Mexico: Catastrophe And The Cartel Wars


July 11, 2011: The UN is once again weighing in on Mexico’s Cartel War. Though the government puts the figure at around 35,000 dead, several non-governmental organization claims that close to 40,000 people have died since the Cartel War began in December 2006. UN humans rights officials are focusing on the number of migrants that have been slain by the cartels. The migrants (most of them from Central American countries) have been murdered and kidnapped by the drug cartels. However, the UN is also alleging that Mexican military and police forces have also committed human rights violations during the course of the war. The key allegation is the use of torture by police in order to extract confessions from criminal suspects.

July 9, 2011: Twenty people were slain in a gun battle in the city of Monterrey. It began when cartel gunmen entered a bar in the city and started firing on the patrons.

July 8, 2011: Mexican prosecutors convicted four men in the murders of 15 young people who were attending a birthday party in Ciudad Juarez in January 2010.

Federal police engaged in a series of firefights with cartel gunmen in Michoacan state (western Mexico). The main battle took place in the town of Apatzingan, where four cartel gunmen died in the battle and three police were wounded. The four gunmen belonged to the Knights Templar (Los Caballeros Templarios) faction of La Familia cartel. The recent increase in violence in Michoacan caused the government to send in another 1,800 police over the weekend, along with four helicopters.

July 7, 2011: The US recession has resulted in a significant drop in illegal immigration from Mexico. Just how significant is unclear, though some analysts estimate the 2011 figure will be very low. One academic analyst reported that 2011 may witness a slight outward migration of illegals (ie, they are returning to Mexico). Everyone agrees that accurate numbers are tough since illegal aliens are, well, illegal.

July 4, 2011: Mexican federal police arrested a senior commander in Los Zetas drug cartel. Jesus Enrique Rejon Aguilar is currently the third-ranking commander in Los Zetas. He is also regarded as one of the founders of the organization. Rejon at one time served in a Mexican Army airborne special forces unit.

July 3, 2011: The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate won the governor’s race in Mexico state (south central Mexico). The PRI candidate won 62 percent of the vote. The Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD, left-wing party) finished second and the National Action Party (PAN, center right) candidate finished third. Mexican political analysts are arguing that the victory could signal a PRI comeback in the 2012 presidential election. Until 2000, when the PAN candidate won, the PRI had held the Mexican presidency for 71 years. During that period the PRI became synonymous with institutionalized corruption.

June 30, 2011: The American government reported that more and more Mexican heroin is showing up in the US. Gangs with ties to Mexican cartels are selling Mexican heroin in mid-western states (there was a major bust recently in Ohio), mid-Atlantic states, and Georgia. For several years Mexican-produced heroin has been showing up in Texas and California. US drug enforcement agencies estimate that Mexico produces around seven percent of the world’s heroin, and most of that is sold in the US.

June 28, 2011: Mexico’s President announced that his administration had done the right thing in launching the Cartel War. Because of that decision, 21 of the top 37 drug lords in Mexico have been taken into custody. The president is under intense criticism for the violence afflicting the country, though much of the violence comes from drug gangs fighting each other for control of territory. President Calderon has advocated a systemic approach to modernizing Mexico. Fighting political and judicial corruption is a key plank in his modernization policy.

June 25, 2011: Mexican Army soldiers discovered several graves on a ranch in Nuevo Leon state (a state bordering Texas). Investigator have so far found the remains of 11 murdered people. The investigators said several of the bodies were burned in barrels before being tossed in the graves.

Officials in Guerrero state (western Mexico) reported that five people were murdered in the city of Acapulco in what the police believe are drug gang related violence.

June 24, 2011: The government said that it will send some 3000 additional Mexican Army soldiers to Tamaulipas state to aid in operations against corrupt local police.

June 22, 2011: Mexican federal police arrested a senior commander (Jose de Jesus Mendez, also known as El Chango) in the main faction of La Familia drug cartel. The arrest took place in Aguascalientes state and prosecutors claimed that the arrest of Mendez severely damaged cartel leadership. Mendez is regarded as a master planner. He also orchestrated violent attacks that mimicked Los Zetas operations. In fact, some of Mendez’ attacks were incorrectly attributed to Los Zetas. La Familia has two major factions, the faction Mendez belongs to and the so-called Knights Templar faction.

June 21, 2011: Mexican police have launched a coordinated nation-wide operation against every day crime. The operation began in mid-June. All 31 states were involved in the operation (codenamed CONAGO 1), as well as the Federal District where Mexico City is located. 22,000 police were involved. Government officials said the operation was directed at street theft and car thefts. These are crimes that affect many Mexican people. The people often argue that the police are corrupt and do not care about crimes. Police reported that in the first days of the operation over 3,300 criminal suspects were arrested and 1,122 stolen cars were recovered.



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