Friday, August 29, 2008

12 decapitated bodies found in Mexico - Yahoo! News

MERIDA, Mexico (AFP) - Twelve decapitated bodies bearing signs of torture were found Thursday in eastern Mexico, authorities said, adding that they were still looking for the heads.


Eleven headless male bodies were found piled on top of each other and covered with blankets in a suburb of the city of Merida, the capital of Yucatan state.

Some of the cadavers also had their legs tied, an AFP photographer saw. One was completely naked, while others wore denim clothing. Some of the murdered men had tattooed arms.

A twelfth body was found in a town called Buctzotz, 70 kilometers (45 miles) northeast of Merida. Its head is also missing.

Jose Guzman, a Yucatan state prosecutor, said the bodies were found by townspeople but that the heads were still missing.

"We believe that the 12 executions were an isolated incident and not part of a strategy to destabilize the state," Guzman told reporters.

A top Mexican public security official who visited Merida recently had noted that the city had remained largely untouched by the drug war that has left more than 2,600 dead in Mexico so far this year.

Just four drug-related murders had been reported in Yucatan state this year, according to El Universal newspaper.

Decapitated bodies have appeared in southern and northern Mexico, and authorities say they are revenge killings between rival drug cartels.

In recent years, drug trafficking gangs have resorted to decapitations and dismemberments against their foes in northern and southern Mexico. Hitmen often leave notes on the bodies indicating it was a drug-related assassination.

12 decapitated bodies found in Mexico - Yahoo! News

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gunmen kill at least 14 at benefit race - El Paso Times

Gunmen kill at least 14 at benefit race - El Paso Times: "Gunmen kill at least 14 at benefit race
El Paso Times Staff
Article Launched: 08/18/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT

EL PASO -- At least 14 people were killed and another 12 suffered gunshot wounds Saturday in the mountain community of Creel, Chihuahua, when several masked men opened fire using automatic rifles during a benefit race, a newspaper in Chihuahua and the Associated Press reported.
Details of the incident and the number of victims vary, but the newspaper El Heraldo reported that about 10 masked men arrived at the race in sport utility vehicles and opened fire, killing men, women and a 1-year-old child. The newspaper reported that tourists ran to hide in restaurants.
Creel is in southwestern Chihuahua in the heart of the Sierra Madre mountains and is frequented by U.S. tourists who want to visit Tarahumara Indian villages.
El Heraldo reported the killings were related to the ongoing drug war that has taken hold in Chihuahua, including Juárez, where more than 800 people have been killed since the beginning of the year."

800 Dead: El Pasoans stay uneasy as slayings continue - El Paso Times

Juarez, Tijuana and Nuevo Laredo are the big three of centers of the Mexican drug war, but the violence pops up everywhere from the resort cities on the Pacific to Mexico City itself. No where is off limits.

Daniel Borunda / El Paso Times
Article Launched: 08/18/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT

EL PASO -- A massacre at a drug rehab center last week helped propel the death toll in Juárez to more than 800 homicides so far this year as the city is rapidly emerging among the deadliest in the Americas.
More than 100 people have been slain in August alone as the rate of street shootings, mob-style executions and other homicides has increased since a war between the Sinaloa and Juárez drug cartels erupted in January.

The inability of Mexican authorities to rein in the violence is increasing concerns on the U.S. side of the border.

"I find how brazen this (violence) is. To me, if you wanted to see what terrorism is like, you are looking at it full-fledged over there" in Juárez, El Paso police Chief Greg Allen said. "People getting killed in broad daylight in front of everyone, in police stations. That type of thing should make people very uncomfortable."

Allen maintains that the chances that drug violence in Juárez will spill into El Paso remains unlikely due to cooperation among law enforcement agencies.

"If it would have happened, it would have already happened, in my opinion," Allen said.

El Paso has had 12 homicides this year. Juárez had 13 killings Wednesday alone.

That day, eight men were killed and five others wounded when acommando-style group fired a barrage of more than 60 rounds during a religious service in a Juárez drug rehabilitation center.

There were five other homicides that day.

The homicide rate has quickened to an average of about 3.5



homicides per day in Juárez compared with an average of 1.7 homicides per day during the first 14 days in January shortly after the cartel war began. Juárez averaged 0.8 homicides per day last year.
By comparison, Medellin, Colombia, had 6,349 homicides or nearly 18 per day in 1991 during the murderous reign of drug lord Pablo Escobar, the Miami Herald reported in a recent article on that city's rebirth. Medellin has a population of about 2.1 million. In 2007, the murder count was 653, or less than two per day.

Juárez, with an estimated population close to 2 million, is the battleground in a turf war such as the one fought a few years ago in Nuevo Laredo by the Gulf cartel and the Sinaloa cartel reputedly led by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

Nuevo Laredo, with a population of about 350,000, has had about 500 murders since 2003, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service on Mexico's drug cartels.

"The violence in Juárez is similar to that which took place in Nuevo Laredo a few years ago, but the numbers of victims is greater (in Juárez) because Juárez is a bigger city, hence a larger drug plaza," said Howard Campbell, an anthropology professor at the University of Texas at El Paso who has researched drug trafficking.

