A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.
The demolition of the old Tijuana police headquarters at 8th Street and Constitucion began Friday, paving the way for the property to be sold. Some had sought to save the building as a museum. Front page, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Jan. 5: What is the value of the demolished property? Story, Frontera.
María Juana Cohen, wife of the president of the board of directors of Tijuana's
World Trade Center, Salomón Cohen, died Friday. Story, Frontera (PDF).
She helped bring a version of "Mainly Mozart" concerts to Tijuana. The newspaper Frontera said she supported the Asociación Gilberto, the Fundación Castro Limón, belonged to the San Diego chapter of the Jewish organization WIZO and supported El Trompo museum.
Cohen also is a co-founder of the Dorian's department store chain.
Famed Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta has died at 80. Known for his bold use of color, he designed the Camino Real hotel in Mexico City in the 1960s and oversaw the 1990s redesign of Pershing Square in Los Angeles.
Story, Frontera (PDF). Story, El Mundo.
Story, Washington Post.
Tijuana is the city with the greatest debt per inhabitant in Mexico, a study says. Story, Frontera (PDF). The Mexican Competitiveness Institute said Mexicali ranked eighth.
Meanwhile, Frontera reported that the state of Baja California will be introducing an austerity plan in 2012 in an attempt to make ends meet. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Baja California state police arrested 72 Americans who were sought by U.S. authorities in 2001, El Mexicano reported.
Five men linked to 32 slayings ordered by Teodoro "El Teo" García Simental were sentenced to 25 to 35 years in prison by a judge in Tijuana, El Mexicano reported. Those sentenced were Luis Enrique Medina Aguilar, also known as Adrián Zamora Solórzano or "La Burra"; Luis Enrique Medina Aguilar, aka "Isabel Medina Aguilar" or "Chabelo"; Abraham Castro Medina, "El Gáfer"; Alejandro José Sandoval Romero, "El Largo"; and Alejandro Valentín Saldaña Méndez, aka "El Greñas." They were captured July 13, 2010 by state police while carrying weapons in a parked vehicle in a shopping center in the Zona Río of Tijuana.
María Elvia de Hank and her charitable foundation will sponsor a Three Kings parade for the children of Tijuana at 5 p.m. Jan. 5 on Paseo de los Heroes. The three kings bring gifts to children the morning of the next day.
María Elvia de Hank is married to former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon, who plans to run for governor in 2013. A group affiliated with the Institutional Revolutionary Party recently backed María Elvia de Hank for a PRI nomination for the federal Senate election that takes place July 1, 2012.
The parade also is sponsored by Hank's Caliente group, Casas Geo and El Mexicano.
Unpdate, Jan. 6: Frontera's picture of Three King's Parade (PDF).
The mayor's race in Morelia in Michoacan state, which was won by a narrow margin by the Institutional Revolutionary Party on Nov. 13, was annulled by a regional panel of the federal electoral tribunal. The 2-1 vote by the panel in Toluca in Mexico state backed the National Action Party's contention that PRI candidate Wilfrido Lázaro Medina's appearance at closing campaign rally by the PRI gubernatorial candidate that was televised as part of a contract and that Juan Manuel
Márquez's wearing the PRI logo on his boxing shorts during a nationally televised boxing match Nov. 12 gave the PRI-Green Party candidate an unfair advantage. The match took place Las Vegas. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Sergio Sarmiento questions the rationale of the court.
The election was held Nov. 13.
Update, Jan. 11: PRIista Fausto Vallejo's gubernatorial victory confirmed by state electoral tribunal. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Jan. 16: Boxer tells IFE PRI did not ask him to wear logo, and says he would wear it again. Story, CNN.
Update, July 2: PRI wins election rerun.
Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate Enrique Peña Nieto said Tuesday that he will challenge a Federal Electoral Institute ruling that does not allow candidates that have won their parties' nominations from running advertising until the general election campaign begins. The ruling allows the three candidates for the National Action Party nomination to run advertising.
Peña Nieto and Andrés Manuel López Obrador, meanwhile, will be allowed to hold rallies in public plazas in the runup to the general election. López Obrador is the candidate of the Democratic Revolution Party and other leftist parties . López Obrador, who held meetings in Tabasco state on Tuesday, said he would not challenge the no-advertising rule because he did not want to appear as the candidate of "no."
Update, Dec. 29: PAN to challenge ruling allowing rallies (PDF). Dec. 30: Second story on challenge (PDF).
Denise Dresser's proposed holiday gifts for the candidates.
Baja California human rights commission leader Heriberto García García says a 40% dropout rate for high-school students is too high and wants to help the state education system devise a way to retain more students. He said much of the problems stems from economic want, where students cannot afford to go to school or take a job to help their families.
Previous story on high school dropout rate.
Vehicles that escort Coahuila Gov. Rubén Moreira were attacked Monday. No one was hurt. Moreira was elected to succeed his brother, Humberto, who resigned the presidency of the Institutional Revolutionary Party this month as a result of the debt run up during his governorship.
Actor Pedro Armendáriz Pardo died of cancer in New York at age 71, media reported. Armendáriz appeared in more than 100 movies, including portraying Pancho Villa in "The Old Gringo" with Jane Fonda; "The Mask of Zorro" with Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek; "La Ley de Herodes"; "Once Upon a Time in Mexico"; and "Tombstone."
He was the son of Pedro Armendáriz (Hastings), a famous actor in the golden age of Mexican movies.
. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Two men who appeared to have been drinking briefly crossed over the boundary at the Playas de Tijuana-U.S. border on Christmas Day and razzed and shouted obscenities at U.S. border agents in the area, Frontera reported Tuesday. One of the men mooned the agents, the paper said. Mexican authorities detained one of the men, to the applause of the gathered crowd; the other vanished into the crowd, the paper reported. Story, photo, Frontera.
