March 30, 2009

Prensa Libre (Guatemala City, Guatemala) 3/27/09

A portion of an op/col by Brenda Sanchinelli, “The smell of death

Our miserable daily life in Guatemala stinks of death. Society is infected everywhere, and the worst thing about it is that no one does anything. In this country it is forbidden to smoke, but murdering in cold blood is permitted because there are criminals who have reached 185 entries and exits from prison, and they are out on the street thinking about their next misdeed.

Cruelty and savagery, that’s the menu we have every day. Life is worth nothing in this country, because the physical integrity of the inhabitants is not a priority for the State, which fails in its first obligation to provide security and justice.

Last Tuesday, in a press conference, the vice president of the Nation asserted not to have fear of boarding a public transport bus. Well, then I invite him to do so, because talk is cheap, and actions are something else. They live on the Moon ! 150 years ago this disconnection with the people was paid by hanging. How lucky they are to live in the XXI century.

When will the Government react? Probably the day when the members of the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary have to board a bus and walk on the street “without bodyguard”, thus understanding the terrible ordeal that we citizens suffer daily. To avoid the smell of death, the cadaver is buried or it is resuscitated. Because it cannot be where it stinks. Or can it?
Big ills call for big remedies.

La Hora (Guatemala City, Guatemala) 3/27/09

Guatemalan police and military personnel conducted various operations in the northeast of the country and seized “nearly” 500 grenades and five AK47 rifles from a number of residences. No arrests were mentioned. (The article did not give a date for the event)

El Universal (Mexico City) and El Diario en Linea (Chihuahua) followed up on the above story, indicating that officials surmised the arms were to be transported north to Mexico, since elements of the Mexican Gulf cartel operate in the area of Ixcan, which is located on the border of the Mexican state, Chiapas.

El Heraldo (Tegucigalpa, Honduras) 3/27/09

Ten thousand Hondurans have been deported back into their country so far this year. The majority came by air from the United States. The monthly average of 3,330 is slightly below last year’s but this is explained because these have so far been the low emigration months. The “high season” begins from April to June and there is a second one from September to December.

El Informador (Guadalajara, Jalisco) 3/27/09

Mexican Army units in Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco state, confiscated an arsenal of 16 military-type assault rifles, three grenades and uniforms with insignias of the AFI [equiv. FBI ] and PGR [Justice Dept.]. The operation began with the rescue of a kidnap victim who was found in a safe-house blindfolded, gagged and handcuffed. The rescue led to the search of the building and the arms seizure. Evidence indicated Los Zetas involvement.

Sunday 3/29/09

La Razon (La Paz, Bolivia) 3/28/09

A very large facility with lodgings for up to twenty persons and with the capacity to produce 100 kilos of hydrochloride daily was discovered by Bolivian anti-narcotics forces in San Juan, Santa Cruz Dep’t.; the find was the largest in ten years. The amount of cocaine found was still being tallied as of report time. Three Colombians and one Bolivian were arrested.

El Heraldo (Tegucigalpa, Honduras) 3/28/09

* 17 Cubans reached Honduras’ Swan Island on the Caribbean. They don’t want to go back to Cuba.
* When a city bus was stalled in traffic in Tegucigalpa, a motorcycle rider came alongside, boarded the bus and proceeded to shoot three male passengers repeatedly. He then left, re-boarded the bike and left.

Prensa Libre (Guatemala City, Guatemala) 3/28/09

At a meeting of some Central American presidents and U.S. VP Biden to take place on Monday, March 30, the Guatemalan Chancellor, Haroldo Rodas, intends to ask Biden to stop the deportations and that the migrants have “the right to health.” He also affirmed that the “decriminalization” of the issue of migrants will be requested.
President Alvaro Colom stated that he will express his support for migratory reform to Biden.

