A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.
Ensenada school officials said they were suspending English classes in 79 elementary and preschool campuses due to a funding shortfall, El Vigia reported. Officials held out hope that funding could become available in time for the start of the next school year in August; school recently let out for summer.
El Vigia said Javier Fernández Aceves, head of the English Education Program in the Education Ministry, said 95 million pesos ($7.3 million) is needed from the state legislature to continue the program in Ensenada's 79 campuses and 402 schools statewide. He said the English classes began in 2009 as a pilot program and that the program kept being extended before becoming official this year, benefiting 24,000 children.
The head of the federal Agricultural Ministry, Guillermo Aldrete Haas, said nearly 500,000 tons of wheat have been harvested in the Mexicali Valley.
El Mexicano newspaper also reported that temperatures reached 118.4 F in Mexicali, or 48 C.
Wheat story, El Mexicano (PDF). Temperature story (PDF).
The continuing work on the Alamar freeway project means traffic will continue to be detoured on Manuel Clouthier Boulevard, also known as Gato Bronco, until September while three bridges are built — one on each side of Arroyo Alamar for freeway traffic and one over the waterway for the Tijuana boulevard. Officials told El Mexicano that traffic is mostly backing up only during afternoon rush hour in the area, near CETYS University. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, July 10: El Sol de Tijuana story on detour.
The ninth Caesar Salad Festival will be held starting at noon Sunday in Tijuana. Fifteen restaurants will be serving, on Avenida Revolución, the salad said to have been originated by Italian immigrant Caesar Cardini in Tijuana in the 1920s. Prices start at 35 pesos. The festival is to end at 8 p.m.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, June 30: In photo, Efraín Montoya prepares Caesar salad in front of the Hotel Caesars restaurant.
O.S.K. Lines, or MOL, has started a new weekly container shipping service between Asia and Ensenada. El Mexicano says the shipping company has 111 ships, the first of which is due to arrive July 14. It said the container ships will stop at Ningbo and Shangai in
China, Busan in South Korea, and Yokohama in Japan before arriving in Ensenada with a 14-day transit time. Ships also will stop in Manzanillo and Lázaro Cárdenas before returning to Ensenada and then heading to Yokohama.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Around 20 poor families were removed from makeshift homes they had illegally built in Cordero Canyon in Rosarito Beach and the homes were destroyed, El Mexicano reported (PDF). The paper said people in neighboring communities had complained about the squatters.
The Tijuana weekly Zeta reports that the Baja California smog-check centers are "in ruins." It said a center along the Vía Rapida looks vacant and has had its equipment removed. It speculates that the state has essentially shut down the program for the time being as an election-year ploy (just as Tijuana is not resuming its electronic traffic-violation system until after the election. The governor is a member of the National Action Party, while Tijuana's mayor is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party). Zeta said two other centers were getting fewer than 10 vehicles a day. The paper said state environment minister Efraín Nieblas refused to be interviewed for the story. It said deputy minister Rufino Radilla Camacho, a biologist, could not say how many cars were being checked or how many centers were open, and said, "We're telling you we can't give you any information, understand?"
Zeta said the smog check center association says 190,000 vehicles have been inspected, 15% of the 1.2 million vehicles in the state. The program is not supposed to come into full force until next year.
Last year's story about the smog-check program.
Update, July 25: State official says owners seeking to renew their vehicle registration and license plates must have their cars smog-checked beginning Aug. 1. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
The Egyptian under-19 volleyball team, which won the Africa championship, is in Tijuana for the world championship tournament, El Mexicano reported. There will be two key political dates that take place during during the June 27-July 7 tournament: One is a massive protest in Egypt against the Islamization taking place in the country on June 30, the one-year anniversary of President Mohammed Morsi's being in power; the other is the Baja California gubernatorial, legislative, mayoral and city council elections on July 7. Other African nations qualifying for the 20-team tourney were Algeria, Tunis and Rwanda. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, June 27: Inauguration ceremony is at 7 tonight at Tijuana's Centro de Alto Rendimiento; Mexico plays China at 8 p.m. In Mexicali, Egypt plays South Korea at 5 p.m. and the United States plays Algeria at 2 p.m. Story, Frontera (PDF). Schedule, El Mexicano (PDF).
Results: Monday, July 2 results. Sunday's results (PDF): Egypt beats U.S. Saturday's results (PDF). Friday's results (PDF). Thursday's results (PDF).
Update, July 4: Iran beats Egypt, Russia beats U.S., Argentina beats Mexico in round of 16; quarterfinal matchups are Argentina-Iran, Cuba-Russia, Brazil-China and Poland-France. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, July 6: Mexico falls to Egypt in playoffs to determine the No. 9 to No. 16 finishers. El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, July 7: Russia beats Iran, China beats Poland to reach championship game.