Editor's Note: Dec. 28 in Mexico is "El Día de Los Santos Inocentes," a day for people, and newspapers, to play practical jokes.
Update, Dec. 28: Frontera's "Día de Los Santos Inocentes" page: Enrique Peña Nieto and Andrés Manuel López Obrador decide to run as a coalition; border lines vanish as the U.S. accedes to President Felipe Calderón's request to stop placing agents at border crossings; top Mexican star Chicharito to play for Tijuana Xolos professional soccer team; Lady Gaga to perform in Tijuana. “Inocente palomita que te dejaste engañar.” The fake stories, Frontera (PDF). Frontera also had a fake editorial page, in which Jorge Hank Rhon declines to run for governor in favor of his wife, María Elvia, and in which Hank's archrival, Sen. Fernando Castro Trenti, is made state tourism minister and whose first trip is to visit Middle East to promote travel to Baja California. Fake editorial page, Frontera (PDF).
A 38-year-old man was killed in front of his family on Christmas Day after the car he was riding in had a flat tire on the Corredor 2000 in eastern Tijuana and he and others refused to give up their valuables to a man who came along with a gun, Frontera reported. A second man was wounded. Samuel de
León Martínez, 38, was killed, and José Manuel Mora, 59, was wounded, the paper said; the gunman fled.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
Columnist Denise Dresser came up with a gift list for Mexican politicians, including former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon, presidential frontrunner Enrique Peña Nieto and others. <<<Rest of story>>>
The newspaper El Mexicano reported that Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán flew to the Ensenada area three times. The sightings came from campesinos working on a huge marijuana plantation in the San Quintín area of Ensenada that was raided in July. The story says workers on the plantation told the military they had come to Baja California to harvest onions, but said the workers did not count on the military having a "Detector Molecular" GT200 device that could tell whether they had been handling marijuana. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
From Dec. 5: 55 who worked on megaplantation freed.
Meanwhile, a top lieutenant to Guzmán was arrested Dec. 23, officials said. Felipe Cabrera Sarabia, also known as "El Inge," headed the Sinaloa Cartel's operations in Durango and southern Chihuahua and often served as an escort for Guzmán, officials said. Story, Europa Press.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Dec. 29: General says it is not clear whether Guzmán was in Baja California or not. Story, Frontera (PDF).
The New York Times reviews Luis Alberto Urrea's "Queen of America," about Urrea's ancestor Teresa of Cabora, and says: "Having left behind Mexico's rich landscape and languages, the Urreas — Tomás and Teresita, and the author as well — grasp for inspiration." Review, New York Times.
Last month's Los Angeles Times review was much more complimentary. Previous mention of "Queen of America."
Former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State told CNN that she wishes she had focused more on Mexico, but that that the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and their aftermath intervened. Chron.com story.
The New York Times' Saturday profile this week is on Julián Leyzaola, the Ciudad Juárez police chief. Violence has gone down since his tenure began earlier this year, but so have complaints about police human rights violations. Leyzaola told the paper that José Antonio "El Diego" Acosta Hernández of La Línea crime group called him early in his tenure to suggest a deal, but that Leyzaola said no. "El Diego" was arrested in July. Leyzaola's tactics also were criticized in Tijuana, where he also faced allegations of human rights violations. Story, New York Times.
The Mexican military, the federal Attorney General's Office and customs in Ensenada seized more than 43 tons of meth precursors. The precursors were in containers from China and headed for Ciudad Obregón in Sonora state.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Dec. 24: More than 229 tons of meth precursors seized at Pacific port of Lázaro Cárdenas in Michoacán state. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Customs and Border Patrol Chief Alan Bersin, who was never confirmed by Congress, is leaving office, he and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said. He had recently been featured speaking in Spanish on the main Televisa TV news show.
Story, Frontera (PDF). Story, San Diego Union-Tribune.
Previous story on Bersin.
Eleven civilians were killed in Veracruz state, seven of them in attacks on buses, authorities said. Five attackers were killed. Story, Frontera (PDF). Editorial, entitled "Terrorism," El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, Dec. 24: El Mexicano has editorial about violence in Veracruz.
10 bodies found in north of Veracruz. Story, Frontera (PDF)
One of the latest crime schemes in Tijuana is to pose as survey takers, gain entrance to someone's home and then rob them. On Wednesday, one apparent such survey taker was killed by police as he and a partner allegedly were robbing a home containing three family members. The partner was arrested.
Editorial, El Mexicano (PDF).
Robberies are what state prosecutor is most worried about these days.
National Action Party presidential hopeful Ernesto Cordero met with other PANistas, including Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, during a visit to Baja California on Wednesday. Cordero, who badly trails Josefina Vázquez Mota in the polls, said he and Vázquez Mota were close because Cordero only submitted 5,000 fewer signatures than she did to register as a candidate.
Update, Dec. 23: Frontera political page names some of those present at Cordero event in Tijuana. Among them: Carlos Torres Torres, the Social Development Ministry representative who lost the mayor's race to Carlos Bustamante last year. Story, Frontera (PDF).
State Attorney General Rommel Moreno told Frontera newspaper that the number of reported kidnappings has fallen from 257 to 62 in the last four years. He said robberies are what worry his office more these days. Interview with Moreno, Frontera (PDF). Jump.
Update, Dec. 23: Woman freed in Mexicali after 25 days in captivity. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Dec. 27: Tijuana ranked sixth among Mexican cities with 34 registered kidnappings from January to August. Story, Frontera (PDF).
