Archivo de la categoría: In Sight Crime

‘Jet-ski Assassins’ Impacting Acapulco’s Tourism Industry

Written by Lucia Bird.

Mexico’s famous tourist destination Acapulco has seen a disturbing trend in 2016: assassins using jet-skis to conduct mid-day murders on the beach, suggesting the city’s sky-high violence is increasingly affecting its tourism industry.

On January 29, an assassin swam to the beachfront of Acapulco Bay from his nearby jet-ski, 9mm pistol in hand, and shot a 46-year old beach vendor three times in the chest, reported Daily Mail. The murder, which occurred in broad daylight as sunbathing tourists looked on, is the fourth such “jet-ski assassination” in the tourist hotspot this year.

Following the shooting, the assassin swam back to his waiting jet-ski, which was being driven by an accomplice, and sped off down the coast. It took Mexican police an hour to respond to the attack, and over a month later the perpetrators have not been identified.

Extortion rings are known to operate in the area, demanding a 15 percent tax from the earnings of local businesses and street vendors, according to Daily Mail. While the motive for the killing is unclear, its brazen nature may have been a message to other businesses — pay up or die.

A local crime reporter told Daily Mail that 50 percent of murders in Acapulco are cartel related, and 30 percent are linked to extortion.

InSight Crime Analysis

Acapulco is in the midst of a crime wave, and finished 2015 with a homicide rate of 105 per 100,000 citizens, making it the most violent city in Mexico and the world’s fourth most violent city overall.

Competition among local criminal groups is driving this violence.

Acapulco sits within Mexico‘s notoriously violent state of Guerrero, which is valuable real estate for criminal organizations. The state is a top producer of opium and methamphetamine, and is an important transit point for South American cocaine. Local criminal groups have also increasingly turned to extortion and kidnapping to generate revenue, and some Acapulco businesses complain they have to pay extortion fees to multiple gangs.

Previously, however, Acapulco’s criminal violence has been largely contained to the city’s periphery. But, as these “jet-ski assassinations” suggest, it is now increasingly affecting its traditionally safer tourist center.

According to the BBC, tourism has been estimated to form as much as 80 percent of Guerrero’s economy. If continued violence in Acapulco significantly affects the local tourism industry by dissuading visitors it could have disastrous effects on the region’s economy, robbing residents of legitimate livelihoods and potentially giving rise to even more violence.

Source: http://www.insightcrime.org/news-briefs/jet-ski-assassins-acapulco-mexico-tourism-industry

Disputan cárteles zona montañosa de #Guerrero

Los Ardillos y Los Rojos mantienen un fuerte choque por el control y desatan más violencia

La lucha por ganar la plaza de la zona baja de la Montaña entre los grupos delictivos de “Los Ardillos” y “Los Rojos” ha provocado que, desde el 2014, la violencia en los Municipios de Chilapa y Zitlala se mantenga en esta misma ruta, pese a que existe un fuerte operativo policiaco y militar.

El primer caso de gran impacto que ocurrió en Zitlala fue el hallazgo de 12 cadáveres en una fosa clandestina en la comunidad indígena de Ocotitlán en noviembre del 2014.

Entre los 12 cuerpos, en avanzado estado de putrefacción, estaba el del sacerdote John Sseyondo -de origen ugandés-, quien el 30 de abril de ese año fue bajado de su camioneta por un grupo armado, luego de oficiar misa en una localidad cercana a Nejapa, del Municipio de Chilapa.

Se establece en las investigaciones que realizó la Fiscalía de Justicia de Guerrero que un grupo de sicarios de la organización delictiva “Los Rojos” fue quien habría levantado al cura, debido a que Sseyondo se había negado a otorgar un servicio religioso de bautizo al hijo de uno de los jefes de esta agrupación, que opera en Chilapa.

La violencia arreció en esta región indígena a partir de mayo de 2015, cuando más de 400 hombres armados -autodenominados policías comunitarios- tomaron por asalto las calles del Municipio.

La incursión de estos sujetos armados duró seis días y, pese a que su objetivo era detener al líder de “Los Rojos” en la plaza de Zenén Nava, se retiraron tras establecer acuerdos con mandos del Ejército mexicano y de la Gendarmería.