Essayist Carlos Monsiváis, who died three years ago, has only had three of his books translated into English, El Universal reported. The paper said experts say that his particular brand of writing, using puns and literary and historical allusions involving Mexico, is extremely difficult to translate. The books are Mexican Postcards (1997) translated by John Kraniauskas, A new catechism for recalcitrant indians (2007) translated by Jeffrey Browitt and Nidia Esperanza and The Historic Center of Mexico City (2006), words which accompany the work of Belgian artist Francis Alys.
The title of Monsiváis's long-running column, "Por mi madre bohemios," helps explain why he can be so hard to translate. It is kind of an inside joke, like much of what Monsiváis wrote, and comes from a much-recited and often-criticized poem, "El Brindis Bohemio" (The Bohemian Toast), in which a Bohemian toasts his mother, saying, "To my mother, Bohemians." El Universal story in El Mexicano (PDF).
Meanwhile, it was reported that renowned novelist Carlos Fuentes, who died last year, was long monitored by the FBI because of his leftist tendencies. Story, The Guardian.
Both writers visited San Diego and Tijuana. Last year's Tijuana book fair was dedicated in part in to Fuentes, and the federal Tijuana Cultural Center new cinema is named for Monsiváis, who wrote extensively about Mexican movies.
El Mexicano reported that only one police patrol car is operational in San Quintín, in the southern part of the municipality of Ensenada. The paper said the police car is responsible for covering 45 neighborhoods and said police officers were put out that they had to walk to and through the Lázaro Cárdenas neighborhood commercial zone to patrol it. A plebiscite that was held last year to separate San Quintín from Ensenada failed to pass because not enough voters participated; Ensenada Mayor Enrique Pelayo opposed the move.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Story on plebiscite.
A movie based on the life of the Mexican comedian Cantínflas is set to begin filming Monday in Mexico City, El Mexicano reported. The Spanish actor Óscar Jaenada, who will play the title role in the movie, said he has seen all of Cantinflas's movies and has been practicing his accent for two months. The movie, which will have 95 actors and 1,500 extras, will be due out in spring 2014. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, July 17: Filming takes place in front of Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera is coming under fire for the disappearances of 12 people from the Heaven bar last month, the Los Angeles Times reported in a front-page story. Mancera canceled a scheduled talk at the Institute of the Americas in San Diego last month shortly after the incident occurred.
After first saying the disappearances were not confirmed, Mancera, the city's former top prosecutor, now is working to resolve the case. The head of the city's missing-persons bureau was dismissed on Tuesday. Two of those missing are the sons of men who are imprisoned; one of them was the leader of a Tepito neighborhood drug gang.
Five other people also were whisked away from another Mexico City bar, Virtual Mix, in April.
Los Angeles Times: "Mexico City mayor under fire over disappearances of 12: Miguel Angel Mancera mishandled the case of the missing bar patrons, critics say. The incident and others have sparked debate about crime in Mexico's capital."
Story on missing-persons bureau head being dismissed. El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Update, June 22: El Mexicano editorial on how unacceptable that any group, no matter its origins, disappear without a trace in Mexico, and blasting authorities for at first downplaying the matter. Editorial (PDF).
Update, June 25: Three held in arraigo detention in case. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, July 2: Apprehension order issued against three held in arraigo — a Heaven nightclub co-owner, the club's security chief and another security worker. Last week, officials said the disappearances appear to have to do with disputes between two drug gangs operating in the Tepito neighborhood. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, July 3: A Heaven nightclub co-owner's body found burned in Morelos state; it was found in a vacant lot June 22.
Mexico's Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended the Baja California legislature's creation of an electoral crimes agency. Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán had appealed the creation of the agency and that its head would not be selected by him. The legislature is dominated by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, seeking to regain the governor's post in July 7 elections after losing it to Osuna Millán's National Action Party 24 years ago. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Meanwhile, the PAN criticized Tijuana's PRI mayor, Carlos Bustamante, for traveling to the Paris Air Show using taxpayer money. PAN criticism of Bustamante's travels. The mayor's trip. Baja California products exhibited at show.