A building used to house kidnapping victims was formally inaugurated Tuesday as a Boys and Girls Club in Tijuana. Story, Frontera (PDF).
The Agrupación Política de Baja California, in a letter published in Frontera, pushes the nomination of former Tijuana Mayor René Treviño Arredondo to be a PRI nominee for the federal Senate in the July 1 election. Full page ad, in Frontera (PDF).
Meanwhile, former Tijuana Mayor Fernando Márquez Arce published an ad backing Tijuana social development official David Saúl Guakil for Senate. Ad (PDF). Another ad from 12 former presidents of the Tijuana CANACO Chamber of Commerce business group, including Mario Escobeda Carrignan and César Cázares Díaz de León, also backed Guakil.
The Federal Institute for Access to Information ordered the Attorney General's Office to make public 13 videos involving the 1994 assassinations of PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio in Tijuana and PRI leader José Francisco Ruiz Massieu. El Universal story, Frontera (PDF).
Story on this year's anniversary of Colosio's death.
Presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador has named three men whom he says would serve in his Cabinet if he is elected July 1. Former National Autonomous University of Mexico President Juan Ramón de la Fuente would be education minister; Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, whom López Obrador defeated for the Democratic Revolution Party presidential nomination, would be interior minister; and Rogelio Ramírez de la O would be finance minister. Ramírez de la O also was López Obrador's economics adviser in 2006. Both de la Fuente and Ramírez de la O have made a number of appearances at the University of California San Diego, at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies and also at the Institute of the Americas.
Enrique Peña Nieto is finally moving to put a positive spin on his inability to name three books that influenced him and for mixing up authors' names. Story.
Mario Ortiz Villacorta writes about the 60th anniversary of the El Coliseo fire that killed more than 100 people and injured more than 100 others. The posada gathering on a third floor of El Coliseo building (which had been described as a fire trap since its construction) on Dec. 22, 1951 was held to distribute gifts to poor families. His column.
Frontera's story on remembrance (PDF).
2004 article written by head of Tijuana Archive.
Gunmen attacked the home of Tijuana police commander Jesús Alberto Hurtado Estrada for the second time, but Hurtado Estrada and his family escaped unhurt. The home is is the colonia El Pípila in the city's La Presa district. Hurtado Estrada is commander in the Centenario area of the city. No gunmen were detained, El Mexicano reported.
The paper said this is the third attack against an official during the term of Mayor Carlos Bustamante, who took office a year ago; the paper said that during the 2007-2010 term of Mayor Jorge Ramos, more than 40 police were killed.
El Mexicano ran on a full page Proceso magazine's story about Baja California families search for remains of bodies dissolved in barrels by organized crime member Santiago
Meza López, who came to be nicknamed El Pozolero, pozole being a Mexican stew. The story focuses on the group United for the Disappeared founded by Fernando
Ocegueda Flores, whose son
Fernando Ocegueda Ruelas has been missing since 2007.
Previous mention of Ocegueda during visit of Javier Sicilia.
Reports were issued Saturday by Institutional Revolutionary Party politicians that former President Miguel de la Madrid (1982-1988) had died or was near death. His family said Saturday that he was still alive. He turned 77 Monday, also the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
De la Madrid now joins the ranks of Mark Twain and many others whose deaths have been announced prematurely.
Story, Los Angeles Times.
Reforma story, in Frontera.
The alleged financial brains of the Arellano Félix cartel, Benjamín Arellano Félix, has been offered a plea bargain by U.S. prosecutors in San Diego, media reported.
Story, San Diego Union-Tribune.
Frontera story on Arellano's attorney, Anthony Colombo (PDF).
Lawyer seeks change of venue.
TIJUANA CRIME NEWS
"El Kon" Rodríguez Pérez, 31, who authorities said was a former Los Angeles street gang member who was deported, has been arrested. He was sought in 16 slayings; authorities tied him to the Sinaloa Cartel. He said, however, that he was just a gang member defending his drug sales territory and not a member of organized crime. Authorities said he sold drugs in Modulos de Otay. Story, Frontera (PDF).
• Authorities said three men linked to the La Familia Michoacana cartel were arrested during a seizure of 50 pounds of marijuana. Arrested were Miguel Ángel Luna Rodríguez, 23, Juan Luis Dueñas Guerrero, 23, and Arnulfo Álvarez Aguilar, 37. Officials said the arrests were made by state and city police after a vehicle the two younger men were in was stopped for speeding and marijuana was spotted under the seats; information they gave authorities led them to Álvarez Aguilar and more marijuana. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Dec. 17: 2 more tied to La Familia arrested, crystal meth seized. Story, Frontera (PDF).
• The Mexican military reported that in 3,000 operations in Baja California this year, it had seized more than $263 million worth of drugs. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Dozens of families, many living in makeshift shacks, were removed from the Arroyo Alamar in Tijuana on Thursday. State officials are lining the tributary of the Tijuana River with concrete and have major development plans for the area. <<<rest of story>>>
After a 14-month wait, the Mexican Congress on Thursday voted in three new Federal Electoral Institute. The organization running the July 1 presidential election now will have the nine counselors it is supposed to have.
It certainly looks like the legislature selected three impartial candidates, despite Judge Sergio García Ramírez's long association with the PRI.
<<<rest of story>>>
Relatives who cannot make it to Tecate to visit inmates at El Hongo state prison now can have videoconferences with them from a facility near the La Mesa state prison in Tijuana. The videoconference center was inaugurated Wednesday at 4841-C and -D Madre Antonio Brenner Avenue, two blocks from La Mesa prison, El Mexicano reported. Lawyers will also be able to talk with their clients using the system, officials said.