Durante su estancia en Chilapa, donde este grupo armado había instalado retenes y patrullaje callejero frente a las fuerzas federales, se les acusó de haber levantado a más de una treintena de personas.

Hasta el momento, siguen desaparecidas, a pesar de que la PGR y la Fiscalía de Justicia del Estado han realizado investigaciones para localizarlos vivos o muertos.

El vocero del comité de familiares de los desaparecidos en Chilapa, José Díaz, señaló que el número de personas que habrían desaparecido durante la incursión de dicho grupo armado asciende a más de cien, pero que sólo se tienen documentados 50 casos con denuncia ante Ministerio Público.

Una de las promesas de Héctor Astudillo, Gobernador de Guerrero, y de Xavier Olea, Fiscal General de Justicia, fue que en durante el mes de enero estaría integrada la Comisión de Víctimas y Desaparecidos.

Fuentes oficiales señalan que en Zitlala, al igual que en Chilapa, una de las actividades de los campesinos es la siembra de estupefacientes, ante la falta de empleo.

Además, aumentó la violencia en los últimos ocho meses porque en esa zona se refugiaron integrantes del grupo delincuencial “Los Rojos”.

En noviembre de 2014 fue asesinado a tiros el ex candidato del PRD a la Alcaldía de Zitlala, Jacinto Gasparillo, en la comunidad de Tlapehuala.

Gasparillo era hijo del ex Alcalde priista del Municipio, Jacinto Gasparillo.

El 21 de diciembre fue asesinado Roberto Corraltitlán, director de tránsito del Ayuntamiento de Zitlala, al ser interceptado por un comando armado cuando se desplazaba en un vehículo sobre la carretera que conduce a la comunidad de La Esperanza, del Municipio Mártir de Cuilapan.

Al día siguiente, 22 de diciembre, un grupo armado ejecutó a cuatro jóvenes en las inmediaciones de la comunidad e Tonalapa.

El pasado siete de enero en la mañana, otra agrupación armada ingresó en la comunidad de Quetzalcoatlán de las Palmas y asesinó a balazos a seis personas, dejando heridas a tres más, entre ellas una mujer.

Las autoridades estatales calificaron a lo ocurrido como un enfrentamiento entre dos grupos armados. Sin embargo, los familiares de las seis personas asesinadas aseguraron que se trató de una masacre perpetrada por un comando que llegó a la comunidad.

Tras estos hechos, varias familias afectadas ya no quieren regresar a su comunidad, debido a que los individuos armados que accedieron a su pueblo amenazaron con regresar y liquidar a todos.

Según el Gobierno de Astudillo, elementos del Ejército mexicano y de la Policía estatal se encuentran en Zitlala para brindar seguridad a la población.

Fuente: http://www.latarde.com.mx/disputancarteleszonamontanosadeguerrero-151290.html

#Guerrero Mexico’s Bloodbath That Won’t Stop

    By Jason McGahan

When the French tricolor on Facebook became ubiquitous after mass murder in Paris, thousands of Mexican users responded with a reminder of a lesser-known war in their own country. In the image, the Mexican flag is draped, translucent, over the gruesome portrait of a Mexican mother and her two small children slain execution-style in the southern state of Guerrero.

Their bodies are splayed on a gravel path in a rural setting. The mother’s eyes remain open. The infant boy lies face down on her lap. The girl, a skinny 7-year-old in pink flip-flops, is sprawled at her feet.

“Let’s see how many Mexicans make this flag their profile pic,” reads a comment on one Facebook post that has been shared more than 15,000 times.

To observers of violence in Mexico, the state of Guerrero was supposed to be last year’s news. In 2014, the murder rate was the highest in Mexico and eight times the national average. It was the year that 43 students from the Ayotzinapa rural teachers’ college were taken into police custody in the town of Iguala and disappeared. A search expedition did not locate the missing students, but uncovered hundreds of hidden graves of unidentified human remains buried in the gloomy hills outside the town.

