A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.
An article in the April issue of Sunset magazine features the Baja California wine country, and says that now that major drug violence has greatly diminished, more U.S. visitors may start touring the area. Story, Sunset magazine.
The National Reading Survey shows that teachers read fewer books than the general population and are not encouraging students to read enough. The survey says teachers read 2.6 books on average annually, while the generally population reads 2.9. The 2.9 figure is higher than many other surveys.
Some experts have said part of the problem for teachers is that their low pay prevents them from buying books, but others say the problem is far deeper than that. Story, Frontera (PDF).
The Tijuana newsweekly Zeta reported Friday that that a number of military checkpoints have been dismantled in Baja California and in the Baja California-Sonora border area. It raised the specter that this will allow more drugs into the state.
The idea is that as local police get better trained at doing their jobs, the role of the military in the nation's battle against organized crime will diminish.
The paper said business groups are concerned that the dismantling of checkpoints could allow organized crime to- regain a greater foothold in the state. It also said trucking groups and vehicles that carry tourists oppose the checkpoints because they slow down business, among other reasons.
Update, April 16: State asks military to reinstate checkpoints. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Baja California Health Minister José Guadalupe Bustamante Moreno said a meningitis outbreak that began Jan. 30 and killed seven people is under control. Of the 18 cases, two were reported in January, 11 in February and five this month. Seventeen cases were in Tijuana and one in Rosarito. The state has taken measures to isolate carriers and warn neighbors of the danger. Seven of the cases were among family members.
Story, Frontera (PDF). Stories, El Mexicano (PDF).
San Diego County registers its third case. Frontera (PDF).
Update, March 31: Televisa Channel 12's Sunday Cortapisa news talk show program deals with the meningitis issue.
Civic groups are worried about the creation of a gendarmerie in Mexico, the Los Angeles Times reported. It said the gendarmerie would be a paramilitary force. Civic groups are concerned that President Enrique Peña Nieto will create the force by decree rather than having a healthy debate in Congress.
Story, Los Angeles Times: "Mexico civic groups seek Congress debate on gendarmerie: Some worry that Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto will create the new force by decree and that without lawmakers' input, it will have an ill-defined mandate."
Institutional Revolutionary Party mayoral candidate Gilberto Hirata Chico was quoted in Frontera as saying he would give current PRI Mayor Enrique Pelayo an F for his performance.
He said Pelayo simply has not been up to the job, although he also lamented debt built up during previous administrations and a lack of support from the state government. Hirata recently resigned from his post in the state legislature to run for mayor, Story, Frontera (PDF).
Tijuana policewoman Berenice Cruz Gaspar was sent to the hospital Saturday night after she was beaten up by occupants of cars she had told to get in the back of the line of vehicles waiting in line to cross the border.
Three women and a man were detained in the incident, El Mexicano reported. Cruz had told the occupants not to cut into the line at Avenida General Márquez de León and Boulevard Paseo de los Héroes, the paper said. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
A Los Angeles Times poll has found that most Californians favor a "citizenship path for illegal immigrants" and that just 19% of state voters say illegal immigrants should be required to leave the country. In 2010, 48% said the effect of illegal immigrants was negative and 40% said it was positive; this time, "36% said their impact was negative, and 53% said it was positive."
USC Dornsife / L.A. Times Poll: "Most Californians favor citizenship path for illegal immigrants; Only 19% of California voters said illegal immigrants should be required to leave. More than half see immigrants as a positive economic force in the state."
Sidebar: "North Carolina drops plans for pink licenses for young immigrants"
The 19th anniversary of the Luis Donald Colosio assassination was marked Saturday with two events in Tijuana at the site where the Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate was killed. One ceremony in the Lomas Taurinas neighborhood was held by Mayor Carlos Bustamante; the other, held by the PRI, was termed disorganized by Frontera newspaper (PDF).
The assassination brought about the presidency of Ernesto Zedillo, and Mexicans' doubts about the investigation into it helped end 71 years of PRI presidential rule when Vicente Fox of the National Action Party was elected president. Now the PRI is back in power again.
Update, April 1: Tijuana Historical Society President Mario Ortiz Villacorta, in his column in Frontera, wrote: "Let's not forget that Colosio, in death, stopped being the candidate of a party and became a symbol of the fight for the democratization of the country. Today Colosio is universal, he belongs to all of us who believe in democracy and the right of this nation to live better, with justice, peace and freedom." Column, Frontera (PDF).
