margin for Vega was 25,554 — a difference of 595. That's pretty close.
The paper said Vega got 442,868 votes, Castro Trenti 417,909, and the Citizens Movement Felipe Ruanova 48,089, with 30,008 null votes and 3,724 other votes.
The margin percent was slightly less, however — 2.7% instead of the 3% the preliminary count estimated.
Out of 942,598 votes cast, Vega's share was 47%, Castro Trenti's 44.3%, and Ruanova's 5.1%.
Story, Frontera (PDF). Final results from state electoral institute.
Tijuana began celebrating its 124th anniversary with a party Wednesday night in the Parque Teniente Guerrero. The official anniversary is today, Thursday. Story, Frontera (PDF). City ad (PDF).
Why July 11, 1889 was named the birthdate of Tijuana.
A Baja California Water Commission official says the planning process for an Ensenada desalination plant has advanced so much that construction permits could be issued in September, El Mexicano reported. Manuel Ocejo
Miramontes, head of the commission's construction and projects arm, said the Ensenada council had approved a land-use change for the property in question. He said the first part of the project that would be built would be the tubing to draw in seawater and release brine into the ocean. He said that a few months after issuance of the permits, the construction company OHL would begin work on the project.
The project has been controversial, with some worrying that it will affect a nearby lagoon.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
2013: Protected status sought for lagoon.
May 2013: Sempra rejects Ensenada mayor's request that it build an acqueduct from El Hongo to Valle de Guadalupe.
2012: Spanish OHL Inima that won contract to build Ensenada desalination plant sold to South Korean corporation.
A former Mexicali policeman who once had been jailed in the death of a judicial policeman was shot and wounded Tuesday. Jonathan Sánchez Castillo, who was shot in the clavicle and had a bullet graze his head, was taken to the hospital, El Mexicano newspaper said (PDF). Sánchez Castillo previously had been jailed in the death of judicial policeman David
Castañeda Salas, who was shot in the face with a .38-caliber bullet, El Mexicano said. It was later ruled a manslaughter rather than a murder, El Mexicano reported. The paper said state attorney general's office sources said that while Sánchez Castillo was under detention, a relative tried to introduce drugs into the jail.
Sánchez Castillo was driving a pickup truck on Tuesday when he was cut off and fired upon.
The paper said it was the third attempt to kill a Mexicali policeman or former policeman this year Francisco Castañeda was killed while driving a vehicle accompanied by an alleged criminal known as "El Pelón" Patiño, and Estuardo Polanco Quiñones was hit by bullets when he was in a parked vehicle.
Mexicali has been seeing an increase in crime, which may have been a factor in the mayoral election victory of the National Action Party's Jaime Díaz Ochoa in Sunday's election. It has had an Institutional Revolutionary Party mayor the past three years.
The Russian boys under-19 volleyball team beat China three games to one to win the world championship at the Centro de Alto Rendimiento in Tijuana. Russia won 25-23, lost 25-22 before winning the last two games 25-17 and 25-14. Poland beat Iran to take the third place spot; Brazil beat Argentina to take the fifth place spot; and Cuba beat France to take the No. 7 spot.
Tickets to watch all four matches were 50 pesos, or $3.87.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Photo: Russia, in blue, takes on China, in red, in Tijuana.
Russia beat Iran and China beat Poland on Saturday to reach tonight's world volleyball under-19 men's championship game in Tijuana.
Meanwhile, the Tijuana Toros baseball team will give free entry to tonight's playoff game to those who voted in today's Baja California elections. The Toros won the first game Saturday against the Mexicali Aguiluchos 8-0.
Also, Tijuana's Monumental bullring will be celebrating Tijuana's 124th anniversary with a corrida July 14. Some in Tijuana are trying to ban bullfights, or at least ban minors from attending.
And on Saturday night, the Tijuana Xolos soccer team beat Club América in an exhibition match at Petco Park in San Diego. América just won Mexico's national soccer championship, while the Xolos won the previous title.
Volleyball story, El Mexicano (PDF). Previous mention of volleyball tourney.
Tijuana Toros ad (beer, water and soda = $1) (PDF) — same page as bullfight ad. Game story, Frontera (PDF).
Xolos story, U-T San Diego.
Ensenada officials said the port city has had the best Fourth of July for tourism in five years. Tourism had dropped significantly because of violence in Mexico, which has greatly subsided in Baja California, and because of the waits involved in crossing the border back to the United States. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
The Popocatépetl volcano, whose ash eruptions last week caused a number of flights into and out of Mexico City to be canceled, had a two-mile-high ash eruption on Saturday, and the alert level was raised to stage 3 yellow, media reported. The next alert level, red, would require evacuations of communities close to the volcano. Mexico City residents awoke Saturday to find a layer of fine ash on their vehicles; international airport officials said the ash is not a threat to planes. Officials said more than 100 shelters are available for evacuees. Puebla state officials said elections would go on as planned today in communities near the volcano: It said eight Calpan precincts, seven Huejotzingo precincts, eight Atlixco precincts, two Tochimilco precincts and two in San Nicolás de los Ranchos would receive voters, as planned. Story in El Mexicano (PDF). Jump. Reuters story.