But rather than exhaust itself, the violence in Guerrero seems only to have gotten underway. The murder rate so far in 2015 is 29 percent higher compared to the same period a year ago. And what is most shocking about the new wave of violence is how generalized it has become throughout the state. The effects of the turmoil are being felt everywhere from the small towns of the Sierra region to the western port and resort of Acapulco.

Five police commanders from Acapulco were assassinated between April and October of this year. The level of violence directed at the local cops is unprecedented in the city’s history, according to the Mexican investigative journalist and author David Espino. The Guerrero state prosecutor sets the overall number of gangland executions in Acapulco at 754 so far this year—an average of 2.3 per day. The tourist economy is a shambles: The magazine Proceso reports that a thousand businesses and 14 schools have closed due to violence, and cruise ships have all but ceased calling at the port.

Five police commanders from Acapulco were assassinated between April and October of this year.

The authorities in Guerrero tend to attribute most drug-related violence there to “a settling of scores” between rival gangs. This is the explanation that Espino received from an anonymous source in the prosecutor’s office, that the police commanders had done favors for one drug gang only to be murdered by a rival group.

The authorities tend to avoid getting involved in such “settling of scores”; 89 percent of the murders committed in Guerrero go unpunished in the state court system, according to the 2015 Mexico Peace Index. Guerrero has not only the highest murder rate in Mexico, but the highest rate of impunity.

The new governor, Héctor Astudillo, was elected in June on a campaign pledge to bring “peace and order” to the state. But he has not been able to stanch the bloodshed. Not even with the latest infusion of federal troops to the state announced last month by Mexico’s Interior Secretary Miguel Osorio Chong.

Since Astudillo took office on Oct. 27—restoring the long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party to power after a 10-year absence—there have been at least 30 murders in Guerrero.

Security analysts doubt that the promised surge of federal troops to troubled areas will have the desired effect. Mexican security forces in Guerrero suffer from deepening public suspicion. A report by the International Crisis Group found that impunity on human- rights abuses and high levels of corruption have caused an erosion of public trust in federal troops.

As InSight Crime notes, “This has created a situation where horrific crimes like the 2014 disappearance of 43 students are no anomaly, but rather part of a pattern of violence that goes unpunished under the gaze of complicit or inept officials.”

The surge of violence in the mountainous interior adheres to the same pattern as Acapulco. That area is prized territory—its inaccessible roads providing a natural barrier to unwanted visitors, its climate and soil supplying 42 percent of the opium poppy used in Mexican heroin—and thus is territory perpetually in dispute between rival traffickers. Even so, the violence in the area this month has been a “settling of scores” on an extraordinary scale.

The gruesome portrait of the mother executed with her two children that turned into a disturbing meme on Facebook came from a massacre on Nov. 4 in Tetitlán de las Limas. The victims are the sister, nephew, and niece of an ex-police chief in Chilapa. The police chief went into hiding last year after Mexican security forces relieved him of his command and disbanded the municipal police force. Six of his relatives were murdered in a span of two days, Nov. 2 and 3, including a son of his, age 27.

On Nov. 4, gunmen murdered another local law-enforcement official, the sheriff of Polixtepec and his secretary. The lawmen were ambushed while driving along a dirt road to the village of Puentecillas. In a separate incident, gunmen massacred 12 people, including two minors, at a clandestine cockfighting event in Cuajinicuilapa, three hours down the coast from Acapulco. The state prosecutor Miguel Angel Godínez Muñoz reported that the gunmen were hunting for a rival capo.

The increase in violence has brought to a head the conflict between the military and the civilian inhabitants of the interior. The civilians have long criticized the Mexican Army’s inaction before the threats of organized crime in the area. The existence of civilian armed self-defense guards is an admission that a security vacuum exists—a vacuum that municipal, state, and federal law-enforcement authorities combined have been unable to fill.

On Nov. 13, the situation came to a head. An Army patrol of 200 men was halted in the village of Carrizal de Bravo by a crowd of about a thousand villagers from the municipalities of Leonardo Bravo and General Heliodoro Castillo. The villagers had sent for the Army nine days prior when the sheriff and his secretary were murdered. In the intervening days, with no sign of the Army, the self-defense guards took matters into their own hands, with a hundred of them engaging local gunmen in a battle in the village of Polixtepec that lasted several hours and left three cartel members dead and six in the self-defense guard wounded.

