Mexico Current Events!!!!!!!!!!!!


Rosie ScangaBloodshed blights Acapulco Resort

Summary: Thirteen people were killed in Acapulco, Mexico one of Mexico's biggest tourist sites. Five police officers were killed and eight others with machine guns. Four people were beheaded and dumped on highways with scenic views that tourists usually pass. This area is under control of La Familia gang.
Analysis/Comparison: I just thought that since spring break was coming up this might be appropriate...or inappropriate. The drug cartels are spreading across the country. Acapulco is supposed to be a tourist destination with calm beaches and beautiful scenery. People are not going to want to travel to Mexico if they know about all of the violence. People travel to places like Africa to help the people there build houses ot get clean drinking water while taking in the beatiful scenery that Africa has to offer. People are not going to want to go to Mexico because there is nothing they can do to help and the beautiful scenery won't be worth it. The tourist industry is important for Mexico economically and just in general. If this industry fails because of the drug cartels and people stop having an intrest in Mexico because they are scared of the people there, Mexico is going to have serious problems.
Savannah Guild
Police Focusing more on "Common Street Crime"
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100323/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_drug_war_mexico;_ylt=AoscPyb91sf5ZmsuoRsYDf.3IxIF;_ylu=X3oDMTJva3F1Z2psBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAwMzIzL2x0X2RydWdfd2FyX21leGljbwRwb3MDMQRzZWMDeW5fcGFnaW5hdGVfc3VtbWFyeV9saXN0BHNsawNtb3JlcG9saWNlc2U-
Summary: Jet planes flew into Juarez with 450 federal officers on board (making the total count 3,500) to attempt to control the "murder capital". Such a nickname is used due the the area's 500 deaths this year and more than 2,600 deaths last year. As the federal police move in, the local police department has stated that they will use their officers to concentrate on non-cartel related crimes. Citizens of the area have complained of burglaries, thefts, and muggings, rather than cartel attacks; which makes sense when one realizes that cartel incidents have been decreasing, while "common crime is up 40 percent". What makes things truly interesting in the violent area is the fact that a local legislator was found with drugs in his car, adding to his slurred speech, yet the judge ordered him to be released.
Analysis/Comparison: The fact that a legislature was found with cocaine and admitted to having the drug is disturbing for corruption purposes, but what is worse is the fact that the policeman who questioned him and brought him to court has been "suspended pending investigation". An officer was only doing his job trying to keep this very dangerous province from further harm, and yet he is the one most likely to be punished since legislators in Mexico have immunity from prosecution. This seems very undemocratic since everyone is said to be judged fairly in a court of law, yet this man does not even have to go to a court due to his occupation. For the legislator to be charged the lawmakers would have to lift his immunity, which does not seem likely. Also, the fact that more federal officers are dealing with cartels, rather than the local police is comforting since police officers have stated they feel unsafe with inferior weapons compared to the cartels. Also, the jets flew in to the area the same day Hilary Clinton visited the country to discuss settling the problem.

Sarah Hoffman
Mexico’s President Calderon Seeks US Help On Drugs War
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8571529.stm
Summary: Calderon wants the United States to help against the battle against drug traffickers in Mexico and the US, and for the US to share more responsibility in dealing with these issues. During his visit to Ciudad Juarez, the center of violence surrounding the drug trade, Calderon stated that it is as much the United States’ responsibility to deal with the conflict because of its drug consumption as well as the fact that the violence affects it as well. (Calderon was speaking after three people connected to the US consulate were killed a few days previously). There have been many protests of Calderon’s policies regarding the drug war because of their confrontational nature, which has led to increased violence in the area. As a precaution, Texas has installed more troops at the border, as Ciudad Juarez is a border city in Northern Mexico and there is a threat of the violence crossing over.
Comparison/Analysis: The United States has already poured many resources (money, technology, and people) into fighting the drug war in Mexico, and so far it has not proved extremely effective (as can be seen by the increase in violence). It will be interesting to see how the US responds to Calderon’s requests because of the previously failed attempts to end the cartel related violence in Mexico. On one hand, the US does have some level of responsibility to assist the Mexican government with their efforts due to the high consumption of drugs in the United States, which creates a greater need for the cartels. On the other hand, many Mexican officials are extremely corrupt and any resources (weapons, money, etc.) could easily fall into the wrong hands. This can be compared to many other situations in which nations dealing with some kind of problem receive aid that stands ineffective due to corrupted officials. In fact, this can even be related to the negative speculations about organizations like the IMF and World Bank (and others). These organizations are designed to help different countries with economic stability, poverty, etc, yet often the countries receive aid and do not improve. This is much of the time because the countries have corrupt governments or officials, the people receiving the aid, so it often never reaches who it is supposed to. This can be paralleled with the aid provided by the United States not being used to fight the drug wars, but instead going to the corrupt officials and sometimes even fueling the conflict.

Lizzy Orton
Mexican Traffickers Sow Chaos With BlockadesThe
Summary: "Narcobloqueos" is a new term popping up in Mexican news referring to the blockades intentionally set up by drug traffickers to block traffic. The drug traffickers parked trucks, trailers and cars horizontally across the roads of Monterrey in the state of Nuevo Leon. Some of the vehicles were stolen by force from commuters in Monterrey. Officials are saying that this new tactic of setting up "narcobloqueos" is a way for the drug cartels to show their power in light of recent government offensives against the cartels. The rate of violence between the authorities and rival gangs has continued to increase, as have the charges of corruption within the police force. There have been allegations that the police in Nuevo Leon participated in making the blockades which has resulted in the firing of 81 Nuevo Leon police. Last Saturday was the deadliness day in the last three years in Mexico with 53 killings.
Analysis/Comparison: Although violence and corruption are evident in this news story, like they are in most news about Mexico, the fact that the cartels are resorting to tricks like making intentional traffic jams seems like the cartels are not as confident in their power as they once were. This is maybe a slight glimmer of hope during one of the deadliest weekends in Mexico's recent history. The chaos and street warfare that has been taking place across Mexico is reminent of the Chechen War. In that conflict as well there was a military fighting a more gorilla style force. The toll that the chaos has taken on the average Mexican citizen is horrific. Recently it was discovered that Mexican police killed two students who they mistook for drug traffickers during a shoot out in front of a prestigious university in Monterrey.

Analysis/Comparison:

Savannah Guild
Police Protest after 3 Officers Killed
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100306/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_drug_war_mexico;_ylt=Aq9MC9VncrMyiMqspDrU.0y3IxIF;_ylu=X3oDMTJwNzNnYzh0BGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAwMzA2L2x0X2RydWdfd2FyX21leGljbwRwb3MDMjgEc2VjA3luX3BhZ2luYXRlX3N1bW1hcnlfbGlzdARzbGsDbm9ydGhlcm5tZXhp
summary: In Northern Mexico police protested asking for more or better equipment to compete with the armed gangs. Three of their colleagues had just been killed while a fourth is in the hospital. The killings occurred during an ambush with a drug cartel and the car the officers were in was completely destroyed by bullets. The police force has stated that they will continue working while protesting for life insurance and high-powered weapons, and the police chief stated that he will accompany his officers during confrontation. The state however is hesitant to give the police such powerful tools since they fear the police force is corrupt. Last June the state prohibited the police from having cell phones because those corrupt officers could call and warn the gangs of ambushes.
analysis/comparison: What I think is truly absurd is the fact that one of the officers in the car did not have a bulletproof vest during the ambush. The state must know that these gangs are armed and would fight back and therefore should have protected their police force. Also, the fact that the police feel ill-equipped when heading into such conflicts will affect their performance and could result in injury. In the United States I feel like the police force at least all have bulletproof vests and the appropriate weapons when dealing with such violence. The fact that Calderon is supposedly fighting these gangs with such force while the police don't have vests or the weapons equal to those of the gangs is baffling. The least he could do is protect the police that he does have, since so many of them risk their and their family's lives everyday.

Lizzy Orton

Mexico Red Cross workers put lives at risk to save others
Summary: In Nogales, Sonora being an ambulance driver can get you killed. No one is safe from cartel related violence. In January alone 40 people were killed in Nogales, which is very near to the border of Arizona. Ambulance drivers deal mostly with gunshot victims, some who are members of the cartels, and some who are innocent bystanders. Some are ambulance drivers themselves, which is why their own safety comes first. One driver with 17 years of experience says, "Before I stop, I need to be sure the area is safe. That is the most important thing to know. Later, you can give first aid. . . ." The ambulance crews in this region are respected for their courage because of the rate of violence in the area. They are also respected for the work they do, getting paid only only get $10 a day, compared to the $400 per load of marijuana that a drug trafficker can earn, and most of the ambulance crews are volunteers. They say that,"We have it in our blood. It's beautiful work to help people, but it comes with risks." The risk has been growing greater as the truce between the Beltran Leyva syndicate and Chapo Guzman's gang fell apart as the Mexican government and increased US border security have been trying to bring the cartels under control.
Analysis/Comparison: The violence in Mexico is undoubtably getting worse despite Calderon's efforts to combat the drug cartels. It would seem logical to give emergency medical workers adequate pay and up to date equipment (like GPS systems, which the ambulances don't have), since the violence is so bad, but with the Mexican economy as it is, this is not possible. The situation is disheartening, but it is good to know that there are people, like the ambulance crews, who still believe in helping people and are trying to save lives. The violence and chaos in Mexico is similar to the Chechen War with Russia. The warlords and terrorists groups are like the drug cartels. One ambulance worker said this,"There is a war going on. . . . Who's winning? I don't know. Who's going against whom? What are they doing?" This quote seems like it would be similar to the sentiments of many Russians and Chechens who were caught in the fighting.

Bobby Mook
NO GANG SONGS!!!!
Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/arts/music/07narcocorrido.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eC56qRmsfrs
The issue was brought to a point In November when an anonymous user uploaded a new song to YouTube by Los Tucanes de Tijuana, one of Mexico’s most popular bands. The song, "El Mas Bravo de los Bravos" (“The Most Vicious of the Vicious”), sings about Raydel Rosalío López Uriarte saying good things and making him seem heroic. He is better known as El Muletas, or Crutches, a suspected hit man and trafficker high up in the ranks of the Tijuana drug cartel who had become as infamous for blood baths and beheadings. He rolls with a posse of bullet-proof trucks and his crew’s uniform logo was made in the image as the logo from Jackass
In the song they call him “A very dangerous man who doesn’t fear the Devil”. They say that Mr. López’s favorite guns are the R-15 and 50-caliber rifles and compare him to Rambo and then that “He executes, kidnaps and gets the payments.” This type of music praising drug dealers and hit men has become tremendously popular in Mexico.
A previous nationwide hit by los tucanes was "El Muletas" which detailed a failed arrest attempt in which Mr. López escaped 200 federal agents at a popular Tijuana restaurant.
Analysis:
The monitoring of Los Tucanes’ music shows the many ways that the Mexican government is cracking down on narcocorridos. The songs are banned from Mexican radio, and in January the country’s ruling party drew up a congressional proposal to issue prison sentences of up to three years to artists who glorify traffickers in songs or films. I think that this is a very stupid way for the Mexican government to spend its time. Popular music aligns with the rebels and BAMFs and to try to control it will only increase the music’s popularity. I think the money and time would be better spent on education of youth to teach them how bad the gangs and gang life is instead of making it cooler to listen to gang affiliated music.


