2010 Mid-Year Report on Drug Violence in Mexico

This report was prepared for the Justice in Mexico Project (www.justiceinmexico.org) hosted by the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego. Following is a summary. The entire report can be read here.

• Recent headlines have regularly featured coverage of Mexico’s ongoing drug related violence, which authorities believe has resulted in 28,000 homicides since President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2006. The government claims that 90% of these homicides target individuals affiliated with drug trafficking.

• There is a lack of access to reliable information and official statistics on the extent and distribution of this violence. For this reason, over the past four years, the Trans-Border Institute’s Justice in Mexico Project has been regularly monitoring and analyzing available data on drug related violence from various media outlets. The present document updates the Institute’s findings to help document the disturbing patterns of drug related violence that have continued and accelerated over the course of 2010.

• Available media sources suggest Mexico’s drug violence in 2010 is on track to surpass previous annual levels of violence, which have increased significantly each year since 2004. There were an estimated 6,587 drug related killings in 2009 in Mexico, an increase of about 20% over the previous year. With 5,775 drug related killings reported by Reforma in mid-year 2010, however, drug violence related deaths in 2010 are on track to exceed any previous year, perhaps even doubling the homicides of the last year.

• While drug related homicides remains highly concentrated in a few states, 2010 saw a significant spreading of violence to other parts of the country. Levels of drug related violence increased significantly in Chihuahua (1,665 killings by mid-year 2010 compared to 2,082 total in 2009) and Sinaloa (1,221 killings by mid-year 2010 compared to 767 total in 2009), but also in the states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Guerrero, and the
State of Mexico.

• Drug violence also appears to be affecting people more broadly and more publicly than in the past. While the government estimates that 90% of drug violence impacts individuals involved in organized crime, in 2010 there has been a worrying tendency to target high-profile victims (including politicians and public officials), drug rehabilitation centers, and private parties. In this sense, Mexico’s drug related violence is becoming a
much wider societal phenomenon that engages wider sectors of the society.

Drug related deaths in Mexico. 2010 is through first half of year.
Source: Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego

Sderot’s Qassam Museum

There is a museum in Sderot, Israel. It only displays one type of object: the Qassam rockets that Palestinians have fired into Israel. There are thousands of them.

Some of the thousands of Qassam rockets fired into Israel by the Palestinians

The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, was a milestone in the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict, one of the major continuing issues within the wider Arab-Israeli conflict. It was the first direct, face-to-face agreement between the government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. It was intended to be the sole framework for future negotiations and relations between the Israeli government and Palestinians, within which all outstanding “final status issues” between the two sides would be addressed and resolved.

Negotiations concerning the Oslo Accords were conducted secretly in Oslo, Norway, and completed on August 20, 1993. The Accords were subsequently officially signed at a public ceremony in Washington, DC on September 13, 1993, in the presence of PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and US President Bill Clinton.

There were two key elements that are fundamental to the Accords and without which there is no basis for any negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Along with the principles, the Israeli’s and the PLO signed Letters of Mutual Recognition – the Israeli government recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, while the PLO recognized the right of the state of Israel to exist and renounced terrorism as well as other violence, and its desire for the destruction of the Israeli state.

On August 23, 2005, four West Bank Israeli settlements were evacuated and left to the Palestinians. On September 12, 2005, Israel entirely withdrew all civilians and military from Gaza. In June 2006 Hamas, won a majority of seats in Palestinian parliamentary elections, defeating its rival Fatah party. Since June, 2007 Hamas has governed Gaza, and is directly responsible for firing all those Qassam rockets into Israel. The Charter of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which was adopted in 1964, specifically states that Israel has no right to exist and calls for armed conflict to remove any trace of Israel. Hamas’s 1988 charter calls for replacing the State of Israel with a Palestinian Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. Hamas does not recognize the right of Israel to exist. This is by no means a minority view among Palestinians.

The Palestinians and Israel are starting a new round of peace talks on Wednesday with a White House dinner.  Hamas was not invited. Hamas was not invited because the Oslo Accords say that the PLO is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and inviting Hamas would be a violation of those Accords. This is a point you will never see discussed in the press. The Palestinians could have had peace with Israel any time they wanted to in the past 62-years since the founding of Israel. They could have had the 1967 borders they are now clamoring for at any time between 1948 and 1967.

The Palestinians do not want peace, they want it all.


