Fulano’s Factoids

On October 25, 2010 the total number of violent deaths in Tijuana during 2010 reached 666, which surpassed the total of 664 for all of 2009.

Two weeks ago, Mexican President Felipe Calderon gave a speech in Tijuana and termed Tijuana a success in his war on drugs.

Drug Dealers Attack and Extort Money from Mexican Churches

Watercolor by Fulano

Arturo Farela, president of the National Fellowship of Christian and Evangelical Churches (Confraternice), said criminal groups have stepped up extortion, assaults and threats against ministers and bishops of different faiths in at least 10 states.

In Michoacan, during a patron saint celebration, local drug dealers stopped the celebrations and demanded money “to authorize it.” In Tamaulipas, evening Masses have been suspended due to threats of possible attacks against the faithful and priests.  Amidst these pressures, the evangelical church is suffering the worst. Many pastors have decided to pay the extortion demands after some children were killed after refusing to pay a bribe.

Farel said that in Ciudad Juárez over 100 pastors were threatened. “There are ministers who are paying extortion money. Others have been threatened more than once. There is one who told me that they asked for 10,000 pesos a month.”

Víctor René Rodríguez Gómez, General Secretary of a Catholic organization, said that Catholic priests face daily threats and extortion attempts. The Diocese of Guadalajara offers some shocking details : “Demands have been increasing, from 5,000 or 10,000 pesos they now ask for 50,000 pesos , “said the spokesman.

The vicar of the Diocese of Nuevo Laredo describes what happens in neighboring Matamoros: “Extortion is more direct, Masses are suspended at night. The narcos have the upper hand. They do what they want.”