Rosie Scanga
Mexico City Allows Gay Marriage

Summary: A law is coming into effect in Mexico City that allows for gay marriages. They are going to have full marital rights. Mexico City is one of the most liberal cities in Mexico which is a rather conservative country. There is still discrimination against gay people across the country, including Mexico City. The law will probably not have very much success at a federal level.
Comparison/ Analysis: This law is a big step for Mexico City. Mexico is a mainly Catholic nation and this law is very controversial throughout the country. Mexico City has always been the most liberal-minded city in Mexico but also the most educated. This is a step towards more freedom and personal liberties for everyone in Mexico. The fact that they are recognizing minorities like homosexuals is a big step for the local government. Nothing like this is seen in China or Russia. They have limited rights for all individuals let alone homosexuals. In China being gay was proclaimed a mental disorder in 2001. The United States has not even moved very close to allowing gay marriage for all of its citizens. This is an issue that will take a lot of support and a lot of work to make everyone accept even in the US and I do not think that Mexico will be seeing a gay marriage option for everyone in the near future either.




Border city of Juarez pays price of Mexico drugs war
Rosie Scanga
Summary: With the drug violence in Juarez has led to a mass emigration from the area and many businesses closing. Since late 2006 5,000 shops have closed and up to 100,000 people have left the city. Shops are being robbed; one man said that gang members tried to kidnap him and his employees. Juarez is one of the most dangerous cities in the world with 2,600 deaths last year. But Juarez still manages to bring in 45% of Chihuahua’s GDP. But recently companies that want cheap labor are choosing other areas in Mexico to place their factories for fear of the violence. Some shops in Juarez are dealing with people coming in to their shops and demanding money every week. The extortion is so severe that if they do not pay their business could be burned down or the workers and their families killed. The owners of these shops can either move or pay the money.
Analysis/ Comparison: The violence in Juarez is not only physically hurting the people of the city but also economically. Businesses in Juarez are being threatened by the gangs. Companies are scared to set up malquiladoras in Juarez because of the violence. This could result in a decrease in the manufacturing production in Juarez. Juarez carries such a large amount of Chihuahua’s GDP that this could be detrimental to the state’s overall economic productivity. The increased military and police force against the gangs called for by Calderon has increased the violence. Calderon’s effort is trying to help the city of Juarez and the economy but it is almost having the opposite effect. This is similar to Russia when Stalin tried to industrialize Russia but failed miserably. His 5 year plans were supposed to make Russia up to par with the Western world but in the end they caused major famine. Sometimes efforts of leaders have a negative effect. The drug cartel problem in Juarez seems to have no %100 effective, positive solution.

Sarah Hoffman
Gay Marriage Law Comes Into Effect in Mexico City
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8549400.stm
Summary: A law was passed in December that allows gay people full marital rights and came into effect on March 4th in Mexico City. Mexico City is one of the first capitals of Latin American Nations to pass this law and many gay couples are expected to register within the week. Although this law has been passed and made Mexico City the most liberal part of the nation, there is still much homophobic violence and chances of a Federal Law being passed are still relatively low.
Comparison/Analysis: The passage of the legislation legalizing gay marriage is a big step for Mexico City as the capital of Mexico, in which Catholicism has strong prevalence. (Protests by religious groups have so far been unsuccessful.) This legislation has received far more positive feedback than negative within the city, leading the people to support the current government more. Mexico City within Mexico could be compared to Vermont in the United States, as they are both relatively liberal states within the nation. With the passage of legislation regarding abortion as well, Mexico City has become a “liberal island in a conservative nation.” Vermont can be compared to the US in the same way, with its legalization of gay marriage as well as the selling of marijuana for legal purposes. Both of these issues have been extremely controversial in many other areas of the United States however protests have not had effects on the laws. The US and Mexico are also similar in that it is rather unlikely for the nations to pass these kinds of laws at a Federal level.


Savannah Guild
http://www.ihavenet.com/Latin-America-Street-Blockades-Breed-Anything-Goes-Culture-Andres-Oppenheimer.html
summary: In the past days Mexico City has been plagued by street blockades, which are causing hours of traffic and serious economic damage. The electricians union has recently blocked many main streets in Mexico City and millions are missing work. Also, businesses can not open or are losing many customers and the children can not get to school. This past year there have been on average twenty-two blockades every month and therefore outside investors are reluctant to get involved in such a region during a recession.
analysis/comparison: However, Buenos Aires has recently been dealing with the same issues and is having a difficult time balancing citizen's rights along with worker's rights and trying to keep the streets open. Also, the issue of whether these minor infractions are giving drug cartels more power is brought up. It is said that if someone can break the law a little, then they can keep breaking the law in a larger way each time. Mexican Congressman Mercado stated that the drug cartels are not an "overnight" problem, but out of escalation and that these blockades are not only hurting Mexico's economy, but its moral basis. The real question is how to allow people to exercise their right to protest without allowing blockades and an "anything-goes culture". This is interesting because in the United States we definitely do not have an anything-goes culture, yet we usually close streets for organized protests and do not have this problem. Also, if the electricians are having a problem antagonizing the economy and Mexico City's citizens does not seem like the way to get what they want. They could easily protest on the sidewalks of the main streets without causing hours of traffic and preventing students from learning.

Lizzy Orton
Gay Marriage Puts Mexico City at Center of Debate

Summary: On March 4 a law allowing homosexual couples to marry and adopt children will come into effect. The Roman Catholic church has protested, a Cardinal spoke against it, and President Calderon said that marriage is defined as being between as man and a woman in the Constitution (but that is entirely correct). Mexico City has passed controversial laws before and is known for being leftist. Modern and left abortion, divorce and civil union laws have been passed in Mexico City. City legislatures argue that this new law aims to expand rights and that the federal government right now does not protect and give equal rights to all its citizens because homosexual couples are discriminated against. Civil unions, the federal government says, are comparable, but in practice they aren't. Homosexual couples run into problems with insurance and health care, bank loans and accounts and recognition of parenthood.
Analysis: Mexico has for many years sough to keep the church separate from the state. The passing of this law has resulted in an increased presence of the church in politics as the Roman Catholic church does not support gay marriage. Mexico City laws may be foreshadowing for what will happen at a federal level in years to come, but also the population within Mexico City may not reflect the attitudes of the rest of Mexico accurately.
Comparison: We may see the Prop 8 situation repeat in Mexico City once the law goes before the Supreme Court. In polls it has been shown that a majority of Mexicans do not support gay marriage. However, the Mexico City legislatures and many homosexual couples say that the majority does not have the right to oppress the rights of the minority. The law has had support within the city, but been protested outside the limits of Mexico City. This seems similar to the gay marriage situation in the United States where individual states have been able to pass gay marriage laws, but the federal government is silent on the issue of the oppression of thousands of its citizens rights.

Sarah Hoffman
Border City of Juarez Pays Price of Mexico Drug War
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8519935.stm
Summary: Ciudad Juarez is at the center of the drug-related violence in Mexico and although violence taking a toll on the people is not news, with higher body counts every day, it has actually hit the area hard economically. More than 5,000 shops have closed in the city since 2006 due to the sharp increase in violence following Calderon’s confrontation of the cartels. Not only are many people leaving the city and leaving it with less workers and other economic stabilizers, but being renowned as one of the most violent cities in the world has made many hesitant to have any relations to it at all.
Comparison/Analysis: This article is interesting because although the violence surrounding Ciudad Juarez is in the news almost daily, the economic toll it is taking on the city is rarely recognized. There evidently needs to be a different kind of approach when dealing with the cartels, as Calderon’s methods of direct confrontation have only had negative feedback. Not only are the people of the city’s lives in constant danger, but now living conditions are decreasing rapidly as poverty levels shoot upwards. Sadly, this is not Mexico’s most impoverished area but that does not lessen the serious nature of the current situation in Ciudad Juarez. Drug cartels are increasingly having a greater negative effect not only on the rights of the citizens, but on the economy of the region as well. This is definitely not the first time that increased violence in an area has led to economic depression. One more recent example would be in the Middle East, which has lost an estimated $12 trillion as an opportunity cost for the ongoing conflict. Iraq has been hit the hardest; it’s GDP could be an estimated 30 times what it is currently if not for the conflict over the past two decades, 50 times what it is currently if we look as far back as the 1980s and the effects of conflict on the economy since then.

Rosie Scanga
Policing Mexico's deadliest beat
Summary: The article interviews a little boy living in Juarez with his mother. His father was killed by the drug cartels because he did not pay them the protection money that they demanded. His mother is a police officer. She has to wear civilian clothes to and from work so that the drug cartels do not know where she lives. The mayor travels in an armored car. He sent his family to live in the US to keep them safe. But the US is the main consumer of the drugs. Ninety percent of the guns used by the drug cartels are from the US because of out liberal drug laws. The US is scared that the violence will spill over into the country. Also, El Chapo, the most wanted man in Mexico, staged a huge wedding to an 18 year old beauty queen.
Analysis/Comparison: The US needs to start working on our part in this issue. We are only worried about the violence spilling over into the US. We need to be more worried about the fact that we are supplying the drug cartels with guns. And we are the ones buying all of the drugs and keeping the cartels in business. Juarez has one of the highest murder rates in the world. The police are corrupt and government officials are going to extreme measures to stay safe. The US should be doing more to help this issue. Also the article mentioned that fact that EL Chapo had an elaborate wedding. Why was this guy not arrested? People knew where he was and what was happening. The police force is obviously not adequate or is too scared to face the drug cartels. Mexico and the US need to work on their relationship to stop the violence.


Bobby Mook
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100208/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_drug_war_mexico_1
Summary: Mexican soldiers seized more than 12 tons of marijuana found beneath a false floor of a tractor trailer. The soldiers discovered the drugs with the regular car check at a checkpoint near San Felipe, a town in the central part of the Baja California peninsula
. The destination of the truck can only be speculated on but much of the 12 tons of weed would have likely ended up in the United States. The military estimates the marijuana had a street value of 62 million pesos ($4.7 million) and says it was Mexico's largest pot seizure in two years. The driver was arrested after the seizure Sunday. The truck belonged to a private company called Transporte Gonzalez.
Analysis and Comparison: there were a few things that stood out in this story to me. First the shear enormity of how much weed was found in the truck, in essence the military confiscated 1 ½ elephants worth of pot and the funny thing is that that was only the biggest bust since two years ago. A few questions pop into my mind when I read this: what are they going to do with all that weed? How pissed is the Cartel leader going to be when he hears that he just lost $4.7 million dollars and what will the retaliation be? And I think it is questions like these that have to be floating through the minds of all the Mexican civilians because who will notice if the military starts pinching some of the bud from the 1 ½ elephants worth. I think one positive sign is that the 1 ½ elephant of reefer was found on a normal car check so the gangs are getting fat and lazy, which will make there tactless maneuvers a weakness for the military to take advantage of. This could be an indicator of some success of the war efforts against the cartels. This is similar to the progression of some of the gangs in the United States a while ago who thrived off of government corruption and began to get cocky because they ran their respective cities and then they were taken out.

Sarah Hoffman
Gun Attack at Mexico Student Part Leaves 14 Dead
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8490366.stm
Summary: At least 14 people were killed at a high school student party in Ciudad Juarez, one of the world’s most dangerous cities and the most violent area in Mexico. It is believed that the crime was committed by cartel members, who went to the house looking for somebody and began shooting at random. The people who were murdered have no evident ties to any drug cartels or cartel members, and it is currently assumed that the cartel members were there by mistake. So far there have been no arrests pertaining to this incident.
Comparison/Analysis: This is yet another example of the Mexican state’s incompetence when dealing with drug related crimes and violence within the country. Ciudad Juarez is Mexico’s most violent city and the cartels are ruthless, as is evident from this article. It seems unbelievable that so many innocent people, high school students like us, can be slaughtered with basically no repercussions for those responsible. Unfortunately, the inability of the police in these areas to prosecute anybody really is almost expected, which greatly damages the society and puts citizens at high risk. This gives even more power to the cartels because they can essentially do whatever they want and get away with it. This can almost be compared to rapists getting away with serious crimes in the UK in recent years. The conviction rate has gone very much down in just the past decade alone when addressing rape cases, and as the conviction rate goes down, the case rate goes up. Although the crimes in Mexico and the UK are not related, they have similar patterns (along with mostly every other city in the world) in that the lesser the consequence of the crime, the more crime is committed.