Former Baja California Ernesto Ruffo and former Mexicali Mayor Víctor Hermosillo Celada are seen as the top Senate candidates for the National Action Party. Ruffo, a former Ensenada mayor, was governor from 1989-1995.
Story, Frontera (Dec. 16, PDF)
Story on Frontera's political page (Dec. 15, PDF).
A Tijuana bus driver (calafiero) who picked up a carpet alongside the road discovered, when he got the carpet home, that there was a body inside, El Mexicano reported. The driver said he saw the carpet, which looked new, on the side of Manuel Clouthier boulevard during his runs, and on his last trip, had a passenger helped him put it in his small bus. Although it was heavy, he thought that was because it had gotten wet in rains this week. The victim was identified as Gutenberg Roblero Morales, 29. The driver, Antonio Jaúregui Sandoval, 63, called authorities after he unrolled the carpet and discovered the body.
Defense lawyer Anthony Colombo is seeking a change of venue for the federal trial in San Diego against Benjamín Arellano Félix, considered to have been the financial brains behind the Arellano Félix drug cartel. Colombo says Arellano has received too much pretrial publicity in the border region and has proposed Chicago, New York and San Francisco as possible venues. Story, Frontera (PDF). Jump.
Labor Minister Javier Lozano resigned Wednesday to run for senator from Puebla. Lozano, who earlier this year dropped out of the race to be the National Action Party's presidential nominee, lamented that a comprehensive labor reform has not been passed. "I can't depart without expressing my profound disappointment that pettiness y political calculation outdid reason and basic social justice in freezing the labor reform in the Chamber of Deputies."
The new minister will be Rosalinda Vélez Juárez, the first woman to hold the post.
Also resigning to run for the Senate from Michoacán was Salvador Vega Casillas, who had headed the Secretaría de la Función Pública, which roughly translates as the Mexican Ministry of Public Administration and which investigates wrongdoing by public servants. Calderón's secretary, Roberto Gil Zuarth, also left to run for the Senate from Chiapas. Last year, he lost the contest for the presidency of National Action Party to Gustavo Madero.
Story, El Universal.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
The Senate did not reach the two-thirds majority needed to give states the authority to allow the re-election of mayors and municipal council members. The vote was 51-28 in the political reform bill that returns to the Chamber of Deputies. The re-election of legislators and allowing the holding of popular referendums, previously rejected by the House, were placed back into the bill.
Reforma story, in Frontera.
Re-election is a controversial subject in Mexico, even though most experts believe it is a necessary measure to give citizens a greater ability to make their representatives more accountable. The Mexican Revolution, which began 101 years ago, was fought in part for the idea of "Effective Suffrage, No Re-election," in reaction to the decades-long dictatorship of President Porfirio Díaz. Polls have shown a majority of Mexicans oppose re-election, even though the absence of re-election seems to benefit political parties and not the general populace and political experts see the idea of no re-election as an anachronism.
¡Como México no hay dos!
The Tijuana newspaper Frontera has started a contest for people to vote online to name the most handsome official. Those whose pictures were listed included Carolina Bustamante de García, who is Mayor Carlos Bustamante's daughter; Lourdes Inzunza, Bustamante's girlfriend and head of the city's Women's Institute (pictured at left); Councilwoman Najla Wehbe Dipp of the New Alliance Party; Councilman Marcos San Román Flores of the Green Party; federal Deputy Gastón Luken, who represents the National Action Party; and Joe Crook, public affairs officer for the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana.
Story in Frontera (PDF).
When the contest was announced in October, some respondents thought it was a cruel joke, and one person nominated state legislator Gregorio Barreto, whom few, if any, would consider one of Baja California's most handsome men.
The Baja California state legislature passed a bill introduced by Ricardo Magaña Mosqueda classifying human trafficking as a grave crime subject to 22 years' imprisonment. Magaña Mosqueda is a representative of the National Action Party from Tijuana.
Ready lanes for border crossers with RFID (radio frequency ID) chip-embedded documents will open Dec. 20, El Mexicano reported. The lanes have been a success for people crossing into the U.S. at the Otay Mesa port of entry. The lanes move more quickly because inspectors can pull up information about border crossers on computers rather than have to physically look at the documents and enter information manually.
San Diego Union-Tribune editorial praising the ready lanes (Dec. 17)
Rains in Tijuana caused the suspension of afternoon-session classes in schools on Tuesday. Rains also caused the suspension of classes in Mexicalim El Mexicano reported.
Former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Ramos, in an interview with Proceso magazine, said he thought PAN presidential hopeful Josefina Vázquez Mota would win the nomination on Feb. 5, the first of the PAN's first two primary date. The Feb. 19 round will be canceled if one of three candidates gets 37% of the vote with a margin of at least 5% over the second-place candidate.
Columnist Leo Zuckermann examines PAN presidential hopeful Ernesto Cordero's attacks on PAN frontrunner Josefina Vázquez Mota. He notes that they are coming because Cordero remains so far behind. He said Vázquez Mota, who initially counterattacked, has now decided to take a higher road.
Meanwhile, columnist Sergio Sarmiento writes about how PRI presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto has been subject to ridicule for not knowing the minimum wage in Mexico. Sarmiento said he didn't know it either, but said he also has not been able to hire anyone to do work for him at less than double the minimum wage.
Their columns (PDF). One of the latest polls.
Columnist Jorge Fernández Menéndez also writes about Cordero, who he said was a friend, but one who uncharacteristically and mistakenly is going on the attack.
Fernández Menéndez's column (PDF).
Update, Dec. 14: Peña Nieto apologizes for saying price of tortillas is something just housewives should know. Reforma's story in Frontera (PDF).