Grupo Modelo inaugurated a 17,400 square meter (187,000 square foot), 70-million peso ($5.7 million) beer distribution center in Tijuana. Its beers include Corona, Negra Modelo, Barrilito, Victoria and Pacífico. It also distributes Budweiser.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, the maker of Budweiser, is seeking to buy the half of Grupo Modelo it does not already own; the acquisition is being held up by an antitrust dispute with the U.S. Justice Department.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF)
Frontera reported (PDF) that it was the biggest distribution center in Mexico and is located on Boulevard Manuel Clouthier.
Mexico is likely to fall to twelfth place in world tourism rankings this year, Tourism Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu Salinas said in Puebla on Monday. It previously had fallen from seventh to tenth between 2000 and 2009.
Part of the drop has had to do with Mexico's violence.
Mexico's previous tourism minister set a goal in 2011 for Mexico to rank fifth both in visitors and tourism spending in 2019; Ruiz Massieu has her work cut out for her.
Story, La Jornada.
2011 story on previous tourism minister Gloria Guevara Manzo's goals.
The mariachi opera "Cruzar la Cara de la Luna" (To Cross the Face of the Moon) filled the civic center theater in San Diego on Saturday for matinee and evening performances.
The moving 75-minute tale of the grief and heartache involved in the migration process from Mexico to the United States was accompanied by the music of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán. The family involved was from Michoacán, and the storyline involves multiple references to the migration of Monarch butterflies from Michoacán to the United States and back.
The opera coincided with a statement by scientists that the Monarch population is the smallest that they have seen in decades. In a further coincidence, migration from Mexico to the United States also has greatly declined.
San Diego Opera page on the opera.
Los Angeles Times story on Monarch decline.
Legislator Nancy Sánchez of Mexicali has become the new head of the Institutional Revolutionary Party in Baja California. Sánchez ran on the No. 2 spot on the PRI federal Senate ticket in last year's election. The PRI did not win a seat because tens of thousands of voters accidentally spoiled their ballots; Sánchez might have been elected if the voters had filled out their ballots correctly.
She succeeds René Mendívil, who resigned to seek the PRI nomination for Tijuana mayor. That nomination, however, went to Jorge Aztiazaran.
El Mexicano newspaper reported that three tourists have fallen into uncovered drainage-system openings on First Street in Ensenada in the past year. Officials have met with state waterworks system representatives, who pledged to get covers for the openings back into place or put into better repair.
But Saúl Lascano Sahagún, a tourism sector official with the Chamber of Commerce, said not enough has been done and that the openings still pose a danger to the community and the city's tourism efforts. He said one person who fell into an opening was a handicapped American using a white cane.
State water officials were invited to a meeting Monday to discuss the matter, but did not show, the paper said.
Open manholes and drainage openings also pose problems in other cities; in Tijuana, so many manhole covers have been stolen for their scrap-metal value that authorities have been buying plastic-reinforced concrete ones as replacements.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
The head of Baja California's health department, Dr. José Bustamante, urged citizens to take precautions to avoid being infected with meningitis, which has caused four deaths this year in Tijuana. Four people remain hospitalized with the disease, and seven have been treated and are out of danger. The number of deaths is out of the ordinary in relation to those treated. Normally, there are about 50 cases a year.
Some homes were placed on a quarantine of sorts (cerco sanitario [sanitary barrier] but not cuarentena [quarantine]) in an attempt to halt the spread of the disease. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, March 14: One more meningitis case reported in Tijuana, bringing total to 16; city takes more prevention measures. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, March 28: Total of cases is 18, with seven dead; state health minister says outbreak is under control.
The Centers for Disease Control on bacterial meningitis.
U-T San Diego story on SDSU student who died of bacterial meningitis in December.
A man who authorities think was trying to steal parts from an electrical tower appeared to have caused its collapse Friday, knocking out power to 150,000 in Tecate and nearby areas, Mexican media said. Officials at first said the man died of apparent electrocution, but later said he died because the tower fell on him.
Frontera reported that the tower was in Tijuana but that electricity flowing from it served Tecate. A second tower also got pulled down. The nearby Valle de las Palmas area in Tijuana was not affected, Federal Electricity Commission officials said.
Officials said about 75% of power was restored by late Saturday. Story, Frontera (PDF). Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Update, March 12 — Victim identified: The man who died and who apparently caused the blackout was identified as electrician Urbicio Ernesto Pineda Aranguré. He was trying to steal the bolts holding the tower in place, officials said. They said they suspected that he would try to sell them to a metal recycler. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Water got into gasoline tanks at a Pemex station in the northern part of Ensenada, damaging vehicles, El Mexicano reported. The paper said that cars that got gas at the Cíbolas
del Mar conked up a few kilometers away. It said the station said it would get the vehicles' engines repaired.