Savannah Guild
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100122/wl_nm/us_drugs_mexico_economy
Topic: Mexico's drug wars may include Grupo Collins, a medical factory
Summary: Grupo Collins, a factory that makes antibiotics and other medicines, has been put on the U.S. Treasury's black list due to connections with drug trafficking. The factory says they have no relations with the drug cartels, yet the factory is located in Zapopan (Western Mexico) has recently been raking in drug money. Citizens say that the drug traffickers no longer try to hide, but are rather obvious and no one will say anything. Overall, drug money is all over Mexico as hospitals to boutiques are financed by the money. There is even a cemetery where drug traffickers and their relatives are buried there. Drug money was even used to help the banks during the economic crisis, since the banks had a back up of its excess money.
Analysis/Conclusion: As drug money is everywhere in Mexico, one can not go to eat at a restaurant without being surrounded. Cancun, a predominant tourist attraction, has drug cartels buying land, boosting the real estate business. The drug cartels bring in more money to Mexico, than selling oil. This is worrisome as Mexico becomes more like Colombia, where the drug lords are in control of the government. There are rumors that Grupo Collin's owner, Telesforo Tirado is an operator of the Colima cartel and therefore the company can no longer do business with the United States. However, the business is still thriving in Mexico while it is common knowledge that the company could be dealing with drug money.

Emily Vaughn
Source:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2010/01/23/AR2010012301228_2.html
Title: Mexico president race could look like soap opera
Summary: Though the presidential elections in Mexico are still 2 years away, the frontrunners have already been determined. The mayor of Mexico City, and member of the Democratic Revolution Party, Marcelo Ebrard and Enrique Pena Nieto, governor of the State of México and member of the PRI, have been chosen as the two top candidates. Both are not members of the PAN party, that of both Presidents Fox and Calderon, but are members of the two primary opposing parties; no clear candidate has been found to lead the PAN into a third consecutive victory. Both candidates have extremely public lives, both in relationships with high profile actresses/celebrities, with the relationships being followed like those of celebrities here. They also share a need for attention and hold several public ceremonies and events, with Pena Nieto televising many of his duties and ceremonies on Televisa. Though they share a common public lifestyle, their politics are completely different. Ebrard is very leftists, and supports public welfare, education and backs peaceful public protest and activist groups, choosing to not respond with forceful police. Pena Nieto, however, believes in a far tougher and violent approach and that police brutality, including beatings and alleged sexual abuse, is "a legitimate use of public force to restore peace and order.” Ebrard has more liberal policies in regards to taxation and abortion, with Pena Nieto preferring to not have social welfare beyond aiding the elderly. One thing the two have in common in the field of politics is their refusal to comment on the drug war or provide a solution. Many believe that in the end, the choice to put style over substance will leave both candidates behind.
Analysis: Both potential candidates for the 2012 elections in Mexico have a stronger focus on public appearance than on politics, which could either hurt or help them. The Mexican public seems to be fascinated with their lives and follow their every move through T.V. broadcasts and magazines, btu not really following their policy. However, when this is examined, two completely and totally opposite ideologies can be seen. While Ebrard supports liberal policies like higher taxes, more social services and the right to choose, Pena Nieto supports far more conservative policies. The two also handle social issues differently, as shown by their very different reactions to protests. Both candidates will face challenges to their potential candidacy from their own party. Ebrard is a member of the PRD, the party of 2006 candidate Obrador who barely lost the election and has not ruled out another run in 2012. Pena Nieto is threatened not by a rival of his party, but his party’s history. He is a member of the PRI and has close ties to former Pres. Carlos Salinas. Their public show and political history could very easily block them or help them. Above all, it’s becoming more and more evident that 2012 could be end of the PAN government in Mexico.
Comparison: The presidential elections in Mexico, much like those in the US and around the world, oftentimes focus more on the personal lives and actions of candidates rather than their politics. Candidates become like celebrities, whose lives and relationships are subject to tabloids. The two potential candidates in Mexico seem to embrace this role far more than most though; however the media reaction can be seen as similar. It can be remembered from the recent 2008 elections that candidates appeared on several television shows and in magazines to promote their cause. The connections between candidates and celebrities are also a favorite subject for discussion, as shown by several celebrity magazines talking about which star supported which candidate. Elections have become more of a show than anything else, and this is very, very clear in Mexico.


Lizzy Orton
In Drug War, Tribe Feels Invaded by Both Sides
Summary: The Tohono O’odham Nation, an Indian(term the article used) reservation, sits on the border of Mexico and Arizona. The Native Americans who live in the Tohono O'odham Nation have always enjoyed an open border and move back and forth between the US and Mexico with relative ease. They freely gathered fruits and plants from the land, used in day to day cooking and for ceremonial purposes, and raised cattle and other livestock. However the Drug War has changed all that. Inhabitants of the reservation have been getting recruited by the drug cartels to smuggle drugs across the Mexican-US border, or to store them. The increased number of Native Americans being recruited by the cartels has led to an increased number of federal agents in the reservation. Many residents feel threatened by the cartels and cannot refuse becoming a smuggler. Calling the police is not an option, said one chairwoman, because it would take them hours to get to the remote villages in the reservation. Most people in the reservation have a relative in jail for drug offenses. Many have been victims of violence at the hands of the cartels.
Analysis/Comparison: The power of the cartels continues to grow and the Mexican government seems powerless to stop them. Looking at Mexico simply through the lens of the Drug War can be misleading though. Calderon and the government should not stop their efforts to reign in the drug cartels, but perhaps they should be getting more international support so that innocent groups of people, like those living in the Tohono O'odham Nation, will not suffer. The Indians in the reservation actually serve as a symbol for the larger population of Mexican citizens. The situation on the reservation show how a high unemployment rate and the fear of retribution from the cartels have exacerbated the effects of the Drug War.

Bobby Mook
Source:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100125/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_drug_war_mexico_2;_ylt=Am6G03qUM5IDpMCNQLjPwfb9SpZ4
Topic: Gang violence
Summary: a shootout between troops and drug traffickers in Northern Mexico killed two soldiers and four gunmen. The violence erupted on Sunday in the town of Doctor Arroyo, in Nuevo Leon when gunmen opened fire on a military patrol. The soldiers returned fire, killing three inside a home and another in a car. Then on Monday in retaliation a federal court official who had been kidnapped was found dead. Nayeli Reyes', the kidnapped official’s, mutilated body was discovered Sunday in the same residential neighborhood where she was abducted. A threatening note signed by a drug cartel was left with the corpse.
Analysis/Comparison: from everything that we have studied this is the typical behavior of the Mexican Gangs especially the part where they retaliated by mutilating a probably innocent person as collateral. A few things struck me as being very interesting; first the place described in Northern Mexico is the equivalent of a war zone because the squad car was attacked on the street in broad day light. I think the most terrible thing was that the gang returned the mutilated body of the woman back to the residential neighborhood where little kids and families can see. The psychological warfare is very similar to how the mafia used to operate making sure that everyone knew who really had control of the streets.


Rosie Scanga
Mexico prison 'gang fight' kills 23 inmates
Summary: In a jail in Durango, Mexico in the northern part of Mexico a jail fight broke out leaving at least 23 dead. It is suspected that the people involved in the fight were of rival drug gangs. It is not uncommon for members of the Gulf cartel and the Sinaloa cartels to fight in Durango. The Sinaloa cartel controls most of the drug trade in the area and the head of the organization is the most wanted man in Mexico, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. (El Chapo means the short one according to Wikipedia)There was another fight in the same jail earlier this year as well leaving 19 dead.
Analysis/ Comparison: This article just shows that the Mexican government has no control over the drug cartels. Even if they do manage to get these people into a jail, they have no control over them. Obviously they are smuggling things into the jail and there is inadequate security. The guards may even be corrupt as well. Felipe Calderon is going to deploy troops to fight the drug cartels. I think before he does that he should take control of the people that he does have, the people in the jails. Mexico is in serious danger with all of the corruption going on in the government. I think that needs to be taken care of first.


Sarah Hoffman
Mexico Prison “Gang Fight” Kills 23 Inmates
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8470891.stm
Summary: A fight broke out in a jail in Durango (in Northern Mexico), and according to officials 23 inmates died in the fight. Unsurprisingly, the fight is believed to have roots with rival drug cartels and the inmates are assumed to be rival cartel members. This is not the first fight of this kind that this prison has seen. In August of 2009, at least 19 inmates died in a brawl very similar to this one, also believed to have been sparked by gang rivalries.
Comparison/Analysis: It comes as no shock that Mexico’s gang violence is a problem within prisons, where members of rival gangs are often in close quarters with one another. However, this article and reports of similar fights in this prison, as well as others, seems to raise questions about the ability of the Police. Gang and cartel-related violence is nothing new for Mexico, and the police have always had problems containing and fighting it, although one would think that it would be easier in Jail where prison guards are heavily armed and inmates (supposedly) have no weapons. Perhaps there needs to be stricter regulations on these prisons or reforms passed concerning them. When events like these happen in jail, it raises questions about the power of the police in general and the legitimacy of the prison and its effectiveness. Unless the police can regain their power there is a growing chance of losing all legitimacy and things like this can even lead to mass breakouts, as many countries have seen. One example would be Nigeria, in which a jail was broken out of by over 150 inmates in June 2009 after the police force in the area lost much of its legitimacy. All but 20 of these inmates have been recaptured.

Sam Stargel
Title: Leader of Mexican Drug Cartel Killed
Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/world/americas/12/17/mexico.cartel.leader.killed/index.html
Summary: Mexico’s Administration initiated a very successful drug raid on a huge drug cartel in Mid December, Arturo Leyva. It took place in Punta Vista Hermosa, a very nice resort, where million peso resorts and condos are. The government said how this place is usually a very safe place, and doesn’t have much violence at all. Leyva was a top drug cartel and was one of the three most wanted people in Mexico. Leyva was head of the Beltran Leyva cartel. There was a huge military force of seemingly hundreds of police, navy, and army personnel. Only one government personnel was killed in the raid, while 6 drug cartel men died and another three were arrested. Since 2006, 14,300 people have died do to this ongoing drug crisis.
Significance: This is very significant because it shows the success of Calderon how severe this problem is. It has gotten to the point where they send in small armies to handle on cartel. It is also a huge blow to the drug side of the war which means one less drug cartel, and safer streets for Mexican citizens. This will also start to worry the other cartels, incase they are next. The battle could also spur more violence as the drug cartel would become very upset and want revenge.
Compare: This is really similar to the Columbian drug trade, and the success there has been a lot of the reason that the trade has come to Mexico. We have also been talking about the effectiveness of Calderon in Mexico and how he was combating the problem, but as we can see there is some success.


Jasmine Cho
Mexico City backs gay marriage in Latin American first
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8425269.stm
Summary: Mexico City's legislators have passed the bill to legalize gay marriage. Although the city's major has not signed it, it is expected that he will sign the bill. The bill calls for the change in the definition of marriage from the "union of a man and woman" to the "free uniting of two people." There are more changes that are being proposed such as the one lawmaker David Razu proposed - the change to give same-six couples the same rights as heterosexual couples regarding security and other benefits. Of course the Catholic Church and many conservative groups have opposed and show opposition to Mexico City's move.
Analysis/Comparison: This article shows the change of Mexico into a more liberal ideals. This is parallel to the political power of the PRI. PRI is the political party who currently dominates Mexico City's legislature. I think this comes from the democratization thus cultural ideas that transferred from the Americas to Mexico.

