A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.
The federal Attorney General's Office has issued a travel watch to prevent three former Tamaulipas governors and their families from leaving the country, Mexican media reported. All are members of the PRI, as is the current governor. The alert covers Manuel Cavazos
Lerma (1993-1999), Tomás
Ruvalcaba (1999-2004) y Eugenio
Hernández Flores (2005-2010). The investigations of the three apparently involve money laundering and illicit enrichment. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump. Ehui.com.
Associated Press story in Washington Post.
Tamaulipas is the state where drug trafficker Osiel Cárdenas of the Gulf Cartel held sway and where the Zetas got their start.
El Mexicano editorial: "What a Coincidence" (El Mexicano also is a PRI-aligned paper whose chief, Eligio Valencia, is a PRI candidate for Senate)
Leo Zuckermann column earlier this month mentioning that PAN hope in presidential election might be to link big fish of PRI to organized crime.
Columnist Sergio Sarmiento outlines reasons not to vote for any of the parties involved in the July 1 presidential election, but says he will vote for the least bad. He says he does not believe in the new PRI, nor in the "magical transformation of Andrés Manuel López Obrador," and says the PAN has blown its opportunities to move the country forward and committed other grievous errors. The nation's smaller parties, he indicates, are basically frauds or deluded. He said not voting would help out the PRI, and said he would vote for the least bad candidate. Sarmiento's column, in Frontera (PDF).
The closing of eight lanes at San Ysidro port of entry as part a massive border infrastructure improvement project caused delays and long lines in Tijuana. The newspaper Frontera said motorists reported waits as long as four hours to cross the border. Story, Frontera (PDF). Second page.
The New York Times writes about the Mexican drought. Story, New York Times. Last week, the Los Angeles Times had a good story about the false report of a mass suicide of the drought-stricken Tarahumara Indians. Story, Los Angeles Times.
Mexican Ambassador Carlos Pujalte and his wife, Paloma Ojeda, were kidnapped as they left a party around midnight Sunday night in Caracas but were released around 6 a.m. Monday as the result of a massive operation by Venezuelan security forces. Story, New York Times.
Story in Frontera (PDF).
Update, Feb. 7: Three arrested in kidnapping. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Update, March 25: Four charges in kidnapping. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Denise Dresser writes that teachers union leader Elba Esther Gordillo, now that the Institutional Revolutionary Party has broken its alliance with her New Alliance Party, has gone from Olympus to ocaso (sunset) and from queen to beggar. Dresser says the woman who delivered the presidency to Felipe Calderón now appears to have nowhere to go, as 2006 losing candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador wants nothing to do with her, and neither does likely National Action Party candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota. Dresser says Gordillo must do something, however, to get enough votes in the July 1 election to keep her PANAL party's registration. Dresser concludes: "Yes, she has been an Iron Woman, but now perhaps she is little more than a squashed can." Dresser's column, in Frontera.
Story on PRI-PANAL break.
Update, Jan. 31: Baja California political analyst Víctor Espinoza says PRI could lose a million votes as a result of the break in the alliance. Story, Frontera (PDF).
The Mexican newsweekly Proceso alleges in a report that an investigation into former President Vicente Fox is payback for Fox's negative comments about President Felipe Calderón's administration. It quotes sources close to Fox as saying Calderón administration officials visited him at various points during Calderón's term and asked him to tone down his remarks. Fox, the first National Action Party president of Mexico, served from 2000-2006; Calderón's six-year term ends this year. Proceso's story, in El Mexicano (PDF).
Fox's sister questions reopening of case. Story, Jan. 24, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
The infamous former Mexican intelligence chief Miguel Nazar Haro, suspected of being behind disappearances of Mexican leftists in the 1970s, has died at age 87.
Story in El Mexicano (PDF). Brief story, Los Angeles Times.
Story, El País.
The mother of state legislator Gregorio Barreto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party died at age 85, Tijuana media reported. In an indication of the power the transportation boss is seen to have, pages of Tijuana newspapers were filled with esquelas, or paid tributes, to María Matilde Luna de Barreto. Esquelas from former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon's Caliente Group (PDF) and from Alberto Murgúía Orozco (Hank and Barreto are close; Murguía is an official of the Caliente sponsored Xolos soccer team).
Esquela from the state legislature (PDF). El Mexicano and Sen. Fernando Castro Trenti's esquelas (PDF).
Human rights ombudsman Raúl Plascencia told Congress on Wednesday that said 43 bystanders died in confrontations between Mexican security forces and criminals in 2011.
Of 29,439 complaints registed with the National Human Rights Commission, 38% were resolved to the satisfaction of the complainants almost immediately, Plascencia said. He said this resolution rate was 148% higher than in 2010. The most complaints (2,882) were against the Mexican Social Security Institute, or IMSS. Receiving the second highest number of complaints was the Ministry of Defense (1,879).
Story in Frontera (PDF). Rights commission website.
Baja California complaints against the military in 2011.
An El Mexicano editorial said the number of innocents killed goes much higher if massacres of innocents and other such killings perpetrated by organized crime are included. One such massacre was the August blaze that killed 52 at a Monterrey casino as part of an extortion attempt.
