A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.
U-T San Diego watchdog reporter Chris Moran, in a story on the paper's SD In Depth section Sunday, reports on corruption cases involving US Customs and Border Patrol. Moran reported: "Because cellphones often were used to coordinate smuggling runs with criminals, customs officers now aren't allowed to use personal cellphones while on duty at the ports of entry." He also said new Border Patrol hires can't work within 100 miles of their hometowns because "75% of those arrested for currption were working close to home."
U-T San Diego: Crossing the Line: The decade-long increase in Customs and Border Protection staff has coincided with more frequent corruption cases involving federal agency's law enforcement personnel. (Hyperlink will be provided after it becomes available)
January 2013 The Monitor report saying that Border Patrol trainees cannot initially be assigned within 100 miles of home.
New Tijuana Mayor's Jorge Astiazarán's police force is reassigning 120 police officers who were guarding politicians, public officials and business officials to now serve the general public, Tijuana media reported Thursday. The force also plans to use small drones as part of its policing activities, the media said. The drones apparently will not be able to stay up in the air very long.
Story on police being reassigned, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Drone story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Dec. 7: More comprehensive story on drones in U-T San Diego.
Former presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador suffered a heart attack Tuesday and had an angioplasty operation. He is expected to be hospitalized the next few days. Reuters reported that the peso rallied, possibly because the heart attack might prevent López Obrador from vigorously opposing President Enrique Peña Nieto's energy reform proposal. The former Mexico City mayor also has been organizing his new Morena political party, which could be a vehicle for a third presidential run for the left-of-center politician in 2018.
A recent report said Morena still needed 120,000 more people to sign up for it to become an officially recognized party. If and when it does that, it could be registering with the National Electoral Institute (INE); a proposed electoral reform would have the INE replace the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), allow the re-election of senators and federal deputies, and invalidate elections where spending limits are surpassed.
Heart-attack story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
At right, an ad where López Obrador seeks people to sign up for Morena.
Water shut off for 82 Tijuana neighborhoods
Water was shut off for 82 neighborhoods in eastern Tijuana on Tuesday so that the Otay Aqueduct
Jorge Astiazarán of Tijuana and four other mayors took office in Baja California on Sunday; all are having to deal with major debt issues. U-T San Diego's Sandra Dibble takes a look at the mayors.
Update, Dec. 3: Dibble reports on Astiazarán's inaugural address; he says crime fight is crucial.
Tijuana Mayor-elect Jorge Astiazarán, who takes office Sunday, named his cabinet on Monday. El Mexicano reported that it had a number of people seen as followers of former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon, and two holdovers from Mayor Carlos Bustamante's team.
The new police chief is career policeman Reyes Montilla López, while Alejandro Lares Valladares will head the public safety department. Remaining as head of works and urban infrastructure is Marcia Salcido Moreno and as treasurer is Marco Antonio Dueñas Soto.
Bustamante will deliver his third and last state-of-the-city address tonight. Astiazarán named his team at the Casa de Cultura auditorium. Both are members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Mexico's national soccer team beat New Zealand 4-2 on Mexican Revolution Day on Wednesday in the second game of a two-game playoff to advance to next year's World Cup in Brazil by an aggregate score of 9-3. Wednesday's game was played in Wellington, New Zealand. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Mention of first playoff game.
Update: ESPN and others reported that Miguel Herrera, interim coach for the two games against New Zealand, will coach the team at the World Cup. Herrera took a leave of absence from coaching the América team in the Liga MX to coach the national team. The story said Mexico's being in the World Cup is worth $600 million to Mexican and U.S. businesses.
Also, Televisa did a report from Rio de Janeiro, showing an electronic sign saying there were 204 days left until the World Cup began, and saying that 6,000 Mexicans lived in Brazil, with half of them in Sao Paolo and around 1,800 in Rio.
Óscar Genel, the dean of journalists in Tijuana, died at age 83 on Monday. A native of Colima state, he moved to Tijuana 60 years ago, and finished his career by being a broadcast and print commentator and book author.
In 2011, the Madrugadores de Tijuana group named him as Forjador of the Year. He also had a street named after him and a mural painted of him in Tijuana.