Work being done to even out the eastbound and westbound lanes of Avenida Internacional going from downtown Tijuana toward Playas de Tijuana along the border is being done with the best of intentions but the worst in planning, Frontera columnist José Aguirre Lomelí says in Wednesday's column. The eastbound lanes often had to be closed during rains because they were well below the level of the westbound lanes and would get flooded. The work is well behind schedule and Aguirre said the quality of the work that has been done appears to leave a lot to be desired, including the collapse of one section of road. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, July 5: Eastbound lanes north of United Nations bridge to Aldrete are opened, although construction work continues, El Mexicano reports (PDF). July 6 follow-up story (PDF). July 10: Follow-up story (PDF): Work expected to be completed in August.
The volcano Popocatépetl, or Smoking Mountain in Nahuatl, had a 2-kilometer-high ash emission on Tuesday, and objects were thrown 100 meters from the crater. The volcano, active since December 1994, had registered a 4-kilometer-high ash emission on Monday and threw objects 2 kilometers from the crater, setting some pasture on fire, Mexican media reported. Ash fell on Tetela del Volcán, Ocuituco,
Yecapixtla, Atlatlahucan, Cuautla, Tlayacapan, Yautepec, Jiutepec and Xochitepec in Morelos state and
Ecatzingo, Atlautla and Ozumba in Mexico state.
Story (PDF). Jump. February 2013 photo courtesy of Cvmontuy.
Analyst Ricardo Raphael, who wrote a book on now-jailed teachers union leader Elba Esther Gordillo, says the education reform Mexico passed earlier this year will be of little value without accompanying legislation to implement it. But he says the legislation presented by President Enrique Peña Nieto so far is mediocre. Many experts say education reform will be key in the long run for all of the other major reforms Mexico needs.
His column, appearing in Tijuana's El Mexicano newspaper: "Reforma en vilo," or "Reform on tenterhooks" (PDF).
Raphael on 2012 election.
Top national Institutional Revolutionary Party officials said Saturday that they did not think the Tabasco corruption scandal will have a negative effect on the PRI in the Baja California gubernatorial election. Among those speaking were national PRI President César Camacho Quiroz and PRI Chamber of Deputies leader Manlio Fabio Beltrones. (PDF). They were in Tijuana to attend the installation of a PRI Political Commission. Story, Frontera (PDF). Stories, El Mexicano (PDF). Jumps.
Former Tabasco Gov. Andrés Granier hospitalized with heart problems in Mexico City. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Update, June 25: Federal judge issues arrest warrant for Granier. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, June 26: Granier arrested on corruption charges. Story in El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Update, June 27: Academic Miguel Carbonell discusses the case, and notes that Mexico traditionally has been "negligent, stupid or a corruption accomplice — or even all three at once — when pursuing corruption cases. His column in El Mexicano newspaper (PDF).
Mónica Tentori, an assistant professor at the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education (CICESE) in Ensenada, has won a 2013 Microsoft Reseach Faculty Fellowship. Microsoft says she studies "human-computer interactions and ubiquitous computing, particularly on the design, development, and evaluation of natural user interfaces and self-reflection capture tools—work that helps support the needs of urban residents, hospital workers, and the elderly." She is one of seven researchers winning the fellowship worldwide.
Microsoft blog on the 2013 fellows.
Story in Frontera (PDF).
Roma Pharmacies on Thursday opened its 50th store in Baja California. The pharmacy chain, which was honored at last year's Tijuana Innovadora conference, opened the 50th Farmacia Roma across from the Caliente racetrack back parking lot.
Photo shows the new pharmacy before its sign was put and other finishing touches were made, on June 1.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
The Los Angeles Times wrote a story about former Tabasco Gov. Andres Granier returning to Mexico to face corruption allegations, and focused on Granier's wardrobe. Millions of dollars worth of cash was recently found in the home used by a former top aide. L.A. Times story: "Former Mexican official's boasts add fire to corruption probes: Andres Granier, ex-governor of Tabasco state, says he was drunk when he bragged that he had a luxury wardrobe of 300 suits and 400 pairs of shoes."
Excélsior coumnist Leo Zuckermann says former President Vicente Fox, who recently said he would grow marijuana if it were legalized, is as sane as ever, even if some people think he is acting as if he were on drugs. Zuckermann said he agrees with Fox that drugs should be legalized. Zuckermann said that on his FOROTV program Monday, he spoke with Fox about why his position has changed. Fox gave four reasons: The death toll in Mexico's drug war; that the U.S. and Mexican wars on drugs had failed; that more and more U.S. states are legalizing marijuana, for medical or even recreational reasons; and because of Fox's belief in individual liberties. Zuckermann's column. Cartoon of Fox watering a marijuana plant in El Mexicano(PDF).