Alexis Xenakis
Title: Australian Firm Hopes to Cash In by Giving Away Light Bulbs
Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/15/business/global/15bulb.html?_r=1
Summary: The Melbourne Company (based out of Australia), Cool nrg International, is giving away 30 million energy-efficient light bulbs to poor and middle-income families in Mexico. This project is hoped to be completed by the end of 2012. The 30 million fluorescent light bulbs will be distributed to 7.5 million household across Mexico (four bulbs per home). In order to receive the bulbs, each family must turn over four “energy-gobbling” incandescent bulbs and a power bill as proof of address. The company is doing this in an effort to bring the developing country closer to cleaner energy and to offset the emissions Australia releases. Cool nrg is capable of doing this through the 1997 Kyoto Protocol created by the United Nations under its Clean Development Mechanism. This program allows wealthy countries that have “binding greenhouse gas targets to offset their emissions by investing in clean technology in developing countries, which have no targets”.
Analysis/Comparison: The Cuidemos Mexico, or Let’s Take Care of Mexico, focuses on reducing energy demand by improving the efficiency of products. This is a great deal for Mexico and Australia alike. Australia will be able to buy carbon credits through Cool nrg while Mexican families enjoy the new light bulbs Australia supplied. Mexican families can enjoy lower energy bills and the Mexican government will pay fewer subsidies as they will not need to build new power plants. In fact, Cool nrg estimated that the project would save Mexican families about $165 million a electricity bills, while the government would save $200 million a year in subsidies. Although this project is positively fronted, many critics exist. Rich counties now have the ability to continue polluting when they buy these credits- which in return questions the integrity of the project.

FDA Expands Presence Outside U.S. With Opening of Mexico City Post

http://www.mexicopremiere.com/?p=2770
John Pamplin
Summary: As the importance of trading with Mexico increases the Importance of having a bigger influence in the country itself become more apparent. The U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is opening an office in Mexico City this is so that they will be able work with the Mexican counterparts to improve the situation and sanitation of Mexico. This is of crucial importance because not only will it help improve the standards of living for the Mexican people but we import much of our food from Mexico and they manufacture many of our medical devices. This is the third post of the FDA in Latin America and it is the tenth international post in the past 13months. This is a good sign for future partnerships between the two countries which are improving important ties between them.
Analysis: This article is an interesting example of how important Mexico has become to the United States. It shows the importance of the two countries working together. This partnership between the U.S. and Mexico is crucial for the success of both countries in the future. This is especially true when we look at successful groups like the EU which has managed to become much stronger by working together as one. By spreading business between the two countries our connections with one another will become stronger and more dependent on each other which in the short term will improve Mexican living conditions and in the long run strengthen the U.S. as well.
Compare: This article shows the importance of Mexico to the United States. I think we are moving in the right direction to compete with the EU and the example of their positive union of countries. I think that international relationships will be the key to staying a successful nation in the future. I believe that in order to really compete with groups of nations like the EU, America will need to become one with Mexico and Canada and use the collective greatness of North America to stay ahead in the world.




Matt Brown
Reports: gunmen kidnap Mexican radio journalist
http://www.myabc50.com/news/world/story/Reports-gunmen-kidnap-Mexican-radio-journalist/r33KZSujQU6qfWclpvV7Eg.cspx?rss=139
Summary: Circumstances were less than acceptable for the Sinaloa State Police department and Linea Directa radio station when starting off the New Year. Hours after starting an investigation on the kidnapping of Jose Luis Romero, a local radio journalist for the Linea Directa radio station, gunmen killed Jesus Escalante, the chief of investigations for the Sinaloa state police. Linea Directa claims their reporter was abducted by a group of armed men in the city of Los Mochis. The local media in Mexico described 40 year old, Jose Luis Romero, as a dedicated crime reporter for the Linea Directa. Reports claim that Romero was at a restaurant at the time when a group of armed men grabbed him and forced him into their car and drove off.
Analysis/Comparison: Unfortunately for Mexico, the drug cartels are becoming increasingly more powerful. Mexico is thought to be one of the worlds most dangerous places for journalist, especially in Sinaloa, a stronghold for the drug trafficking and also what is considered Mexico’s most dangerous state. Mexico’s inability to overcome the drug cartels is greatly reducing the strength of their government. The current situation in Mexico regarding the drug wars has gotten out of control and needs to be taken care of immediately or the situation can only get worse.



Tyler Oleski

Outrage at Mexico drug gang reprisal killings

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8428151.stm
Summary: A few weeks ago, four members of Mexican Marine Melquisedet Angulo Cordova's family were brutally shot down in their own home. Cordova was killed earlier in December during a raid of one of Mexico's most infamous crime lords. His family has just returned home after his funeral when four gunmen entered their house and shot them point blank. The gunmen got away leaving no trace or link to who they may be. However, the public suspicion is that they were under the control of said crime lord. It appears that the murderers targeted the family as an act of revenge upon Cordova, who was part of a successful mission to take down a Mexican crime lord.
Analysis and Conclusion: If Mexico was edgy and tense before, it is even more so after this recent act of utter brutality. This family (mother, brother, sister, and aunt) was killed for absolutely no reason other than their relation to a brave soldier who fought against Mexico's crime wave. Clearly the death of their loved one was not enough retribution for the drug cartel, when looking at this latest killing. While murders and kidnappings have been exponentially increasing in recent times, this particular crime is very unsettling. Not only are the drug cartels killing their opposition (police, detectives, Marines), they are deliberately tracking down the families of these upholders of the law. This is terrible. It takes the level of insecurity to a whole new playing field. Not only is it unsafe to combat the drug cartels yourself, it is seemingly dire to be in any relation whatsoever to a marked individual. This sense of helplessness among the innocent people in Mexico just further contributes to the power of the drug cartels and crime lords.



Jasmine Cho
How many Mexicans does it take to drill an oil well?
http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=14548839
Summary:
Recently Mexico has been dealing with major hits to its economy. The country’s oil industry whch has been the “fical cash-cow” for the past three decades has been declining swftly. Twenty-three out of thirty-two of Mexico’s biggest oil fields are now in decline. The problem is not just geographically but politically as well. The state-owned oil monopoly, Pemex, accounts for almost two-fiftsh of federal revenues in recent years. If oil output drops, the government would cut back spending by more than 10% or more likely jack up taxes. Another problem is that the PRI is gaining power in the Congress again. Under the PRI rule of more than 100 years, there was a lot of corruption between politics and economics. PRI leaders had direct ties to the oil workers’ union. By the time Mexico settles politically, the oil age may be over.
Analysis/Comparison:
The problem with such a big company run by the government is that Pemex is run more in the interest of its workers and their trade unions than of the Mexican people, its “notional owners.” Another problem is the fundamental structure of the government. Many oil-exploration projects take longer than six-year presidential term to be succesful. Yet because there is a six-year presidential limit, politicals see short term and spend the oil revenues rather than reinvesting them. There is so much instability in the political power that makes the economic factor unstable.


Maria Romano
Mexican Druglord Captured
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8438217.stm
Summary:
Carolos Beltran Leyva, a suspected senior member of one of Mexico’s major drug gangs was arrested on Wednesday, January 29th, but this was only revealed officially in a statement on Saturday, January 2nd. He was arrested in Culiacan (the capital of Sinaloa) carrying false documents, two guns, and ammunition. This man was a part of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel which formed after a split in 2008 from the notorious and powerful Sinaloa cartel run by Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman. The two gangs are currently involved in a bloody fight for control over smuggling routes to the US. Carlos Beltran Leyva is also the brother of Arturo Beltran Leyva (known as the “boss of the bosses” among the grangs) who was killed two weeks ago in a shoot-out with federal troops. Carlos has since been moved to Mexico City. He has been described as a “key” member of the cartel, but it is unclear whether he took charge completely after his brother died. A third brother, Alfredo Beltra Leyva, was arrested in January 2008 and a fourth brother, Mario, is still at large at this time.
Comparison/Analysis:
This arrest and the previous arrests that were made in connection with this cartel are signs that Felipe Calderón’s work to fight off their influence is indeed working. However, as the family is an integral part of Mexican life, and as events like this play out, it becomes apparent that the problem is far from over as long as people have strong family bonds because positions of power can always be handed down from brother to brother or even father to son.

Carlyle Phipps
Mexico: Beltran Leyva drug boss arrested
http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/01/02/mexico.drug.boss.captured/index.html

Summary: The leader of the Mexican drug cartel, Beltran Leyva, was captured in the northwestern city of Culiacan. The man arrested, Carlos Beltran Leyva, was arrested after using a fake identification, with the alias “Carlos Gamez”. Since the authorities had been after him for awhile, they were aware of his false aliases and knew to look for them. Shortly after the arrest, Beltran Leyva admitted to his identity. His car contained two guns, cartridges and multiple cell phones, all related to his involvement in his drug cartel. Two weeks prior to his arrest, his brother, Arturo Beltran Leyva was killed in a shootout outside of Mexico City. The loss of these two leaders will no doubt weaken the cartel, at least for some period of time, but the Mexican authorities will have to act fast, before leadership is reshaped.

Analysis/Comparison: The fact that the Beltran Leyva drug cartel is losing its leadership is a great thing. This means that it will take time for the cartel to replace its leaders, weakening them, if only for a short period of time. I would hope that the Mexican government will take advantage of this and do what they must to subdue this cartel, before assuming its natural form again. Although removing one drug cartel from Mexico will not have that great of an impact in the long run, it does offer hope to the Mexican people, which at this point in time is priceless. In class we discussed the drug cartels and how their influence has corrupted cities all across Mexico, causing for the degradation of the standard of living in Mexico. These cartels are a major issue, and any step in the right direction is a great help towards the cause.


Matt Brown
Seventeen killed in northern Mexico violence
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/1021422/1/.html
Summary: At least 17 people were found killed this past weekend in Mexico’s northern state of Chihuahua. It has been estimated that these murders and many others very similar to these are more then likely drug related. President Felipe Calderon says that he plans to keep around 50,000 soldiers deployed in Chihuahua and other northern states bordering the United States to try and stop some of the current drug related violence. Nine of the people murdered in Ciudad Juarez, bringing the death toll to more then 2,300 in just this year. Calderon said battling the countries major drug cartels is going to be difficult but definitely his top priority. He also stated that reinforcements would be stationed in different parts of northern Mexico until further notice.
Analysis/Comparison: Mexico is currently suffering from large scale drug related issues, unfortunately however, it hasn’t gotten much better. If the government is unable to better the current status of Mexico, then how will this situation ever get any better? Hopeful statements from Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon are very encouraging but needs to actually make some kind of positive outcome in Mexico.




Tyler Oleski
World Bank Approves Near $2 Billion In Loans For Mexico
http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20091124-716473.html

Summary: This large set of loans aim to support Mexico's economic stimulus packages, which will help it recover from the downturn. The loan will help to boost government efforts to stimulate the job market, as well as and create financial reform, the bank said. It added that Mexico had already made progress in implementing reforms. Another component of the loan is aimed at flu-prevention, specifically of the H1N1 virus. Specifically, $491 billion were set aside to provide vaccines against the flu. Temporary employment programs as well as boosting non-oil taxes are also among the goals set out under the loan.
Analysis and Comparison: Mexico is currently suffering under a heavy economic downturn because of its close ties to the American economy. America buys 80% of Mexico's exports. The financial troubles in America have direct repercussions in Mexico. Now, the negative trend in Mexico has required a large bailout from the World Bank. In contrast to loans given to needy countries in the past, this loan came with a comprehensive outline of governmental efforts to help Mexico out of this crisis. This is far more effective than simply granting money with no strings attached or no requirements for its use. The hope is that a step forward for Mexico will in turn mark a step forward for the United States. It is crucial for countries, specifically involved in NAFTA, to work together and not shut each other out in these hard times. Balanced trade and imports will help mollify the troubles facing Mexico and many other nations in the world today.