2011 story on Plascencia visit to Tijuana.
Nissan said Wednesday that it will invest $2 billion in a vehicle manufacturing complex in Aguascalientes state. It will be the Japanese automaker's third plant in Mexico; its others are in Aguascalientes and Morelos. Nissan producs the most vehicles in the nation, at 607,087, according to the Asociación Mexicana de la Industria Automotriz. Story in Frontera (PDF).
The Secundaria 31 (Middle School No. 21) in the Mariana Matamoros area of Tijuana has had problems with a drainage canal right next to it since the school was founded 25 years ago, and on Tuesday federal and state officials were there to try to mitigate the problem. A concrete barrier was being placed atop the canal to try to cut the odor and also to prevent the homeless and criminal elements from sleeping on the edges on the canal near the school and use it as a base to threaten students.
At the school yesterday were federal Social Development Ministry representative Carlos Torres, Education Minister Javier Santillán and Deputy Arcelia Galarza of the National Action Party. Story in Frontera (PDF). Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Four Tijuana police officers are being investigated by city official Yolanda Enriquez de la Fuente in the alleged beating of a suspect on Jan. 16. The incident was recorded by a video camera that arrived to authorities anonymously. Story, Frontera (PDF).
A Canadian woman from Calgary was found beaten unconscious in an elevator at a Mazatlán resort and was placed in a medically induced coma.
Story, Globe and Mail.
Meanwhile, two 18-year-old Mexicans were arrested in the slaying of a Canadian man south of Puerto Vallarta. Story, Globe and Mail.
Update, Jan. 25: Globe and Mail writes followup story entitled: "A vacation to sunny Mexico? Safety-wise, you could do a lot worse."
Update, Jan. 27: Canadian couple tell horror story about being beaten last year in Mazatlán. Reforma story, in Frontera (PDF).
National Action Party Baja California Senate candidates Ernesto Ruffo and Víctor Hermosillo have placed a Batman-themed cartoon video on YouTube. To the tune of the 1960s Batman music, they promise to be a dynamic duo for Baja California. Ruffo is a former governor; Hermosillo a former Mexicali mayor. YouTube video link.
Whom they'll face July 1.
Their candidacies announced.
A National Action Party commission has voted to expel Tijuana councilman José Valenzuela Montañez from the party because he has not been voting in coordination with other PAN members on the council, Frontera reported on its political page. The paper said he did not show up for any of four meetings he was called to by the commission. Councilman Ricardo Franco Cázarez was suspended for a year as a warning for the way he has been acting. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Columnist Leo Zuckermann said the Institutional Revolutionary Party's break with teacher union leader Elba Esther Gordillo's New Alliance Party came not because of her unpopularity but because the terms of the alliance angered too many PRI legislative hopefuls. Zuckermann's column was entitled "Can Peña control the PRI?" The alliance was formed during the PRI presidency of Humberto Moreira, who left office in December following a debt scandal that started during his gubernatorial term in Coahuila. Zuckermann's column (PDF)
Sunday's story on the break.
Update, Jan. 25: Rubén Aguilar's take on the coalition break (PDF).
The Mexican humor columnist Catón, who wrote a funny verse about National Action Party presidential hopeful Ernesto Cordero last week, has another Monday on "Peña Nieto breaks with party of
Elba Esther Gordillo":
The man of the gel and comb
announced it informally from his PRI stirrup.
I think that from that PANAL honeycomb
nobody now wants the syrup.
PANAL, which stands for New Alliance Party, also means honeycomb.
The original (and far better) Spanish version (PDF)
Update, Jan. 26: Gordillo influence-influenza cartoon (PDF, in Frontera)
Update, Jan. 30: More Catón: "The PANAL will present its own candidate"
According to what we have taken note,
The unknown candidate that the PANAL will feature
Will get, in addition to his own vote,
Perhaps that of the Teacher*.
Elba Esther Gordillo is also known as La Maestra*, or the Teacher.
The original, and much better, Spanish version of Caton's verse.
The military killed Luis "El Arqui" Alberto Sarabia in Durango state on Friday, authorities said. They said he was the brother of Felipe "El Inge" Cabrera Sarabia, who was detained in December.
Monday's story, in El Mexicano (PDF).
The Institutional Revolutionary Party has ended its electoral alliance with teacher union leader Elba Esther Gordillo's New Alliance Party for the July 1 election, PRI leader Pedro Joaquín Coldwell said. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Each party will now field its own candidates in states where they had agreed to field joint candidates, Coldwell said.
Populist presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador says the break in relations between presidential frontrunner Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party and Gordillo is for show. He said the PRI had agreed to give her control of the Education Ministry if Peña Nieto wins the presidency. López Obrador said if the PANAL nominates its own candidate, it will be one that helps Peña Nieto, just as the PANAL ran a candidate in 2006 that helped its then ally, Felipe Calderón of the National Action Party. Story in Frontera (PDF).
In December, the head of the PRI, who had strong ties to Gordillo, resigned as a result of a debt scandal that occurred when he was governor of Coahuila state. The PRI leadership has since been completely reconstituted by new PRI leader Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, who succeeded Humberto Moreira, whose brother Rubén now is governor of Coahuila.