"In Laredo, the situation basically settled down because the Gulf cartel won and held on to their territory," Campbell said.

"In Juárez, it is not clear yet who will win, although it appears that Chapo may have the edge. The Mexican government so far has been unable to control or stop the violence."Ê

The violence in Juárez has been the subject of articles in newspapers and magazines from New York to Los Angeles. Tourists, missionaries and others planning to visit the borderland regularly ask whether it is safe.

"None of these incidents are tourism-related. None of these people affected are tourists," said Pifas Silva, spokesman for the El Paso Convention and Visitors Bureau. The bureau advises visitors to Juárez to travel during daylight hours, travel with groups of two or more and visit popular tourist attractions only.

In a trip to Juárez last week, Chihuahua Gov. José Reyes Baeza complained that the media was paying too much attention to the violence in his state. "It should not be the only topic ... in the mass media. We have many good things to share with other Mexicans watching us from afar," the governor said.

Juárez city leaders have acknowledged that some economic development opportunities have been lost in the past eight months due to safety concerns.

"This whole thing is very bad for our region because of the murders and insecurity, the negativeÊeffect on tourism, and theÊoverall bad image it creates.

"Who would want to visit or set up a business in Juárez at present?" Campbell said.

El Pasoans stay uneasy as slayings continue - El Paso Times

Mexico Rates At The Top For Kidnappings | KGNS | Local

Blog of the Gods was begun based on an offhand comment I made that Mexico was more dangerous than Iraq. At the time I made that comment it was not true. In fact Iraq was about 10X more dangerous. However in the last three years the situation has changed. Mexico is beset by an even bigger crime wave, including endless killings (30 last weekend in one city alone). Meanwhile, Iraq has improved considerably. It is difficult to get good statistics to make the comparison, but the trend lines certainly point to it eventually being true.

There is bad news for Mexico today ... as a new study puts them at the top of the list for kidnappings.
A study released Thursday by the non-governmental organization I-K-V Pax Christi says there have been more kidnappings in Mexico than in any other part of the world.
Could this new information keep tourists from visiting our border country?
Our Annette Garcia has more on the story.
From food ... to music ... Mexico ... is a country rich in culture.
in the last few years .. However ... news of Feuding drug cartels and rising crime rates has taken their toll on Mexico’s image.
“Since the drug wars we just don’t go anymore.
“I just don’t think its worth the risk.”
Now a new studies involving kidnappings ... continues dampening the outlook for our neighboring country.
“of the estimated one hundred thousand kidnappings worldwide ... most of those happened right here in Mexico. The number is higher than that of Iraq and Pakistan.”
For many living in Mexico.... The news isn’t surprising.
“Si las authoridades tengan occopado ... or no pueden.. No se que esta pasando ... pero enseguridad si lo ay.”
She says she doesn’t know if it’s a problem with authorities ... but there definitely is a sense of insecurity.
The feeling ... not mutual.. With Milton Wemming ...who says he's been coming to Nuevo Laredo since the age of 14 ...
“I think most everything down here is drug related i think if you stay away from the drugs you’re okay.”
a quick trip ... others agree .. Isn’t anything to worry about.
“I’ve been to Nuevo Laredo a couple of times but I don’t have that kind of fear.”
but with several hundred people .. Now missing in Mexico ... those living on the u.s. side of the border only hope things will get better.
“I think its horrible ... they have to get these guys and stop the violence so everyone can enjoy Mexico for what it is ... a great country.”
After Mexico ... some of the top ten countries with the most kidnappings include ... Iraq ... India ... South Africa ... Brazil ... Pakistan ... Venezuela and Bangladesh.

Mexico Rates At The Top For Kidnappings | KGNS | Local

Monday, August 18, 2008

30 dead in worst weekend of Mexico violence this year

Well 25 died in a bombing in an Iraqi market and that's all over the news. The worst attack in months there. Meanwhile, a lot closer to home, 30 dead in a single day in Mexico gets little coverage.

At this point it is probably more dangerous to be a Mexican policeman than an American soldier in Iraq.

More than 30 people died in the worst weekend of violence this year in the northern Mexico state of Chihuahua, the scene of daily drug gang turf wars, police said Monday.
Heavily-armed assassins killed nine people in separate incidents late Sunday in the border town of Ciudad Juarez, local police said, following the slaying of 21 people the previous night -- including a baby and a four-year-old boy -- at a village dance in the town of Creel.

Drug-related violence in Mexico has killed 2,682 people since the start of the year -- nine more than in all of 2007 -- with nearly half in Chihuahua state, daily El Universal reported Saturday.

Ciudad Juarez -- across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, where local drug gangs are battling the powerful Sinaloa cartel -- has the highest murder toll, with some 800 so far this year, according to an AFP count.

Federal authorities have deployed more than 36,000 soldiers across the country since early 2007, including 2,500 in Ciudad Juarez, in an effort to combat drug trafficking and related violence.

But the murder rate has climbed dramatically in two years, from 1,410 in 2006.

30 dead in worst weekend of Mexico violence this year