Sam Stargel
Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/specials/1717_mexicodata/
http://www.politicalcartoons.com/cartoon/4670a41f-761c-42dd-ba68-1e84566e84fc.html
Title: Shopping in Mexico Today
Summary: Basically, the cartoon shows the drug problem in Mexico in a really extreme way. It is a tourist buying a pot, and the potter then attempts to sell him drugs. With this I also used another articles on the Mexican drug problem. 87% of the people living in Mexico are concerned about the drug problem, and 37% of the people in Mexico are considering leaving the country. Drug problem is not the biggest concern, corruption in the government is, which has been linked to the growing drug problem. About 70% of the people are in support of Calderon and his campaign against drugs, and about half of people feel that Calderon has improved greatly since last year. About 1/3rd of the people feel like that they have been affected by the violence. Overall, the people really want to do something about the drug problem and find it really hard top find an effective way.
Analysis/Comparison: This is really important because the drug trafficking is affecting tons of people in Mexico in a negative way. It says that 70% of the people agree with Calderon’s policy on this. This is surprising because that election was really controversial. Also with about 20% of the people having their business or know someone who has, being affected by this, it is really important for the government to take action. This can be compared to the immigration problem, as a lot of the immigrants are bringing over drugs to this country. Also and black market trade could be a close relative, as it affects the people very negatively and affects the people and the country as a whole.

Alexis Xenakis
Title: Mexico Angered by Drug Lord’s Spot on Forbes’ List
Source: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,574912,00.html
Summary: Last March Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was featured in a list on Forbes’ magazine presenting the billionaires of the world. His name again appeared of a recent Forbes’ listing discussing the world’s most powerful people. If you think people were outraged about his name on the listing of the world’s billionaires, think again. Their anger about Guzman’s most recent appearance could not be matched. He was listed number 41 of the 67 most powerful people, his name topping the ranking of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (number 67) and even France’s Nicolas Sarkozy (number 56). Guzman was just below Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Guzman’s drug-trafficking empire is “worth an estimated $1 billion, according to Forbes. Yet unlike other, flashier smugglers, few details are known about the Sinaloa cartel boss and the actual power he wields inside his gang”. The Sinaloa cartel “violently seized lucrative drug routes from rivals and built sophisticated tunnels under the U.S. border to move its loads”. Guzman’s cartel is much to blame for the bloodshed throughout Mexico.
Analysis/Comparison: Many Mexicans are beyond frustration with this recent publishing. They feel as if Forbes is undermining the efforts made by current Mexican President Felipe Calderon and the deaths of over 14,000 fellow Mexicans. A spokesman for the Interior Department, which oversees domestic security claimed that the listing of “El Chapo” as number 41 of the 67 most powerful people was a “justification of crime”. Guzman’s own people know the power he has, but one such woman also wishes they would make a list of the lives his power has cost. Although Forbes’ claimed Guzman’s ranking was “intended to spark conversation”, they should have known what the ranking would really do. Forbes’ just enabled arguably the most wanted man in Mexico with an endless supply of power by “praising him” as Calderon may say.

Maria C. Romano
Mexican Mennonites Feel Impact of Drug War
source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8369200.stm

Summary: The Mennonites who live largely in northern Chihuahua came to Mexico in the 1920s from Canada after being promised religious freedom in return for recovering farmland devastated during the Mexican revolution. They all speak the Low German or Plautdietsch language of their ancestors, and only the men learn Spanish. Putting down stable roots like they have had in Mexico for the last 80+ years is rare for the Mennonites whose culture has a history of mass migrations. Since then, this group has swelled in population to 60,000 in Chihuahua's 25 Mennonite colonies, with smaller settlements are in Durango, Campeche, Zacatecas and Tamaulipas. These farmers have steadily modernized their agricultural techniques out of necessity because of the harsh climate, and have fared rather well all things considered. It is estimated that the Mennonites account for 60% of the state's agricultural produce, with staples such as corn and beans and make 80% of the specific region's cheese and some 70% of its dairy produce. Despite this economic success, many are debating whether or not to relocate in light of the recent acts of violence relating to the drug wars in Mexico. Specifically, on July 7th, Benjamin LeBaron and his neighbor were murdered after LeBaron rose to prominence after he led peaceful protests against the recent wave of kidnappings (his own brother was abducted). It is also hypothesized that some of the Mennonites themselves have become involved in the drug war, bringing violence to the community.

Comparison/Analysis:
I thought this article was interesting for two reasons. First, we never really think about what kinds of groups immigrated to Mexico when we are so focused on how many Mexicans have immigrated into the US. I know I tended to think of the Mexican population as simply indigenous, mestizo, and Spanish in cultural origin. Also, I thought it was important to note that while the focus of the drug violence is often centered around urban areas like Juarez and Tijuana, rural communities have also felt the widespread effects of this problem.


How many Mexicans does it take to drill an oil well?
John Pamplin

http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14548839
Summary: 140,000 Mexican workers have been trying to build new oil rigs. This is because of declining production of oil in Mexico. With Mexico’s economy in decline with the economic recession in the United States a bit of the cause, Mexico has been hit hard by lack of production in oil rigs. In 2004 Mexico’s output of oil in barrels a day was around 2.1 million barrels a day while today it has dropped to only 600,000 barrels, a huge decrease in production. Due to this trend it is predicted that Mexico will be a net importer of oil by 2017. Because much of government spending relies on taxes with only 11% collected from GDP, government spending will have to decline by at least 10% or dramatically “jack up taxes” to keep spending where it is today. It is said that a lot of the problems have come up due to the fact that investment with past oil money has not been spent well in investing for the future. In simpler terms there is no money for new technology to find new oil or to extract it with more efficiency. It is predicted that Mexico’s part of the Gulf of Mexico has around 50 billion barrels of oil although, with current Mexican technology, they cannot reach it.
Analysis: This article relates very well with our study of Mexico especially the political side. Because the politicians in Mexico can only have one term there is little gain in long term approaches to a stable economy. Short gains are much more appealing when you know that you only have a short political career. We can also see how this has really come back to bite them in the backside, with the lack of production of oil. Also, we can see just how dependent Mexico is on its oil. Without the increased production of oil and the increase in income from it, they are facing huge financial problems.
Compare: In this article it mentions BP or British Petroleum which has a lot of technology in detecting oil. Though the differences between Mexico and the UK can been seen when we look at the differences in how they have go about dealing with oil. Mexico, with its short term political system look s at the short term, not long term gains, while the UK has focused more on the long term because there are no limits on the terms in office so politicians have the ability to look long term instead of just enjoying short gains.



Mexican Drug War Expands into Military Occupation
John Pamplin

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8157772.stm
Summary: There has been increased violence in Michoacan where the local police believed, to be involved with drug smugglers, have been detained over the death of 12 federal agents who were tortured and killed. The government has approved 5,000 troops to be sent to Michoacán; however the local government is not very happy about what it calls the “Military Occupation”. During this year there have been 10 mayors who have been arrested due to connections with drug gangs. The troops themselves have their faces covered and at road check points carry automatic weapons. This all come at a cost for the government agents and troops in that area who are at great risk due to the corruption. Infiltration of the drug gangs by agents to learn about their movements are believed to be know by the gangs which causes difficulties.
Analysis: This ties in nicely with what we are talking about in class. This is because Mexico has a long history of corruption in its politics. I do not think that there will ever be much change in the way Mexico deals with drugs especially if the current economic recession continues. People need money and if they do not have any honest way of making money than they will make money however they can. I think that the only way to really solve the drug problem is to make Mexico a place where people can earn a living by legitimate legal means. By correcting this problem, the appeal of drugs as the only way to make a living, will end.
Compare: This article reminds me somewhat of the issues that were faced in Northern Ireland with corruption and targeting of people through corrupt police. In Northern Ireland there was not a drug issue but the reaction and corruption of the police was largely the same. The police were abusing the power that they had by attacking people and creating fear among the civilian population. However, having said that, I think that the issue in Mexico will not be worked out. I think that the fighting and corruption is likely to continue for a long time.





Jasmine Cho
Mexico's Giant Underwater Museum
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8326593.stm
Summary: Beginning on November 19, Mexico planned to create the world's largest underwater museum. On November 19th, Mexico submerged four sculptures into the Caribbean waters which are off the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico's south-eastern state of Quintana Roo. This is just the beginning because Mexico plans to submerge hundreds of figures around the area of the region's national park. There are two goals for the creation of the world's largest underwater museum. First Mexico wants to help the environment and second to draw more tourists to Mexico. The sculptures will be made of PH-neutral concrete thus they will attract algae and marine life to give the local ecosystem a boost. By doing this, there will be a reduction of pressure on the existing coral reef by luring tourists away from it. The second goal is to attract more tourism to Mexico especially since there was a 0.6 million decrease of international tourists in the last year.
Analysis and Comparison: This article emphasizes two major issues in the global society - economy and environment. It is a great way of combining these two goals into one. By building the underwater museum, the coral reefs of Mexio are protected and, in a way, recharged by the sculptures. This project also directly affected what we have been talking about in class. Mexio has been severely affected by the recession, the drug war, and the swine flu. With the reation of this project, Mexico hopes to engage the world by involving the environment, art, and tourist attractions into one bundle. This also gives the Mexican government an opportunity to shine in that they are providing a significant portion of the funding. This idea of underwater museum is not new in that Egypt has one and China is opening one. Yet in comparison, Mexico is building the world's largest.


Matt Brown
Journalist murders in Mexico hit new record
http://www.minnpost.com/globalpost/2009/11/16/13463/journalist_murders_in_mexico_hit_new_record
Summary: Bladimir Antuna, one of Mexico’s multiple newspaper journalist, went off on Monday just as normal as any other day. No more then a few hours later, his beaten and strangled body was found on the street outside of a local hospital. His death marked Mexico’s worst year, on record, for the slaying of media workers. It has been reported that majority of these journalist focused their time on Mexico’s ongoing drug war. There have also been tons of cases of journalist being threatened, beaten and followed by individuals in the drug war. Because of this, Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries to trade with in the Western hemisphere.
Analysis/Comparison: I believe that in situations such as this one the only logical explanation for the constant murders of media workers is obviously the government’s corruption and neglecting of their people. As important as these murders are, they have not in the past grabbed a little or even any attention at all from the local and national governments. I think this situation is very similar to the problems that other countries are currently experiencing in their governments. This shows just how important it is for countries to have good reliable government systems.


Alexis Xenakis
A Shootout in a Mexican Hospital

http://english.ntdtv.com/ntdtv_en/ns_na/2009-11-16/816503966008.html
Summary: A shootout at a hospital in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico claimed two more lives as victims of the “country’s bloody drug war”. Ciudad Juarez is the “epicenter of the drug war violence convulsing Mexico”. In the past two years more than 3,000 people have been murdered as a result of the drug war. In this instance two gunmen burst into the emergency room at the hospital in Ciudad Juarez, looking to finish off two rival gang members wounded in an earlier shootout. The two gunmen fired their weapons as they “rode the corridors looking for their targets”. Police then rushed to the scene shooting down two gunmen outside the hospital and arresting several others inside. The men whom were shot by the police were not the gunmen in the hospital, those men, two brothers, were later found hiding in a bathroom. They have also been arrested.
Analysis/ Comparison: Nobody is safe from the warring drug gangs in Ciudad Juarez. Nobody is safe from the warring drug gangs spread throughout the Mexican land. Although current Mexican President Felipe Calderon has initiated the fight against organized crime, he has placed this on the bottom of his 10-point plan. Even though it is crucial that Calderon work on improving the current economic status of Mexico, I think it would be rather fit for him to put more effort into this fight against organized crime. It is unacceptable that just in one city 3,000 people have had their lives stolen from them in the past two years. That is just one city! Now imagine all of Mexico. The lives lost to the drug war are more cause for concern than the money lost as a result of the economic recession. It is time that Calderon step up to the plate to control his people. I could never imagine something like this happening in the United States; to me it is just unfathomable.