Cuarto Poder (Chiapas) 3/28/09

Three presumed alien smugglers and a group of 39 Guatemalan immigrants were arrested by state police (PEP) in two separate actions in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. The first arrests were made when police stopped a van with the load of Guatemalans. The driver, a Mexican, tried to flee, but was arrested after a short chase. He asked to be released on the grounds that the man who employed him would negotiate his freedom. Even so, the alleged smuggler was brought to the base office of the PEP along with his load of Guatemalans. While he was in custody there, two men arrived to the offices requesting his release, as predicted. They were immediately arrested as presumably those responsible for the smuggling. All three were turned over to the federal Justice Department (PGR) for prosecution. The Guatemalans will be returned across the border. The state of Chiapas is a major transit area for people from Central and South America, the Caribbean, Asia and Africa en route to the US.

El Diario en Linea (Chihuahua 3/28/09

Armed groups in the capital city of Chihuahua took the lives of six people in three separate gunfights that took place Saturday afternoon and evening.
In Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, federal agents had an early morning physical fight with municipal police outside a nightclub. The police, on duty, spotted the feds coming to blows with civilians and a group of the officers intervened, according to witnesses. The General in charge of the federal police said that it wasn’t a fight, only a struggle with his men who were drunk. He promised they would be punished.

Monday 3/30/09

El Imparcial (Hermosillo, Sonora) 3/29/09

In Reynosa, Tamaulipas state, based on data from an informant, 30 masked Mexican soldiers burst through the door of a house with boarded windows and found 55 terrified immigrant hostages, victims of the Gulf Cartel. In the midst of screams and the odor of urine and sweat, the soldiers found a room spattered with blood and a piece of wood encrusted with nails that the kidnappers used to beat their captives in order to demand money from their families: three thousand dollars each. Five of the alleged kidnappers, among them the supposed leader – the son of a local police agent – were taken into custody.

Tamaulipas state borders the southern tip of Texas and the city of Reynosa is across the river from McAllen. The area, a base of the Gulf cartel, is one critical to the operations of organized crime and is patrolled by federal forces waging the war against narcotraffic. The struggle is complicated by the deep-seated corruption of the local and state police. Some of the police officers work double duty as spies and assassins in the pay of the cartels. “Here we cannot talk to the police because they are in collusion with the narcos,” said an Army Captain.

In the raid in Reynosa, soldiers freed nine women dressed only in their underwear who were held in a small room. They also freed 46 men crowded into two small rooms, some of them for as long as a month, with scant food and water. The torture room had a mattress on the floor and the walls were blood-stained and had posters of semi-nude women.

The soldiers handcuffed the leader of the gang and covered his head. Then they took him to a bathroom and made him kneel in front of a bathtub next to a bucket of water. The door was then closed. The suspect emerged wet and ready to reveal the addresses of another two houses used for groups of immigrants, although a search of them had no results.

The Mexican National Commission of Human Rights last week reported that complaints against the Army have increased, including illegal breaking and entering and mistreatment of detainees. President Calderon defends the use of the Army, citing the reduction in crime in areas under military control. Everywhere in Tamaulipas there are signs that the leaders of the drug cartels are ready to resume business as soon as the soldiers depart. This gives rise to a large narco spy network that communicates via portable radios and is protected by some sectors of the public who have lost confidence in all government security.

Frontera (Tijuana, Baja California) 3/29/09

Three men were arrested from a boat carrying 86 bundles of marihuana and 26 bricks of unspecified narcotics off the Pacific coast 150 miles south of Ensenada, Baja California. The Mexican Navy intercepted the boat and made the arrests during an anti-drug operation with the help of a Navy helicopter. Upon spotting the naval unit, the crew of the boat began tossing the marihuana overboard and tried to flee. After only a few miles of pursuit, the naval forces overtook the craft.


El Universal (Mexico City) 3/29/09

The Mexican Navy, in an anti-drug operation in the states of Michoacan and Sinaloa. destroyed 83 fields of marihuana containing a total of 4,154,643 plants. The Navy also incinerated 36,250 opium poppies in the states of Guerrero and Nayarit. The operations were carried out in areas around 17 towns in the four states by “Naval Infantry” units.

Excelsior (Mexico City) 3/29/09

As a weekly special feature, Excelsior’s updated graphic casualty count by state:

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Foreign News Report

The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO) extracts and condenses the material that follows from Mexican and Central and South American on-line media sources on a daily basis.