One of the many memorial ads published in tribute to Genel (PDF).
Feb. 23, 2012: Genel column blasts National Action Party at-large Senate nomination selections, which included a safe seat for President Felipe Calderón's sister Luisa María.
March 9, 2012: Genel, nearly a year before it happened, predicted downfall of teachers union leader Elba Esther Gordillo.
Photo: Genel this summer displaying a book he co-wrote about Tijuana.
Update, Nov. 21: U-T San Diego has a nice story about Genel.
Tijuana Bishop Rafael Romo Muñoz said a memorial Mass for Genel was attended by 600 to 700 people Thursday evening. Romo made the remarks while apologizing for arriving late to an Archivo de Tijuana discussion about the life of Tijuana's second bishop, Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo, who later was killed in Guadalajara in 1993.
Update, Nov. 25: Tijuana's Grupo 21 breakfast group, which Genel helped co-found, dedicates a minute of silence to the late journalist. The group also once honored Genel as its man of the year.
The Grupo Jumex fruit juice company opened a modern art museum in Mexico City on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reported. Richard Fausset wrote that the museum designed by Briton David Chipperfield "is likely to do more than any other to bring a shock of the new to a city largely defined by its vast troves of pre-Columbian, colonial and 20th century masterworks."
Los Angeles Times: "Mexico City's Museo Jumex explores art's modern edge:
The new museum embarks on a modern art mission that stands apart from much of the Mexican capital's steeped-in-history collections."
Former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon said Baja Californians will just have to tighten their belts and deal with the value-added tax increase along the border coming Jan. 1. The tax is increasing from 11% to 16%, so that the value-added tax will be the same nationwide. Hank was quoted in El Mexicano as saying the tax should have been increased a dozen years ago, and that if it had been gradually phased in, it would have hurt a lot less. He said President Enrique Peña Nieto is only doing what should have been done earlier.
Hank said the increased tax revenue should help the country progress. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Quetzalli Malagón Pimentel of Ensenada has won the Swiss Cinematography Award from the International Short Film Festival Winterthur for her work on the Cuban film "Idyllium," TercerSistema.com reported. Her prize was 11,500 Swiss francs' ($12,600) worth of Nikon camera equipment.
The award jury said: "For ... camera work that allowed us to enter the fantastic world of childhood, picturing the innocence we will all have to lose, the Jury decided to award the Swiss Cinematography Award to a cinematographer with a really mature sense of composition and a strong love and respect for nature, that accompanied us through the transformations the special protagonists have to deal with."
Cineuropa.com reported that the 14-minute film directed by Denise Fernandes was a co-production between Switzerland and Cuba.
Malagón received a historical anthropology degree from the Universidad Veracruzana in Xalapa and also graduated from the the Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV in Los Baños, Cuba.
Photo from Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV. Plot summary from IMDb.
A man named Guadalupe Cervantes García was allegedly caught trafficking in undersize sea urchins in Ensenada, El Mexicano reported. He was reported to have told authorities he planned to sell them to businesswoman Ikiko Aoshima, also known as Viki. She said, however, that her high-end business would never buy undersized sea urchins or sell them to her market in Japan because it does not accept them. She said her company would have to throw out undersize sea urchins because they are not profitable.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
U.S. House speaker John Boehner said Wednesday that the House will not hold any formal compromise talks on the Senate-passed immigration reform bill this year. It was unclear what other action the House might take.
Fox News Latino: "Speaker John Boehner Closes Window On Immigration Reform This Year"
April 2013: UCSD immigration expert John Skrentny seemingly predicted the impasse.
In a key playoff game, Mexico's national soccer team beat New Zealand 5-1 in Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on Wednesday afternoon, justifying Coach Miguel Herrera's strategy of starting Mexico league players used to Mexico City's high altitude rather than playing Mexican stars from Europe. If Mexico wins or ties, or loses by three goals or less next week in New Zealand, it will be going to the World Cup next year in Brazil. It will owe its presence there in large part to the United States beating Panama last month in extra time. If the United States had not scored the tying goal, also in extra time, Panama would have been playing New Zealand in the two-game playoff instead.