Maria C. Romano
Mexico’s Missing Island
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/documentaries/2009/09/090910_world_stories_mexico_missing_island.shtml
http://www.energy-daily.com/reports/Missing_Mexican_island_fuels_mystery_999.html
Summary:
It seems that an island in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico has gone missing, and nobody seems to know where it is. Bermeja Island is strategically important because it was known to contain millions of dollars worth of oil deposits which Mexico could have had claims to. This island had been perfectly visible on national and international maps until about 10 years ago, but recent failures to find it have sparked a number of conspiracy theories. "There are two stories about how it disappeared: one is that global warming raised the sea level and it is under water," said Mexican lawmaker Elias Cardenas, of the Convergence Party. "The other is that ... it was blown up by the CIA so that the United States would get the upper hand in Hoyos de Dona" -- the oil reserves area. Though this seems outlandish, the island seems to have disappeared along with documents backing up a bilateral treaty on major oil reserves in the area. Six Mexican senators said in a statement that "a force of nature (able to sink an island) does not take place without anyone noticing, and much less so when it is sitting in an area with more than 22 billion barrels of oil reserves." Bermeja, occupying merely 31 square miles was the official land point from which Mexico set its 200 nautical-mile economic sphere of influence. The country now uses the Alacranes islands as the marker, sharply reducing Mexico's economic zone. Lawmakers have since demanded President Felipe Calderon account for how Bermeja Island disappeared from Mexican territory.
Analysis/Conclusions
This article was interesting to me for a number of reasons. First, it seems to fit in nicely with our discussion of Calderón and how he truly has had a “tough year” battling forces over which he has no control like the swine flu epidemic. While it does seem suspicious that the documents outlining the conditions of the treaty seemed to have disappeared along with the island, I almost think the global warming explanation is more believable than the accusations against the CIA. Nevertheless, I’m sure Mexico would have loved to have a 22 billion barrel boost in its economy, and, as we’ve read, it truly needs it in order to continue developing into a truly democratic and advanced country.



Alexis Xenakis
Recession over in Mexico

Source: [[http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/293450,recession-over-in-mexico-president-calderon-says.htmlRecession|http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/293450,recession-over-in-mexico-president-calderon-says.html]]
Summary: On Thursday November 5 Mexican President Felipe Calderon said that the 2.7 percent growth in the third quarter finally took the Mexican economy out of the recession. In the first quarter the economy in Mexico was struggling as the gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 8.2 percent and by the second quarter it had fallen to 10.3 percent. Calderon stated that his government is “working hard so that the recovery persists”. The tragic state of the Mexican economy was a direct result of the countries strong economic ties with the United States. When the United States fell into a recession, Mexico soon followed as the United States receives over 70 percent of Mexico’s exports. However, Calderon expects that “next year the economy will grow by 3 percent” and is hopeful that there will be a “5 percent annual growth” by the end of his mandate in 2012.
Analysis/ Comparison: As a result of the economic crisis in the United States, many citizens felt strapped for cash as they were losing jobs left and right. Because people in the United States felt the need to scrape for every penny they could, they started spending less money. With less money being spent by the people in the States, and with 70 percent of its exports entering the States, Mexico soon felt the wave of poverty brought on by the economy. As demand for products lowered, Mexican businesses received less business and therefore earned less money. Like so many other companies in the United States, businesses were forced to lay off their employees in order to stay afloat. This now leads us to the topic of jobs across the border. With their unemployment rate so much higher than that of the United States (25% to 10% national average) many Mexicans felt the need to cross into the States to find work in order to support their families. Then we get into the whole issue surrounding illegal immigrants, the 700 mile long wall on the border, and corrupt border officials which is just a messy situation in general. Hopefully with the growth of their economy, Mexicans will feel less of a need to risk their lives in order to migrate to the United States to find work. If the United States helps with the rebuilding of the Mexican economy then there would be less trouble concerning the border between the two countries.


Hurricane weakens on Mexico coast

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8234212.stm
Tyler Oleski

Summary: Hurricane Jimena has proved to be an incredibly violent, damaging entity for the people of Baja California, Mexico. It wreaked havoc with heavy rain and winds of up to 65mph. There were also deadly mudslides and flash floods. Shops, businesses, and airports closed due to the storm. In addition, 11,000 people were evacuated to shelters further inland and away from the coast. According to officials, 75% of homes have been affected by the hurricane.
Analysis: This hurricane has proven to be a huge blow for Mexico. While other parts of the Caribbean as well as the United States felt effects of the storm, Mexico was hit the hardest by far. Streets, homes, buildings, and vehicles have been displaced or destroyed by the hurricane. Many families have lost everything they own. This tragedy is being met with support and aid from both the Red Cross and the Mexican government. The people of Baja California can only hope that these organizations and their own government will be able to provide them with nourishment and compensation for this terrible loss.
Compare: This situation can be compared to Hurricane Katrina in the United States. After Katrina hit, the U.S. government was given a lot of negative feedback concerning how it dealt with the aftermath of the storm. Many people felt that the government did not act as effectively as it could have to help the victims of Katrina. The Mexican government has already started helping out its people. Whether or not it will consistently provide aid is yet to be revealed. For the sake of all the people affected by the hurricane, hopefully the government will do its part to rebuild the area and relocate its citizens.











Sam Stargel is so cute
Source: http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2009/11/09/walleyball.us.mexico.barrier.pangeaday
Title: Walleyball
Summary: The current border that divides America and Mexico is being used as a volleyball court, or known to the players as “walleyball”. There are enough border patrol agents that they could have one person ever 1,000 yards along the whole entire border, which costs a lot of money. And each foot of the fence costs $500 a foot, and it is questionable on how effective this border actually is. Since the end of the Vietnam War all surplus has gone towards the Border Patrol, which are issued military grade weapons and vehicles which, according to the narrator, is way to extreme and this border should not be thought of as a war zone. Due to this border people are forced to take much more dangerous routes, which have led to the death of two immigrants a day. The narrator also believes that there is no need for this border.
Analysis: Although the narrator has some great ideas, I feel like a lot of them are very unrealistic. For example, he implies that we do not need the border at all, and that we just need to act as compassionate humans. Although this sounds great on paper, this could never happen. For one, it would destroy our national security, and anyone could just walk in. Also, many of the problems that Mexico is currently undergoing, such as drugs, would come over to our country. The “walleyball” also says something about the respect for the wall. The people don’t really care that it is there, and instead use it as volleyball net. I also think this shows how America is better than Mexico at volleyball.
Compare: In class we have been talking a lot about the negative side affects of immigration because on America. The narrator would do some good to learn about how this issue is not as simple as just showing compassion for people. In a bit of a stretch, this could be compared to the Christmas Truce during WWI in which both sides stop fighting and interacted with each other and even traded gifts. The main differences here of course are that WWI was a full scale war, and the immigration problem is not, and that the soldiers were fighting, as the citizens of Mexico and America are not.

Juarez business leaders petition U.N. for help with drug traffickers
Carlyle Phipps

Summary: Juarez is a Mexican city located close to the border of the United States and Mexico. The city of Juarez is notorious for its drug cartel and gang violence, which is so bad that local business leaders are requesting the U.N. send in peacekeeping soldiers. The city ranks as one of the most violent in the world, with over 2,000 murders already this year and averaging about 10 murders a day. The U.N. has had to reject this petition though, because the Security Council can only send peacekeeping troops for actual peacekeeping situations. Also it was unclear if the U.N. could accept petitions from citizens, as apposed to formal ones sent by the government. Juarez is a major economic force for Mexico, so this violence is certainly affecting the entire nation.
Analysis: The crisis in Juarez, Mexico is a very severe one and I believe something should be done about it. The idea that the U.N. will not help because the government is too corrupt to file an official request for help is ridiculous. Also, I feel that not allowing peacekeeping soldiers to maintain peace in Juarez due to the lack of a “peacekeeping” situation is not right. Through this petition, it is clear that the citizens of Juarez and all of Mexico are in dire need of help, with all of the gang and drug violence in their city, and they should be able to receive the protection they need. The idea that 10 people are murdered everyday is unrealistic, and should be cause enough for peacekeeping forces to enter the city. Without any type of official support from an organization such as the U.N., Juarez will never see peace and the citizens will continue to live in fear.
Comparison: Many other parts of the world are experiencing drug and gang violence, but nothing can compare to the severity of the situation in Juarez. The idea is very similar to places in Africa, where corrupt governments are killing innocent people and forcing them to live in fear. I guess that the U.N. cannot help everyone that is in need though.


Fifteen shot dead at Mexico ranch
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8335341.stm
Jasmine Cho
Summary: Recently, fifteen people have been killed on a remote ranch in northern Mexico. One of the men that was murdered was Margarito Montes, an organisor of agricultural workers. Investigators are sayings that although no official link is made, the killings bear the hallmarks of drug gang murders. According to correspondents, it is not uncommon for agricultural workers to get caught up in the gang-violence because they are paid or coerced into growing drugs. Since 2006 when the push against drug gangs began, more than 15,000 people have died in drug-related violence. Because of this violence, the President Felipe Calderon has taken measure to try to stop the violence. For exmaple, he has deployed some 45,000 extra security forces in key areas across Mexico to stop cartels.
Analysis/Comparison: This article demonstrates the brutality and immorality of the drug situation in Mexico. The drug violence and business will never stop if the demand for drugs still exists. It is the role of the government to set up institutions, policies, laws, regulations to try to stop and bust the current drug business. In class we learned about how the US government is restricting traffic flow between Mexico and the U.S. This is causing the drugs to be handled in Mexico thus causing more problems. At the same time, that is better for the US because no major drug businesses are in the country.


Sam Stargel
Source:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8219450.stm
Title: Mexico has issues with textbooks
Summary: Mexico has recently distributed new textbooks for the new semester of students free of charge. The special thing about these textbooks is that they skip the Spanish colonization of Mexico. The government has distributed these books to some 25 million students, and they will start the new semester. The book stops at the 1500’s and picks back up on the independence of Mexico in the 1800’s. The government says they could not have seen this problem coming because of this decision. Many people believe that the government should not do this, and should include this vital information in the textbooks. The government in their defense says that this should only be studied by secondary students, and not by primary. This has become quite a problem.
Analysis: This shows that Mexico is not as free as some people think it is. Although they have a democracy, the government still tries to control its people through its actions lie this. Also, I feel that it is not that significant of a date for them to exclude from a country wide text. Also, the fact that there is a country wide textbook says a lot about the freedom of the country, and the freedom of education.
Compare: This can be compared to several different events. Tiananmen Square is a great example, where the Chinese government has done an excellent job trying to keep the information of the event from the people. The Chinese government is another government in which the people think they are free, but the government does a good job of keeping the people controlled. Another example of this would be Hitler in WWII, and how he destroyed text books, and rewrote them for the Hitler Youth program, and other schools. Throughout history, governments have turned to education to try and control the people.


U.S. airman dies in shooting at Mexican strip club
Carlyle Phipps
Summary: Last Wednesday, in Juarez, Mexico, located at the border of Mexico and Texas, 6 people were killed in a shooting at a strip club. The gunman entered the building just after midnight, slaying six and injuring another. David Booher, was 26 years old, and the U.S. airman killed in the shooting, along with a waiter and security guard. Mexican police have indicated that the gunman had apparently come with the intention of killing these exact people. U.S. military officials are typically not allowed in Juarez, because of the intense drug violence, which has seen over 2,000 deaths this year alone.
Analysis: This article shows the exact problem that is facing many Mexican cities today. Gangs and drug cartels have taken over entire cities and are forcing people into living in a state of fear. The fact that violence is so bad that all U.S. military personnel are not allowed to go to Juarez shows just how serious the situation is. This type of violence and corruption is the cause for the poor standard of living in Mexico, and is even corrupting the government as well. As long as these gangs and drug cartels run free in Mexico, nothing can be done to better the lives of the citizens living there.
Comparison: This is somewhat similar to gang and drug violence in the U.S., but just not on this big of a scale. Crimes like this occur all the time in America, but the gangs do not run any cities, unlike in Mexico.