Peña Nieto's offending interview with El País.
A Facebook account has been created seeking a federal Senate candidacy for María Elvia de Hank, the wife of former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon. Her nomination is being sought by a new group, "Mujeres Priístas por Baja California," whose membership and leadership is unknown.
Her husband plans to run for the Institutional Revolutionary Party nomination for governor in 2013.
Item on El Mexicano political page (PDF).
The Facebook page.
Hank ally Gregorio Barreto, currently in the state legislature, reportedly is considering a run for the federal Chamber of Deputies. Political page, Frontera (Dec. 15, PDF). Some in the PRI don't like the idea that he would leave office more than a year early to run and are proposing that the former leader of the PRI in Tijuana, Carlos Barboza, run instead. Political page, Frontera (Dec. 18, PDF)
Registration for PRI Senate hopefuls begins Jan. 21.
Update, Dec. 14: Columnist Jaime Flores Martínez, in his Cicuta (Hemlock) column, says Alcide Roberto Beltrones (right), a top aide to Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante and brother of Sonora Sen. Manlio Fabio Beltrones, thinks he will get one of the PRI nominations for senator from Baja California.
Editor's note: It is sometimes hard to figure out what to trust in the Cicuta column: On Tuesday, El Mexicano ran a full-column letter from the city outlining inaccuracies in the column. The letter to the editor (PDF).
Update, Dec. 14: Baja California state legislator Nancy Sánchez of Mexicali says she hopes to run for the federal Senate on a Institutional Revolutionary Party ticket with Eligio Valencia Roque of Tijuana, who operates El Mexicano newspaper.
Update, Dec. 15: Guillermo Aldrete Haas of Mexicali is seen as a strong contender for a PRI Senate nomination, as is David Saúl Guakil, head of Tijuana's social development department.
Raúl Lucio "El Lucky" Hernández Lechuga, one of the founders of the Zetas organized crime group, has been captured in Veracruz, authorities said. Hernández Lechuga reportedly founded the group along with Heriberto Lazcano y Miguel Ángel Treviño.
Authorities said that of the 34 former soldiers who formed the Zetas, 10 are still active, while the rest have been arrested or have died. Lazcano and Treviño are still on the loose. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Secretaría de Marina press release on attack.
Frontera quotes Mexican Power Group's executive John Prock as saying his company, which is planning to build a wind farm La Rumorosa area of Baja California, may start generating 72 megawatts next fall.
<<<rest of story>>>
New York Times columnist and former editor Bill Keller, in a column entitled "The Good Newt," praises Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich for his more even-handed and practical approach on illegal immigration. He said that although Gingrich also employs "red-meat rhetoric" on the issue, it is worthwhile to go to Gingrich's web site, Newt.org, to see the broader outline of what Gingrich is saying.
Keller also had high praise for a 2007 analysis on the costs of immigration by University of California San Diego economist Gordon Hanson. Keller called it "The most scrupulous study I've seen of the economic impact of illegal immigration." He said Hanson's study weighing the costs against benefits to U.S. society "concluded that the difference was 'close enough to zero to be essentially a wash.' "
The study Keller cited: "The Economic Logic of Illegal Immigration," April 2007, Council on Foreign Relations
Also this month, Hanson has the lead article in the Mexican magazine Nexos. The cover of the magazine has the title, "¿Por qué NO somos ricos?" (Why aren't we rich?") Hanson's article is an adaptation of a piece he published in 2010, "Why Isn't Mexico Rich?" in the Journal of Economic Literature. The article in Nexos is entitled "El Misterio Mexicano," or "The Mexican Mystery."
Previous item on Hanson, about his "Why Isn't Mexico Rich" article.
The third tunnel in a month was found at the Nogales border, Mexican military officials said. Authorities said a man guarding the entrance was detained. The tunnel was 50 meters long and had not yet crossed the border, officials said. Story, Frontera (PDF).
The Tigers of the Autonomous University of Nuevo León won their first Mexican soccer title in 29 years by defeating Santos Laguna 3-1 on Sunday. Story, Sports.
2 men who alleged kidnapped migrants seeking to cross the border and then held them for ransom payments from their families were arrested in Tijuana. Armando Carranza Cárdenas, 50, and José Angel Maldonado Castañeda, 35, were detained, authorities told El Mexicano newspaper.
Ten people were detained on suspicion of human trafficking at Tijuana table-dance bars around 2 a.m. Friday, officials told Tijuana media. Adelitas, Hong Kong and Las Chavelas bars in the Zona Norte were raided by 90 to 100 federal agents, Frontera and El Mexicano reported. El Mexicano said 10 dancers were being questioned. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Dec. 12: The 10 men are released on bail, Frontera reports. The 10 dancers were not minors and do not seem to have been psychologically damaged, and the cases thus appear not to meet the threshold for human trafficking. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Andrés Manuel López Obrador registered as a presidential candidate Friday before the Democratic Revolution Party's electoral commission. He also is the candidate for the Workers Party and the Citizens Movement (previously Convergencia). The populist politician said he would work for economic growth of 6% and employment growth of 1.2 million. In 2000, Vicente Fox of the National Action Party campaigned on a platform of 7% economic growth and in 2006 the PAN's Felipe Calderón campaigned to be the "jobs president": Neither happened.
Story in Frontera (PDF).
López Obrador will later formally register as a candidate before the Federal Electoral Institute, which he blamed for his narrow loss to Calderón in the 2006 election.
