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It was a whirlwind week in the Tijuana border region, as two major anointings took place. One was good for the region in the sense that former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon was not selected as the Institutional Revolutionary Party for Baja California governor. Hank would bring a lot of baggage to the post; does Baja California want a governor who can't cross the border into the United States? To paraphrase Mexican analyst Benedicto Ruiz, the candidate anointed, former senator and deputy Fernando Castro Trenti, leaves a lot to be desired, but is still a far superior choice to Hank.
The selection of Pedro Ochoa as the new director of the Tijuana Cultural Center is without a doubt an excellent one. He knows the national and local artistic landscape, having previously directed the center from 1989-1994 and having been the cultural attache to the Mexican Consulate in San Diego since 2001. His selection has been fairly universally applauded; the previous appointment of the outgoing director, Virgilio Muñoz, had been met with dismay by many artists. It was obvious to many after Rafael Tovar y de Teresa was named to the head the National Council for Culture and the Arts by President Enrique Peña Nieto that Ochoa would be named. Tovar is one of many experts who have appeared at UCSD's Mexico Moving Forward forums and later played prominent roles in key events. The forums were organized by the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California San Diego.
A third major occurrence in the region was the issuance of the University of San Diego Trans-Border Institute's annual report, "Drug Violence in Mexico." The report in part helps explain the rapes of six Spanish women that recently took place in Acapulco. The report notes that last year, Acapulco displaced Ciudad Juárez as the city with the most homicides in Mexico, with 2,230 (see Page 26). Juárez fell from 2,738 in 2010 to 656 in 2012. The report points out that as the Mexican government under the 2006-2012 presidency of Felipe Calderón sought to break up large criminal organizations, many of them atomized into smaller, harder-to-control groups, perhaps such as the one responsible for the rapes of the Spanish women.
Editor's note: MexicoPerspective's David Gaddis Smith has been involved in editing of USD reports, and knows Pedro Ochoa well.