Tagged: Mexico

Mexico travel warning: U.S. urges citizens to avoid 5 Mexican states

(USA TODAY) — The State Department has issued a new, strict “do not travel” advisory for U.S. citizens regarding five Mexican states because of violent crime and gang activity.

While the State Department has long recommended travelers exercise “increased caution” in Mexico in general because of widespread homicide, kidnapping, carjacking and robbery, the new warning elevates the five states to level 4, the highest level of potential danger.

The advisory, issued Thursday, puts the states of Tamaulipas on the U.S. border and Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero on the Pacific coast on the same level as war-torn countries like Syria, Yemen and Somalia.

The states have long been plagued with drug cartel activity like trafficking routes or the cultivation of drug-related crops.

Turf wars between rival drug cartels have torn apart Tamaulipas, and Sinaloa is home to the cartel of the same name. Michoacan was so dominated by a drug cartel that vigilantes took up arms in 2013 to drive them out.

Homicides skyrocketed in Colima in recent years due to the growth of the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel, and the state now has Mexico’s highest homicide rate, with 83.3 killings per 100,000 residents, according to figures from the first 11 months of 2017.


Weekend violence kills 18 in western Mexico

(ENCA) — LOS CABOS – At least eighteen people were killed in weekend violence on Mexico’s west coast, authorities said.

The bloodshed came after 30 people were killed and seven more suffered gunshot wounds over two days of drug trafficking-fueled violence in Chihuahua state.

In rural areas of Guerrero state, people opposed to a proposed dam attacked a village during a festival, sparking a series of clashes that left 11 dead, a state police spokesman said.

The state, home to popular beach destinations such as Acapulco, Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, is also one of the poorest states in Mexico and among the hardest hit by organized crime.

In addition, navy forces clashed with suspected hitmen late Saturday, killing seven of them in San Jose del Cabo in Baja California state, officials said.

More than two dozen more people were killed in the Chihuahua state just ahead of the weekend.

Thirty were killed on Thursday and Friday in the northern state, which borders the US, while another died Saturday of serious injuries.

Carlos Huerta, the spokesman for the local prosecutor’s office, said the violence was due to attacks by the rival Juarez and Sinaloa cartels.


Mexico ranked deadliest country for journalists, says international press institute

(BREITBART) — by Ildefonso Ortiz and Brandon Darby

A press freedom organization has ranked Mexico as the deadliest country for journalists, overtaking Iraq and Syria for the highest number of reporters who lost their lives while practicing their craft. On the day the report was published, gunmen murdered another journalist in Mexico.

A new report by the International Press Institute labels Mexico as the most dangerous place for journalists, citing the government’s lacking efforts to protect them.

The murder of journalists is “an attack on the fundamental human right to share and receive information and on democracy itself,” IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi said.

According to the IPI, since 2006, when the country started a new security strategy to fight drug cartels, 79 journalists have been murdered. In 2017, there were 13 that IPI accounted for with four targeted directly for their work. On the day the report was published, a team of gunmen murdered Gumaro Perez Aguilando as he attended his son’s Christmas Festival in Veracruz.

According to IPI, none of the recorded cases have been solved. As Breitbart Texas reported in 2017, cartel gunmen targeted various journalists including Miroslava Breach, an investigative reporter from Chihuahua, who uncovered deep connections between key members of the Juarez Cartel and local politicians.

Also in 2017, cartel gunmen murdered respected journalist Javier Valdez from Culiacan, Sinaloa. The slain journalist founded the news outlet Rio Doce and covered cartel violence for several years.


6 bodies found hanging from bridges in Mexico tourism hotspot

(NEWSMAX) — Six bodies were found hanging from bridges Wednesday in Mexico’s Baja California, a region known for its pristine beaches and popular with foreign tourists, authorities said.

Grisly killings were once rare in the country’s tourism hotspots but have risen in recent years as organized crime has grown.

The bodies were discovered along highways leading to international airports in La Paz, San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, nicknamed the Los Cabos area.

It is a massive international Pacific resort area popular with Americans, Canadians and Europeans.

The bodies were spread across three bridges, two on each, the local prosecutor said. The victims have not yet been identified.

A total of 409 people were murdered in the area from January through October — more than double for all of 2016.