Former Mexican oil union leader Joaquín "La Quina" Hernández Galicia, who was jailed by President Carlos Salinas de Gortari during the president's first year in office in 1989, died Monday at age 91.
Richard Fausset of the Los Angeles Times wrote that President Enrique Peña Nieto may have taken a page out of Salinas's notebook in jailing teachers union leader Elba Esther Gordillo this year. (It came out this week that legal maneuverings may be putting her closer to release).
The paper quoted Mexico expert George Grayson, who wrote a book about that state oil company Pemex and the oil union, as saying, "Pemex was a latrine of corruption before La Quina came in, but he turned it into a sewer of corruption. And it still is."
Los Angeles Times: "Joaquin Hernandez Galicia dies at 91; Mexican oil union boss: Joaquin Hernandez Galicia represented nearly 200,000 workers at the state-run company Pemex until he was dethroned by a president wary of his power."
Nov. 14: Gordillo seeks another injunction against her imprisonment. El Mexicano (PDF) Jump.
Nov. 13: The Economist analysis of La Quina's death.
New Baja California Health Minister Dr. Miguel Osuna Millán has been asked to require specialist doctors to work their full shifts at Ensenada General Hospital, El Mexicano newspaper reported. The paper quoted a man named Erick Pulga as saying that doctors who are supposed to work full shifts often only work three hours.
Osuna Millán, the brother of the governor succeeded by new Gov. Francisco Vega on Nov. 1, also served as a federal legislator from 2009-2012; he concentrated on health issues as a member of the Chamber of Deputies. Miguel Osuna Millán also was a backer of Vega in the contest for the National Action Party gubernatorial nomination. Osuna Millán succeeded Dr. José Bustamante as health minister.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Police often are not conducting patrols from Punta Colonet to San Quintin to El Rosario in the southern part of the municipality of Ensenada because of a lack of gasoline and vehicle maintenance issues, El Mexicano newspaper reported. It said sometimes the police are able to make their rounds if business owners buy them gasoline. It said police stations often appear abandoned, with patrol cars outside "out of service and covered in dust."
San Quintín has been seeking to become its own municipality. Although Ensenada's mayor opposed the move, the state legislature in the summer, in a move with electoral designs, voted to approve breaking San Quintín off. But then-Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán vetoed the move, saying it had not met constitutional requirements.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, Nov. 14: The Camalú district in southern Ensenada owes 18,000 pesos ($1,400) for gasoline, El Mexicano reports (PDF).
Former Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard of the Democratic Revolution Party said he plans to run for president in 2018, provided he is in good health and there is a unified left. He spoke at a conference on law at Cetys University in Mexicali, El Mexicano reported.
Ebrard conceded the 2012 nomination to Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who lost to Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Ebrard said he thought it was a mistake for the PRD to have participated in the Pacto por Mexico, where the country's three main parties agreed to work together on major legislation for the country's overall good. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Mexico has fallen to 41st out of 60 countries ranked in the Education First English Proficiency Index. It is in the low-proficiency category in the index out together by a Swiss education company, which said Mexico and Guatemala are experiencing declining English proficiency at a time when English is becoming more important than ever.
The only non-native-English-speaking Latin American country in a category higher than low-proficiency is Argentina; it is ranked 19th, in the moderate-proficiency category. Other countries in the low-proficiency category are Uruguay (29), Costa Rica (37), Brazil (38), and Peru (39). In the very low-proficiency category are Chile (44), Colombia (46), Ecuador (48), Venezuela (49), Guatemala (52) and El Salvador (53), and Panama (56).
Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands are the top-ranked non-native-English-speaking countries in English proficiency.
The report says, “Globalization, urbanization, and the internet have dramatically changed the role of English in the past 20 years. … It is increasingly becoming a basic skill needed for the entire workforce, in the same way that literacy has been transformed in the last two centuries from an elite privilege into a basic requirement for informed citizenship.”
Update, Nov. 17: Two Rosarito Beach primary schools and two preschools that are going to an extended school day will use the additional time to teach English as part of El Programa Nacional de Inglés. Story in El Mexicano (PDF).