U.S. dumps China for Mexico
http://money.cnn.com/2009/11/03/news/international/US_dumps_china_for_mexico/index.htm
By John Pamplin
Summary: Mexico has finally surpassed China. This is a phrase not often heard in today’s world but it is true that for companies who wish to have cheap assembly-for-export factories, or maquiladoras. This has a lot to do with the global recession and the cost of shipping is much cheaper from Mexico to America than from China to America. Two other positives which have attracted businesses wishing to export to America from Mexico is the Mexican exchange rate which works well for businesses since the Mexican Paso is low and NAFTA. Due to these positive aspects of Mexico even China has started to set up production plants in Mexico to take advantage of these benefits in exporting to the US. The location advantage Mexico has has been noticed by countries looking to export to US markets. Also Mexico is now the lowest cost to produce, long held by China is now in third and India is in second. This boom in manufacturing in the northern part of Mexico holds promise for Mexico’s future.

Analysis: Although this article was from the point of view of America it does bring up what I think is an important point in Mexico’s future. Because businesses are building manufacturing plants in Mexico, there will be jobs created in Mexico for the Mexican People. This is very important since it will doubtlessly stimulate their economy. This is good news for the US since it means there will likely be less immigration from Mexico to the US in search of jobs. Also this will help to improve the living conditions of Mexicans and most likely raise there average level of education and bring them into a more equal playing field with the US. So over all this is really positive for both the US and Mexico. This is because we can see, through the example of China, that when manufacturing goes to a country it raises that country in every way. Through the economic boom which Mexico is likely to receive from this increase in manufacturing, Mexico will also improve in many ways.
Compare: This article really ties in well with what we have been talking about in class. From the example from our last reading, Spain, we can see how manufacturing jobs can stimulate the economy and raise a country out of poverty. We can also see this from China which has really become known for cheap labor but from this article we can see that, that is no longer the case. All of this is due to the increased economic benefits a country will experience from the investment of other countries. So over all this is a step in the right direction for Mexico and I believe that if countries continue to invest in Mexico over time we will see Mexico rising from ashes into an industrialized country.


Maria C. Romano
Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8319924.stm
Topic: The paradoxical “La Familia” Gang, a charitable organization? I think not.
Summary:
Mexico faces a huge problem when trying to cut down on organized crime in the form of drug cartels because of the groups’ paradoxical motives. The most extreme example of this is the “Familia” cartel. In 2006, five severed heads were thrown by members of this gang into a nightclub with the message “only those who deserve to die will die” on them, and this same cartel was responsible several bombings in 2008. Even so, the giant debt collection program that the organization runs largely through intimidation was used to fund schools, drainage projects, and even churches. Curiously, the cartel is also said to discourage its members from consuming alcohol or drugs, and has a quasi-religious ideology. In fact, the group's alleged spiritual leader, Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, a.k.a. "El Mas Loco", or "the craziest one" is understood to have published and distributed his own bible.
The group is believed to have originated in the 1980s as a loose self-protecting coalition between marijuana and opium farmers in the state of Michoacan. Since then they have become a part of the social structure in Mexico. Research by Prof Gonzalez's team suggests that 85% of the legitimate businesses in Michoacan now have some link with La Familia, or with its money.
Comparison and Analysis:
On the subject of stringent US laws against drugs and immigration from Mexico, like other Mexican drug cartels, La Familia has been benefitting from the massive, successful, clampdown on drug trafficking led by the US authorities across the Caribbean. The strategy has pushed the flow of drugs west, into Mexican territory for them to control. In addition, the gang has been using it’s economic power to bribe government officials and local law enforcement, much like the border patrol agents we viewed in the documentary on immigration.



Matt Brown
Floods Force 44,000 People From Homes In Mexico
http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/news/world/floods-force-44000-people-from-homes-in-mexico-935773.html

Summary: Due to multiple days of heavy raining and storms, dangerous floods force thousands from their homes in Villahermonsa, Mexico. It has been estimated that over 90 communities were affected by the flooding. Residents in these communities were feel as though the government has not done enough to prevent disasters like this from happening. In 2007, floods killed 33 people and damaged/destroyed more than 1 million homes. "Since the 2007 floods, they say are going to complete projects and once again we've been flooded. Every time the rivers swell, we lose everything," said Hipolito Escobar, a resident of in one of the nearby communities.
Analysis: I think the fact that Mexico has not been able to improve on previous experiences shows their inability to provide security and stability for their citizens. It also show their inability for to accommodate for the needs of their citizens.
Comparison: This is one of the many reasons why 50% of the immigrants coming in the U.S.A are from Mexico, because their country cannot provide for them. This is a good example to help prove a degree of truth to the article we just read in class. Mexico cannot provide for its people, where America is seen as the “land of opportunity”.





Tyler Oleski

Gunmen kill 10 at Mexico clinic

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8259972.stm

Summary: Following the slaying of 18 people at a drug rehabilitation center in Juarez, a group of gunmen killed another 10 people this past Tuesday night. The gunmen are connected to a drug-based gang centered in Juarez. Drug-related gang wars can be attributed to 1,400 deaths in Juarez just THIS YEAR. Rehab facilities have been specifically targeted because many gangs believe that rival members stay in these places. Many other rehab clinics have been attacked in Juarez, as well. Even despite the thousands of extra police deployed in the city, brutal crimes like this continue to plague the area.
Analysis: The level of violence and corruption in Mexico is unreal. Close to all of it is rooted in the drug trade and the rival gangs. The crimes have gone on for too long with little to no government intervention. The only step towards resolution has been the hiring of new police officers, but clearly, this has done nothing. Police in the city are typically easy to bribe or pay off for the gangs. This corruption works all the way up to high governmental positions. If the drug problem were to truly be resolved, it would take in-depth investigating so locate the sources of the drugs, the leaders of the gangs, the locations of drug deals, etc. Simply spending more money on police will not fix the problem. With a better understanding of the roots of the gangs and the drugs themselves, authorities could go straight to the source. This would mean arresting highly ranked gang members, confiscating drug supplies, and cracking down on the distribution of the said drugs. These actions would work miracles for the Mexican society, which is in need of a strong reform on drugs.
Compare: This ties in nicely to the debate we had in class concerning immigration. Many of the gangs in Mexico target the United States as a front for selling and distributing drugs. This poses the question of securing our borders.. Surely we can not allow drug dealers and gangs to enter our country freely and pollute our society. This is a very big concern in the minds of those debating the immigration issue today. Like many other countries, the United States needs to be aware of the potential threats included in an open-door immigration policy.



Carolyn Motta
Down Mexico
http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=14634193
Summary: Recently, a report came out that placed Brazil at the top of the list of the top five leading emerging economies. After hearing about this report, Mexican business leaders were shocked and insulted to learn that they were not on this list. This only seemed to intensify the jealousy Mexico has for Brazil. However, it does make sense that Brazil would beat Mexico to the list. When hit with the same crisis, Mexico's economy suffered much longer and harder than Brazil's did, and the Mexican economy has been in a constant decline. Much of the problem is caused by the fact that Mexico is cheaply exporting to the United States, while Brazil is exporting to China and prospering from it. Another contribution to Mexico's economic downfall is the increasing fear of violence and lack of safety in the country. There are also concerns about the state of Pemex, an oil and gas monopoly in Mexico, in comparison to Brazil's Petrobras, which is soaring.
Analysis: Mexico's main concern should not be where they fit in the acronym (BRICs, the widely used acronym for the leading emerging economies); instead they should be focused on improving their economy. According to the article, Mexico has a lot they can be working on. Brazil is currently the number one leading emerging economy, and although Mexico was initially considered, it still did not fit in with the rest of the countries on the list. Mexico can work on decreasing the amount of violence and gang crimes in their country, as well as the large amount of drug use, manufacturing, and trade that goes on. This is actually contributing to the decline in the economy, and needs to be addressed for many other reasons as well.
Compare: It's easy to say that Mexico is not the only country experiencing some form of economic decline. The entire world is pretty much in a recession right now and this includes many of the big, influential world powers. The four countries included in this list are Brazil, Russia, India, and China. These are the countries that are basically considered to be the most stable and strong despite this terrible recession.

Max Lewis

URL http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/10/20/greenpeace.mexico/index.html

“Green Peace Protests Genetically Modified Corn in Mexico”

Summary This article is about the production of corn in Mexico and how the science of genetically engineering food can affect the economy. In this article, the organization Green Peace has begun protesting publicly against the Mexican government's choice to allow the cultivation of genetically engineered corn. The problem with this is that the genetically engineered corn has been proven to contaminate Mexico's native white and yellow corn, and the planting of the genetically enhanced corn could wipe out Mexico's native corn and cause local farmers to be forced to buy seed from the large corporations that manufacture the genetically enhanced corn. This would lead to the destruction of one of Mexico's largest cultural and economical product.

Analysis The government, again, is upsetting the people. What is significant about this article is the fact that people are protesting and speaking out against the government. There is a pattern throughout the other articles that I have chosen, showing that more and more people are speaking out and taking action. Also, this genetically modified corn could be greatly detrimental to the Mexican economy and some of its largest exports. Although it is good for short-term economical growth, its long-term growth can potentially be stunted if many of the other types of corn become wiped out.

Compare within the United States, people are speaking out and expressing their ideas and beliefs all the time; it is something that is very common and accepted across the country. As for Mexico, this is still very new, and it is good that organizations and unions are doing what they can for the people, because the corrupt government does not seem to be as democratic as it should be.

Max Lewis

URL:http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/10/11/mexico.utility.company.raid/index.html
“Mexico Siezes Utility Company”
Summary On Sunday a few weeks ago, an electric company was seized and shut down by the Mexican government, causing many to lose their jobs. This electric company called Luz y Fuerza was very important, for it supplied power to the capital as well as four other Mexican states. It was shut down because of their unstable financial situation. Also, there had been many unnamed labor disputes between government officials and Luz y Fuerza employees. The Mexican Electricians Union was very upset about this. Union members, one of the largest and most powerful unions supporting 60,000 workers, claims that they will use and exercise their constitutional rights and guarantees to fight against the government’s recent shutting down of the company. This union has also been accused of making decisions to benefit the members rather than the company or its consumers. However, the government is participating with the collective bargaining on some issues, and cooperating with the union.
Analysis Although the Mexican government has taken away many jobs, there has been some good that came out of this situation. The government, which is known for being corrupt, is now cooperating with unions and compromising with them. However, the union has also been somewhat selfish, which does not help their situation. Overall, the whole shutting down of Luz y Fuerza has negatively affected the workers and the government’s image, but the government is handling it in constitutional ways, which, in a way brings the Mexican government towards taking steps to a non-corrupt democracy.
Compare In the UK, under Prime Minster Blair, unions were supported and encouraged. Unions should be encouraged especially in Mexico. This way, people have more representation, have better working conditions, and they have more power to fight against a consistently corrupt government.



