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Sunday, 16 March 2014

Chinese mine raises furor in Sinaloa, Mexico

A banner demanding justice from the governor
Twelve people from the small community of El Potrero de Cancio in the municipality of Choix, in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico, remain in jail despite a ruling demanding their release. The villagers were detained in September, 2013, after protesting against an iron mining company named Paradox Global Resources S.A. de C.V., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chinese industrial conglomerate Rizhao Xingye Import & Export Co.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Mazatlán’s carnival marred by shooting in Plazuela Machado

One of the Machado's open air restaurants
The annual carnival in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, is billed as the third biggest party after Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans. Every year tens of thousands of revellers gather in the Pacific resort for five days of music and fun.

This year was no different, with stages lined from Olas Altas to Playa Norte. Other than the usual arrests for petty crime and public intoxication, everything was going well until early in the morning of Tuesday, March 4, when a brawl broke out at the corner of Sixto Osuna and Heriberto Frias in the Plazuela Machado in the city’s historic centre.  During the fight a young woman was shot three times and killed.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

With recent murders in Jocotepec and Ajijic, Chapala may no longer be “safe”

An American named John Paul, 67, was found dead in Jocotepec on the western shores of Lake Chapala on Thursday, February 20. Mexican authorities are treating the death as a homicide – he was found strangled, with one of his arms severed – and three arrests have been made. This comes after the murder of a Canadian couple in nearby Ajijic, also on the shores of Chapala, earlier this month, and the murder of the American Bentley Main, who was stabbed to death in Chapala in March, 2013.
 
Chapala's tranquil shores
It is stories like these that have most expats who live or stay for extended periods of time in Mexico spending a lot of time answering a single question from friends and family back home: is Mexico “safe”.

In asking the question, there is an assumption that we all know what the word means, and that we share the same definition and risk tolerance (usually falling within a range that would be acceptable at home). Not so. There is also an assumption that we assess risk more-or-less objectively. Also not so.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Arrest of El Chapo Guzman is big news in Mazatlán

The Miramar
El Chapo Guzman, head of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, was captured yesterday at a hotel in the tourist town of Mazatlan, Sinaloa. Local reports are that the arrest went peacefully, without the violent gun battles that have been the hallmark of other takedowns.

El Chapo was arrested at the Miramar on the Malecón, which rents out condos.  Much of the tourist development in that part of Mazatlan is rumoured to be financed, at least in part, by the Sinaloa cartel. Particularly north of the Golden Zone, in the Marina area, many of the newer hotel/condo complexes are only partially occupied, with cartel interests suspected of building them in order to launder money and plan for the long haul.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Canadian couple murdered in Ajijic, Mexico

Nina Discombe
Police in Ajijic, Jalisco, on the shores of Lake Chapala and about 45 minutes outside of Guadalajara, have found the bodies of a retired Canadian couple. The two were allegedly victims of an assault, the motive being robbery.

Ajijic and neighbouring Chapala are home to thousands of expat Canadian and Americans, drawn to the area because of its beautiful climate and, up until recently, its tranquility.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Embassy suspends visits to Canadian jailed in Mexico

A Mexican jail
An unclassified letter dated November 15, 2013, and obtained by La politica, has confirmed what Bruce Vigfusson, a Canadian currently serving a four-and-a-half year sentence in a Mexican jail for assault, has been saying for some time: in-person visits from Canadian embassy personnel have been suspended due to Mr. Vigfusson’s “verbally aggressive” behaviour toward a consular officer.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Liberals looking for digital professionals to crop out English

With the offending quote!
The Liberal Party of Canada is now cropping English out of photographs.

In an email blast, in English and in French, as part of its hunt for “five new digital professionals across our engagement, analytics and digital operations departments” the party has used the same photograph twice – but the English version included a quote from the Scots writer Andrew Lang, which was then cropped out of the French version.