When a patrol from the Army’s 35th Zona Militar finally did arrive in the area, the soldiers disarmed and arrested members of the self-defense guard and did not pursue the members of the drug gang. Shortly thereafter, when the crowd of a thousand intercepted the Army patrol, the soldiers agreed to release the several dozen men in custody and return the firearms that they had confiscated. 

Near the end of the hours-long negotiations with the soldiers, the villagers received word that the drug gang had attacked self-defense members near the village of El Naranjo. The civilian residents pleaded with the soldiers to return and investigate the report, but they did not. The Mexican Marines later sent men into the area; they did not confirm any body count but did find incinerated vehicles amid numerous other signs that an armed confrontation had taken place.

Local reporters interviewed Benito Bello Meneses, a leader in the self-defense guard who was caught in the firefight. Bello said the gunmen attacked after the Army had disarmed the self-defense guards, depleting the strength of the force right as its enemies were staging a counterattack. The actions by the Army, he said, amounted to collusion with the drug gang: “Our compañeros were handed over to the killers by the soldiers, the same thing that happened with the students from Ayotzinapa,” he said.

Members of the self-defense movement in the Sierra region say that Governor Astudillo is being selective about how the state implements his pledge of order and peace. On one hand, the Army has absented itself from the violent clashes in the Sierra, while on the other a strike force of a reported 500 state and federal police officers attacked a caravan of 150 student activists on Nov. 11.

And, yes, the students were from the Aytozinapa rural teachers college. They were traveling in eight intercity buses. Reporters at the scene say the police stopped the buses at a roadblock on the highway, broke out the bus windows and fired tear gas inside.

The police prevented the students from commandeering a diesel fuel truck which they intended to use for a protest caravan destined for the Nov. 26 global day of action for the disappeared 43 students from Ayotzinapa. Thirteen students were arrested and later released; 20 were injured, at least a dozen were hospitalized.

The Ayotzinapa students accused the government of ordering the attacks as part of a strategy to quarantine social activism in the state. Felipe Flores Velázquez, a student spokesman, characterized the attack as an act of persecution and criticized Governor Astudillo for deploying the police against students at a time when drug-related violence is rampant throughout the state.  

The area near the town of Tixtla where the students were attacked will host a special election for mayor on Nov. 29. At the regular elections in June, residents of Tixtla set fire to ballot boxes in protest against the government’s inaction in the disappearances of the 43 students.

Jason McGahan reports on Latin America for The Daily Beast. His work has also appeared in VICE, Texas Observer, Chicago Reader, Chicago Magazine, LA Times, The Guardian, TIME, and in Spanish in Proceso, M-X, and Spleen! Journal. He was awarded a Peter Lisagor Award for In-Depth Reporting from the Chicago Society of Professional Journalists in 2014. 

Source: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/11/24/mexico-s-bloodbath-that-won-t-stop.html

Arrestan a fugitivos gracias a Netflix y Spotify en México

  

En una búsqueda que duró por siete meses donde se involucró a las autoridades locales y federales, los fugitivos fueron hallados en Cabo San Lucas gracias a la dirección IP.

La pareja fugitiva, era Brittany Nunn y su esposo Peter Barr, quienes decidieron huir de su hogar en Wellington, Colorado en Estados Unidos, al perder la custodia de las dos hijas de Nunn con el padre biológico.

La manera en que se rastreó la posición exacta de la pareja fugitiva fue al obtener la dirección IP con la cual accedían al servicio de música y video en Streaming, Spotify y Netflix, al tener las agencias federales acceso a la cuenta de Nunn y Barr fue posible saber desde que punto tomaban los servicios (Cabo San Lucas en México).

Sin duda una de las mejores armas para las autoridades actualmente es la tecnologia y para los delicuentes una de las peores es el uso de dispositivos electronicos y smarthphones.