Story on new PRI leadership, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Story on now-dismantled PRI-PANAL electoral alliance.
Leo Zuckermann's Nov. 28 column on costs of alliance.
Summer stories on Gordillo.
Ranchera singing king Vicente Fernández, at a concert in León, Guanajuato, said he and his son, Vicente Fernández Jr., long ago forgave the son's kidnapper, Heriberto
"Gordo" Norzagaray Beltrán. "The authorities should do their work, my son and I long ago forgave," said Fernández, who spent some of his teenage years in Tijuana. The kidnapper amputated two of Fernández Jr.'s fingers. Story in Frontera (PDF).
L.A. Times 1999 story on Fernández and kidnapping.
President Felipe Calderón on Friday launched a Border Economic Zone for Baja California, Baja California Sur and part of Sonora. Tariffs will be removed on 200 or more products, with the idea that Mexicans will buy those goods in Mexico rather than crossing the border to do so.
Business interests had been hoping that Calderón would launch a Strategic Economic Zone during a visit to Baja California in August. The Border Economic Zone may be expanded in the future to provide tax breaks and incentives for businesses to invest on the Mexican side of the border.
During a visit to Tijuana last week, National Action Party presidential hopeful Josefina Vázquez Mota said she favored the Strategic Economic Zone. On Thursday, another PAN presidential hopeful, seen as Calderón's chosen candidate, also said he favored the zone.
Story, San Diego Union-Tribune. Story, Frontera (PDF). Jump. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump. Chamber president lauds zone: Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, Jan. 27: Business leaders and chamber president now say the zone will not be as helpful as they thought it might be at first. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Zeta, in its Jan. 27 edition (not online until next week) called the free trade area "Calderón's trick."
Update, Jan. 28: Columnist Cosme Collignon says the zone doesn't amount to much, and calls the president Lipe instead of Felipe because he says the citizenry has lost the "Fe" in him (lost "faith" in him). Collignon's column (PDF).
The Mexico City mayor's race is shaping up. Last week, the National Action Party named from on high as its candidate anti-kidnapping activist Isabel Miranda de Wallace (right). It appears that former Mexico City prosecutor Miguel Mancera (left) will be the Democratic Revolution Party's candidate following a poll of party supporters over the weekend. Neither are members of the parties they would represent. The Institutional Revolutionary Party is going with Beatriz Paredes (right), who lost the race for the post to Marcelo Ebrard in 2006.
Columnist Leo Zuckermann writes that he thinks the PRI acted too hastily in nominating Paredes, a former party leader, former Tlaxcala governor and PRI congressional leader. Zuckermann said an El Universal poll this week put Mancera at 36% and both Wallace and Paredes at 23%.
Zuckermann's column (PDF). The column (HTML).
Sergio Sarmiento discusses Mancera's background (PDF), including his defense of then-Mayor Andrés Manuel López Obrador when there were legal machinations afoot to remove the mayor from office. Mancera would be the candidate of the PRD, the Workers Party and the Citizens Movement. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Federal Deputy Jorge Kahwagi, a former professional boxer and a former Green Party politician whose father has strong connections with Mexico's elite, has registered to run for the Senate nomination for the New Alliance Party in Baja California. He only recently established residency in Mexicali, one PANAL official said. Another, however, said he had a home in Rosarito.
<<<Rest of story>>>
Story, Frontera (PDF).
The newly formed Comité Pro Defensa
del Patrimonio de Tijuana (Committee in Defense of Tijuana's Heritage) held a media conference on the razed site of the old Tijuana police headquarters to oppose the sale of the land. About 60 attended, Frontera reported. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Photos of the razed site being cleared.
The New York Times on Thursday reported on Mexico's drug war shift away from the border into Veracruz, Guadalajara and elsewhere. The story is entitled: "Mexico’s Drug War Bloodies Areas Thought Safe." It quotes David Shirk, director of the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego, as saying: "There has been a definite shift of violence away from the border and back to the interior states." Story, New York Times.
National Action Party presidential hopeful Josefina Vázquez Mota, in a radio interview, gave answers unrelated to the questions she was asked. El Universal story, in Frontera (PDF). Her campaign team said she was tired because she had stayed up 48 hours straight preparing for the PAN presidential debate on Tuesday. On Friday in Tijuana, she had said she was ready for the debate.
Columnist Leo Zuckermann writes Wednesday that it will be very difficult for populist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador and likely National Action Party candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota to close the gap with the frontrunner in Mexico's presidential race, former Mexico state Gov. Enrique Peña Nieto. Zuckermann says time will be limited, as the campaign for the July 1 election does not start officially until March 29. Now that negative campaign ads are prohibited in Mexico, Zuckermann said, it will be very difficult to make up the difference. He said he did not think López Obrador, 30 points behind Peña Nieto, had anything more to pull out of the hat. Zuckermann said he did not think debates would alter the scenario much. He did say Vázquez Mota's hope might be to link the PRI with organized crime, and for President Felipe Calderón's PAN government to arrest a major PRI politician on charges of colluding with organized crime. She also would need to get a lion's share of the women's vote, Zuckermann indicated.