Update, Dec. 12: Columnist Leo Zuckermann analyzes López Obrador's "República Amorosa" (Amorous Republic, or Loving Republic) hope-based theme for his campaign. He concludes by quoting a Facebook friend as saying that it appears López Obrador, rather than wanting to be president, wants to be the archbishop primate of Mexico. Zuckermann's column (PDF).
Update, Dec. 12: Columnist Eduardo Ruiz-Healy says López Obrador's invocation that honesty is part of his Amorous Republic is a farce, calling the former Mexico City mayor's speech "false, full of lies and populist." Ruiz-Healy's column (PDF).
Ruiz-Healy column, Part II (PDF).
Mexican actress Salma Hayek, in an appearance on the Graham Norton Show, said that when other girls in her school starting developing and she was relatively flat-chested, she asked God for big breasts and a shapely figure. Her appearance promoted her role in the movie "Puss in Boots." Story in Frontera (PDF).
Although the story says her statement was surprising, Hayek has made similar "revelations" several times before.
Update, Dec. 13: Jay Leno addressed the Hayek issue Monday, saying: "Actress Salma Hayek told British talk show host Graham Norton that as a young girl, she put her hands in holy water and asked Jesus to give her boobs. Boy, you thought that turning water into wine was cool!"
Other Jay Leno jokes involving Mexico.
Quintana Roo Sen. Pedro Joaquín Coldwell was named president of the Institutional Revolutionary Party and promised to work to elect former Mexico state Gov. Enrique Peña Nieto as president of Mexico. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Previous mention of his likelihood to take post after resignation of Humberto Moreira.
The Carlos Monsiváis theater was inaugurated at the Tijuana Cultural Center, Frontera reported. It is part of the new Cineteca Tijuana, associated with the Cineteca Nacional in Mexico City. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Thirteen policemen involved in a strip show that took place at their police station in eastern Tijuana in March have been definitively fired after a monthslong investigation. The case involved a woman found with stolen credit cards who was allowed to perform a striptease instead of being charged. The woman testified that she performed oral sex on two policemen. Former police commander Víctor Manuel de la Cruz
Candelaria has obtained an injunction against his firing.
In May, a cellphone video of the striptease was released and gained worldwide fame; a top city official's delay in taking action in the case led to her being investigated by the state legislature. Síndica procurador Yolanda Enríquez de la Fuente still retains the confidence of Mayor Carlos Bustamante and the investigation into her actions, which could have led to her being removed from office, has stalled.
El Mexicano, in an editorial today, said she should suffer the same fate as the 13 police.
Councilman Eduardo Enrique
Parra Romero said he hoped the actions against the 13 policemen will be a lesson to other police to clean up their act and not jeopardize their livelihoods. He noted that police pay has risen significantly in Tijuana and said the firings mean the 13 policemen in question cannot be hired by any other police department.
The newspaper Frontera reported that three counterfeit Thrifty stores had been closed, two in Tijuana and one in San Luis Río Colorado, and that 15 other possible counterfeit stores were being investigated. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Mayor Carlos Bustamante said public transport companies will be allowed to raise their prices for a ride by one peso before the end of the year. Transportation is a major cost for Tijuana residents and workers, even if a ride usually costs less than dollar. Many times, residents must take two different vehicles to get where they are going, and costs add up.
Update, Dec. 26: City Council, meeting Dec. 24, voted to allow price to go up one peso on Jan. 1 and another peso in June. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Reforma reported that a new poll puts former Education Minister Josefina Vázquez Mota at 40%, former Interior Minister Santiago Creel at 25% and former Finance Minister Ernesto Cordero at 14% in the polls as they seek the National Action Party nomination for president. In a poll of Mexico City residents, Vázquez Mota did better than Creel or Cordero would against frontrunning PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto and PRD candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, but she still was far, far behind the PRI and PRD candidates in the capital.
Story in Frontera (PDF). Jump.
The body of José Trinidad de la Cruz Crisóforo was found in the Michoacán state municipality of Aquila, close to his home community of Xayakalan. The Nahua Indian who fought for indigenous rights and against drug trafficking violence had been kidnapped the day before. He was an activist in Javier Sicilia's Movement for Peace with Justice. It appeared that Trinidad, who was over 70, had been tortured. Trinidad had been threatened in the summer and left his community for a time.
Last month, Pedro Leyva Domínguez, who like Trinidad fought for the rights of the Santa María de Os tu la community and also participated in Sicilia's movement, was killed.
Another activist was killed in Sonora state last month.
Pope Benedict XVI has named a new archbishop for Guadalajara, Cardinal José Francisco Robles Ortega. Robles Ortega was born March 2, 1949 in Mascota in Jalisco state (although it was part of the Tepic diocese). He studied philosophy at the Guadalajara seminary and theology at the Zamora seminary. He was ordained in 1976 and also studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In 1991 he was named bishop of the titular see (no longer functioning) of Bossa, Tunisia and auxiliary bishop of Toluca. He became bishop of Toluca in 1996. In 2003 he became archbishop of Monterrey. He became a cardinal in 2007 under Pope Benedict XVI.
Cardinal Juan Sandoval had to retire as archbishop of Guadalajara because he had reached the mandatory retirement age of 75. He was often involved in controversy, and demanded that a conspiracy be found in the 1993 slaying of Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo, while never offering up any credible evidence of such. Posadas was killed in the Guadalajara airport parking lot while riding in his white Grand Marquis at the same time the Arellano Félix cartel was hunting down Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán there. Arellano Félix gunmen say they were told Guzmán would be traveling in a white Grand Marquis.
Posadas Ocampo served as bishop of Tijuana from 1970-1982 before moving to Cuernavaca and then Guadalajara. The Arellano Félix cartel operated out of Tijuana.
Some facts about the Tijuana archdiocese.