Authorities said 2,109 ballots for precinct 595-C5 were stolen in Mexicali. Officials said the ballots will be replaced and that the theft will not affect Sunday's Baja California election.
The numbered ballots and the box containing them were stolen while precinct President Emperatriz Cano Agúndez was out Thursday night, El Mexicano reported; she discovered upon her return to her home in the Ángeles de Puebla neighborhood shortly after midnight on Friday morning that someone had broken in and taken electronics items and the box.
The precinct will be installed in the Cirilo Calderón school. Because of a lack of security paper, only 2,009 ballots were replaced, but officials said because low turnout is expected, there still should be hundreds of unused ballots. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, July 7: Follow-up story (PDF): Precinct president may be replaced.
Protests were held on the Mexican side of the Mexicali and San Ysidro ports of entry on U.S. Independence Day to oppose the border security buildup called for in the U.S. immigratin reform bill. El Mexicano said that in Mexicali, the Angels without Borders group led by
Sergio Tamai Quintero, federal PRI Deputy Federal David Pérez Tejada Padilla, and around 90 Mexicans who have been deported joined in the demonstration. The paper said traffic was blocked for around a minute. Tamai Quintero said around 500 are being sent across the border into Mexico every day, and likened the proposed security buildup to the fortifying of the Berlin Wall, and said it would cause more Mexican migrant deaths. The paper quoted Pérez Tejada as saying there were 125,000 deportations to Baja California in 2012, including 70,000 to Mexicali. He said he would prefer that instead of hiring more agents to patrol the border, that more agents be deployed to make legal crossings quicker, and to staff the Tecate and the newer Mexicali ports of entry so that they could be open 24 hours a day. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, July 6: Tijuana police chief Alberto Capella says 7,000 ex-convicts have been deported to Tijuana this year. Front-page story, with photos of tattooed deportees, El Mexicano (PDF).
Sonora Gov. Guillermo Padrés on Wednesday celebrated the Mexican Supreme Court's ruling giving the green light for the operation of an aqueduct that will ensure an adequate water supply for Hermosillo, the state capital. However, A spokesman for the Yaqui Indian group opposing the Independence Aqueduct noted that the court issued a provisional, and not a final, ruling. The Yaquis said they would continue to intermittently place roadblocks on the federal highway in the vicinity of Vícam, in Guaymas municipality. The aqueduct takes water from the Yaqui River 175 miles north to Hermosillo. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, July 7: Roadblocks continue, El Mexicano reports (PDF).
December 2012 New York Times story on aqueduct.
Arizona Daily Star story on the blockades. Yaqui River basin at a glance (PDF).
Slaying of legislator-elect falsely blamed on aqueduct dispute.
Ledezma, a co-owner of the Heaven bar in Mexico City that 12 people disappeared from in May, was found slain and burned along with two other bodies n Huitzilac in Morelos state, media reported. He had been ordered to appeared before Mexico City's special prosecutor's office for kidnappings. The two other bodies were those of his girlfriend, Diana Guadalupe Velasco Piña, 18, and her cousin, Heidi Fabiola Rodríguez Velasco, 33.
Excélsior reported that an armed group had kidnapped the three from their home in Iguala in Guerrero state, and that the bodies were found in a vacant lot on June 22. Dax Rodríguez Ledezma's DNA was compared with that of his brother and bar co-owner, Mario, who is under detention in the case.
Officials have said the disappearances appear related to drug-gang rivalry in Mexico City's Tepito area. The whereabouts of the 12 who disappeared remain unknown. The BBC said at least 17 people and eight vehicles were involved in the abduction.
Update, July 4: Columnist Jorge Fernández Menéndez says Dax Rodríguez knew two people were to be kidnapped from the bar, but that it turned out that the two were accompanied by 10 others, and they were kidnapped, too. Fernández Menéndez's column (PDF). Previous mention of story.
Two scholars are taking issue with claims that Mexican immigrants "are fated to remain a permanent underclass" in U.S. society, claims they said may be helping drive opposition to the immigration reform passed by the U.S. Senate. U.S. House leaders say they will not pass the Senate bill.
Sociologists Helen B. Marrow of Tufts University and Tomás R. Jiménez of Stanford, in an op-ed in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times, say each Mexican-American generation "does better than the one before at making economic gains and progressing toward full integration into U.S. society." The authors say many Mexican-Americans intermarry with people from other groups, showing declining social barriers.
Marrow and Jiménez conclude by telling House members: "When Mexicans have the opportunity to live and work legally in the United States, the new arrivals and their descendants are more likely to overcome disadvantages and, as immigrants have always done, become strong and constructive contributors to our diverse society. Don't stand in the way."
Los Angeles Times op-ed: "Mexican American mobility: Assimilation fears should not hinder immigration reform."
Two-time presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who now heads the Morena party, plans a big return to national politics with a major rally Sept. 8 in Mexico City, Excélsior columnist Leo Zuckermann writes. The former Mexico City mayor will focus on opposing proposed energy and economic reforms to try to capture the majority of the nation's left-of-center voters, Zuckermann said. His column.