Zuckermann's column (PDF).
The three contenders for the National Action Party debated on Tuesday. Former finance minister Ernesto Cordero said he, with his direction of the economy, was the pilot of the plane and that aspirants Josefina Vázquez Mota and Santiago Creel were mere passengers. Vázquez Mota pointed out that she was highly qualified to direct the ship of state with her government and business background. All said afterward they thought they had won the debate. The debate did not appear to be a game-changer.
Story, El Universal. Story, Frontera (PDF).
The Mexican humor Catón, writing in his Manganitas column, has a little rhyming verse about Ernesto Cordero's quest to become the National Action Party presidential candidate. Cordero is seen as President Felipe Calderón's choice, but is behind Josefina Vázquez Mota and Santiago Creel in voter surveys leading up to the PAN's Feb. 5 election.
"Cordero in last place in polls"
At times he seems disjointed
and sometimes he seems licked.
It may be that the 'anointed'
just won't be picked.
Catón's poem, in Spanish (PDF, in Frontera)
Story about Vázquez Mota's visit to Tijuana last week.
Cordero is to visit Tijuana on Thursday, Jan. 19. Mention, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Jan. 19: Story on Cordero visit.
Feminist archaeologist Elizabeth Brumfiel, who studied Aztec culture, has died of cancer at an Illinois hospice at age 66. In 2008, she was lead curator for "The Aztec World" at Chicago's Field Museum and in 2007, she was awarded the Eagle Warrior Prize by the Mexican village of Xaltocan, Tribune newspapers reported. Story, Los Angeles Times. Original Chicago Tribune story with reference to her husband saying she was the real deal, compared with Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones).
AnthropologyReport.com listing of posts about her.
Northwestern University news about her death.
The New York Times writes Tuesday about students who live in Tijuana but attend public schools in San Diego County illegally. As often occurs with such stories, it has attracted a huge number of reader comments. Story, New York Times.
The newspaper Zeta and El Mexicano columnist Antonio Heras have reported that El Mexicano newspaper has been pressured to stop running columns by Jaime Flores Martínez. Flores Martínez writes the Cicuta (Hemlock) column, which has sometimes broken stories and sometimes published items that have not been verified.
El Mexicano ran a column-length letter to the editor (PDF) from the city in December outlining inaccuracies in a Cicuta column. Heras, who said he has worked with Flores Martínez for more than 20 years, said city official Antonio Cano Jiménez has pressured El Mexicano and a radio station to stop running Flores Martínez's work. Heras's column.
Update, Jan. 20: El Mexicano runs Cicuta column titled "Caño", which can mean pipe, spout, or gutter. Cano means gray- or white-haired. Column writer Jaime Flores Martínez writes: "Cano would never dare to exercise pressure for Cicuta's removal from this publishing house for his constant criticism of the mayor." Flores Martínez says some of what he referred to as Cano's dozens of detractors call him Caño. The Cicuta column.
Update, Jan. 23: Flores Martínez, in what he says is his last column (PDF) dealing with Cano, says he does not think Mayor Carlos Bustamante was behind any conspiracy against the Cicuta column. Flores Martínez also praises his boss, Eligio Valencia Roque, for gaining the Institutional Revolutionary Party Senate nomination on Jan. 21.
Update, Feb. 9: Cano, interviewed at border mayor's conference in Tijuana, said he is a strong believer in freedom of the press and never pressured anyone to curtail Flores Martínez's work. He said the allegations against him may be related to a separate issue that has little or nothing to do with journalism.
The Tijuana newspaper El Mexicano's editorials on Tuesday dealt with deadly issues. In one, the paper criticizes the Mexican comedian El Plantanito, also known as Sergio Verduzco, for making incredibly tasteless jokes about the children who died in the 2009 day-care center fire in Hermosillo. It also laments the lack of state action in helping parents of disappeared victims find the remains of their loved ones. The paper said Fernando Ocegueda Flores,
president of the Association of the United for the Disappeared of Baja California, said members were disposed to forgive kidnappers who would say where the remains of the disappeared are. Editorials, El Mexicano (PDF).
Story on clown, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Jan. 25: Frontera story on United for the Disappeared group's complaints (PDF).
The Los Angeles Times on Monday ran a moving guest column about the donation of the organs of a young Mexican man who suffered a brain aneurysm. Guest column by Robert Lanz, a retired clinical social worker who worked the night shift for 30 years at Huntington Hospital's emergency room in Pasadena.
Los Angeles Times' Readers' Representative Deirdre Edgar, responding to a reader, said the Los Angeles Times should not have left the tilde out of Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate Enrique Peña Nieto's name in a recent story. She quoted Assistant Managing Editor Henry Fuhrmann, who directs the paper's style committee, as saying: "Here, with a major political figure and potential future president of Mexico, it should have been easy to establish what's appropriate. We'll use 'Peña' henceforth."
Peña can mean rock, cliff, or group; Pena can mean pain, punishment or sadness.