The Baja California social development department on Tuesday put 44 deported migrants on a bus that will take them closer to their home areas. The bus was to let off migrants in Guadalajara and Mexico City. The cost of the operation was put at 100,000 pesos ($7,400).
Those who got on the bus were people who received services at migrant shelters, church soup kitchens and other non-profits that directed them to register for the bus trip.
Meanwhile, a federal official said repatriations to Tijuana were down 40% this year. Story, Frontera (PDF)
Meanwhile, Carolina Bustamante de García, the daughter of Mayor Carlos Bustamante, gave her first annual report of her activities as head of the city social services agency, DIF (Comprehensive Family Development system, or Sistema para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia). The post traditionally is filled in Mexico by the mayor's wife, but because Carlos Bustamante and Carolina Aubanel de Bustamante are divorced, their daughter is doing the job.
Carolina Bustamante de García said the city attended to 2,185 migrants and 6,184 handicapped persons and 54,330 elderly residents in need of some form of help. She also said she thought the program against human trafficking, "You are not Merchandise," was bearing fruit.
. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Frontera notes that she was a key element in her father's unexpected win last year (PDF).
Also Tuesday, the mayor's ex-wife, who has been spearheading an effort to create a plaza next to City Hall that will include a high-rise for public meetings and bridges to the Tijuana Cultural Center and the Plaza Río shopping center, said the project could be done by the end of 2013. That also is when the mayor's term ends; he will not be able to seek re-election under Mexican law.
Previous story on 11 de Julio project.
President Felipe Calderón, in an interview that aired Tuesday night on the Televisa TV network, told anchor Joaquín López-Doriga that he is worried about the influence of organized crime in next year's elections. He said organized crime played in a role in dissuading people from voting against his sister in last month's gubernatorial elections in Michoacán state and said it would be up to an electoral tribunal to determine whether that was enough to sway the results of that election, which wound up being relatively close and which the PRI won.
Calderón had made similar charges Sunday about organized crime during a visit to the Camp Marte military base. Reforma's Monday story in Frontera (PDF).
The president also told López Doriga he is not backing former finance minister Ernesto Cordero for the National Action Party nomination for president; that is a statement most political analysts would say vastly stretches the truth. Part II of the interview airs Wednesday night.
Update, Dec. 15: The columnist Catón says Calderón, while saying he is not backing Cordero, is backing him to the hilt. Catón says Calderón is as hard-headed as Venustiano Carranza, who became president during the Mexican Revolution, and quoted a historian saying of Carranza: "He was so hard-headed that not even an ax could enter." (Although Carranza did wind up assassinated in 1920). Catón laments that Calderón does not put as much thought into governing as he does trying to manipulate his party, and says that if he keeps it up and wangles the PAN presidential nomination for Cordero, the PAN will wind up with another Madrazo (who finished a distant third in the 2006 presidential race).
Update, Dec. 8: Columnists Sergio Sarmiento and Leo Zuckermann both ask the same, valid question: How, specifically, did organized crime affect the election. Sarmiento points out that the PAN handily won in La Piedad, where the PAN mayor was killed before the election, and wondered whether the PAN would want those results thrown out. Zuckermann worried that Calderón is only setting the stage for an electoral strategy to try to link the PRI with organized crime.
Their columns (PDF).
Update, Dec. 12: Víctor Meza column wonders whether Calderón's statement about organized crime in Michoacán was made more to assuage his sister's feelings than anything else.
A 68-year-old man posing as a beggar was arrested after he allegedly tried to steal the purse of a woman as she was waiting to cross the San Ysidro port of entry in a car, El Mexicano reported. The paper said the man fled and later fired a gun at a policeman, who then subdued the suspect, identified as Evaristo Ramírez Hernández.
The closing of 12 lanes for construction work at the San Ysidro port of entry caused some delays at the border on Tuesday, including for SENTRI pass holders, but El Mexicano and Frontera newspapers said it was mostly business as usual at the border.
Some border crossers were delayed, and cross: Frontera (PDF)
State Tourism Minister Juan Titos Funcke said the work should not affect tourism too badly as this is not a high tourist season. He said the construction work, by creating a better crossing facility, should help tourism in the long run.
A report absolved The Casino Royale of all blame in the arson that killed 52 people Aug. 25 in Monterrey. The arson was set by members of the Zetas gang in an apparent extortion attempt. While some had claimed that the casino was operating in possible violation of fire codes, state and federal authorities said the fire, set off by lighting 200 liters of gasoline thrown into the casino, became such an inferno so quickly that those who started it deserved all the blame in the deaths. Others wondered whether if that was the case, why had the casino owner fled to Miami?
Story in Frontera (PDF).
State schools chief Javier Santillán told Frontera newspaper that 40% of students who enter high school in Baja California drop out. He said the rate has been falling during the term of Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, and because of the lower dropout rate and greater desire of students to attend high school, the state needs to create 1,000 new slots for students annually the next five years. He said 45,000 students have been entering high school but only 27,000 have been graduating. He said some students drop out to take jobs and others drop out because their families cannot afford it. Story in Frontera.
Previous Frontera interview with Santillán about 2011-2012 school year issues.
High school costs dropping in Baja California.
Mexican Senate votes high school education for all.
Mexico school desertion rates published.
Cobach Florido high school opens.
New high school satellite campus in Tijuana.
Osuna Millán calls education a top priority.
Enrique Peña Nieto, the leading candidate for in next year's presidential election, stumbled at the Guadalajara book fair when he could not quickly name three books that influenced him.
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A judge has freed 55 people who worked on a marijuana megaplantation in southern Baja California that was raided by the military in July. They had been in the El Hongo state prison since Aug. 1. Bail of 275,000 pesos ($20,000) was posted.