Más detalles en http://www.coloradoan.com

Guerrero: Mexican Police Deliver Wrong Corpses to Get Murder Case Close

  
Acapulco.- The families of four health-care workers, who went missing on June 19 in Guerrero, thought their ordeal was over when authorities handed over the victims’ corpses five days later.

Relatives claim, however, that the bodies are not their loved ones, and are now demanding that the lead prosecutor in the case step down and federal police take over the forensics examination.

Prior to their disappearance, doctors Marvin Hernández Ortega and Reynaldo Tepeque Cuevas, and administrative employees José Osvaldo Ortega Saucedo and Julio César Mejía Salgado, were traveling in a gray car that police later found in Xolapa, riddled with bullet holes, blood stains, and shells from a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle.

On Sunday, July 5, the victims’ families handed out leaflets, set up posters, and painted murals in Acapulco for the second consecutive day to urge authorities to keep searching for the missing medical professionals. Contrary to statements from Guerrero Attorney General Miguel Ángel Godínez Muñoz, their families do not believe they have yet been found.

“Respect life, missing doctors,” read one of the murals, while posters featured photographs of the four men and called upon the community to help with the search.

Further action was planned for Monday, July 6, as relatives moved to the offices of Mexico’s Attorney General in Guerrero, demanding the disclosure of the latest findings. They have also organized street protests and announced they will seek help from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Via: http://panampost.com/belen-marty/2015/07/09/mexican-police-deliver-wrong-corpses-to-get-murder-case-closed/

Hidalgo es el estado mas pacífico de Mexico y Guerrero el mas violento

  

Oaxaca es más pacífico que el DF, Nuevo León y Guanajuato. Hidalgo ocupa el primer lugar de acuerdo con el Institute for Economics and Peace.

Tiempos de Guerrero.

México.- De acuerdo con un estudio presentado por el Institute for Economics and Peace (Instituto para la Economía y la Paz), México ha mejorado sus niveles de paz en los últimos tres años, siendo los estados de Hidalgo, Yucatán y Querétaro los más pacíficos del país, mientras que Sinaloa, Morelos y Guerrero ocupan el fondo de la lista.

Un dato que sobresale es que Oaxaca, entidad que suele catalogarse como muy violenta debido a sus movimientos sociales, se ubica en el lugar 13 de 32, por encima de entidades como Aguascalientes, Nuevo León, Distrito Federal, Quintana Roo, Estado de México, Jalisco, Baja California, Guanajuato y Morelos.

Para elaborar el listado, se toman en cuenta 7 indicadores: homicidio, crimen violento, crimen con armas, encarcelamiento, financiación de la policía, crimen organizado y eficiencia de la justicia. En todos los factores, Oaxaca se coloca en mejores niveles que la media nacional, con excepción del rubro de eficiencia de la justicia. 

El Distrito Federal (lugar 20) obtuvo buenos resultados en encarcelamiento, eficiencia de la justicia e incluso aparece apenas por encima de la media nacional en crimen organizado, pero tuvo muy malos resultados en crimen con armas y crimen violento. Nuevo León, por su parte, presenta muy buenos niveles en homicidio, crimen, financiamiento y encarcelamiento, pero obtuvo la peor calificación posible en eficiencia de la justicia, y aparece como el peor ubicado en todo el país en el renglón de crimen organizado.

El estudio muestra que la zona más pacífica del país es el sureste, donde se encuentran los estados calificados en las posiciones 2 (Yucatán), 4 (Campeche) y 6 (Chiapas).

Además, el informe da cuenta de que durante los últimos dos años los homicidios en algunos estados bajaron casi 30% y el nivel de delincuencia organizada se redujo 25 por ciento. 

El peligro de ser un Nava o Carreto en Chilapa Guerrero

  

Llevar por Apellidos el Nava, Sánchez o Carreto puede ser muy arriesgado en la violenta ciudad de Chilapa, en el sur de México: varias personas con estos apellidos, que coinciden con los de un capo y un expolicía local, desaparecieron hace un mes sin que se sepa nada de ellas.

Su desaparición se produjo durante una ocupación del pueblo por parte de 300 hombres armados que dijeron ser autodefensas, en un conflicto turbio que entremezcla narcotráfico y política, denunciaron familiares de las víctimas.