Drug gangs are fighting over routes on which they move drugs to the United States, as well as over turf on which they sell drugs to tourists from overseas.

More than 196,000 people have been killed in Mexico since late 2006 when the federal government launched a controversial military-led antidrug offensive.


From Cancun to Los Cabos, tourists scared off Mexico’s beaches

(CHRON) — In the spring break capital of Cancun, Mexico, hotel occupancy has tumbled 10 percent this year. As bad as that is, over in Los Cabos, on the tip of the Baja California peninsula, it’s worse.

The airport serving Cabo San Lucas and its lesser-known sister city, San Jose del Cabo, is looking emptier these days. And hotel guests have canceled 35,000 nights of bookings over the next year – collectively a decade’s worth of visits for a single traveler.

At a time when the weaker peso should be luring American travelers in droves, many are staying away, spooked by a wave of violence that’s come dangerously close to tourist hot spots. Gunmen opened fire at a Cancun nightclub in November, and a cooler with two human heads was found on Cabo San Lucas’s main hotel strip in June.

But the biggest blow came on Aug. 22, when the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning advising tourists to steer clear altogether.

“Group tourism automatically went down the moment the warning hit,” said Carlos Gosselin, head of the hotel association for Cancun and Puerto Morelos. Many insurance companies likely won’t even consider offering coverage in areas under advisory, hurting conventions and events in the area, he said.

Mexico is reinforcing security in popular tourist spots to get the State Department to revise its views, and companies including Hilton Worldwide and Marriott International are spending millions to make guests feel safer. Their motivation is clear: Barclays estimates that a drop in tourism could wipe out as much as 0.5 percentage point from Mexico’s gross domestic product growth this year.

“Lower tourism activity will definitely have an impact on growth,” said Marco Oviedo, head of Latin America economic research at Barclays. “External tourism is one of the most important sources of income in the current account.”

Mexico gets about $20 billion a year from tourism. With murders quadrupling in Los Cabos and doubling in Cancun this year, a chunk of that revenue may be at stake. Quintana Roo, the state where Cancun is located, is the destination of a third of all the nation’s international tourists.

In Los Cabos, local and federal authorities are teaming up with hotels, time-share companies and the airport operator to step up the area’s security.

The group is spending $50 million to increase surveillance cameras to cover the 20-mile main stretch that includes hotels, restaurants and public beaches. A new military facility, paid for in part by the private sector, will be built near a highway to respond to any activity spotted on the cameras. It is set to open in the second quarter of 2018.


Drug War Turned Mexico Into World’s Deadliest Conflict Zone After Only Syria

(NEWSWEEK) — By Sofia Lotto Persio

Mexico’s drug war has created the second deadliest conflict area in the world after only Syria, according to a global survey.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) reported that the six-year war in Syria is the world’s deadliest conflict zone for the fifth consecutive year, causing an estimated 50,000 casualties in 2016. The Armed Conflict Survey 2017, the IISS annual summary of conflicts and casualties worldwide published on Tuesday, found that the war on drugs plaguing Central America has received ”scant attention.”

In Mexico, 23,000 people died in the fight against drug cartels in 2016. In other, smaller Central American countries battling cartels, including El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, another 16,000 have been killed.

“The death toll in Mexico’s conflict surpasses those for Afghanistan and Somalia. This is all the more surprising, considering that the conflict deaths are nearly all attributable to small arms. Mexico is a conflict marked by the absence of artillery, tanks or combat aviation,” John Chipman, IISS chief executive and director-general, said in the statement.

Just 10 conflicts accounted for more than 80 percent of the fatalities worldwide, according to the report. In order, the countries affected are: Syria, Mexico, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Turkey, South Sudan and Nigeria.

The rate of homicides in Mexico fell between 2011-14, but it began increasing again in 2015, to the point that it has decreased the life expectancy for men in the country by three years. According to IISS researcher Antonio Sampaio, the arrests and killings of top leaders in major cartels like the Los Zetas, infamous for their brutality and mass decapitations, contributed to the dip in violence. But new groups have emerged, adopting similarly brutal strategies for territorial expansion and control.