Reader's Representative item, L.A. Times
Salvadoran-American analyst Carlos Rajo, who now is based in Mexico City, told the Enfoque Spanish-language news talk program that GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich seems to be the only Republican candidate who realizes how Republicans will need the Latino vote in the future. Rajo spoke after Gingrich was interviewed on the program by Telemundo journalist Jorge Díaz-Balart. Gingrich's remarks were translated into Spanish. Rajo said that Gingrich sees that Republicans will need 40% of the Hispanic vote to win future presidential elections and that Republicans will need to take less harsh positions on immigration to do so. The program aired six days before the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary.
Link to Rajo's commentary. Link to Gingrich interview.
Link to Rajo's blog.
Previous item on Gingrich and immigration.
Columnist Sergio Sarmiento says the National Action Party returned to the use of the dedazo to name Isabel Miranda de Wallace as its candidate for Mexico City mayor. She is the mother of a businessman who was kidnapped and killed; by force of will, she was able to bring the kidnappers to justice. Isabel Miranda de Wallace is a former teacher, president of Alto al Secuestro (Stop Kidnapping) and winner of the 2010 National Human Rights Prize.
Sarmiento indicated that she likely would not win nor likely would have the ability to govern, but could still keep the PAN relatively competitive in the capital. The on-high decision by the national PAN leadership to name her the candidate — she is not a member of a political party — leaves longtime PAN aspirants for the nomination out in the cold.
On Friday, PAN presidential hopeful Josefina Vázquez Mota strongly backed the choice of Isabel Miranda de Wallace, saying many nationally known figures in the PAN started out as citizen activists. Vázquez Mota noted that she herself started out as a PAN legislator before formally becoming a PANista.
The Democratic Revolution Party is to select its candidate through a poll this weekend. Beatriz Paredes may again be the Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate.
Sarmiento's column (PDF).
Editorial saying her nomination appears to be a mistake, El Mexicano (PDF).
Eduardo Ruiz Healy writes of what he calls "The anti-democratic imposition of Isabel" (PDF)
Update, Jan. 17: Ruiz Healy says PRI, PRD fear Isabel Miranda de Wallace candidacy.
Update, Jan. 19: Baja California analyst Victor Espinoza examines her nomination (Frontera, PDF).
Education Minister Alonso Lujambio has flown to Arkansas to receive bone-marrow cancer treatment. Lujambio was a PAN presidential hopeful before dropping out of the race in August. He made a big swing in Tijuana in March.
The Mexican government released a death toll for the drug war, saying more than 12,000 had been killed during the first nine months of 2011. Those figures and other compilations likely put the toll since President Calderón took office at more than 50,000. Some disputed the government figures, indicating they were low.
Los Angeles Times: "Mexico government sought to withhold drug war death statistics"
New York Times: "Mexico Updates Death Toll in Drug War to 47,515, but Critics Dispute the Data"
Story, Frontera (PDF). Mexicali has 8 slayings in 2012 (PDF)
Story, El Mexicano, along with story on U.S. Ambassador Anthony Earl Wayne calling Mexican police and service members who have died in drug fight "heroes." PDF. Jump.
Update, Jan. 13: Interior Minister Alejandro Poiré, in visit to Mexico, defends accuracy of death toll count of 47,515, says U.S. cocaine market is $35 billion.
Story, Frontera (PDF). Story on visit, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Mexico's Central Bank reported that remittances rose 6.9% in 2011, to $22.7 billion, the first significant increase since 2006. Story, Los Angeles Times.
New polls show Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate Enrique Peña Nieto holding a big lead despite his missteps last month. <<<Rest of story>>>
Mexican actress Kate del Castillo is asking the world's wanted drug trafficker, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, to give up crime and begin acting for the good of Mexico and to become a hero by trying to find answers to medical maladies. Story in El Mexicano (PDF).
Guzmán was named the world's most powerful trafficker by the U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday. Story, MSNBC.
Mexican central bank head Agustín Carstens has been named central banker of the year by the magazine The Banker. It wrote: "Mexico's good macroeconomic fundamentals, coupled with the flexibility of its exchange rate and a strong banking system, have helped the country sail through the period of heavy turbulence of the past year, says Mr Carstens."
Story in Frontera (PDF).
The National Human Rights Commission issued a preliminary report faulting authorities' actions in the Dec. 12 incident that caused the deaths of two student protesters and a gas station attendant in Guerrero state. It indicates authorities overreacted by firing on students, who were protesting cutbacks at a school in Ayotzinapa that trains students to teach in rural areas. Students also were apparently beaten and tortured.
Columnist Sergio Sarmiento, however, indicated that the commission also should have addressed authorities' inaction prior to the fatal conflict. He said authorities' allowing students to block highways, seize buses, take over toll booths and extort drivers for money helped set the stage for the deaths and should be addressed.
Column, Sergio Sarmiento, in Frontera (PDF).
Previous Sarmiento column on the underlying issues involving schools for training rural teachers, including student demands for more training slots, lower entry requirements and lifetime employment for graduates.
Rights commission press release on report (PDF).
Columnist Oscar Genel says now that the old police headquarters has been torn down, all that can be down is to make sure the sale of the property was done so that the people of Tijuana benefit the most. He notes that many buildings in Tijuana today are built on the sites of former buildings, noting that a house of prostitution once stood on the property that now is home to the Tijuana Cultural Center. His column, Frontera (PDF) (Jan. 10).
