Baja California Secretary of Tourism is worried by police extortion

Translated by Fulano from an article in AFN Tijuana.info.

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TIJUANA, BC October 29, 2016 – The secretary of tourism in Baja California, Óscar Escobedo Carignán, said the state government is concerned about the 14 cases of police extortion reported in the state this year, as it is an issue which has also been analyzed by the United States Counsel in Tijuana, William A. Ostick.

The official said they are urging Tijuana municipal police, where most of the extortion cases were reported, along with Playas de Rosarito, Ensenada and Mexicali, where there have been less reports, to take into consideration the importance which tourism has in the region. Tourism represents 8% of Mexico’s revenues, but in Baja California it is 12%.

“We are heavily dependent upon tourism, and we have seen a large growth in this sector, and with just one case of abuse or extortion we kick to the curb all the work we are doing,” he reported.

He added they are attacking this issue through the 078 Tourism number for reporting and guidance, which operates 24/7 in English and Spanish. In addition there is a telephone app to contact tourist service provider in the region, including the tourist police, to address these cases immediately.

Escobedo Carignán said that in spite of these “potholes” in the sector, they expect a strong numbers for 2016, around 17 million foreign tourists, mainly from the US, and 4.5 million Mexican tourists and that ranks Baja California as the second most favorite destination in Mexico.

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Tijuana police are extorting American tourists

Translated by Fulano from an article in AFN Tijuana.info.

TIJUANA, BC October 26, 2016 – Police officers from the commercial section are extorting American tourists, complained Julián Palombo Saucedo, president of the Avenida Revolución Merchants Association, and it is urgent this issue be addressed by the authorities, as it is affecting the flow of tourists to Tijuana.

In an interview with AFN, he revealed that the police make tourists believe, such a “viagra” which they purchased, is illegal to have, and if the want to be set free they have to pay the police officer money.

“This causes a bad image for tourists, and is a strong inhibitor, as word goes around among the Americans and this reduces the flow of tourists, for which we have battled so much to recover,” he said.

In the past weeks, there have been two cases of police extortion registered, which adds to another 12 cases reported, although that number could be greater as most tourists have fear of reporting police.

He admitted the number of cases has dropped because he personally has followed up the cases with the authorities, pressuring them so these crimes do not continue.

Likewise, he made it known that since the new entrance from the United States was opened, called PedWest, there have been 20 people robbed, most of them tourists because of the lack of security at the location.

He has called for the chief of police to provide a greater police presence on foot and in patrol vehicles to reduce the assaults on foreigners.

 

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CESPE contaminates Ensenada beaches

Translated by Fulano from an article in Zeta Tijuana.

The El Naranjo sewage treatment plant lacks the capacity to process sewage from 25% of the city of Ensenada, so the para-state agency has opted to discharge the untreated sewage into the ocean.

A worker has filed a criminal complaint against the State Commission for Public Services of Ensenada (CESPE) with the Federal Attorney General, as he holds CESPE responsible for acts and omissions which has caused ecological imbalances.

In the complaint filed August 31, file number fed/bc/539/2016, the person reporting said that in the night time he has been instructed to “open the valve” to the sewage pipelines that discharge into the sea from the El Naranjo sewage treatment plant onto Playa El Ciprés, one of the most visited tourist areas.

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More squatters invade Rosarito in the tourist zone

Translated by Fulano from an article in Frontera.info.

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ROSARITO, Baja California – Embedded in the heart of the Tourist Zone, the invasion of properties at Plaza San Fernando is growing like wildfire, and with it comes the problems of contamination and fraud, saddled with the complacency of authorities.

The site now houses more than 50 families, who with pieces of wood and cardboard had been building small huts to live in. There are even those who have decided to build homes with normal construction materials, like wood and cement blocks. A squatter invasion in the making.

“For Sale” signs also call to attention that these land which were taken over by force are encouraging frauds. According to the municipal authorities the property in question, which in the past was planned to be a subdivision which included the construction of several apartment buildings, which remain half built, belong to a person who after years of litigation managed to retain ownership of the property, but appears to not have sold his land.

The excuse of the authorities for not intervening is that they have no complaints, and so they cannot act as it is private property. However, the contamination created at the location from the burning of trash and then tossing it into the Huahuatay creek, which has shown to divide the city when the creek floods in the rainy season, does not seem to worry the city authorities. The creek is full of trash, and nothing is being done.

Silence and the complacency rule this new settlement, which shows that even in the most protected Tourist Zone, anybody can break the law with impunity.

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The Haitians are not looking for work in the factories

Translated by Fulano from an article in AFN Tijuana.info.

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TIJUANA, BC October 17, 2017 – For the maguiladora industry it is not suitable to hire Haitian migrants and those from other nationalities who are in Baja California seeking political asylum in the United States, as they do not want to remain in Mexico for much time, said Oscar René Culebro Medina, director general of Enterprise Solutions.

