November 22, 2013 |
MEXICO CITY - No one ever said it was easy being a mayor in Mexico, where corruption is as common as cacti, politics is a Machiavellian game of three-dimensional chess and drug cartels are often more powerful than local governments. But in recent days, Mexicans have seen the depth of the challenge facing the men and women charged with running the 2,438 municipios , roughly the equivalent of U.S. counties, that are supposed to be a building block of governance here. The mayor of Santa Ana Maya, a rural municipality in Michoacan state, was killed this month after complaining that cartel members were regularly demanding a chunk of the federal money meant for public works projects in his area, a practice he said was widespread.
November 13, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - At his peak, Mexican drug lord Juan Juarez Orosco allegedly oversaw the distribution of 8 tons of cocaine every month from Colombia to the United States, making him one of the most wanted narcotics traffickers in the world, authorities said. On Wednesday, federal prosecutors revealed that the 64-year-old Juarez, known as "El Abuelo," or "the Grandfather," was in U.S. custody after his arrest in Panama and extradition to New York. Charged in U.S. federal court with running an international cocaine network, Juarez faces life in prison if convicted.
November 10, 2013 |
MEXICO CITY - Usually, human rights activists and victims are on the same side of a conflict. But the case of Israel Arzate has put the two allies in opposite camps in Mexico, a reflection of how the absence of justice distorts reality in this violent country. Arzate, 28, was one of a small handful of people formally accused by authorities of perpetrating one of the most notorious massacres in recent Mexican history. Fifteen mostly young people were shot to death as they celebrated a soccer victory in the border city of Ciudad Juarez in January 2010.
November 8, 2013 |
MEXICO CITY - Ygnacio Lopez Mendoza was one of the few mayors from Mexico's troubled state of Michoacan who openly sounded the alarm about the narco thugs whose extortion demands were targeting even small local governments like his. “The insecurity … is something that everybody in the world knows, but no one talks about,” Lopez, who represented the rural municipality of Santa Ana Maya, told reporters in February. “Why? Because we have to deal with organized crime, we have to pay them.” The Mexican government heard his complaints, promising to send more resources to the area after Lopez staged a hunger strike in Mexico City, the capital, last month.
November 7, 2013 |
MEXICO CITY - The city of Lazaro Cardenas is a scrappy Mexican success story. The once-obscure industrial port, between Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco, has grown significantly over the last decade, using cheap domestic dock labor and a direct railroad connection to Texas to attract international cargo ships that might have otherwise gone to the Port of Los Angeles. But it also has earned a darker reputation. Precursor chemicals for methamphetamine are widely known to be smuggled in to Lazaro Cardenas in multi-ton batches on ships arriving from Asia: One typical bust in December 2011 netted 1,600 barrels that had originated in Shanghai.
October 28, 2013 |
MEXICO CITY -- At least five people were killed in a spasm of violence that shook one of Mexico's largest states over the weekend, authorities said Monday. Gunmen on Sunday blew up 18 electrical substations -- twice the originally reported number -- and torched six gasoline stations in Michoacan state, just west of the nation's capital. Nearly half a million people were left without electrical power for 15 hours. During that time at least five people were killed during a gun battle at the city hall in Apatzingan, one of the state's principal cities, the state prosecutor's office reported Monday.