The Sun – Mexican football legend Cuauhtemoc Blanco “fears for his life” after being accused of ordering a hit on a man who organised a local fair. Blanco – famous for the “bunny hop” trick he performed in the 1998 World Cup – is the current mayor of Cuernavaca.
AP – A U.S. border rights activist has been found on the outskirts of Mexico City, after he sent a chilling Facebook live message saying he was stranded and people were trying to kill him. A Mexican federal official said the person found beaten was Hugo Castro. He is a member of the migrant defense group Border Angels.
By Jude Webber / Financial Times
President Enrique Peña Nieto hailed the arrests of two fugitive former governors from Mexico’s ruling party within a week as a “convincing message” about the state’s commitment to fight corruption, which is often seen as a bigger problem for the country than Donald Trump’s threatened renegotiation of Nafta.
The detention of Javier Duarte, who is accused of bankrupting the southern state of Veracruz before absconding last year, and of Tomás Yarrington of the northern state of Nuevo León, who enjoyed state-assigned bodyguards for part of his five years on the run from money-laundering and drugs charges, are undeniable advances, analysts say.
But the number of other former senior officials still wanted, and the slow progress in arming a new anti-corruption system with a prosecutor to lead the fight against the country’s endemic graft, suggest a lack of political will to match the rhetoric, critics say.
The timing of Mexico’s arrests — ahead of a key gubernatorial election in the State of Mexico in June that the ruling Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI) must win to remain afloat in the July 2018 presidential polls — looks expedient in a country where a corruption scandal over the president’s wife’s house decimated his popularity.
“The evidence that they are really moving forward and determined to attack the problems at the root is just not there,” says Juan Francisco Torres Landa, who heads Mexico United Against Crime, a non-governmental organisation.
LAT – Another journalist has been killed in Mexico — the fourth in just six weeks. Authorities said reporter Maximino Rodriguez Palacios was shot dead outside of a shopping center Friday in La Paz Rodriguez, 72, wrote about politics and crime for a news organization called the Pericu Collective. He had previously worked as a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office.
Friday’s shooting is the latest in a string of violent attacks on journalists in Mexico that has claimed four lives since March 2 and has left several others wounded.
Arizona Republic – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized nearly $1 million in smuggled drugs at the U.S-Mexico border crossing in Nogales last week, officials said Monday. Border agents arrested five U.S. citizens and two Mexican nationals in separate attempts to smuggle drugs into the United States from Mexico.
The Guardian – The body of a man, who witnesses said was tossed from a plane, landed on a hospital roof in Mexico’s northern Sinaloa state on Wednesday, according to a public health service official in the region which is home to notorious drug traffickers.
San Diego Union-Tribune – Daniel Gomez, a defender with Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente’s reserve team, was arrested early on April 5 and charged with importing a controlled substance. According to a complaint in the U.S. District Court, he tried to bring in nearly 48-pounds of packaged meth.
BBC – Police in Italy have arrested the former governor of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, Tomás Yarrington, 59, who served as governor from 1999 to 2005 and had been on the run for almost five years. The ex-governor is accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes from drug cartels in return for turning a blind eye to their smuggling activities.
By Lizbeth Diaz
The number of people in Mexico disappearing under suspicious circumstances, often related to drug violence, rose to 30,000 by the end of 2016, the National Human Rights Commission said on Thursday.
At the start of 2013, shortly after President Enrique Pena Nieto took office, the Mexican government reported there were 26,000 so-called “disappeared” people.
The Commission said the number of “disappeared” had risen to 30,000, with the drug-ridden northern state of Tamaulipas registering 5,563 missing, the highest state total.
It said six of Mexico’s 32 federal entities failed to respond to its enquiries on the number of missing persons.
The Commission also said it had accounted for 855 mass graves across Mexico over the last decade, finding 1,548 corpses, the large majority of which were male. Just over half of those bodies have been identified, it added.
Well over 100,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico over the last decade.
Violence cost Mexico the equivalent of 18 percent of the gross domestic product in 2016, a year when the homicide rate rose, the 2017 Mexico Peace Index report said Tuesday.
The cost of the violence amounted to 25,000 pesos ($1,335) per person last year, Mexican Institute for the Economy and Peace coordinator Patricia de Obeso told EFE.
The violence is “a tax on the country’s security” that all citizens pay and that comes to more than a month of pay for the average Mexican worker, De Obeso said.
The cost is even higher in states like Colima, where it came to 66,500 pesos ($3,555) and Guerrero, where it totaled 53,600 pesos ($2,865) per capita, the researcher said.
The report’s authors factored direct costs, such as government spending on the armed forces and business spending on security, and indirect costs, including the effect of crime on public perceptions and the loss of a breadwinner for a family.
Society must decide “if the investment we’ve made in the past 10 years in directly fighting drug trafficking … in containing violence, has really had an impact” or whether citizens must ask themselves “what we should be investing in to improve the level of peace,” De Obeso said.
NPR – Murder is on the rise in Mexico. Ten years after the government launched its war on drugs and sent the military to combat cartels, homicides are at levels not seen since the height of that offensive. The violence is widespread, but it remains most prevalent in a few hard-hit towns and cities.
NYT – President Trump has talked frequently about “bad hombres” streaming in from Mexico. But it is the flow of money going from north to south — a product of Americans’ voracious appetite for illicit drugs — that officials say is an equal part of the problem.
Washington Post – The job of a journalist has become so dangerous in the nation that one Mexican newspaper owner has decided he is no longer willing to take on the risk. In a front-page letter published Sunday with the massive headline “Adios!” the owner of Norte, a newspaper in the Mexican border city of Juarez, announced it would be ending its print publication as a result of the ongoing violence against journalists, killings that often go unpunished.
DW – A busload of German tourists heading to Maya ruins in Mexico has been robbed on a back road, according to prosecutors in Chiapas state. Seven armed men seized cash and valuables from the 28 visitors.
USAToday – Last year’s capture of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán led to a surge in homicides in Mexico as cartel leaders fought to fill the vacuum created by his arrest. Mexico’s homicide rate for the year spiked to 21.3 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, a steep rise from 17.5 in 2015 that rivals record numbers earlier in the decade, according to a report released Friday by the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego.
Fox News – Known as “Las Flakas” (Skinny Girls), young Mexican women are taking up lives of crime alongside their male counterparts, becoming extremely effective agents for the cartels’ cause.
AP – Mexico’s Roman Catholic council of bishops said Thursday that a priest kidnapped in the Gulf coast city of Tampico had been released unharmed. The council identified the priest as Rev. Oscar Lopez Navarro, from the Tampico diocese.
Fox News – Three reporters on assignment with Arab news channel Al Jazeera were attacked in Navolato, a city in Sinaloa. The reporters – a Spanish, a Briton and a Mexican – had their vehicle, gear and cell phones taken, but they were not harmed in the incident.
UPI – Gov. José Ignacio Peralta Sánchez of Colima said at least 10 bodies were found in a mass grave near the town of Queseria on the border with Jalisco. Peralta Sánchez said that though it is unclear in which state jurisdiction the bodies were found, authorities need to establish not only in which state the bodies were recovered, but where the killings were committed.
AP – Volunteer searchers pounded metal probes into hard-packed earth at a clandestine grave site in Mexico’s Veracruz state on Thursday, redoubling efforts after receiving a tip that hundreds more bodies may be buried there.