He explained that for the factories, it is a high cost to invest in training and it is unprofitable as they will leave in 30 days after being hired.

They are not seeking work in Mexico, where the working conditions are not what they are used to. They do not adapt, in Haiti the work day is not as long as in the factories,” said Culebro. As such, they are not an option to help the industry fill the approximate 20,000 job vacancies it has.

Culebro Medina said they documented two cases of people who were hired, in small businesses, and who quit after a few days because they could not adapt to the working culture.

He added that the National Immigration Institute reported it would establish the bases so that those migrants who wish to can work legally while they remain in Tijuana, and the companies which employ them would not face legal consequences.

The mechanism by which they can be legally employed in Mexico is still not clear, and it is worrisome to hire people with Haitian nationality without the proper permits, as their could be fines from the Secretary of Labor. Also, if most of them do not get to cross the border into the USA, crime levels in Tijuana could increase as the migrants are jobless.

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Mexico deaths surpass countries at war

Translated by Fulano from an article in AFN Tijuana.info.

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TIJUANA, BC October 14, 2016 – The number of murders — more than 150,000 — in the past 10 years in Mexico, surpasses the deaths recorded in countries which are at war, reported Ina Zoon, coordinator for the Justice Project for Latin America, of the Open Society Initiative.

During the presentation of the report: “Undeniable atrocities, confronting crimes against humanity in Mexico,” she said the report speaks of the forced disappearances, murders and torture which have occurred in the past decade, and where many times the magnitude of the problem is denied by the Mexican government.

She stressed that according to studies carried out, there have been 150,000 recorded murders in Mexico from 2006 to 2015. This is a figure which is considered to be greater than nations which are at war. Meanwhile, the number of persons missing ranges between 28,000 — an amount she says is unreliable as there have been 580,000 kidnappings, which could be forced disappearances.

“This makes us believe that the number could be much greater, besides from the number of migrants who have disappeared who do not appear in the records, nobody knows how many of them disappeared in Mexico and what has happened with them since they crossed the southern border headed north,” she said.

Zoon said there is no real political will to create a justice system with the capability of responding to the challenges of prosecuting crimes of this magnitude. This includes the fact there are instances of political corruption, collusion with criminals, and influence from criminal organizations into political and electoral interests.

In conclusion, she stressed the importance that Mexican authorities resolve the disappearances and murders, “for the victims, for the families it is not sufficient to say we tried, it is important to find the missing, arrive at the truth and repair the damage.”

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Homeless fear for their lives in light of the wave of murders in Puerto Peñasco

homeless

They are afraid of being confused as thieves, would rather leave as soon as possible

Puerto Peñasco, Sonora – A great fear of being confused as thieves which will cost them their lives was made known by a couple of homeless men among the so called “little tramps” who roam the streets of Puerto Peñasco. Jesús Israel and Ricardo, the first originally from León, Guanajuato, and the second from Pachucca, Hidalgo, said that faced with the wave of murders which had occurred in the city, fear and uncertainty has gripped them such that at the least opportunity they will leave and head for Mexicali.

“We are waiting for the opportunity to jump on the next train to go to Mexicali, the truth is we are afraid, sir, although we have not done anything, we are not thieves nor do we hurt anybody, but we could be confused (as thieves),” said Israel. He also added that in the night time they look to stay together in groups of ten or more, in areas which are lighted, as the trouble is more often during the early morning hours.

“They (bodies) have been showing up everywhere, many have been killed. They say it was because they has stolen and the people are angry. For that reason, at night time we gather together to sleep. We seek out lighted locations, nearby to where there is traffic movement, so in case something happens we can defend ourselves,” he said.

With his entire life in two small backpacks, he says he has had to remain in Puerto Peñasco waiting to get enough money to continue his trip. He takes on occasional work, cleaning lots, helping here and there, as life has not been so easy for him. Of the two, Jesús Israel is the more expressive and fearlessly shares his experience:

“I was in the United States since I was little, I worked there and earned good money, I worked hard, but what I was paid was enough to live well and send money back to the family. Here in Mexico, one has to take on very hard work, and the harder the work, the less it pays. Over there, it is the reverse, the harder the work, the more the pay. Here, what are you going to do with 1,500 pesos per week (US$80). You make that in one day in the USA.”

He said he worked in the United States mainly restaurants, as a dishwasher or waiter and on what he earned was enough to live comfortably, a comfort level which in Mexico is only for the rich or people who can study and get a good job. He said one day immigration grabbed him and he was deported and had to return to the land of José Alfredo Jiménez:

“They deported me, but that was OK because I could be with my mother, and she was dying of cancer. I was with her until she died. Now I am going to go back (to the USA) but it has been very difficult, you just can’t cross like before. You have to find somebody to take you and that takes money,” he said. For his part, Ricardo said he now knows how to cross the border and would rather go alone, and at the first opportunity will try to cross the desert. He is only waiting for the climate to improve a little, as “jumping in” is summer time is almost suicide.

