A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.
The metal letters on the main facade outside Mexicali City Hall that said "Ayuntamiento de Mexicali" (Mexicali City Council) were stolen over the weekend. El Mexicano reported that the bronze letters had been in place since the City Hall was built more than 30 years ago. Metal theft for recycling is a major problem in Mexico, just as it is in many parts of the world. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Mexico's ambassador to Argentina, Fernando Castro Trenti, combined a trip to Tijuana over the weekend along with a working trip to Mexico City. Castro Trenti, who reluctantly agreed to become ambassador after Institutional Revolutionary Party powers-that-be did not want him to return to the Chamber of Deputies after his failed run for governor last year, said he visited with his mother, whom he had not seen for two months. During that visit, Castro Trenti caused a stir by blasting Carlos Barboza, Jorge Hank Rhon's candidate to become head of the PRI in Baja California. It still is being decided who will become the state PRI president, although there are strong indications that interim leader and former state legislator Nancy Sánchez will stay in the position. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
El Mexicano newspaper led its front page Friday with a story where law-enforcement officials denied that children are being kidnapped in order for their organs to be harvested. This has long been a widespread rumor in Tijuana and Mexico, but hardly the lead story for a metropolitan daily.
The paper also wrote an editorial saying that the announcement by Tijuana public safety chief Alejando Lares and prosecutor for organized crime Miguel Ángel Guerrero was a timely one.
The rumors have been prevalent again lately. At a recent event, MexicoPerspective was shocked to hear someone in the Tijuana media say that such organ harvesting had been taking place, only to find out this statement was based only on rumor. Although conspiracy theories are widespread throughout the world, Mexico is particularly susceptible to them, perhaps because of its public's low level of reading.
Editorial, El Mexicano. Front-page story, El Mexicano. Jump.
Tijuana Mayor Jorge Astiazarán on Wednesday promised to work closely with the National Institute for Adult Education to reduce educational backwardness in the city. He said 400,000 residents lack a basic education (in Mexico, basic education covers primary through middle school). Tijuana's population in 2013 was 1,670,365. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Meanwhile, labor and management issues in schools continued, and 35 Tijuana schools were unable to hold classes on Wednesday, Frontera reported.
In Ensenada, parents upset with the direction of Andrés Silva Vite middle school took over the facility, Frontera reported.
Actress and theater producer Carmen Salinas met with former President Vicente Fox at the Centro Fox in León, Guanajuato. Salinas is in León to portray the drug cartel leader "La Chacala" (the Jackal) in the film "Kilo por Gramo." Salinas, long a backer of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, said she thought Fox has always meant well. She had invited him to attend her long-running play "Aventurera" when Fox was president but he never wound up attending. In 2000, when Fox was running for president, Salinas had said on stage during a performance of "Aventurera" that she feared for the future of Mexico if the National Action Party politician was elected.
Wire story in El Mexicano (PDF).
Photo is of Salinas onstage in 2000.
Mexico's total switchover from analog to digital television, which had been scheduled for Dec. 31, 2015, is going to be delayed in some areas, federal communications officials said.
The switchover in Tijuana last year was plagued with problems.
The Mexican government is seeking to alter and water down the transparency institute (Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Información, the Federal Institute for Access to Information, or IFAI), Mexico analyst George Grayson writes in a column published in Thursday's U-T San Diego. He concluded: "Reconfiguring IFAI means that Mexico — which came in 106th out of 177 countries examined in 2013 — will fall even lower in the 'Corruption Perception Index' disseminated by Transparency International."
Fifty-seven prisoners — 55 men, and two women — married on Tuesday in Tijuana's La Mesa prison.
El Mexicano quoted a woman named Irma as saying, while walking hand-in-hand with her new husband, Luis Enrique Serrano Gutiérrez, "We were going to marry in San Diego, but God decided it would be here, and we are happy." It quoted them as saying they have lived together 13 years and have three children, and that he was in prison for having killed his kidnapper in self-defense. He said his case is still in process and that he hopes to be released.