Sin que las fuerzas federales intervinieran, los hombres irrumpieron el 9 de mayo en este pueblo de Guerrero, desarmaron a la policía municipal, bloquearon las entradas de la ciudad y, tras cinco días de atemorizar a la población, se retiraron por un acuerdo con las autoridades federales.

Durante ese periodo, al menos 14 hombres -casi todos entre 15 y 25 años- desaparecieron sin dejar rastro, según una lista que sus familiares entregaron a la AFP.

Las autoridades dicen investigar denuncias de 10 personas secuestradas en este municipio de 120.000 habitantes que sirve de puerta a las montañas de Guerrero, el mayor productor de amapola de México y ruta para el trasiego de la goma de opio.

Pero la fiscalía general se negó a dar los nombres a la AFP.

Según familiares, uno de los desaparecidos salía de su trabajo en una pizzeria cuando fue secuestrado, otros vendían vacas.

Alexandro Nava Reyes, un joven de 21 años que se dedicaba a manejar camiones, avisó el 10 de mayo a sus padres que “iba a ver a su novia y no regresó nunca”, narró su hermana Melissa en un restaurante frente a la solitaria plaza principal de Chilapa.

El joven llevaba uno de los apellido de Zenen Sánchez Nava “El Chaparro”, presunto líder de Los Rojos, un grupo criminal que se disputa ese territorio con sus rivales, Los Ardillos.

Otros cuatro jóvenes cuyos padres llevan los apellidos Sánchez o Nava desaparecieron.

“Ser Nava o Sánchez es peligrosísimo en Chilapa”, asegura desde su casa José Díaz, un profesor que asumió la vocería de familiares de los desaparecidos.

Según testigos, durante la ocupación, los invasores agitaban sus fusiles y machetes por las calles de Chilapa mientras gritaban: “ñEntreguen la cabeza de ‘El Chaparro’ y nos vamos!”.

“Todo empezó por las elecciones”

José Apolonio Villanueva, un dirigente campesino que encabezó la ocupación, niega que su grupo secuestrase a los jóvenes o que él sea un miembro infiltrado de Los Ardillos.

“La visita” a la ciudad de Chilapa fue para tratar de hablar con el alcalde porque en “nuestras comunidades se está perdiendo mucha gente”, dijo en una entrevista telefónica.

El alcalde estuvo ausente durante la ocupación, pero el grupo armado negoció la renuncia de su jefe de seguridad pública. Otro jefe de la policía, Silvestre Carreto González, fue destituido en julio del año pasado.

Entre los desaparecidos están los hermanos Miguel (23 años), Juan (20 años) y Víctor (15 años) Carreto Cuevas, vistos por última vez cuando iban a Chilapa a vender una vaca, y también sus parientes Crispino Carreto González y su hijo Samuel.

Los habitantes piensan que las desapariciones fueron una venganza contra el expolicía Carreto González, en una región donde agentes y alcaldes han sido acusados de tener vínculos con narcotraficantes.

El 21 de mayo, fueron encontrados tres cuerpos cerca de Chilapa con los rostros desollados, pero las autoridades dicen que son de desapariciones previas a la ocupación.

“Todo empezó por las elecciones”, dice entre lágrimas Esther, otra hermana de Alexandro -el chico desaparecido que manejaba camiones-, quien asegura que hombres encapuchados trataron de poner a punta de balazos una manta cerca de su casa para exigir a la población que votase por un partido político.

“No importa quién gane”

El 7 de junio, los mexicanos votaron para renovar diputados federales, alcaldes y nueve gobernadores, entre ellos el de Guerrero.

Unos días antes de las elecciones, los familiares de los desaparecidos se manifestaron contra lo que ellos llamaron “narcoelecciones”.

En noviembre pasado otros once cuerpos decapitados y quemados aparecieron cerca de Chilapa mientras que, en enero, 10 cadáveres más fueron hallados en el pueblo.

Pese al ambiente de zozobra, el municipio votó y Jesús Parra García, del oficialista Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), ganó la alcaldía tras sustituir a otro candidato asesinado a balazos el 1 de mayo.

