President Felipe CalderÃ³n asserted Thursday that Mexico is not a failed state nor has it lost control of its territory at the hands of organized crime, as some American government reports have suggested.
CalderÃ³n, who from the start of his administration has declared open war against organized crime and narcotraffic, said that officials must be careful when issuing their reports.
He pointed out that his government has a complete strategy to combat organized crime including an operation to cleanse the country's security agencies. He added that, due to that, "a good cleansing is needed on the other side of the border."
Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora said in a separate interview Thursday that "Operation Cleansing" to do away with infiltration by narcotraffic into the Mexican government has now practically ended with the detention of around 25 high ranking officials and agents. Medina also acknowledged that violence linked to illegal drug traffic and organized crime has risen, reflected in around one thousand deaths so far in 2009. And the forecast is not better: violence is reaching its highest point, said the AG, Just in 2008 there were 6 thousand 290 homicides recorded.
Violence has increased in Mexico despite the assignment of 45 thousand soldiers all around the country to combat drug cartels.
Beheadings, attacks on police and shootouts in night spots and restaurants take place daily in many areas.
La Hora (Guatemala City, Guatemala) 2/26/09
"Our own hell",
op/col by Hector Luna
When I read, hear or see communications media at least a minimal drop of depression enters my being; when I leave my house and watch the other drivers, the Emetra police, the needlessly created obstacles and to boot the thieves or killers who can approach in the motorcycles that pass me aggressively or in a car that can cut me off at any moment; when I hear gunshots or friends or acquaintances tell me how they have been affected by violence; when I know about those millionaires who insult with their ill-gotten riches, because they are known by all, including the authorities, to be narcotraffic or crime bosses; when the cadavers of children, women, men, older persons, appear in the nightmare of reality, assassinated by mara gangsters or some other type of criminals; when we know with certainty that millions are obtained thanks to corruption and to a system of justice that is no longer useful; when we convince ourselves by means of the events of daily life that this government and the others only sate themselves with power and money, I have the complete assurance that we have built our own hell and that it is not necessary (as some believe) that another worse one may exist after death.
El Heraldo (Tegucigalpa, Honduras) 2/26/09
"Undeniable violence flogs all Honduras"
The blood bath began Tuesday night, and the report covers the homicide of at least ten persons, four in the area around the capital city and the rest in different cities of Honduran territory. Three of the victims, 20, 23 ad 15 years of age, were together when they were forcibly carried off by ten masked men. They were later found, dumped, tied and shot several times, including a coup de grace.
Prensa Libre (Guatemala City, Guatemala) 2/26/09
* Armed assaults on buses are a common occurrence in Guatemala; this year, the 17th bus driver has now been murdered during a holdup. Two other persons were wounded.
* A "latest news" item reports that a shootout Thursday evening in Huehuetenango has resulted in two gang members dead, and three National Police and one other person wounded.
El Economista (Mexico City) 2/26/09
59,348 vehicles were stolen in Mexico in 2008, according to a report by Mexico's Insurance Co, Association. This figure is the highest in ten years. The largest number took place in Mexico City and its surrounding State of Mexico. 34% of vehicle thefts were "carried out with violence."
El Diario (Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua) 2/26/09
* On Wednesday, bomb threats brought about the closing and evacuation for several hours of Juarez' airport and the federal courthouse in Juarez. A third bomb threat also caused the closing of the Paso del Norte international border crossing between El Paso and Juarez.
All this took place while Mexico's top level National Security Cabinet was meeting at a heavily guarded hotel in Juarez; that meeting was also attended by the governor of Chihuahua and the mayor of Juarez.
* Elsewhere in the state, three bullet-riddled bodies were found in Chihuahua City, three more in Delicias, while another man was the victim of an AK47 car-to-car attack, also in Chihuahua City. And in Juarez, two lifeless bodies: the remains of one of them consisted only of a half buried leg and arm. And a shootout with kidnappers in the Galeana section of town left a policeman on the brink of death.
El Financiero (Mexico City) 2/26/09
Fernando Gomez Montt, Mexico's Secretary of Government, announced that the federal government will send five thousand more soldiers "exclusively" to Ciudad Juarez to reinforce the combat against criminality on the border.
"El Universal" (also Mexico City) added that 1,000 federal agents will also be sent to Juarez, which will mean a total of 7,500 soldiers and around 1,500 federal agents. The Secretary of Government said that they are going to expel organized crime from Juarez,
El Porvenir (Monterrey, Nuevo Leon) 2/26/09
* When a married couple in their vehicle was stopped by marked police units of the town of Salinas Victoria, the police ordered the man to step out, apparently to kidnap him for ransom. The man's family had previously been victims of kidnapping by the police, so he refused. When he did so, a policeman reached into the car and took a three year old with him.
The couple went to a nearby military facility and related the events. The military responded, found the marked units, the police and the child. Seven police officers were arrested. This is the fifth time that police officers of that city have been involved in criminal acts including assaults, violent robbery, kidnapping and drug traffic. (Salinas Victoria is just north of Monterrey)
* Germany has now joined the U.S. and has issued a travelers' warning to its citizens about visiting Mexico.
El Sur (Acapulco, Guerrero) 2/26/09
Around the state of Guerrero: a man was executed in Arcelia, three others in Ajuchitlan with coup de grace shots, and three more in the hills of Coyuca de Catalan. The tally may not be complete: local residents around Zirandaro reported a shootout Tuesday night, and police then found six abandoned and shot vehicles, one of them burned, plus shell casings and blood stains. Locals reported five dead and three wounded, though no victims had been found.
La Jornada (Mexico City) 2/26/09
In an SUV at a department store parking lot in Iztapalapa, a suburb of Mexico City: three men, tied, each with a plastic bag in his mouth, each also the victim of a coup de grace shot.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FORMER BORDER PATROL OFFICERS
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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.