One of these is the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which grew from a small, local criminal group in 2013 to rivaling Mexican drug kingpin El Chapo’s Sinaloa Cartel in terms of resources and territory. “The cartel is pursuing a sustained strategy of hyper-violent criminality, designed to scare local people, deter rivals (including the state) from attempting territorial grabs and maximise the incentives for businesses to pay extortion taxes,” Sampaio noted in an article on IISS’ website.


Mexico was second deadliest country in 2016

(CNN) — By Elizabeth Roberts

It was the second deadliest conflict in the world last year, but it hardly registered in the international headlines.

As Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan dominated the news agenda, Mexico’s drug wars claimed 23,000 lives during 2016 — second only to Syria, where 50,000 people died as a result of the civil war.

“This is all the more surprising, considering that the conflict deaths [in Mexico] are nearly all attributable to small arms,” said John Chipman, chief executive and director-general of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which issued its annual survey of armed conflict on Tuesday.

“The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan claimed 17,000 and 16,000 lives respectively in 2016, although in lethality they were surpassed by conflicts in Mexico and Central America, which have received much less attention from the media and the international community,” said Anastasia Voronkova, the editor of the survey.


Mexico’s brutal drug violence has hit a new level of complexity

(BUSINESS INSIDER) — By Christopher Woody

Public displays of brutality have become common as drug-related violence roiled Mexico over the last decade.

The recent discovery of a man’s body on top of a hospital in northwest Mexico, apparently dropped there from an airplane, takes that brutality to a new level of complexity.

The body reportedly landed on the roof of a hospital in the town of El Dorado, about 38 miles southwest of Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state.

Witnesses reported seeing a person thrown out of a plane flying low over a Mexican Institute of Social Security hospital on April 12, a health official told Reuters, saying the incident occurred around 7:30 a.m.

Officials were unable to identify the body, clad in a red shirt, gray socks, and without pants, due to damage from the fall, though Mileno reported that it had signs of torture.

State prosecutors said the body had signs of severe trauma in line with “impact on the hard surface.”

“It is a man, but we don’t know more … The impact of the fall makes it more difficult to be able to identify him or the wounds he suffered,” Antonio Garcia, spokesman for the IMSS, which runs the hospital, told The Washington Post.

“I can’t recall anything like this happening before,” he said.


Donald Trump: Wall construction will start ‘as soon as we can physically do it’

(BREITBART) — by Charlie Spiering

President Donald Trump vowed to start his “big beautiful” wall on the Southern border of the United States immediately during an interview with ABC News anchor David Muir.

When asked for the construction date, Trump said that he would begin the project “as soon as we can physically do it” and confirmed that planning would start “immediately.” He predicted, however, that the actual construction process might take a few months to begin.

The president will travel this afternoon to the Department of Homeland Security to sign several executive orders that deal with border security.

Trump confirmed that ultimately Mexico would pay for the wall, but that the government would get the project started.

He also dismissed Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto for insisting that his country would not pay for the wall.

“I think he has to say that,” Trump replied, vowing that future negotiations with Mexico would ensure payment from the country.

But he suggested that the wall would be good for Mexico too.

“What I am doing will be good for the United States; it’s also going to be good for Mexico,” Trump said. “We want to have a very stable, solid Mexico.”


Mexican mayor arrested after hundreds massacred and cooked in network of ovens, following Breitbart exposé

(BREITBART) — by Ildefonso Ortiz

Mexican authorities have arrested the former mayor of a rural community in the border state of Coahuila in connection with the kidnapping, murder and incineration of hundreds of victims through a network of ovens at the hands of the Los Zetas cartel. The arrest comes after Breitbart Texas exposed not only the horrors of the mass extermination, but also the cover-up and complicity of the Mexican government.

On Thursday morning, Coahuila state authorities arrested Sergio Alonzo Rodriguez, the former mayor of Allende, Coahuila, on the charge of aggravated kidnapping, information provided to Breitbart Texas by the Coahuila government revealed. Rodriguez was the mayor of Allende, Coahuila in March, 2011, when a commando of Los Zetas kidnapped dozens of people who were then murdered and incinerated.

Earlier this year, Breitbart Texas published the results of a three-month investigation into how Los Zetas were able to kidnap, torture, execute and incinerate approximately 300 victims–including women and children–between 2011 and 2013. Approximately 150 of the victims were taken to the Piedras Negras state prison where cartel members used 55-gallon drums to incinerate the human remains.