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Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Reports of Human Rights Abuses in Sinaloa as Black Hawk Helicopters Hunt for Rafael Caro Quintero

The Mexican government is on the hunt for the notorious drug kingpin Rafael Caro Quintero.  Dozens of elite members of Mexico’s armed forces have laid siege to a large area deep in the sierras, surrounding the Sinaloan villages of La Noria, Las Juntas, Babunica and Bamopa, with locals complaining of systematic human rights abuses.

Rafael Caro, 65, has been on the run for five years, and is something of a legend in Sinaloa. Back in the 1970s he controlled the now-defunct Guadalajara Cartel, but ran afoul of US authorities for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping and murder of DEA agent Enrique (“Kiki”) Camarena Salazar. Then in 2013, a state court in Jalisco released Caro on a technicality – possibly as a result of a corrupt process – thus enraging the US government. He is now wanted in both the US and Mexico.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Fractured Sinaloa Cartel creates mountain ghost towns

The Sinaloa Cartel, believed to be one of the most powerful criminal organizations in the world, is no longer at war with itself, but it is struggling to re-organize after internal strife and continued pressure from the Mexican government.
"El Vic" in custody

The result is that the security situation in rural Sinaloa has fallen apart. The circumstances are particularly grave in the municipality of Concordia, in the Sierra Madre Occidental, with mines closing and hundreds of people fleeing their villages due to threats from drug traffickers. Many of these villages are now completely vacant ghost towns.

This is happening as the Sinaloa Cartel struggles to recover from a breakdown that began while its leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was on the run, and that accelerated with his detention on January, 2016. By the time of his extradition to the United States, one year later, the leadership vacuum was complete.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

A Journey to the Zone of Silence

There’s an area in the Chihuahuan desert in northern Mexico where radio signals don’t work, and compasses spin out of control when placed near stones on the ground. It’s called the Zone of Silence. It measures only 50 kilometers across, and it is located in the Mapimí Biosphere Reserve, a huge, mostly uninhabited expanse of almost 400,000 hectares, where the flat and desolate terrain is interspersed with lonely mountain outcrops.
Horses and 'Venus' build site at the Palacios ranch.
“The Zone is my passion,” Benjamin Palacios says as we bounce through the area in his 4-wheel drive Suburban, surrounded by mesquite, cactus, and guamis—brilliant yellow flowers resembling buttercups. Palacios, 61, grew up in the village of Escalón, Chihuahua, on the edge of the Zone, and now has his own UFO-themed ranch on the area’s periphery.

Read full article by La politica's TE Wilson here at Atlas Obscura.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

US Citizen Kidnapped in Mazatlán México

The family has requested that this news be spread without media speculation. For that reason, La politica is posting the following unedited press release:

O’Neil Patrick McGean, an American full-time resident of Mazatlán, Sinaloa for 10 years, has been missing since Tuesday, Oct. 25 under suspicious circumstances.
O’Neil Patrick McGean
McGean was last heard from earlier that evening, as he was on his way to meet a new friend at the Hotel Punta Pacifico, at the far north end of this popular retirement and vacation destination for foreigners. His last communication was with another friend at about 8pm, saying that he was on his way.

After that, he has not been seen or heard from. The vehicle he was driving, a white Spark (license plate VRK-1996) was found by friends early Saturday morning parked on Camaron Sabalo one of the busiest streets in the center of the tourist area, near the restaurant Los Zarapes. Neighbors said it had been there for several days. It is now in police custody.

Monday, 24 October 2016

The mysterious disappearance of Shawn Ramta in Mexico City

On August 31, 2016, a Canadian man, Shawn Ramta, 34, called his wife in Canada from Mexico City. He then left his AirBnB in the upscale Polanco neighborhood to go to the gym.

He never came back.

According to Mr. Ramta’s younger sister, Sareeta Bassuta, 31, Ramta had been in Mexico City on vacation, and was due back in Canada on September 2. But when his wife went to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to get him, he wasn’t on his direct Air Canada flight.

His absence was more troubling given that his one year marriage anniversary was only a few days later, on September 5.

Mr. Ramta is believed to have arrived in Mexico City on August 10. His sister and her partner Anisan Anton were recently in the Mexican capital to try to determine his whereabouts.

“The Canadian Embassy has contacted all the jails and hospitals, and found nothing,” says Ms. Bassuta. “Beyond that, the Canadian government says the only people who can help are the Mexican authorities.”

Saturday, 3 September 2016

A Mexican newspaper owner is arrested for cartel links, and worlds collide

Members of Mexico’s Criminal Investigation Agency of the Attorney General's Office have arrested Naim Libien Tella - owner of the newspaper Diario Amanecer, and vice president of the newspaper unomásuno - for tax fraud.

Last year the US Treasury Department named Libien Tella as having business connections with Los Cuinis, which is believed to be the financial wing of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (known by its Spanish acronym, “CJNG”). As a result of these concerns, all US assets and interests of Libien Tella were frozen, and US citizens were prohibited from engaging in any business activities with him or his companies, including the newspaper Diario Amanecer and his air taxi company Aerolíneas Amanecer.
Naim Libien Tella

There is a lot of history to this story, and more than meets the eye. In 2007, Abigael González Valencia, a leader of Los Cuinis, granted power of attorney to Libien Tella to allow him to control his investment company Valgo Grupo de Inversión.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Protesters block access to Torex Gold’s Media Luna mine site in Guerrero, Mexico

At five in the morning on Thursday, March 31, members of the commission of communal property in Colula, Guerrero, blocked access to Torex Gold Resources’ (Torex) Media Luna mine site. As of this writing, it appears that the blockade continues.
Blockade at the Media Luna mine entrance (Milenio)

The protesters are from three surrounding communities, and have shut down access to the gold mine’s main entrance. They are alleging that during the initial exploration period the Canadian mining company had promised to pay compensation in excess of 500,000 pesos (C$37,500) to the surrounding towns. The company was also to make investments in social services.

The commission members argue that the mine is now well beyond the exploration stage, yet they have yet to see any compensation.