Mexico's Agriculture Ministry has set a 20-kilo limit (44 pounds) on the personal importation of dry dog food into the country. The food must be in unopened bags, there can be no more than two bags, and the food cannot have any ruminant origin.
Border inspectors in Baja California are allowed people who are trying to bring in excess dog food to recross the border to return the dog food, Agriculture Ministry representative Guillermo Aldrete Haas told El Mexicano newspaper.
It appears that U.S. dog-food producers are now switching from 20-pound bags to 15-pound bags. A recent visit to the pet food section of a major chain store found that the new 15-pound bags were selling at a similar price to that of the previous 20-pound bags. This may effectively mean that people will not be able to come as close to the 44-pound limit as they might have when 20-pound bags were being sold.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Euromonitor report abstract saying dog food sales in Mexico expected to grow as family size decreases and dogs are treated even more as a member of the family.
Apatzingán Bishop Miguel Patiño Velázquez has fled the state for a church retreat for his personal safety after being threatened by organized crime, Mexican media reported. The bishop in a recent homily and pastoral letter fiercely criticized the level of organized crime in Apatzingán and in Michoacán state. That all this happened in Apatzingán is all the worse symbolically as Apatzingán played a key role during Mexico's war for independence.
Meanwhile, Leopoldo Jaimes Valladares was arrested in Apatzingán in connection with recent attacks against electrical stations, officials said. He was reported to have in his possession an AK-47 and ammunition, a grenade, four cellphones, a stolen vehicle and false identification saying he worked for the Attorney General's Office. Story in El Mexicano (PDF). Jump. Proceso story, in English.
Update: Although national church authorities said the bishop had fled the state and had received threats, his diocese said this was not true. Story, Diario de México. The Los Angeles Times reported that the previously scheduled retreat was in Michoacán state: "Defiant Mexican bishop denounces drug gangs, government."
Update, Nov. 14: Bishop to retire because he reached mandatory retirement age of 75 Sept. 30. Story, El Universal.
Update, Nov. 17: Los Angeles Times report on the violence in Apatzingán: "MEXICO UNDER SIEGE: Loyalties in Mexican state divided between drug cartel, vigilantes: The violent Knights Templar drug cartel is ingrained in parts of Mexico's Michoacan state, where some say vigilantes are the problem."
Bishop Miguel Patiño Velázquez of Apatzingán in Michoacán state said the municipality has experienced 920 violent deaths this year. He made the statement in his Sunday homily.
In a recent pastoral letter that other church officials said had been met with threats from organized crime groups, the bishop wrote: "The state of Michoacán has all the characteristics of a failed group, the criminal groups: Familia Michoacana, Zetas, Nueva Generación, Caballeros Templarios, in the main, fight over it as it were booty."
The 2010 Census put Apatzingán's population at 143,649.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Tijuana has recorded 465 murders this year, a state Attorney General's Office official said. Many of the deaths have been linked to the staking out of drug-peddling territories. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
The 2010 Census put Tijuana's population at 1.56 million.
Former Tijuana Mayor Francisco "Kiko" Vega was inaugurated as Baja California governor Friday night, succeeding José Guadalupe Osuna Millán. Vega, like all governors elected in the state since 1989, is a member of the National Action Party. El Mexicano's front-page headline read "Se acabaron excesos y privilegios: 'Kiko' (Excesses and privileges are over: Kiko). Story, El Mexicano. Jump.
Society page pictures of those attending the inauguration.
Los Angeles Times' reporter Molly Hennessy-Fiske, in a front-page story Friday, writes about Baylor University forensic anthropologist Lori Baker's efforts to identify the bones of migrants who have died in the desert crossing into the United States. Since 2002, Baker and a rotating team of students and scientists have "analyzed and extracted DNA from 278 sets of remains and identified 70 of them."
Story, Los Angeles Times: "Effort to ID immigrants' corpses is gratifying — and sad: Hundreds of bodies are found along the U.S.-Mexico border. Relatives are grateful for forensic anthropologist Lori Baker's work to identify them, for bones to bury and graves to visit."