“No importa quién gane, si no capturan a Los Ardillos y a Los Rojos la situación va a seguir. La elección sólo define si el presidente municipal es Rojo o Ardillo”, asegura el vocero Jose Díaz, quien asegura que en noviembre de 2014 perdió a dos hermanos a manos de Los Ardillos.

Chilapa es vecino de Ayotzinapa, de donde eran los 43 estudiantes que desaparecieron en septiembre pasado tras un ataque de policías coludidos con los Guerreros Unidos por órdenes del alcalde de Iguala.

Según autoridades, este cártel mantiene sangrientas disputas con Los Rojos y mató a los jóvenes.

Leer más: El peligro de llamarse Nava o Carreto en Guerrero – economiahoy.mx http://www.economiahoy.mx/nacional-eAm-mx/noticias/6801587/06/15/El-peligro-de-llamarse-Nava-o-Carreto-en-Guerrero.html#Kku8K1ZYmU1QYHgK

What Do You Need To Know About Violent Crime In Mexico?

The town of Iguala in the state of Guerrero is known as the birth-place of the Mexican flag. On October 22 the flag on the side of the mayor's office burned during a protest over the disappearance of 43 student teachers. Photo by N. Parish Flannery: @nathanielparish on Instagram.
On October 22 the flag on the side of the mayor’s office in Iguala Guerrero burned during a protest over the disappearance of 43 student teachers. Photo by N. Parish Flannery: @nathanielparish on Instagram.

By Nathaniel Parish Flannery Contributor. I write about Latin American companies and political risk.

In Mexico over the last few months security and crime stories such as the mass kidnapping of several dozen residents by 300 masked criminals in the town of Chilapa Guerrero and the more recent killing of 42 suspected cartel members by Federal Police in Tanhuato Michoacan, have attracted a lot of attention. Although Mexico’s government has decimated the leadership structures of groups such as the Zetas and Caballeros Templarios, over the course of 2014, a new group, the New Generation Cartel of Jalisco, has risen to prominence. The CNGJ is perhaps best known for a recent brazen attack in which the cartel’s gunmen shot down an army helicopter, killing eight soldiers. 2014 saw the capture of Mexican crime kingpin “El Chapo” Guzman, but clearly the fight against violent crime in Mexico is far from over.

While news outlets such as Proceso magazine and the blog borderlandbeat.com have documented each individual incident, a recent report from the University of San Diego aims to provide a wider perspective on the evolving face of organized crime in Mexico.

The town of Iguala in the state of Guerrero is known as the birth-place of the Mexican flag. On October 22 the flag on the side of the mayor’s office burned during a protest over the disappearance of 43 student teachers. Photo by N. Parish Flannery: @nathanielparish on Instagram.

On October 22 the flag on the side of the mayor’s office in Iguala Guerrero burned during a protest over the disappearance of 43 student teachers. Photo by N. Parish Flannery: @nathanielparish on Instagram.

Overall, at least a third of the murders in Mexico in 2014 bore signs of organized-crime related killings, such as the use of high-caliber automatic weapons, torture and the use of narcomensajes. Former Mexican president Felipe Calderon has been widely criticized for his security strategy that saw a 58% increase in organized-crime related murders in 2008, a 41% increase in 2009 and a 30% increase in 2010. Since 2011, however, Mexico’s murder rate has fallen year after year, and according to the report from the University of San Diego’s Justice in Mexico Project, that trend continued in 2014. According to the report,

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018) has continued the previous administration’s efforts to arrest major organized crime figures. While President Peña Nieto continued the same strategies of the previous administration during his first year in office, he also began to emphasize crime prevention and judicial system reform more strongly than in the past.

Still, despite the capture of “El Chapo” Guzman and the decimation of the Caballero’s Templario cartel, the threat of organized crime is still very much present in Mexico. During the course of 2014, the states with the largest number of organized-crime-style murders were all states where organized crime groups control major smuggling routes. The border state of Chihuahua reported 1,143 murders. Guerrero, the site of the disappearance of 43 student teachers in late 2014 reported 1,075 murders. Sinaloa, the home base of “El Chapo” and his organization reported 747 homicides. While Michoacán, the state once dominated by the Caballeros Templarios reported 594 deaths. Jalisco, the state that recently saw a dramatic confrontation between soldiers and gunmen from the Nueva Generacion Cartel, reported 518 killings.

