The Mexican government is allowing the extradition to the U.S.
of 11 drug gang members. In the past, Mexico had refused to extradite, because
this was seen as an affront to national pride, and because these major drug
criminals had successfully bribed government officials. Four of the extradited
were men identified as "drug kingpins" by American authorities. One was Osiel
Cardenas of the "Gulf" drug cartel. Cardenas was arrested in 2003. As is
typical in Mexico, Cardenas received special treatment in jail (via bribes and
intimidation) and was still in charge of drug gang despite being behind bars.
This sounds similar to some organized crime leaders in the U.S. But special,
high security, prisons have been built in the U.S., that make it much more
difficult for convicts to conduct outside business. Cardenas was flown back to
the U.S. on January 19. A senior member of the Sinaloa cartel was also remanded
to U.S. custody. The U.S. Attorney General's office called the extradition the
"largest in history" from Mexico. U.S. and Mexican analysts see the extradition
as another "attack by the Calderon government" on crime and corruption in Mexico.
This is the "legal prong" of an offensive that includes the use of Mexican Army
troops and special federal police units.
19, 2007: Mexican authorities are concerned that a rise in the price of
tortillas (corn flat bread) will lead to civil unrest. The price of
tortillas rose ten to 14 percent in 2006. The cause: international demand for
corn. The government is particularly concerned about Oaxaca and Chiapas, which
have both experienced extended periods of turmoil. Mexico may import more foreign
corn and on January 17 the government authorized the "duty free import" of
around 700,000 tons of corn. The government hopes the imported corn will help
stabilize tortilla prices.. In 1994 the Zapatista rebels in Chiapas protested
many government policies, but one of their complaints included a rise in the
price of tortillas due to an impending reduction in price subsidies.
14, 2007: Mexico's President Felipe Calderon claimed that Mexico is now "safer"
than it was when he became president in December 2006. Calderon said that the
homicide rate in Mexico had declined 70 percent since he sent military and
police units to arrest drug gang members in several of Mexico's western and