In fact, his column was apparently so good, Frontera ran it a second consecutive day! Column, Frontera (Jan. 11)
Previous mention of demolition
Authorities in Tijuana paid for two buses to take 88 deported Mexicans closer to their homes. The buses are headed for Guadalajara; some of those deported may get off before at locations near their homes. Last month, 44 deported Mexicans were placed on a bus to get them closer to home. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Last month's story.
The Tijuana Xolos soccer team sponsored by gubernatorial hopeful Jorge Hank Rhon's Caliente group salvaged a tie in their game Friday against Morelia, but they need wins to avoid being relegated back to the lower division.
MexicoPerspective table, story, on relegation race
Frontera newspaper writes about Las Memorias HIV-AIDS center's 13 years in operation in Tijuana. Archbishop Rafael Romo Muñoz celebrated a Mass and invited people infected with AIDS to approach the Catholic church. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Former Monterrey Rayados goalie Omar "El Gato" Ortiz has been detained by authorities on suspicion of belonging to a kidnapping gang, media reported. The much-tattooed Ortiz was suspended from playing for two years in April 2010 as a result of drug testing violations. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Jan. 10: Follow-up story on his possible involvement in express kidnappings of soccer players. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Jan. 10: Professional wrestler "Estrella Dorada" arrested in Nuevo León kidnapping case. Story, Frontera (PDF).
The national Human Rights Commission reports 75 journalists killed in Mexico since 2000., including nine in 2011. Story in Frontera (PDF). Rights commission press release (PDF). The number did not include Raúl Régulo Garza Quirino, 30, a reporter for La última
Palabra killed Friday in Cadereyta Jiménez, 50 kilometers north of Monterrey. He also worked for a government social development agency, and was killed by gunmen who chased his vehicle after he left city hall in what media reported may have been a case of mistaken identity. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Miguel Mancera, the Mexico City prosecutor, resigned Friday to run for the Democratic Revolution Party's nomination for mayor. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Former President Ernesto Zedillo has claimed immunity in a case brought against him in Connecticut involving the 1997 massacre of 45 people in Acteal, Chiapas. Zedillo also denied having any responsibility for the massacre by a paramilitary group in a court filing, The Associated Press reported. Zedillo, president from 1994-2000, now teaches at Yale in New Haven, Conn. Story in Frontera (PDF).
Update, Jan. 8: Follow-up story in Frontera (PDF).
Update, Jan.11: Foreign Ministry backs Zedillo's right to immunity (Frontera, PDF). El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
• Baltasar "El Mataperros" Saucedo Estrada, who was arrested Thursday, has admitting involvement in the killings of the police chief in Santa Catarina and Nuevo León state security and intelligence director Homero Salcido, authorities said. He is alleged to have directed the Aug. 25 arson of the Casino Royale in Monterrey that killed 52 people and to have been outside the casino watching as the fire was set. Authorities said Saucedo's higher-ups in the Zetas told him to set the fire because the owner of the Casino Royale was not meeting the criminal group's extortion demands. Story, Frontera (PDF).
• Durango state authorities said a decapitated body is that of Santiago Papasquiaro judge José Manuel Garay Martínez, who was forcibly removed from his home by an armed group Dec. 31. Story, Frontera (PDF).
• Former Tijuana policeman Omar Cabrera Bengochea, 32, was arrested, and alleged to have worked with "El Muletas." He was alleged to have provided security for Alfredo Arteaga, also known as "El Aquiles." "El Muletas," Raydel López Uriarte, was known for kidnapping and torturing victims, and was arrested in 2010. Cabrera served with the police force from 1999-2008. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Jan. 8: Two others linked to "El Muletas" are arrested in Mexicali. They were identified as Gilberto Llorenz Leyva, 23, and Edgar Vicente Escobar Rodríguez, 27. Escobar, reportedly married to a cousin of "El Muletas," was driving a stolen BMW, Frontera reported. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Jan. 10: Frontera updates story to say Escobar is linked to the slayings of two Tijuana police.
Update, Jan. 8: Three were arrested with $30,000 in their possession in Tijuana's Zona Norte after being pulled over for speeding, officials say. Story, Frontera (PDF).
El Mexicano newspaper vendor Rosa
Romero Hernández, 60, originally from Oaxaca state, was run over by a cement mixer around 9:30 a.m. Friday near the Otay Mesa border crossing. She was run over on Bellas Artes boulevard and José Salvatierra avenue. The driver was identified as Esteban Ortega Robles,
46, who was in a yellow Concretos T y G cement mixer that did not have license plates, the paper said. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
MSNBC reported Friday on Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's family ties to Mexico. He has many Mormon relatives in northern Mexico, and his father was born there. His father's family left Mexico during the chaos of the 1910-1920 Mexican Revolution. The story said Romney's ancestors left the United States for Mexico in the first place to avoid prosecution for polygamy.
The story is based on a TV report that will air on NBC's Rock Center on Monday. Story, MSNBC.
