The government announced it would spend $50 million to hire lawyers in the United States to defend Mexican citizens there illegally and faced with deportation. This is all about money and a lot more than $50 million. The Mexican central bank tracks how much money Mexicans abroad send home and in 2016 it was $25 billion, almost all of it from Mexicans in the United States and much of it from Mexicans in the United States illegally. That remittance cash accounts for more foreign exchange than Mexican oil exports. The remittance income is rising. It was nearly $22 billion in 2013 and is expected to rise to $28 billion in 2017, unless the United States enforces its immigration laws like Mexico does. Mexico has for decades tolerated illegal migration to the United States because the corruption and bad government in Mexico did little to provide jobs for the growing number of unemployed Mexicans and created a lot of potentially troublesome young men and women. Tolerating and, for many Mexican politicians, openly supporting the illegal migrants, was a popular policy and the government came to regard it as a right. But it was also about money and the remittances created a huge source of foreign currency flowing back to Mexico.
There’s more to it than money. After years of being accused of permitting the abuse of Central American migrants who enter Mexico the government agreed pay more attention to border security on its own southern border. Many of the illegal migrants from Central American are heading for the United States and that was not seen as a Mexican problem. But criminal gangs increasingly robbed and kidnapped the migrants and the government did very little to stop that. The gangsters often attacked Mexican citizens as well. Mexico has more severe laws against illegal immigration and illegal migrants than the U.S. It also enforces them more vigorously than does the U. S. By mid-2014 Mexico agreed to undertake Operation Sur which was supposed to curb illegal Central American migrants from entering Mexico. Operation Sur increased surveillance operations along Mexico’s southern border and improved border inspections. The government also tried to improve registration of legal migrants. In addition to the criminals, local police forces in southern Mexico have been accused of extorting money from illegal migrants and police corruption has long been a major problem. Despite Operation Sur, Mexico did little halt illegal migration across its northern border.
All this was noticed in the U.S. and politicians there found themselves under increasing pressure to enforce American migration laws as vigorously as Mexico (and Canada) did. By 2016 that brought to power an American government that seemed serious about applying Mexican practices to illegal migrants and actually did so. That was unpopular in Mexico and will probably lead to unexpected changes inside Mexico. But the practice of blaming your northern neighbor for your problems is losing its punch even in Mexico.
January 28, 2017: Police discovered the decapitated corpses of three policemen from the town of Huimanguillo (Tabasco state). The victims were slain near the border with Veracruz state.
January 27, 2017: In the south (Yucatan state) the government announced the arrest of three men suspected of smuggling drugs for the Sinaloa cartel. One of these, Roberto Najera Gutierrez, was described as a senior cartel leader and one of cartel boss Joaquin Guzman’s top lieutenants. The other two individuals are also Sinaloa cartel operatives. Gutierrez has directed drug trafficking operations from Central American countries and he has been especially active in Chiapas and Yucatan states.
January 24, 2017: The government confirmed the January 19 arrest (in Sinaloa state) of Juan Jose Esparragoza Monzon, the son of a senior member of the Sinaloa cartel. Monzon is suspected of investing cartel funds in real estate in Mexico as well as being involved in violent crimes in Baja California state.
January 23, 2017: Colima state had 607 murders in 2016 versus 189 in 2015. That is a 220 percent increase. A turf war between the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels is engulfing the state, with the seaport of Manzanillo the prize. Around 700,000 people live in Colima. The 2016 summary was announced just before state security officials said it believed that that Jalisco New Generation cartel gunmen were responsible for the murders of a dozen people in the state between January 19 and 23. Seven headless corpses were found near Manzanillo on January 21.
January 19, 2017: The government announced that Sinaloa cartel commander Joaquin Guzman had been extradited to the U.S. Media called the unexpectedly rapid extradition a “surprise.” In U.S. federal court in New York Guzman pled not guilty to a 17-count indictment. He faces narcotics trafficking and money laundering charges. He is also accused of ordering murders and kidnappings in the U.S.
January 17, 2017: Oil theft continues to plague the national oil company, Pemex. Attempts to sue U.S. oil companies that sold stolen petroleum products have not been successful. Pemex lost a lawsuit in December 2016 that ultimately involved 23 U.S. companies and several individuals. It was trying to recover money from the sale of stolen products. Cartels sell the stolen oil and (in some cases) refined products to all buyers, including buyers in the U.S. Pemex’s suit failed because the defendants successfully argued they did not know the oil was stolen.
January 16, 2017: Government once again said that foreign companies should not fear investing in Mexico due to fear of violence.
January 14, 2017: A Mexican federal court ordered a drug lord to pay around $1 million in indemnities for the 1985 murders of a Mexican pilot and a U.S. DEA agent. The criminal ordered to pay was identified as Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, a co-founder of the Guadalajara cartel. The murdered DEA agent was Enrique Camarena and his family will receive around $465,000.
January 11, 2017: The price of tortillas is once again increasing. They have gone up almost 20 percent in the last six months. When the price of corn and other staple goods increase, the government faces instant criticism. For the record, the price of eggs and milk has also spiked. President Enrique Pena’s poll ratings are already miserable. The majority of Mexican citizens believes his government is corrupt. Pena is trying to blame macro-economic and a new administration in the U.S. Fuel prices have increased and the peso has slipped against the dollar.
January 10, 2017: Security official said that police used surveillance photos from a parking lot to identify and then arrest Zia Zafar. Is accused of shooting and wounding U.S. consular official in Guadalajara on January 6. Zafar is a U.S. citizen from California and was extradited to the U.S. on January 9.
January 8, 2016: Protests continue over the rise in gas and diesel prices. Prices have increased 20 percent since January 1 when the government began reducing fuel subsidies. Authorities now estimate 1,500 people have been arrested for looting businesses and attacking gas stations.
January 6, 2017: Police in Ciudad Juarez broke up a gas price increase protest demonstration that tried to block the international bridge to El Paso, Texas. On the evening of January 5 demonstrators occupied customs offices on the international bridge. A government spokesman in Mexico City said that at least four people have died in violence related to gasoline price increase protests.
Los Zetas cartel gunmen ambushed a senior state prosecutor and three police officers in Tamaulipas state. Ricardo Martinez Chavez was the regional director of the Tamaulipas Attorney General’s Office. The attack occurred near the town of Nuevo Laredo.
January 2, 2016: Protests against the increase in fuels prices are spreading throughout the country. The fuel price increase kicked in on January 1 and the violence began on January 2nd. The government is trying to create a competitive energy market. Protestors are using the term “gasolinazo” to describe their gripe. The term translates as “gasoline-punch.” A group of protestors in Mexico City noted that President Enrique Pena promised that prices would drop after competition was introduced. However, in the initial phases of the program, prices are increasing.
December 31, 2016: The government is saying that reports are false that gunmen in the Jalisco New Generation Cartel threatened to burn down gas stations to protest impending price increases. However, for some 24 hours the claim raced around the internet and the Jalisco Attorney Generals Office began an investigation of the allegation.
December 30, 2016: Los Zetas cartel gunmen in Nuevo Laredo kidnapped four Mexican citizens who had just been deported from the U.S. The four men were rescued by Mexican Army soldiers who stormed the house where the victims were being held for ransom.