Wednesday 1 February 2012

The wages of Mexico's drug war: January a violent month, children at risk, and tales of corruption

La politica es la politica will post periodic English language translations sourced from the Americas Mexico Blog.

The following come from press reports in English and Spanish:

January was the most violent month in half a year

Milenio: "During January there were 960 executions in 24 states in Mexico, representing the most violent month since July last year when 1,036 executions were committed.

In the month that ended yesterday, 55 percent of homicides related to organized crime occurred in five states, 230 were killed in Chihuahua, which has been on the top of the list for more than two years. Nuevo Leon was  in second place, accounting for 83 deaths,...doubling the 39 recorded in December.

Also, the increase in executions in the State of Mexico stands out, where they went from 18 in December to 69 in January, an increase of almost 400 percent. ... In Guerrero, 69 executions were carried out, three more than December. Despite being the third most violent state, the number in January does not come close to the 132 murders committed in October 2010.

Another of the states that had a significant increase was Michoacan, where 66 murders occurred related to organized crime.  The figure has not been as high in that state since June of last year. In Jalisco, homicides increased 115 percent over the last month of 2011, 64 deaths occurring in January, 21 of them committed on January 27.

In contrast, in Sinaloa, the number of executions fell by more than 200 percent over the previous month. 51 murders were recorded in Sinaloa, which is the lowest figure for the state since October 2009.

The most violent day of the month was recorded on January 27, when 61 people were executed in 12 states: 21 of them were committed in Jalisco, 15 in Chihuahua and more 13 more persons were killed in clashes in Veracruz, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas.

During January 35 police were killed, 19 of them were municipal police, nine were state and four were federal. Two soldiers were also killed. Also killed were 32 women, 19 minors and three people who were working as civil servants." 

Wave of cop killings forces Ciudad Juarez Police to stay in guarded hotels Austin: "Police in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez are spending their time between shifts in heavily guarded hotels after a wave of killings targeting police. Eight officers were gunned down in January. Most were off duty. The murders are the latest challenge for police chief Julian Leyzaola as he works to restore law and order in Mexico’s murder capital."

Mexican youths abducted by drug gangs, forced into lives of crime: rights groups

National Post: "Young Mexicans are being abducted from poor towns and villages and forced to work for drug gangs, rights groups say, alleging the authorities are failing to do anything to stem the problem. Stories of young people disappearing, as if swallowed up by the earth, are spreading .... Non-governmental groups in the northern states of Nuevo Leon, where Monterrey lies, as well as Coahuila and Michoacan, to the west, have documented more than 1,000 disappearances from 2007 to 2011." 

80% of children in medical consultation in Ciudad Juarez suffer post-traumatic stress

Milenio: "A study of children aged between five and 12 years of age attending the Children's Hospital, showed that 80 percent suffer from post traumatic stress disorder caused by violence. The head of the Psychology Department at Children's Hospital, Leila Ruiz Escalona, said the study was carried out among children who were inpatients or outpatients attended the Children's Hospital in the last year.

Post-traumatic stress is generated by high levels of violence and if the patient is silent and says nothing, symptoms begin to occur, which in turn generate more problems until therapy becomes essential, she said.

Mexico investigating 3 former border state governors from old ruling party

The Washington Post: "Mexican federal prosecutors said Tuesday they have launched an investigation of former officials from the violence-wracked northern border state of Tamaulipas, and three ex-governors say they are the among those being probed."

Political firestorm in Mexico over 1.9M in cash found in suitcase

Fox News Latino: "Months before Mexico's presidential elections, political rivals are trading accusations over $1.9 million in cash found stuffed into a state official's luggage at a Mexico airport, a find that has inflamed rampant speculation about the possibility of organized crime or illegal campaign money influencing the July 1 presidential election."

Mexican movement for peace starts campaign "In another's shoes"

Milenio: "In another's shoes" is a campaign that is being initiated to raise the awareness of Mexican society regarding disappearances in the war against organized crime.

The group "The Strongest Cry," a group of actresses, actors, filmmakers and journalists took on the task of developing a campaign through the mass media, which proposes "a very simple action: to put one's self "In the Shoes of the Other" and plans the distribution of a video and spots in the media that tell the experiences of families of the disappeared.

With the support of the arts community, voice is being given to the families of the victims of the war. Because they deserve to be heard and we seek to join forces. "If we start in our home, then in our neighborhood, in our town, our city, if one sees what others see and feels what others feel, in this way we can contribute to the reconstruction of this country. It has to do with recognizing ourselves in the other."

Attorney General's office plagued with inefficiency, corruption

La Jornada: "The Attorney General of the Republic of Mexico (PGR) is currently facing weaknesses, such as 'tasks improperly performed by major staff members (federal agents, prosecutors, and experts), deficient criminal investigations, and arrest warrants granted by judges that are not executed' according to a risk assessment carried out by the Inspector General as part of a plan to combat corruption in the institution.

This report was released as part of the inauguration of a series of 'corruption seminars' in which the Secretariat of Civil Service (SFP) reported that in the past six years, 7,550 public servants have been punished for committing crimes.

During the event, PGR representative César Alejandro Chávez Flores noted that the PGR had already carried out an assessment of the risks in order to find out why those who work in the department become corrupted. He explained that, among the factors, what stood out was that there is a lack of sufficient oversight over those who have access to information, which causes leaks that later affect the investigations.

Additionally, he said, those who work in the PGR believe that there is an inability to sanction those who violate rules. Added to these factors is the lack of public confidence in the institution.

In this context, under-prosecutor Miguel Ontiveros Alonso revealed that between April 2011 and January of this year, the strategy to combat corruption had resulted in the investigations of 1,790 public servants for the violation of rules and acts of corruption; another 655 found themselves subject to administrative sanctions, and 188 public employees--of which 120 were delegates, subdelegates, or directors of their area--were subject to criminal proceedings.

Max Kaiser, chief of staff of the Secretariat of Civil Service, said that for the first time in the history of the institution, 7,500 members of staff have been disqualified or fired and 3,629 economic sanctions have been imposed due to corruption."

Heckled during speech, Mexico's president defends drug war "Mexican President Felipe Calderon has once again clashed with a citizen angry about the effects of the country's drug war, this time during a speech in which a man in the audience shouted, ‘How many more dead?’

A man identified by local news outlets as animator Tonatiuh Moreno reportedly went on: ‘When will this war be over? Where will you live when your term is finished?’ Calderon appeared to take the shouts gamely, and took the opportunity to defend his policies. He responded quickly to the last question, ‘Maybe here in Guadalajara, mi estimado,’ a phrase meaning 'my dear' or 'my esteemed.'"

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