San Diego Union-Tribune writes about Romney and his home in La Jolla. Story says he worships at Mormon church in Pacific Beach. Many wealthy Mexicans also own homes in La Jolla.
Update, Jan. 17: New York Times reviews the book "The Real Romney" by Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman. They say that while Romney, in his book "Turnaround," wrote about his great-grandfather Miles's journey to Mexico in the 1880s, there was "no mention of Miles's multiple wives or his perilous assignment to create a sanctuary for polygamy across the border." Story, New York Times.
Columnist Benedicto Ruiz says a proposed but rejected Jan. 15 non-binding survey of PANistas' presidential preferences was an attempt by President Felipe Calderón to eliminate Santiago Creel from the race to set up a two-way contest Feb. 5 between Josefina Vázquez Mota and Calderón's preferred candidate, Ernesto Cordero.
Ruiz's column, Frontera (PDF).
Thursday's story on the issue.
A Three Kings parade was held in Tijuana on Thursday, sponsored by Senate hopeful María Elvia de Hank, the wife of former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon. Both were in the parade. It was the first held in Tijuana for several years. Families lined up afterward to receive gifts, including a rosca de reyes (king's cake traditionally eaten on Jan. 6)
Photos, El Mexicano (PDF.) Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump. Photo, Frontera (PDF). Rosca de Reyes ad from Soriana (PDF)
Previous mention of parade.
She is one of 16 apparently interested candidates for the Senate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party for Baja California (Political page, Frontera, Jan. 6).
María Elvia de Hank touted as Senate candidate.
Hank plans to run for governor of Baja California next year.
Update, Jan. 7: María Elvia de Hank says she will seek PRI Senate nomination if she finds she has voter support to do so. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Her possible candidacy is mentioned on Joaquín López-Doriga's national TV news show. Item, Frontera (PDF).
Frontera ran a list of 16 PRI Senate hopefuls for the July 1 election. They are:
• René Mendívil Acosta, state head of the PRI
• Nancy Sánchez, state legislator from Mexicali
• David Saúl Guakil, Tijuana's social development agency chief
• María Elvia de Hank, wife of former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon (2004-2007)
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Frontera reports on a change in the concessionaire for the Tecate-Tijuana railway and outlined reported problems with the line, including labor woes, high fees that may have driven away customers and subcontracting complications. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Jan. 10: Zeta reports that Carrizo Borge Railways Inc. lost its concession for the rail line last month to businessman Dimas Campos, who it said contributed a large amount of money to Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán's successful 2007 campaign. Story, Zeta.
Update, Jan. 12: Six companies are hurting because Tecate-Tijuana rail service has been suspended, Frontera reports. (PDF)
The bodies of University of British Columbia student Carmen Ximena Osegueda Magana and her boyfriend, Alejandro Honorio Santamaria, were found partially buried, stabbed and burned on a beach in Huatulco, Oaxaca. The car they were using was found in Oaxaca City, more than 200 miles away. They had gone missing Dec. 14. The Canadian Press said she was specializing in colonial Latin American literature, focusing on Mexico. A memorial service will be held in Vancouver on Saturday.
In another Mexico killing involving a British Columbia resident, Robin Wood of Salt Spring Island was slain when he tried to prevent the robbery of a friend's home in Melaque, south of Puerto Vallarta.
Story, Canadian Press.
Benjamín Arellano Félix, the financial brains of the Arellano Félix, or Tijuana, cartel, pleaded guilty to racketeering and money-laundering conspiracy charges in federal court in San Diego and is to get a sentence no longer than 25 years. Arellano Félix, 58, was arrested in Puebla in 2002 and extradited to the U.S. in 2007. He still has nine years left on his Mexico sentence. It was unclear why the plea deal was reached; his sentencing hearing is planned for April. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that almost all evidence against Arellano Félix was through testimony.
Javier Arellano Félix was sentenced to life in prison in 2007.
University of San Diego lecturer Nathan Jones, in a piece written for insightcrime.org in July, predicted that Arellano would make a plea bargain. The Associated Press reported that Arellano said he had been suffering migraine headaches but that that did not influence his position on taking the plea bargain.
Story, Frontera (PDF). Story, Los Angeles Times. Story, San Diego Union-Tribune.
December story on Benjamín Arellano Felix offered plea deal.
Update, Jan. 6: DEA official says guilty plea shows end of Arellano Félix cartel as "we knew it." Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Update, Jan. 7: Baja California Attorney General Rommel Moreno says remnant of Arellano Félix cartel, although badly weakened, is not finished yet. Story, Frontera (PDF). Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Thirty-one inmates died and 13 were wounded in a prison riot in Altamira Tamaulipas state. Officials said prisoners in block 11 entered block 12, starting the riot. Media reported the conflict as being Zeta and Gulf cartel members. The prison has a capacity of about 2,000 prisoners, including female inmates, officials said. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Jan. 6: Story, Frontera (PDF).
The Tijuana diocese magazine Presencia says Padre Raymundo Figueroa Pérez, who engaged in a protracted battle with Tijuana Archbishop Rafael Romo Muñoz, has been informed by the Vatican that he no longer can perform religious rites. Padre Raymundo had tried to continue to perform duties at Santísima Trinidad, a Rosarito Beach church, in defiance of Romo until he and his supporters were finally ousted last year. The notice was given in Presencia's Jan. 1-7 edition, Frontera reported.
