Tagged: Mexico

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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Mexican drug traffickers and ISIS terrorists are cut from the same cloth

(NOSCOMUNICAMOS-SHOEBAT) — Iraq and Syria are in a very bad situation, but there is one country that is much more severe when it comes to Christian persecution: Mexico. ISIS has killed hundreds of Christians, but the pagan drug cartels in Mexico have killed tens of thousands of Christians. They behead people, they kidnap children, tear out their hearts and cannibalize them in pagan rituals; they kidnap women and make them sex slaves; they melt people alive in giant vats of acid. These victims are not in the hundreds, but the tens of thousands. The cartels worship the devil and the abysmal spirits.

The Mexican cartels are just as evil as Muslim terrorists, and they have butchered tens of thousands of Christians in Mexico. A major militia leader in Mexico, Jorge Vasquez Valencia, joined us at Shoebat.com to explain the nature of the fight against the cartels, how the cartels have butchered tens of thousands of Christians, and why Donald Trump is right about the border.

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Ret. Lt. Gen. Flynn: Terror-linked nations ‘cutting deals’ with Mexican cartels to enter U.S.

(BREITBART) — Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), tells Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM that countries that are known to support radical Islamic terrorism are “cutting deals” with Mexican cartels for access to human smuggling routes into the United States.

Citing photos from the U.S. Border Patrol component of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency on Friday, Gen. Flynn also told Washington Political Editor Matthew Boyle, host of Breitbart News Daily, that there are signs in Arabic posted along human smuggling routes at the section of the border that lies in Texas providing directions for how to sneak into the United States.

Moreover, the former DIA chief said that the Shiite Lebanese narco-terrorist group Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy, is illegally trafficking humans, drugs, and other contraband into the United States.

His comments echo recent warnings from the U.S. military, suggesting that criminal groups in Latin America may be collaborating with Islamic extremist organizations.

Gen. Flynn’s remarks came while he was discussing his new book The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies during Friday’s edition of Breitbart News Daily.

He told the host:

I talk about this in the book — about the threat in Central and South America from countries like Iran who have organizations like Hezbollah who run a large transnational organized criminal organization which move narcotics and other commodities as well as humans into our country…

I know from my friends in the Border Patrol in CBP that there are… radical Islamist countries, state-sponsored, that are cutting deals with Mexican drug cartels for some of what they call the lanes of entry into our country. And I have personally seen the photos of the signage along those paths that are in Arabic… they’re like way points along that path as you come in. Primarily in this case the one that I saw was in Texas and it’s literally… signs in Arabic… [that say] ‘this way, move to this point’…

This rise of Muslims and radicalized Muslims coming into our country illegally is something that we should pay very, very close attention to.

Gen. Flynn’s remarks came in response to Boyle asking for his reaction to Breitbart News’ recent analysis of CBP data showing that the U.S. border authorities apprehended 916 illegals from terrorism-linked countries, officially known as Special Interest Aliens (SIAs), in 2015 (454) and 2015 (462).

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Mexico’s cartels are much more dangerous to Americans than ISIS

(THE DAILY BEAST) — Mexico is a place of many rumors and much chisme, or gossip. One of the most frightening rumors you hear these days—especially given the tragic, ISIS-inspired shooting in Orlando—is that members of the so-called Islamic State have infiltrated the cartels, seeking to recruit hardened sicarios, hit men, to their cause.

ISIS’s nefarious motive, naturally, would be to use the cartels’ drug shipping networks and smuggling tunnels to ferret terrorists, or even weapons of mass destruction, across the U.S. border.

Fortunately such tales remains nothing but chisme—and not very plausible rumor mongering at that.

Although some far-right media outlets in the U.S. have presented the unholy alliance of jihadist warrior and Aztec assassin as likely, if not inevitable, so far there’s absolutely no evidence behind such claims.

(Full disclosure: I spent eight months out of the last year reporting up close with both law enforcement and the cartels in Mexico and, after much searching for just such a headline-grabbing, cartel-ISIS link, was unable to find so much as a prayer rug. Or anybody who knew what a prayer rug was.)

In fact, the two groups actually seem more like natural enemies.

Although the much-published story about Chapo Guzmán threatening to launch open war on ISIS turned out to be false, there’s a reason the meme seemed so believable when it broke.

That’s because it’s hard to imagine a wealth-loving, famously decadent crime lord like Guzmán—or any of his fellows—getting along with their dour, tee-totaling, thobe-wearing counterparts. The Mexican press have also had great fun at ISIS’s expense, wittily skewering the unlikely Islamic invasion.

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Here are 3 failures in Mexico’s drug war

(DALLAS MORNING NEWS) — By RICARDO AINSLIE

By most accounts, the so-called kingpin strategy — the oft-decried tactic of taking down top cartel leaders — in Mexico’s drug war has generated significant violence, as would-be successors vie to fill the leadership vacuum. In fact, in a recent Dallas Morning News article a U.S. agent says, “We all thought we were doing the right thing, but truth is we didn’t fully anticipate the violence, and that’s on us.”

But this strategy isn’t the problem. If you have the head of the Zetas in your sights, it’s a no-brainer that he has to be taken down.

What is “on us,” as co-sponsors of law enforcement actions against organized crime in Mexico, are three failures of the imagination that continue to haunt both countries.

First is the failure to understand the depth and complexity of Mexico’s criminal networks. Had they done their homework, law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border would have discovered that each of the big cartels included many smaller groups, each linked by a vague common cause of making illicit money by whatever means. There is a complex and ambitious hierarchy at work, extending from neighborhood gangs that steal cars and sell drugs on the streets to the drug trafficking organizations that we call cartels. They are highly sophisticated transnational businesses whose profitability must be the envy of every major American corporation.

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