An August 2013 AFN Tijuana story about Serrano's arrest said he was a naturalized U.S. citizen and was 58, and was found dumping a body on a road in Tecate's La Rumorosa community.
Wedding story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
A ceremony in Mexicali to honor the 1938 oil nationalization by President Lázaro Cárdenas was canceled Tuesday after protesters arrived at the site of Cárdenas's statute first and a dispute broke out during which a state public relations worker broke the nose of a protester, El Mexicano reported (PDF). Jump.
Many on the left have protested President Enrique Peña Nieto's reform to try to make Mexico's woefully inefficient oil sector more efficient.
A ceremony in Tijuana presided over by Mayor Jorge Astiazarán went more smoothly. Story (PDF). Jump. Peña Nieto said he was seeking an energy revolution while at a celebration of the expropriation at the Cosoleacaque Petrochemical Complex in Veracruz state. Story (PDF). Jump.
Update, March 21: El Mexicano takeout on the takeover of the Cárdenas monument.
The Tijuana chapter of the Institutional Revolutionary Party will hold a run to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the March 23, 1994, assassination of presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio, PRI official Adriana Ornelas Maravilla said Saturday.
The former city councilwoman told the PRI young people's organization Grupo Político Lázaro Cárdenas that the run will begin at 9 a.m. at PRI headquarters downtown. She said she has been running 20 to 30 minutes a day in preparation.
Colosio was killed by a gunman after a campaign rally in Tijuana's Lomas Taurinas neighborhood.
The PRI in Culiacán, in Sinaloa state, also is planning a race on March 23.
Mexicali on Friday celebrated its 111th anniversary. El Mexicano newspaper ran a two-page story about its history, another story about anniversary celebrations, and another about a group called "Los Perros" that has a 50-year history in the city.
El Mexicano story on Mexicali history. Page 1 (PDF). Page 2.
Alma Corella Gil Samaniego, the widow of former Baja California Gov. Héctor Terán Terán, died Thursday in Mexicali's Issstecali hospital. Her husband was elected governor in 1995 but died in office in 1998. El Mexicano reported that among the illnesses she suffered from was diabetes.
The death was accompanied by esquela memorial ads in newspapers.
Front-page story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Ad from Mexicali Mayor Jaime Rafael Díaz Ochoa (PDF).
Ad from Gov. Francisco Vega.
The San Gabriel Mission Playhouse this month has an exhibit on female mariachi musicians dating to 1903.
A Los Angeles Times article on the subject leads with a story about a mariachi singer named Rosa Quirino, who wore "a shawl criss-crossed over her chest, in a nod to Pancho Villa." This was when Villa had developed a reputation as a bandit, some time before he became a figure in the 1910-1920 Mexican Revolution.
Story, Los Angeles Times: "Exhibit highlights women who made mariachi history: A show at San Gabriel Mission Playhouse features female performers who broke into the traditionally male Mexican music genre."
There will be a ¡Viva el Mariachi Femenil! concert on March 29.
Women form a majority on the Ensenada council, Frontera reported. Three are from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Columba Domínguez Delgadillo, Guillermina Calvo Romero, and María Verónica Hernández Valdez) and one each from the National Action Party (María de los Ángeles Zepeda Morán), Democratic Revolution Party (Alicia Yesenia Rivera Santoyo), Green Party (Ana Daniela García Salgado), and New Alliance Party (Ana Gabriela Bórquez Gómez). Zepeda is the daughter of the PAN leader in Ensenada, Hugo Adriel Zepeda Berrelleza.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
A column by UCLA medical professor David E. Hayes-Bautista, who has written the book El Cinco de Mayo: An American Tradition, explores the U.S. roots of the holiday celebrating Mexico's defeat of the French at Puebla in May 1862. His column is pegged to a recent district court decision allowing a school district south of San Jose to prohibit students from wearing shirts bearing U.S. flags on Cinco de Mayo in order to avoid conflict.
Los Angeles Times: "Cinco de Mayo — a truly Mexican American holiday: In the first parades after the 1862 Battle of Puebla, revelers who supported freedom, racial equality and democracy carried U.S. and Mexican flags side by side."'