In 2009, Romo told Padre Raymundo he was being transferred to another parish after he celebrated Mass against orders during the AH1N1 swine-flu epidemic, Frontera reported. Romo also said Padre Raymundo had committed other infractions. Padre Raymundo told Frontera this week that he had received no notice from the Vatican yet. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Jan. 8: Padre Raymundo says he will continue to serve at a site in Rosarito where catechism classes and other religious activities are performed. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Jan. 10: Frontera reports that Padre Raymundo has been celebrating Mass in a lot next to the church in question since March. Story, Frontera (PDF).
The three National Action Party presidential candidates will hold a debate before the party's Feb. 5 internal election. It also was decided not to hold a non-binding survey (consulta indicativa) of party members' presidential preferences on Jan. 15 ahead of the Feb. 5 election; candidates Josefina Vázquez Mota and Santiago Creel seemed to see it as a ploy to help out Ernesto Cordero, who is trailing in the polls and seen as President Felipe Calderón's favorite. The proposed Jan. 15 survey would have been part of a poll by PANistas voting for who they want to be the party's at-large (plurinominal) congressional candidates. Story, Frontera (PDF). Jan. 4 story, El Universal.
Update, Jan. 6: Columnist Benedicto Ruiz says non-binding survey was attempt to show Creel was in third place and get him out of race, setting up two-way race between Vázquez Mota and Cordero on Feb. 5. Column, Frontera.
Update, Jan. 6: Vázquez Mota, Creel say they are glad non-binding survey is not being held; Cordero says he thought it would have been useful. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Jan. 6: Vázquez Mota to be in Tijuana on Jan. 13. Mention, Frontera (PDF). Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Some in France are opposing French President Nicolas Sarkozy's naming Mexican actress Salma Hayek a knight of the Legion of Honor. Hayek is married to French billionaire businessman Francois-Henri Pinault, a close friend of Sarkozy. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Story, Telegraph.co.uk
The Baja California state human rights office is looking into a teacher's alleged ridicule of students at a telesecundaria in Rosarito Beach, where rural middle school students do much of their learning through video lessons. The teacher allegedly told students at Telesecundaria No. 18 "Wa-kuatay" that they smelled and were dirty and were not worthy of being taught. The teacher has been moved to Telesecundaria No. 17 in the ejido Maclovia Rojas in Tijuana, but the rights office wants the state education department to formally investigate her. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Update, Feb. 2: Rights office says teacher is still teaching. Sotry, Frontera (PDF).
Last month, a social development worker in Michoacan state who worked with indigenous women lost his job after he wrote on Facebook about how bad he thought the women smelled. Story, Frontera (PDF).
35% of women who give birth in Baja California are ages 16-19, the state health minister, José Guadalupe Bustamante, said while visiting newborns in Tijuana on New Year's Day. Story, Frontera (PDF). He and Carmina Capuchino, the wife of Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, visited newborns in the Hospital General de Tijuana and handed out baskets full of goods for babies to new mothers. Capuchino lamented that so many new mothers are so young, many of them unmarried.
Thirty baskets for newborns also were handed out Sunday by Tijuana's first lady, Carolina Bustamante, the daughter of Mayor Carlos Bustamante. She heads the city family agency, while Capuchino heads the state's family agency.
The first baby of the year for Tijuana, Evelyn Arteaga Rosales, was born at 3 a.m. at the Hospital General. The mother, Anayeli de Jesús Rosales, 19, is married to Blanco con Azul bus driver Oscar Arteaga Guerrero; they live in
Santa Fe. Other mothers with newborns in the maternity ward were Mayra Alejandra, 16, Blanca Mirella Zamorano Equihua, 20, and Joselyn Grisel Ortega Campos, 17. Story, Frontera (PDF). Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
At 6:05 and 6:06 a.m., the first twins of the year in Tijuana were delivered via Caesarian section at the IMSS Clinic No. 1 to Marisela or Marisol Robles Olvera, 27. One weighed two kilos 60 grams (4 pounds 8.66 ounces) and the other 1 kilo 900 grams (4 pounds 3 ounces).
There were discrepancies in the Frontera and El Mexicano stories: Frontera said the mother of the twins was Marisol, while El Mexicano said she was Marisela; Frontera said the first baby was Evelyn, while El Mexicano's headline said the first babies were the twins, although one of its stories said Evelyn was born earlier.
Update, Jan. 3: First baby born in Rosarito is Ana Celeste Preciado Alfaro, born Jan. 2. She is the daughter of Julio César Preciado Romero, 19, and Ana Gladys Alfaro Pérez, 17, of Tijuana. They married a year and a half ago, El Mexicano reported. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, Jan. 6: First in-vitro baby of year born in Ensenada on Jan. 2. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, Jan. 23: Bustamante says that of 22,600 born in Baja California state hospitals each year, 30-35% are of mothers ages 16-19. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
March 23 also will be the 18th anniversary of the assassination of PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio in Tijuana.