US State Department Turns Ratfink on Arizona

This really chaps my hide. The US State Department has listed its legal challenge to Arizona’s immigration law, SB1070, on its list of ways the US government is protecting human rights. It will be part of a report to the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights.

Link to the AP article.

There has not been even one iota of proof that anyone has had his human rights violated in Arizona as a result of that law. Now these people, who work for us, the citizens of the United States, are going to report what they did for human rights in Arizona to the UN, an organization comprised of such pillars of decency like Iran, Libya and Saudi Arabia?


Editorial: Attractive Nuisance

Attractive nuisance is a legal term. It refers to a defense to trespass by children used in tort law.

Here’s how it works in the law. Attractive nuisance is an exception to the general rule that no particular care is required of property owners to safeguard trespassers from harm. An attractive nuisance may be unenclosed swimming pools, machinery or stacks of building materials. Things that present both an irresistible lure and hidden danger to young children. Most natural conditions, such as a lake or a naturally steep bank, are not considered attractive nuisances. To be liable for injury, an owner must create or maintain the harmful object.

The doctrine of attractive nuisance is based on the belief that anyone who maintains a dangerous condition which is likely to attract children on their property is under a duty to post a warning or take affirmative action to protect children from the dangers of that attraction. It imposes a duty to be sensitive to potentially dangerous conditions which are likely to attract children.

This editorial is about the 72 illegal immigrants who were murdered by cartel assassins in Mexico this week.

In case nobody is aware of what really goes on in Mexico, the cartels work hand-in-hand with corrupt police and politicians to locate and kidnap immigrants moving up through Mexico with the hopes of entering the US illegally. These cartel members cannot just cruise around with their automatic weapons without crossing the path of Mexican police. The police are paid to look the other way, and even point out the immigrants, for a reward. Human rights organization have come out this week with estimates that as many as 60,000 immigrants may have been kidnapped in Mexico in the past decade.

Mexico’s Center for Human Rights of Migrants (CNDH) documented the kidnapping of 9,758 undocumented migrants in Mexico between September 2008 and February 2009, more than 1,600 per month. The report also warned that the kidnapping of migrants has become a common practice, usually unpunished and with acts of extreme cruelty, carried out as much by the authorities as by organized crime. The crime is very lucrative. In the total number of cases cited above, the take in those six months was approximately $25 million dollars.

The attractive nuisance the led these people to their deaths is the US. People who support open borders and lax enforcement of immigration laws have the blood of these people on their hands. If the US were as serious as it should be in enforcing its own immigration laws, those 72 who died would not have made such a futile trip, and would still be among the living.

And there is one thing for certain. Mexico really needs to shut the fuck up with its complaints about Arizona’s SB1070 laws.


Punta Colonet Is Dead

President Felipe Calderón announces the opening of bids for Punta Colonet

Punta Colonet was a proposed $5 billion rail-and seaport project at Punta Colonet, a windblown area about 150 miles south of the Mexican border in Baja California. With much fanfare Mexican President Felipe Calderón  billed the project as the most ambitious infrastructure project of Calderon’s administration. The port would open a new trans-Pacific route for Asian products headed to the American heartland. It would capture some of the trade that currently heads to ports at Long Beach and Los Angeles, which both faced congestion.  The Punta Colonet container ship project “is one of those that truly transforms and revolutionizes the productivity of the country,” Calderon said. That was in August, 2008.

17 months later, in February, 2010, with little fanfare and no discussion, the Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transportation, Juan Molinar Horcasitas, pronounced the project dead. Apparently they got around to really studying the project, and found out it was not viable. The major reasons why Punta Colonet is not viable are:

  1. The existing West Coast ports are under capacity now and still have expansion plans that make Punta Colonet totally superfluous for the next 20 years.
  2. The West Coast ports can expand faster and cheaper than Colonet because they already have the road/rail infrastructure in place.
  3. The total shipment time from the Orient will still be faster and cheaper to a West Coast port because the sea shipping distance is shorter via the great circle route. Even Vancouver is a shorter shipping distance than Colonet.
  4. No border crossing delays into the US market.
  5. Colonet is not a good location for shipment to the interior of Mexico because the land route is circuitous.
  6. It will take 8 to 10 years from the time they make the application to the US government to gain approval for a new rail line crossing the US border from Mexico.

 Jeeze, you’d think somebody could have figured all that out before they had the President put his foot in his mouth? There was a study prepared by Energy and Environmental Research Associates, LLC, which concluded:

Even with conservative assumptions regarding West Coast port capacity improvements, projections suggest that Punta Colonet will be unnecessary—and thus likely unprofitable—for the foreseeable future.