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Mexicans also seeking asylum in the United States

Translated by Fulano from an article in AFN Tijuana.info.

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TIJUANA, October 12, 2016 – The humanitarian crisis facing Tijuana from the Haitian migrants seeking asylum in the United States has worsened, as there are not only foreigners, but also Mexicans who are asking for asylum due to the crime and wave of violence which exists in states such as Guerrero and Michoacán.

In the past months the lack of safety from the war on drug trafficking in Guerrero and Michoacán has been increasing.

Just in Guerrero, in the first seven months of 2016, the state was ranked second nationally in the number of murders, with 1,267, only behind the state of Mexico which reported 1,327 murders.

Such is the case of Pablo, an 8-year old boy, who is laying in a corner at the El Chaparral border crossing, looking at a piece of newspaper. Beside him sleeps his his little 15-month old brother. They are looking to flee from the bullets and violence in Guerrero.

The little boy has has a fixed gaze at a photograph of a man who was murdered and tortured in Acapulco. “Human head found at Alianza Popular,” says the news he is holding.

“These are the proofs we brought with us to tell them (United States immigration officers) that in our town people are being murdered,”  said Pablo, who arrived in Tijuana via bus from Guerrero with his mother  and three brothers a few days ago.

Ana, 32 years old, and Pablo’s mother, said they have already asked for asylum. They entered the US last Saturday, at the Customs and Border Patrol offices, but they did not believe they were in danger.

“…we want them to help us too, like they help the Haitians, we came from a war zone (with the drug traffickers).”

“Since we got here, it has been nothing but tragedies. Our own Mexican immigration officials reproach us with what are we doing here, they tell us why are we risking our children by bringing them along, that we will not get asylum,” said Ana.

Laying on cardboard and a blanket which are there for whomever wants to rest, is Daniel Godoy Ochoa, 35 years old, who lived in California for seven years, but had returned to Mexico to save his 23-year old sister, who lived in Apatzingán, Michoacán.

“They disappeared her husband,  there is no word on my brother-in-law, the entire town is suffering and the Mexican government does nothing. It is place where people disappear, the south is horrible, the police turn you over to the criminals when they feel like it.

“We are not asking for help for nothing, of the 50 Mexicans who entered today (to ask for asylum) only my sister got to stay in the United States. Do you know why? Because she brought with her many death certificates, of her mother, my aunt and my two brothers, only my sister and I have survived. We are the last,” he said.

According to the Reforma newspaper, Mexican migrants who arrive at the northern border to ask for political asylum cannot find any place in the shelters in the city, as they are full of people from Haiti and the Republic of Congo, among other countries.

The Mexicans are asking for help from Tijuana families, for food, water, diapers, clothing, blankets or cardboard to sleep on the sidewalks at the border station.

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88% of the population of Baja California feel crime has increased

Translated by Fulano from an article in Frontera.info. 

This time, survey company Imerk has focused on measuring the impact crime has had on the people of Baja California, as well as public opinions on the arrival of the Mexican Army to patrol the streets of the state, and the possibility of legalizing carrying weapons as citizen’s security measure.

Don’t even feel safe in their homes

During the current year, crime has increased for nine out of 10 inhabitants of Baja California (88.8%), mainly in Tecate (95.8%) and Rosarito (94.2%). In a similar proportion, some 85% say the city where they live is unsafe, a sense which is greater in Tecate (90.8%), Tijuana (86.7%). Additionally, some 69.8% say the neighborhood where they live is unsafe, and this grows to 75% for residents of Tijuana.

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Masked men rob foreign tourists at gunpoint in Cozumel

Translated by Fulano from an article in Sipse.com.

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COZUMEL, Quintana Roo – A group of foreign tourists were robbed at gun point as they enjoyed the beaches on the other side of the island, according to sources inside the municipal police department.

Cell phones, tablets, cash and passports were taken by two suspects who threatened to visitors with a firearm. Although a search operation was started, along with the ministerial police, those responsible were not found.

In an unprecedented event, there was an armed robbery of three women and a man, all foreigners, who were enjoying a trip to the beaches on the Eastern side of the island when masked men approached and made signs they were going to rob them.

Seeking to protect their lives, the tourists chose to give up their phones, tablets, jewelry, dollars and even passports to the robbers, who apparently fled with the loot in a vehicle.

Christian Montenegro Aragón, a coordinator with the Attorney General, said as of yesterday no one has come forward to file a complaint on the robbery, so officially, they have no report of a crime.

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