Tagged: Mexican military

Journalists are fleeing for their lives in Mexico. There are few havens

(LA TIMES) — By Kate Linthicum

During sleepless nights in an immigrant detention center in Texas just north of the border, Emilio Gutierrez Soto has had a lot of time to think. Shivering on a flimsy mattress under thin sheets, 54-year-old Gutierrez finds himself circling back to the same question: Was it worth it?

Was it worth writing those articles critical of the Mexican military? Was it worth having to flee Mexico after receiving threats against his life?

Many miles away, in a teeming Mexican metropolis, Julio Omar Gomez is not confined behind bars, but might as well be.

Since last spring, Gomez, 37, has been living under state protection in a cramped, anonymous apartment many miles from home. He typically only leaves for appointments with his psychologist, who is treating him for anxiety and post-traumatic stress.

Gomez, too, wonders whether his journalism was worth it. Was exposing government corruption in his home state of Baja California Sur worth the three attacks on his life? Was it worth having to send his children into hiding?

Last year, reporters and photographers turned up dead in Mexico at a rate of about one per month, making it the most dangerous country in the world for journalists after war-torn Syria. They were some of the country’s most fearless investigators and sharp-tongued critics, shot down while shopping, while reclining in a hammock, while driving children to school. In January, 77-year-old opinion columnist Carlos Dominguez was waiting at a traffic light with his grandchildren when three men stabbed him 21 times.


Cartel violence kills 10 near Texas border

(BREITBART) — MATAMOROS, Tamaulipas — A series of recent gun battles and executions in this border city and in Rio Bravo led to nearly a dozen deaths as clashes with military forces and internal turmoil within the Gulf Cartel is reaching a boiling point.

The violence began last week in the Buena Vista neighborhood of Matamoros when cartel gunmen clashed with military and police forces. As usual, the fighting led to blockades, where cartel gunmen hijacked various vehicles to choke chances of police pursuit down main avenues. In Rio Bravo, troops killed several gunmen throughout the city.

The fighting and a series of apparent executions in both Matamoros and Rio Bravo led to the death of several men who are all believed to be part of one of the various factions that make up the Gulf Cartel.

In the downtown area of Matamoros, authorities responded to a local business where they found four men killed. The four cartel members had all been shot in the head execution-style.


Why the military will never beat Mexico’s cartels

(THE DAILY BEAST) — “Any war that requires the suspension of reason as a necessity for support is a bad war,” wrote Norman Mailer in Armies of the Night. That phrase, applied to Vietnam almost 50 years ago, has come back into my head any number of times during the eight months of the last year I’ve spent covering the Mexican drug war.

For most of that time I’ve been on the front lines of the conflict—often in and around the sun-scorched and cartel-dominated valley called Tierra Caliente—where the daily suspension of one’s reasoning faculties can be a useful coping mechanism.

Even so, at times I’ve found it very hard to support the Mexican government’s increasingly surreal approach to drug war tactics and strategy.

For example, on a recent trip to the village of Dos Aguas, high in the Sierra Madre mountains of Michoacán state, I was told by locals that there were no police or military forces present in the vicinity at all. Not even a sheriff. The town had formerly been protected by a group of vigilantes known as autodefensas, but the state government ordered the group to disband last February under penalty of arrest.

Now that the vigilantes are gone, Dos Aguas is run by a chieftain from the Knights Templar cartel, who calls himself “El Tena.” He travels the mountains in a caravan of more than a dozen trucks, led by a pick-up with a .50 caliber machine gun mounted in the bed. El Tena goes where he likes and does what he pleases—including running meth labs and illegal logging operations in the sierra.