Mexico: Ciudad Juarez: Mapping the Violence / Steven Dudley

As a bitter war between rival cartels grinds to an end, Ciudad Juarez has lost the title of world murder capital, and is moving towards something more like normality. InSight Crime looks at the role politicians, police, and for-hire street gangs played in the fighting — asking who won, and what is next for the Mexican border city.

Juarez has always been a volatile place. It is a border city that draws huge numbers of migrants seeking work, and engenders large discrepancies between its wealthiest and poorest residents — all factors associated with violence.

However, mapping this phenomenon does not necessarily yield the expected results. A recent study (pdf) by two prominent social scientists funded by the HASOW initiative at PUC-Rio noted that violence in Juarez in 2009-2010 was concentrated in certain sectors of the city, as expected, but did not always follow the expected pattern in terms of the socio-economic status of the victims. SEE MORE…

Mexique: Les démons du Mexique / Paulo A. Paranagua

Dans un de ses derniers romans, La Voluntad y la Fortuna (“La Volonté et la Fortune”), Carlos Fuentes fait “parler” une tête coupée sur une plage du Pacifique. “Je suis la tête tranchée numéro mille depuis le début de l’année au Mexique. Je suis un des cinquante décapités de la semaine, le septième de la journée et le seul des dernières trois heures et quart…” Le narrateur exagère, mais les Mexicains assistent depuis quelques années à une déferlante d’homicides barbares, où les têtes coupées alternent avec les corps démembrés laissés sur la voie publique pour frapper l’opinion. Depuis 2007, malgré le déploiement de l’armée dans les rues, on compte 50 000 morts liés au crime organisé.

Pendant des décennies, le Mexique avait pourtant connu une chute des homicides. “Nous sommes brusquement revenus aux taux d’il y a vingt ans”, affirme le sociologue Roger Bartra. LIRE LA SUITE…

Global: International criminal markets have become major centres of power, UNODC report shows

A report released today by UNODC shows how organized crime has globalized and turned into one of the world’s foremost economic and armed powers.
The Globalization of Crime: A Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment, released at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York, looks at major trafficking flows of drugs (cocaine and heroin), firearms, counterfeit products, stolen natural resources and people (for sex and forced labour), as well as  smuggled migrants. It also covers maritime piracy and cybercrime.
“Today, the criminal market spans the planet: illicit goods are sourced from one continent, trafficked across another and marketed in a third,” said UNDOC  Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa. “Transnational crime has become a threat to peace and development, even to the sovereignty of nations,” warned the head of UNODC. “Criminals use weapons and violence, but also money and bribes to buy elections, politicians and power – even the military,” said Mr. Costa. The threat to governance and stability is analysed in a chapter on regions under stress. SEE MORE…

Mexico: Calderon’s dead-end war / Jorge Castañeda

Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s militarized, politicized fight against Mexico’s drug cartels has been ineffective
In Ciudad Juarez this month, Mexican President Felipe Calderon insisted that appearances notwithstanding, drug violence had begun to recede thanks to the yearlong presence of 10,000 Mexican troops in the border city.
Yet according to his own government’s figures, there have been 536 executions in Juarez since Jan. 1, which is 100 more than during the same period last year.
And the violence is not localized to a few border towns like Juarez. Over a holiday weekend in Acapulco this month, 34 people were assassinated in drug-related incidents; nearly 20 suffered the same fate in the drug-producing state of Sinaloa; and perhaps most poignant, two graduate students from Mexico’s premier private university, Monterrey Tech, lost their lives March 19, victims of crossfire as the Mexican military pursued drug cartel members at the entrance to the campus. SEE MORE…

Mexican Traffickers Sow Chaos With Blockades

Traffic jams are nothing new in Mexico’s largest cities, but drug traffickers intent on frustrating the authorities have added them as a new weapon to their arsenal, blocking city streets and creating long lines of frustrated motorists, law enforcement officials said.
The center of the action last week was the bustling commercial city of Monterrey, where the authorities said criminals commandeered dozens of tractor-trailer trucks and other vehicles on Thursday and Friday to block more than 30 streets and highways. The blockades, called narcobloqueos by the Mexican news media, resulted in traffic chaos, with the trucks parked horizontally across highways and vehicles jammed up behind them. SEE MORE…

Mexico: The Juárez Killings: Are the Narcos Fighting Scared? / Tim Padgett

The three murders that occurred at two locations in the violent Mexican border city of Juárez on the afternoon of March 13 were themselves horrifying enough. Jorge Alberto Salcido, 37, a Mexican citizen whose wife works for the U.S. consulate, was killed at the wheel of his Honda; his two young children were wounded in the gun attack and were rushed to a hospital. Minutes later, say police, gunmen in another part of the city chased down the Toyota SUV driven by Lesley Enriquez, 25, who also worked for the consulate, and her husband Arthur Redelf, 30, both U.S. citizens who lived across the border in El Paso, Texas, and shot her in the head and him in the neck as their baby watched from an infant car seat in the back. SEE MORE…

New border violence erupts with Mexico cartel rift

This border city and others near the eastern end of the U.S. border escaped the worst of Mexico’s bloody drug war for years, but now the bodies are piling up, several journalists are reportedly missing or dead and once-busy streets are empty after dark.
The crumbling of an alliance between two Mexican drug gangs has plunged the 200-mile stretch of border into violence, raising fears of a new front in the drug war, a U.S. anti-drug official told The Associated Press.
In Mexican border cities stretching from Matamoros near the Gulf to Nuevo Laredo, gunfire has been heard almost daily, and at least 49 people were killed in drug war-related violence in less than six weeks. SEE MORE…
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