When the proposed project was first announced back in 2006, there was a Mexican land rush. Thousands of hectares of land were bought up by Mexican land speculators, hoping to get in on the ground floor. Even former Baja California Governor Ernesto Ruffo Appel and a partner purchased 2,500 hectares. The last ones on the scene were the real estate agents who touted the land to Americans as good investments. Even though Punta Colonet is dead, Gustavo Flores, owner of Re/Max Baja Realty and president of the Rosarito AMPI Realtor board, is still promoting the land to gringos on his website:

Owning a piece of Punta Colonet real estate, as well as southern Ensenada real estate, will put you in the heart of the third largest megaport in the hemisphere.

I wonder how that fits with AMPI’s Code of Ethics?

Bajagringo, another BajaNomads parasite who is close to Gustavo Flores, posted the following on BajaNomads last October, long after it was readily apparent the Punta Colonet project was not going to fly:

I had a one on one interview with Dr. Rubio a short while back and was given the complete overview of the project. This is much more than just a new shipping port. Plans are in place to create a large assembly plant community in the Valle de Trinidad area. Why do you think Ford, Chrysler and GMC have already bought large land parcels there?

No American automobile manufacturers own any land down there. That fact is easy to verify. This was just some bait to see if there were any dumbasses reading that message board that could be relieved of some money.


The US Economy Is Heading Back Down

There are two reasons why Fulano believes the US economy is heading back down. Reason number one is that existing home sales in July were the lowest since 1996. Housing is a huge driver of the US economy.

Courtesy of Calculated Risk

There are now 12.5 months of  housing inventory for sale. A normal market is a 6-month supply. When the supply is lower than 6 months, housing prices tend to increase, when the supply is greater than 6 months, housing prices fall. It looks like August existing home sales may be even lower than July’s. A drop in housing prices exacerbates the housing foreclosure problem.

The second reason in that the GDP grew at a slow 1.6% during the second quarter of 2010, down from 3.7% in the first quarter.


Fulano also believes the real GDP is negative. The government has been “buying” GDP with its $787 billion fiscal stimulus package passed in 2009. When the government spends money to boost the economy, that money shows up in GDP. For instance, if tax dollars are used to purchase new trucks for the Post Office, so that General Motors can produce those trucks and keep workers employed, those truck sales show up as GDP. But all that really happened is the US Treasury went out and borrowed some money and took the borrowed money and bought trucks. The result is that a borrowed dollar shows up as a GDP dollar. There was no organic growth in the economy. The guys at Enron went to jail for doing the same kind of accounting, e.g. buying revenues.


It Happened Again…

Mayor in violent Mexican border state killed. Last week the mayor of Santiago, Nuevo Leon, Edelmiro Cavazos Leal, was kidnapped and found murdered. Today, Sunday, gunmen killed the mayor of a town in the drug-plagued Mexican border state of Tamaulipas. Hidalgo Mayor Marco Antonio Leal Garcia was the second mayor to be assassinated in the past two weeks in the area, which has become a battleground between the Gulf and Zetas cartels.

President Felipe Calderon paid his usual lip-service and condemned the attack on Leal Garcia, which left the mayor’s daughter wounded.

“This cowardly crime, and the reprehensible violent acts that occurred recently in this state, strengthen the commitment of the Mexican government to continue fighting the criminal gangs that seek to intimidate the families of Tamaulipas,” Calderon’s office said in a statement. Way to go Felipe, you gave a good substantial statement. Those killers are surely going to sit down and think about it while they reload.

Link to the news article.


BajaNomads: What Lies Beneath – Part 3

There are some good, honest and sincere people who hang out on the BajaNomad message board. Unfortunately, there are also some not-so-good people there too. The dregs of humanity: lunatics, crooks, druggies, perverts, paranoid schizophrenics, psychopaths, sociopaths, alcoholics, senile old farts, pedophiles and plain weirdos. Even more unfortunate is that the person who runs the forum cannot differentiate the good from the bad. Or, maybe that is by design. I don’t know. Even worse than the forum moderator’s inability to sort it all out, is that many innocent readers don’t know what lies beneath. They sometimes get caught unaware in the riptide.

This is the third in a series Fulano will do from time to time on some of the more interesting denizens of BajaNomad.