The paper's headline referred to the fuel sold as "aguasolina," or watersoline.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Jalisco tourism minister Álvarez Gallegos was shot to death while traveling in a vehicle in Guadalajara. It was his ninth day on the job.
Wounded were his driver and a Puerto Vallarta architect.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Story, Frontera (PDF).
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto attended Friday's funeral of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. A video on YouTube appeared to have shown him having fallen asleep at the event, causing a stir in Mexico.
Earlier in the week, 2006 and 2012 presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador expressed his regrets to Chávez's family via Twitter, while noting that he never had any connection to Chávez. The National Action Party's Felipe Calderón won the 2006 election after runnings ads raising the specter that the leftist López Obrador would assume dictatorial-like power along the lines of Chávez.
U-T San Diego reported that a move to cut overtime for border inspectors as a result of the budget sequester that took place March 1 may be causing longer border waits. Story, U-T San Diego. The Tijuana media has been full of stories about longer border waits and fears of longer border waits.
The Scapadas Magicas bus that crashed leaving Big Bear, killing eight people Feb. 3, had been stored in Tijuana even though the company listed having a terminal in San Diego County, the Los Angeles Times reported. The bus that crashed was not presented for a California Highway Patrol inspection in January when two other company buses were, the paper said. The bus company was shut down after the crash. The paper said the bus that crashed had been inspected in May 2012 and "was given a 'brakes out of service' violation for having 20% or more of its brakes defective."
L.A. Times story: "Crash opens window into cross-border bus safety: The deadly Scapadas Magicas bus crash outside Big Bear is exposing what critics say are business practices that allow Mexico-based tour lines to skirt U.S. laws"
The Los Angeles Times editorialized on Tuesday on Mexico's disappeared, citing Human Rights Watch's recent report and calling for a central database of missing people.
The paper said nearly 70,000 people died in President Felipe Calderón's 2006-2012 drug war and more than 26,000 disappeared. It concluded that "a good and simple place for the new administration (of President Enrique Peña Nieto) to begin is to create a central and accurate database of missing people and unidentified remains."
The paper also wrote about Peña Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party voting Sunday to change its bylaws to allow the party to support foreign investment in Mexico's oil sector. It quoted Oppenheimer & Co. energy analyst Fadel Gheit as saying Mexico needs expertise and capital to rejuvenate its energy sector, something that big international companies can provide if they can be "sure the government doesn't pull the plug in a year or two."
The paper also reported on Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim staying atop the Forbes billionaires list. It did not mention that Joaquín "El Chapo" had been dropped from the list because it was suspected a large part of his income was going to keep him from getting captured.
Los Angeles Times editorial: "Mexico's disappeared: Security forces are blamed in abuses. A centralized registry of missing persons would help"
Tijuana activist for the disappeared Cristina Palacios de Hodoyán dies of cancer.
L.A. Times on energy reform: "Mexico edges toward letting foreign oil firms invest in Pemex: Mexico's ruling party changes its bylaws to clear the way for changes at the state oil company"
Energy sector reform poses conundrum
L.A. Times on Slim; Fox news story on Guzmán dropping off the Forbes list.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who left the Democratic Revolution Party to form his own political party, Morena, visited Tijuana and Rosarito on Sunday.
He said the left in the country was in crisis, pointing to the PRD's alliance with the conservative National Action Party and the Workers Party alliance with the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Morena can't qualify for the ballot this year, but López Obrador said it would field candidates in the 2015 midterm federal elections. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Televisa's Channel 12 Notivisa news program celebrated its 25th anniversary with the presence of Baja California Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán.
Notivisa, which has been broadcasting in high-definition since 2007, has come a long way in its news coverage.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
February was Ensenada's first month since May 2005 without a murder, El Mexicano newspaper reported. The last murder took place when an elderly couple was killed at the Fovissste housing development on Jan. 26.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
In September, Ensenada had its most violent month in six years.
Update, March 4: Non-violence streak ends as three are killed in Ensenada. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump. Cartoon, El Mexicano (PDF).
State legislator Gilberto Hirata took a leave of absence Thursday to run for the Institutional Revolutionary Party's nomination for mayor of Ensenada. His substitute is Ricardo Medina Fierro, head of the bureaucrats union. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).