A Reforma newspaper story about the state of Michoacán's troubles was given the headline "Michoacán: On border of being a failed state." Criminal organizations control large parts of the state's territory, and citizens have formed self-defense groups. The state's Institutional Revolutionary Party governor has fallen ill and has not been able to govern. The story said President Enrique Peña Nieto has not stepped foot in the state since the election. It said bishops have issued a letter decrying the bloodshed, saying, "It's not possible to keep living like this." Story, in Frontera (PDF).
Update, June 11: Part II (PDF). Jump.
Meanwhile, Leo Zuckermann's column says there have been nearly 6,000 slayings in Mexico during the first six months of Peña Nieto's term.
Some Michoacán police cannot read and write
Update, June 24: Gov. Fausto Vallejo is reported to have had a successful operation in the United States for an unrevealed ailment. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Update, July 22: Vallejo's leave of absence from governor's post is extended to up to six months for his recovery from a liver transplant.
The head of police training academy in Michoacan said some police cannot read and write, Notimex reported. Dora María Rivera, director of the Police Training Institute, spoke following a graduation ceremony for 86 cadets from 19 municipalities Friday. She said 14 police got diplomas showing they had received the education equivalent of elementry, middle and high schools. She said that on July 1, 90 new cadets will receive training.
The story appeared on a section front of Tijuana's El Mexicano newspaper; the same page had another story quoting the state's public safety chief, Alberto Reyes Vaca, as saying the municipality of Chinicuila is experiencing security issues as a result the operations of drug traffickers.
Stories, El Mexicano (PDF).
Richard Ramirez, the "Night Stalker" home-invasion killer who terrorized Southern California with a spree of gruesome murders before being caught in 1985, died of liver failure at age 53. He had been on death row.
He had been born in El Paso, Texas, the son of Julián Ramírez, originally from Camargo, Mexico, and Mercedes Muñoz, who was born in Colorado. Not that it was any excuse, but Ramirez apparently suffered a major head injury, if not two, as a child, and had a difficult birth his mother attributed to being exposed to chemical fumes at a factory. He was also exposed to the gruesome exploits of a cousin who participated in the Vietnam War; the exploits included the cousin's rape and beheading of at least one Vietnamese woman, and the cousin's showing Ramirez photos of the event, according to Wikipedia. Ramirez also was present when the cousin shot his wife to death, splattering Ramirez's face with blood, Wikipedia said. Ramirez was a drug user and a thief in his adolescence, the Criminal Minds website said, became interested in the devil, and came to Los Angeles in part because he had a brother, also a petty thief, living there.
Frontera newspaper reported on its front page Wednesday that construction for a pedestrial bridge betwen the Tijuana international airport and a terminal across the border could begin in July. Construction has been held up in Mexico over tax and other issues. The Tijuana airport is only separated from the United States by a major thoroughfare and the U.S. border fence. Story, Frontera (PDF). Jump. Front page.
Update, June 6: Mayor Carlos Bustamante says no permits for project will be issue until airport concessionaire pays 20 million pesos ($1.55 million) in back taxes. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Tijuana's digital TV switch problems have been the subject of national humor. On Monday night, the "Intensive Therapy" segment of "El Noticiero con Joaquín López-Doriga" joked about the issue, while on Friday's the show's "Mangas del Chaleco" (Sleeves of the Vest) did the same. Friday's segment featured Mayor Carlos Bustamante and was not that funny; many say that could be said about the very serious mayor.
Stories on the switchover, which has been postponed until after July 7 elections.
The latest estimates for Mexican economic growth this year have fallen to 3%. Santander bank analyst predicted 3.9% growth for next year. Story in Frontera (PDF).
The Los Angeles Times published a front-page story Sunday about San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, but surprisingly barely touched on his efforts to pay more attention to cross-border relations. Filner even was in Tijuana on Sunday and ate at the Caesar's restaurant on Avenida Revolución, according to a mention in Frontera newspaper (PDF).
Perry, a one-man Los Angeles Times San Diego bureau who has scooped the entire staff of U-T San Diego on numerous occasions, did mention how he has "infuriated the conservative editorial page of the U-T San Diego newspaper."
Its sole mention of Tijuana was that a binational bid with it for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games was a longshot.
The story did not mention that Latinos had put him into office, just as they helped Barack Obama a second term as president. It did say that when Filner scanned the nenbership list of a private nonprofit group that helps govern Balboa Park, he said, "I don't see African Americans or Latinos on the board. We're going to change that."
Story, Los Angeles Times online: "A liberal mayor takes on the San Diego establishment"
Print edition headline: "A liberal firebrand stirs up San Diego: Democratic Mayor Bob Filner honed his activism in the '60s."
Stories on Filner and his Latino-Mexico focus. Filner sworn in.