Bruce R. Leech

Bruce R. Leech

Bruce R. Leech is an American expatriate married to a Mexican woman, Edith Jauregui Meza. Based on his spelling skills, I would estimate he has a 5th grade education. Bruce and his wife had a very sweet operation going in Mulegé where they lived for a number of years. They ran a business called Casa de Empeno y Cambio Jauregui [Jauregui Pawn Shop and Money Exchange].

Up until around 2005, Mulegé had no bank or ATM for tourists to get money. Bruce’s money exchange provided them with money from their credit/debit cards for a hefty fee, something like 10%!. In my recent blog A Pioneer From Utah, you saw it mentioned that just about everything loose and unattended in Mulegé gets ripped off by the locals. Well, after the locals did their work, they had to fence the goods. What better place than the town’s pawn shop? Bruce was the “go-to” guy for hot items.

Bruce and his wife eventually had to leave Mulegé ahead of the police and have resettled in Ensenada. They left their home and a restaurant they never really got started in their rush back up Highway 1. Last I heard they were running a small catering business in Ensenada and never did sell the house or restaurant.


Improve Your Spanish #7 – La Identidad de Calderón

La Identidad de Calderón

Llega Felipe Calderón a un banco a cobrar un cheque. Pasa a la ventanilla, donde lo espera un cajero malhumorado.

— Señor, ¿me permite su identificación?

“¡Ah, qué caray! No la traigo, pero a poco no me reconoces, ¡soy tu Presidente!”.

— ¿Y yo cómo sé que eso es verdad?, ¿qué tal si es uno que se parece?

“Entonces cómo le hacemos…”.

— Mire, la vez pasada vino uno que decía que era Fernando Valenzuela, traía panza caguamera y su cachucha, pero tampoco tenía identificación, entonces el gerente le pidió que se pusiera a demostrar su pitcheo y así nos dimos cuenta que sí era el famoso pitcher. Luego otra vez llegó uno que decía que era Julio César Chávez, tampoco traía, el gerente lo puso a boxear con el vigilante y, cuando el vigilante le acabó de poner una madrina, supimos que sí era él. Ahora, usted haga algo para comprobar que es el Presidente de México…

Calderón se mortifica, se rasca la cabeza, arquea la ceja y dice:

“¡Híjole, no sé… de momento se me ocurren puras penecadas…”.

El cajero hace tremenda mueca y reacciona:

— ¿Quiere billete chico o billete grande?

Calderon’s Identity

Felipe Calderón comes to a bank to cash a check. He goes up to the window of a grumpy bank teller.

– Sir, may I see your ID?

“Ah, damn! Didn’t bring it, but don’t you recognize me, I am your president!”

– And how would I know that is true? What if you are just somebody that looks like him?

“So, how do we resolve this?”

– Look, once there came somebody who said he was Fernando Valenzuela, he wore a baseball cap and had a big belly, but he had no identification, so then the manager asked him to prove his pitching prowess, and we realized that it was the famous pitcher. Then came along someone who said he was Julio Cesar Chavez, who also didn’t have his ID, so the manager put him to box with the security guard, and when the guard ended up being knocked out we knew it was him. Now, you do something to prove your are the President of Mexico.

Calderón was mortified, he scratched his head, arched his eyebrow and said:

“Gosh, I don’t know … at the moment I only have some stupid ideas.”

The cashier stands up straight and says:

– Do you want small or large bills?


This One’s For Dennis

Mexico Decriminalizes Defamation

On April 12, 2007 the Mexican President, Felipe Calderón, signed into federal law the decriminalization of defamation, libel and slander. Bringing to fruition a year-long process begun under the former Fox administration, Calderón repealed several provisions of the federal penal code relating to press offenses and enacted two new civil code articles (1916 and 1916a). Under the new provisions, defamation is now punishable by damages and corrections of erroneous material rather than imprisonment.

Calderón pronounced the act “a historic step in this battle to consolidate and strengthen the work of the news media. Thanks to this reform journalists will be able to do their work without fear of being jailed on formal complaints by those who consider themselves offended by their reporting.”

Federal law does not automatically supersede state law in Mexico and, so far, so far only four out of 31 states have amended their criminal codes in line with the new federal legislation (Federal District of Mexico City – which actually did so a year before the federal legislation was finally passed – Baja California, Veracruz and Jalisco).

By the way, in most states in the US, a lawyer who threatens an opposing party with bringing criminal action, as distinguished from a civil action, is subject to disbarment by his state Bar.

Link to article on Mexico decriminalizing defamation.