El Mexicano said that although many of the workers declared that they long had been sowing and harvesting marijuana, the judge considered that they had little education and "extreme economic necessity."
Earlier reports said most or all of the workers were from Sinaloa, the home state of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who authorities said likely financed the 120-hectare growing site.
Story, Frontera (Dec. 7, PDF)
Previous mention of the megaplantation. Megaplantation pot burned.
José Luis "El Güero Chompas" Mendoza Uriarte, cousin of Raydel "El Muletas" López Uriarte, was detained along with two others in a stolen car at the intersection of Boulevard Sánchez Taboada and Antonio Caso in Tijuana on Friday, authorities said Sunday. Mendoza Uriarte is wanted in a number of murders. "El Muletas" allegedly worked with Teodoro "El Teo" Simental when a fierce gang war was taking place between the Sinaloa Cartel and the remnants of the Arellano Félix Cartel. "El Teo" was captured in January 2010 in La Paz and "El Muletas" in February 2010 in the same Baja California Sur city. "El Muletas" reportedly got his nickname (Crutches) because people he reportedly killed showed signs of torture in their legs. His men apparently even wore uniforms with a skull and crutches.
"El Chompas" would mean "The Sweater" or "The Jacket": His arrest photo shows him wearing a jacket, but the two detained with him also were wearing jackets.
Story on Friday's arrests, Frontera (PDF). Story, El Sol de Tijuana.
The San Diego Union-Tribune's Peter Rowe profiles Adela Navarro, a top editor and writer for the Tijuana muckraking newsweekly Zeta, who won an International Women's Media Foundation "Courage in Journalism" award this year. His story says she received a tip from U.S. law-enforcement sources in January 2010 that drug traffickers were planning to kill her and a fellow editor, the son of the late Zeta cofounder Jesús Blancornelas, and that she was guarded 24 hours a day by soldiers for the next three months.
Rowe's story in the Union-Tribune.
Zeta recently put up advertising on a billboard in Tijuana saying:
"There are certain politicians who can't sleep on Thursday nights.
"Zeta: It comes out on Fridays with what you want investigated."
The Drug Enforcement Administration has been laundering Mexican drug cartel money as part of its efforts to find out where drug proceeds are going, the New York Times reported. Former DEA officials told the paper the effort does not carry the risk that allowing guns to be sold to cartels entailed. The paper said, "And unlike guns, it (laundering) can lead more directly to the top ranks of criminal organizations." Story, New York Times
Update, Dec. 6: U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista tells Fox News that the DEA violated an agreement with Mexico by laundering money. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Update, Dec. 10: U.S. says DEA has been laundering money since 1984. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Update, Dec. 12: Calderón spokeswoman says Calderón administration did not know about laundering. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Norma Andrade, the mother of a girl killed in Ciudad Juárez who has been a strong voice against violence in the border city, was shot twice outside her home. Authorities were treating the incident as a robbery attempt, The Associated Press reported. Andrade was featured in the film "On the Edge." Her daughter was tortured, raped and killed in 2001.
A man who had been jailed in the Oct. 25 shooting death of a state policeman has been released after an ex-convict confessed in the killing. José Antonio Arredondo Morán, 29, was released from a state prison in Ensenada after José Santos Guzmán Bañuelos confessed to killing police commander Carlos Hernández
García. Arredondo said police had tortured him in trying to get him to confess to the slaying. "The only thing I want to do now is go home and see my 5-year-old girl," Arredondo said. El Mexicano reported that Arredondo was charged despite the fact that no murder weapon was found and that he tested negative for having fired a gun. He also was beaten by police, El Mexicano said.
Guzmán Bañuelos was arrested earlier this week after he allegedly threatened to rape his sister-in-law and then fled in a bus. When police surrounded the bus, he shot the driver and a passenger before being subdued. Authorities said he was high on crystal meth. Ballistics tests showed that Guzmán Bañuelos' gun had been used in the slaying of the police commander.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
Previous story on the bus hostage-taking incident.
The Mexican humor columnist Catón, who is from Coahuila, writes in his "Politics and Worse Things" column about Friday's resignation of Humberto Moreira as president of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Catón recalls how former Gov. Óscar
Flores Tapia was apparently railroaded out of office by President José Lopez Portillo and hopes that the PRI has not acted too hastily again in the Moreira case. A scandal involving a mushrooming of the state debt involving the use of false statements is the main cause of Moreira's departure; Moreira says it happened after he left the governor's post to become the PRI's candidate. However, the magazine emeequis in its Nov. 14 edition says it has a main document in question and that it was signed in December 2010, well before Moreira left the governor's post. Catón said he thought the PRD would benefit far more than the PAN from the Moreira affair. Catón's column.
Update, Dec. 7: It was reported that the Hank Rhon family's bank lent the most money to Coahuila. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Moreira's brother Rubén was elected Coahuila governor earlier this year and took office Thursday.
Quintana Roo Sen. Pedro Joaquin Coldwell is seen as a likely candidate to become the next PRI president Thursday; a former tourism minister and ambassador to Cuba, he was involved in unsuccessful efforts in the 1990s to return the PRI to power in Baja California.
Update, Dec. 4: Baja California PRIistas place full-page ad backing Coldwell.
Two recycling centers in Tijuana were closed for accepting stolen goods, including metal that protects trees along city sidewalks, El Mexicano reported.
Some of the plaques honoring the 1911 defenders of Tijuana were stolen, presumably to be made into scrap metal. While some were reproduced in time for the 100th anniversary of the defense of Tijuana on June 22, others were not.