According to the report, In 2014, SNSP statistics still placed Ciudad Juárez as the municipality with the fourth highest number of homicides, though this number continued to decline by perhaps as much as 14% from the previous year (with the caveat that Ciudad Juárez was one of many cases for which data were incomplete). Meanwhile, the number of homicides also declined again in Acapulco, the city that has registered the most homicides since 2012, from 883 to 590 homicides, a decrease of more than a third.

But, these improvements are a mixed result. They are associated with a broader trend of organized crime related violence shifting away from city centers towards the urban periphery and rural areas. This has proven to be a problem for Pepsi and Coca-Cola who have seen their trucks and facilities targeted by criminals and radical activists in Guerrero and ArcelorMittal, a company who saw one of its executives killed in Michoacan, allegedly by cartel gunmen. Cemex has also seen its employees and operations in Guerrero threatened by criminals. Most recently gunmen in Guerrero kidnapped a Cemex employee while he was driving a company vehicle.

In late 2013 I visited the municipality of Xaltianguis on the outskirts of Acapulco in Guerrero. Angelica Romero, a middle-aged mother of two and a member of the town’s citizen police force told me, her “family was affected by the crime. There were kidnappings. One cousin was freed. Another was killed. We paid the [ransom] money but he never came back. They found him on a lot near here with a bullet in his head.”

Police Patrol in Acapulco. Photo by N. Parish Flannery. Instagram: @nathanielparish
Police Patrol in Acapulco. Photo by N. Parish Flannery. Instagram: @nathanielparish

Mexico City based security analyst Alejandro Hope told me that in the area around Acapulco, “It’s no longer cartel versus cartel. It’s retail drugs and extortion of all types, especially [of] taxi drivers. Everyone is paying.”

In late 2014 I rode along with a Federal Police patrol through the lower income hillside neighborhoods on the outskirts of Acapulco. Federal Police chief Enrique Galindo Zavalos, told me, that Mexico’s security forces “have taken apart the [major organized crime] groups but at a lower level the structures are still there and they are committing crimes such as robbery, extortion and kidnapping.”

The street gangs who once worked kidnapping and killing on assignment for the cartels haven’t disappeared. “They are freelancing,” Galindo told me.

Samuel, a 34-year-old who owned a bar in Acapulco but closed up after gangsters killed one of waitresses told me, “a few years ago there were shootouts right in the street in front of restaurants. Now it’s better, but it’s a smokescreen. The poorer areas are still bad.”

The old cartel structures in Guerrero have been smashed, but the violence is continuing. Fourteen people were killed in Acapulco during the weekend of May 16. An additional 45 people were killed in Acapulco during the first two weeks of May, a death toll that is helping Acapulco remain on the list of the most violent cities in Latin America. Instead of cartel gunmen battling with machine guns Acapulco is now seeing taxi drivers and small business owners killed by handguns in assassination-style shootings.

Stage one of Mexico’s security strategy has focused on dismantling organized crime groups. Stage two requires the rebuilding of local police forces and serious reforms to the country’s criminal justice system. University of San Diego’s Justice in Mexico report shows that the worst days of Mexico’s organized crime fight may be behind it. But, the end of violent crime and the establishment of law and order at the local level in states such as Guerrero, Michoacan, and Jalisco may still be a long way off.

According to Guillermo Valdes Castellanos, the ex-director of Mexico’s intelligence agency CISEN, “rebuilding and strengthening state institutions so they have the capacity to stop [organized crime] is a twenty-five year process.”

See here for an in-depth report I wrote on the fight against organized crime in Mexico.

Follow me: Twitter: @LatAmLENS and Instagram: @nathanielparish

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanielparishflannery/2015/05/26/what-do-you-need-to-know-about-violent-crime-in-mexico/

Twitter https://twitter.com/TiempoGro