Mexico: The Haunting

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April 30, 2016: The 2014 Iguala Massacre continues to haunt the government and especially president Pena. An international commission has concluded the government mishandled the investigation and that several very important questions about the mass murder have not been answered. As a quick review, on September 26, 2014, 43 students at a teachers college in Guerrero state were murdered by police and a local narcotics gang somewhere in the vicinity of Iguala (Guerrero state). The commission determined that the government either lost or disregarded key physical evidence. Police may have tortured some of the 123 people currently under arrest for alleged complicity in the murders. The massacre and the government’s mishandling have combined to become a national example of “impunity” -- which means the government and political elites ability to escape responsibility and punishment for crimes, corruption, criminal neglect of duty and gross mismanagement.

April 28, 2016: A federal court sentenced Mexican Army general Manuel Moreno Avina to 52 years in prison for ordering soldiers to torture a suspect then burn his body in 2008. At one time Moreno commanded the border garrison in the town of Ojinaga (Chihuahua state). The general was trying to find the person who murdered a soldier. The court also ordered the military to apologize and pay an indemnity to the victim’s family.

April 27, 2016: The government is following through on a promise to try to rein in state and municipal debt. Raising money by issuing bonds has been abused in many cities and states. The congress has now passed a law that gives the federal government some ability to curb the ability of states and municipalities to borrow. The government has portrayed the legislation as an anti-corruption measure. And it is.

April 26, 2016: Security forces in Chihuahua state reported that a series of raids on drug cartel arsenals in the town of Nuevo Casas Grandes were very productive. Police seized large caliber sniper rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition as well as 19 vehicles. However, one find was spectacular and troubling: an American-made Redeye shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile. The Redeye is an obsolete infrared “heat seeking” portable air defense missile, but still quite deadly if you can find new parts (that have to be custom made.)

April 25, 2016: Armed marine helicopters killed eight drug cartel gunmen killing during a battle near the city of Reynosa (Tamaulipas state). This all began when gunmen fired on a marine convoy moving near the city. This resulted in a “rolling firefight” along a major highway. Soldiers also engaged cartel gunmen in vehicles. The cartel gunmen probably belonged to Los Metros, a faction of the Gulf Cartel

American police discovered another cross-border tunnel in San Diego. This one is slightly over 800 meters in length. It is also deep -- over 14 meters (46 feet) below the surface. It has an electrical lighting system and connects a hole in a street in San Diego to a house in the Mexican city of Tijuana. That’s right, a hole. The hole was hidden by a trash dumpster. Authorities said smugglers would put drugs (cocaine and marijuana) in the dumpster it and then cartel men would pick it up and move it to another site in San Diego for distribution.

April 24, 2016: The government has been forced to loan over $4.4 billion to the state-owned oil company, Pemex. This is a huge problem because for decades the government has relied on PEMEX revenues to make up for federal revenue shortfalls. However, PEMEX is suffering from the steep decline in oil prices and declining oil production (because of poor or no maintenance of facilities). The company now faces several billion dollars in unfunded liabilities, to include bills for suppliers and pension commitments to retired workers. In 2015 PEMEX pumped about 2.27 million barrels a day, a seven percent decline from 2014.

April 22, 2016: Over the last week security forces in Tamaulipas state arrested 112 illegal aliens from Honduras and El Salvador. Smugglers were trying to bring them across the border into the U.S. (Texas). Marines also arrested 49 illegal aliens and two smugglers in Reynosa on April 20.

April 17, 2016: Several municipalities in Michoacan state that disarmed their community defense groups (autodefensas) are reportedly reviving them. This continues despite the military’s decision to send more troops to Michoacan. Yes, the government still autodefensas vigilantes, but the citizens say the government is still failing to protect them from cartel violence. One local militia leader accused the state governor of working with a drug cartel. A militia association has formed and is called The Insurgency for Institutional and Social Rescue.

April 16, 2016: The army has apologized for a February 2015 incident in which two soldiers and a federal policeman woman tortured a civilian woman in in the town of Ajuchitlan del Progreso (Guerrero state).

April 14, 2016: Army units, federal police and state police in Michoacan state arrested 31 members of the Los Viagras cartel. The security forces conducted raids over a three day period, most of them in Michoacan’s Tierra Caliente region that led to 22 gunmen arrested. Cartel gunmen tried to hinder government operations by erecting roadblocks around the city of Apatzingan. Gunmen wounded one police officer in a firefight near the town of Sahuayo.

Foreign researchers claim to have evidence that two federal police officers participated in the Iguala 2014 Massacre. The researchers claim that two Federales observed Iguala municipal police take 15 to 20 student teachers off a bus and lead them away. The federal officers did not stop the municipal police. According to a secret witness, the municipal police told the Federales that they were taking the students to the town of Huitzuco (Guerrero state). In Huitzuco their “boss” would tell them what to do with their prisoners (ie, the students).

April 12, 2016: Authorities in the state of Tamaulipas confirmed that security forces found a mass gravesite containing ashes and bones. The site is not far from the Rio Grande River (U.S.-Mexico border). The murders were probably committed by the Gulf Cartel, though Los Zetas also operates in the area. Though the exact place has not been revealed, it has a nickname: La Cocina (the kitchen), a gruesome reference to the incinerated remains.

April 11, 2016: Army units have built a new base camp in Michoacan state’s Tierra Caliente region. The government said it is responding to civilian complaints that Los Viagras cartel is threatening several municipalities in the region.

April 10, 2016: A U.S. federal court has identified a man murdered in a Dallas shopping center on May 22, 2013 as Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa, the acting commander of the Gulf Cartel. Chapa moved into Southlake in 2011 and in 2013 he was murdered by three assassins. Chapa became the Gulf Cartel’s “interim commander” when Osiel Cardenas-Guillen was extradited to the United States in 2007. Cardenas-Guillen drew a 25 year prison sentence. At one time Chapa had been Cardenas-Guillen’s lawyer. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says that Texas has three cartel “command and control” cities, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston. Southlake is in the Dallas-Ft Worth area.

April 8, 2016: New laboratory tests conducted by an international investigative commission reportedly show that that burned rubbish from a dump near Iguala does not contain the remains of the 43 missing students. If this proves to be true, it further discredits the government’s investigation. A team from the University of Innsbruck said that it found the remains of 19 human beings in the dump, but could not identify them as being the remains of any of the missing students. The same team had previously identified the remains of two students. Their remains were found in a landfill not far from Iguala.

April 5, 2016: The U.S. Treasury has sanctioned seven Mexican companies for involvement with Los Cuinis narcotics cartel. Los Cuinis is involved in methamphetamine and cocaine smuggling. Security officials had said that it works closely with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and may actually be an arm of New Generation.

 

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