Laura PC
http://www.economist.com/world/americas/PrinterFriendly.cfm?story_id=14644358
"Power to the people: Breaking an overmighty union"
Summary: Last month, Felipe Calderón, the president of Mexico, decided that Mexico needed to make some “fundamental changes” pertaining to labor laws, oil investment, and more. Recently, he has started to do something to put these into action. He got 1,000 federal policemen to take over Luz y Fuerza del Centro, the state-owned electricity distributor for Mexico City. He issued an order to shut down the company and transfer responsibility to the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE). For a long time, Luz y Fuerza was run to benefit the electricians’ union rather than the customers. According to the article, “The government was pumping $3 billion a year into Luz y Fuerza. Most of this went on fat salaries and even fatter pensions for its 44,000 employees and 22,000 pensioners.” Because of the transfer to the CFE, it is predicted that $1.3 billion will be saved next year. The union threatens to demand thousands of legal injunctions, but the government is trying to deter that with severance pay.
Analysis: The majority of the “fundamental reforms” that Calderón proposed last month seemed rather far-fetched. However, this shows that he is trying to act on them, rather than just being all talk and no action. Luz y Fuerza del Centro was a scandal for a long time and finally, it’s been shut down. Yet, the issue continues. There are other unions that are corrupt in the same way as Luz y Fuerza, but similar measures aren’t being taken. For instance, a teachers’ union hasn’t been shut down because its leader is one of Calderón’s political allies. Calderón needs to set personal relations aside and do what is best for the country and its people. The customers – the people of Mexico – deserve just treatment by these companies since they are giving them their business, and if corrupt unions continue to exist, the deceit will continue as well.
Compare:
Unions have consistently presented problems in history. This is not to say that unionization is always a bad thing, but corruption needs to be monitored. When Thatcher was in power in Great Britain, she shut down the union of mine workers, and Blair proceeded to cut ties with labor unions. Other leaders have put an end to specific unions, and in Calderón’s case I think it is necessary that he do the same in order to rid the country of some of its corruption and look out for the people of Mexico.

Meredith Allen
Utility Closure Sparks Mexico Anger

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2009/10/20091013175335152624.html
Summary: The Mexican Government has made yet another drastic change in policy. As of Sunday, President Felipe Calderon issued the decree to shut down Luz y Fuerza del Centro, and this plan has been in action dismantling the company. The company provides one fifth of Mexico’s electricity. That means that nearly 25 million Mexican homes are powered through this company. President Calderon has made statements claiming that no homes in Mexico City or surrounding states will lose power. He plans to secure this by installing the Federal Electricity Commission, which has taken over Luz y Fuerza for the time being. So why has this company been shut down? The President says it is because with the suffering economic state, Mexico could no longer compensate for Luz y Fuerza’s lack of efficiency.
Analysis: Due to the dismantling of a large company, nearly 44,000 workers are out of jobs. Most of these workers are a part of Mexico’s biggest union, Mexican Electricians Union, or SME. The government has already said that some and not all of these workers would be re-hired to work for the Federal Electricity Commission. But it is already foreseen that the workers whose company was liquefied will not take this lying down. Already the workers have taken to the streets to protest and SME Secretary-General Martin Esparaza has vowed to take legal action.
Comparison: President Felipe Calderon’s action reminds me a lot of Prime Minister Thatcher in the 1980’s. Thatcher too was against unions and did what she could to dismantle them. Thatcher defeated the miner’s union in 1985, and was also widely protested during this time. However, since she has left office, the rise of unions has not again begun. Maybe Calderon is not only doing this to help the economy, but also because he saw an attempt to deflate the unions in Mexico.





Carolyn Motta
Mexico Says It Is Closing a Provider of Electricity
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/12/world/americas/12mexico.html
Summary: The Mexican government announced that it is disbanding a state-run company because it wastes a lot electricity. This company, Luz y Fuerza del Centro, supplies power to Mexico City as well as surrounding cities. Another company, Federal Electricity Commission, is said to take over Luz y Fuerza's operations. The Federal Electricity Commission is a larger state-owned company and provides power and services for most of the country. President Felipe Calderon accused Luz y Fuerza del Centro of inefficiencies that prompted businesses to relocate as well as costing the country jobs and money. Because of this, Luz y Fuerza has been widely criticized by businesses and residents. The electricity company is also accused of providing shoddy service for high prices. On Saturday, October 10, federal police officers began to seize control of Luz y Fuerza's facilities.
Analysis: There are differing opinions over the colsing of this electrical company. Many residents and businesses are in favor of it, because of the high prices and bad services. But many workers and labor unions are opposed. Although there were no plans of strike, the Mexican Electrical Workers Union, which represents Luz y Fuerza workers, marched to the president's residence and blocked traffic last week in opposition. The refused to recognize the election of the union's Martin Esparza, secretary general. The fact that the Mexican government so quickly and forcefully shut down such a big company shows its supremacy in the country. Luz y Fuerza is a huge electricity company across Mexico, providing power for most of Mexico City and surrounding areas. It's shocking how quickly it was able to be shut down.
Compare: It can be noteed that many countries throughout the world are trying to cut back on how much they spend on certain things. This is an example of that. Mexico is just shutting down a huge company because it has been spending too much money on innefficient operations. Instead, a larger company is taking over its responsibilites. This is probably a fiscally responsible thing to do for the country, and is what other countries should be doing due to the current status of the economy.


Andriy Rusyn
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/sns-dc-chinese-smuggling,0,5331962.story
In Arizona desert, illegal immigration's mysterious spike

Summary: Illegal immigration along the Arizona desert has spiked recently, especially the number of Chinese immigrants has been increasing rapidly. Overall, the number of people crossing illegally into the United States has fallen, a change that is attributed to the rising unemployment and general failure of the American, also the world, economy. Also interesting about this change is the fact that many of the people who were arrested by authorities were illegal Chinese immigrants who have traveled a long path that was funded by drug cartels and Chinese gangs. The article mentions how different groups of people pay different prices to be smuggled into America. The Chinese immigrants who are smuggled all the way from china end up working for several years as indentured servants, working off from 30 to 70 thousand dollars, while people from Mexico pay only about 1,500$. Asian mafias who see the profits to be earned in smuggling people have begun to work with drug cartels, who are adept at smuggling into America. This article is interesting because it talks about a common issue, illegal immigration into America, and adds a whole new layer to it by discussing what the article says are called OTM’s or Other Than Mexicans, which are often not discussed. Many of these OTM’s come from other parts of South America, but some come all the way from China, a trip that may take several years if you include the time that they spend working off their debt.

Analysis: This is interesting because it gives us another insight into the political and economic conditions that are apparent in Mexico today. Mexico is often considered to be one of the most corrupt nations in the world, and this article is a perfect example of how powerful criminal organizations such as Asian Mafias and South American drug cartels are able to exert political and social pressure over the government, and how this power allows them to function without worrying too much about legal repercussions.

Compare: This is very different from any other country that we are researching, and that is what interesting because Mexico is so unique in its power structure. Maybe in Nigeria criminal organizations have some power, but in Mexico, they can control entire regions completely. This is crazy to think about because we always think of gangs as shadow figures that aren’t very prominent, but in Mexico, they are quite open and obvious, and they simply aren’t threatened enough by the police to disguise themselves. Sure there are people who are made examples of, but it’s unlikely that the cartels and gangs would stay in business if all of these anti corruption measures actually worked like they do in the rest of the world.

Carolyn Motta
'Social Cleansing' as Mexico goes to war with itself
http://news.scotsman.com/world/39Social-cleansing39-as-Mexico-goes.5685095.jp
Summary: Ciudad Juarez is an increasingly dangerous city in along the Mexican-American border. As of now, it is one of the most active in multiple bloody wars, both of which involve drugs. One of the wars is a war between drug cartels who are fighting for access to the US market. The other war is between Mexican authorities and drug traffickers. Despite President Calderon's 2500 troops, the murder/death rate in the area has increased. Ciudad Juarez is now known as the world's most violent city. The idea of 'social cleansing' is somthing that is stemed from what citizens believe to be a third war in Ciudad Juarez. This third war is basically common crime: petty theft, rape, extortion, kidnapping, etc. Social Cleansing is something that is going on in a lot of Latin American countries (but is not necessarily a Mexican tradition) and can explain the recently high murder rates. The article defines social cleansing as "the targeted elimination of groups considered undesirable," which simply means the criminals are being murdered by otherr citizens, also making them criminals. But trying to solve these murders is proving to be a problem as well. While the Mexican National Human Rights Commission is concentrating on the more common crimes, the military is focusing on the drug problems in the city.
Analysis: The violence is constantly increasing across Mexico. There always seems to be news about a different city in Mexico that is experiencing some new sort of drug wave or crime spree. From the looks of it, things will not be changing any time soon. One of the main problems is that there isn't much being done about it; it doesn't even sound like anybody is trying. The government claims that looking too closely into this new social cleansing wave would be risky, much like it would be to follow up on citizen's complaints about military abuse. Calderon enforced this military to crack down on the enormous drug problem occuring in Mexico now. The article mentions that seventeen months ago, the murder rate was 66%, which seems extremely high. It goes on to say that this could actually be considered a time of peace and calm. This, to me, shows a big problem in the way the Mexican government is prioritizing.
Compare: Like a lot of the other Mexican news, this article relates to the drug trafficking in Mexico. These are not, however, the only drug problems in the world. So many other countries are experiencing drug trafficking issues, one main one being the US, because of the close border to the Ciudad Juarez. To go along with these drug problems, the article focuses on the great increase in violence in this city as well. It is easy to say that this city is definitely not the only one experiencing more voilence during this time.


Meredith Allen
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/centralamericaandthecaribbean/mexico/6007354/Mexican-police-foil-drug-cartel-plot-to-kill-president.html
"Mexican Police Foil Drug Cartel Plot to Kill President"
Summary: President Felipe Calderon played down the serious situation to President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper saying, "It certainly won't be the first or last occasion on which we might hear something about an attempt on my life." However after a year long investigation, police head of narcotics has charged Dimas Diaz Ramon with plotting to kill the president. Dimas Diaz Ramon is associated with the Sinaloa drug cartel. After a raid targeted his gang, Ramon apparently set his plan into action. During the recent violent trafficking from Mexico to the United States, Ramon has played a large part as a drug cartel. He is known for smuggling marijuana into the USA in the tires of trucks carrying hot peppers and avacados.
Analysis: Felipe Calderon has encountered many problems since announcing his war on drugs in 2006. Not only has he seen over 1,300 lives lost in the process, but he has also experienced battling his country for the blame of these problems. The war on drugs has dwindled down to holding him responsible, which is why personal attacks are not uncommon to the Mexican president. Calderon has been extrememly brave throughout the rought times, and holding his head high while who threatened his life goes to prison must be extrememly hard. Calderon has stayed positive in the improvement being quoted saying,
"We are destroying their criminal organisations, we're hitting them hard, we're hitting at the heart of their organizations, we're making them back away." Hopefully Calderon is correct that and end is coming to the awful drug war.
Comparison: In America there have been over 90 assassination attempts at Presidents of The United States of America. Four attempts have been successful throughout history. Unfortunately for the United States, this problem is not uncommon. Already President Barack Obama has had several threats and actual attempts. In Mexico, this is a lot less common for Presidents. Presidents in Mexico are known for being very private and keeping to themselves much more than that of US presidents. Their personal and family life is virtually unknown, which could be a reason why assassination attempts are so much more unusual in Mexico.

Laura PC
http://www.economist.com/world/americas/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14506444
"Lawless roads: Where migrants meet criminals"

Summary: We hear about what goes on at the Mexico-United States border all the time, but we rarely hear about what happens at Mexico’s southern border, which is shared with Guatemala. Very similar things go on there, involving gangs, drugs, and smuggling. Unusually, the Guatemalan police don’t really crack down at all on smugglers, because even though “It’s illegal…it’s a job for these people.” Mexico’s southern border is pretty large, and the area is filled with jungle and highlands – it’s not an area that’s easy to keep a close watch over. The government has decided to create a “vertical border” with army and police checkpoints spread out along the roads. However, this forces immigrants to travel by means of the hills, and this is how they meet up with gangs. The most common gang along Mexico’s southern border is the Zetas, a group of deserters from a Mexican-army special-forces unit. The gang smuggles arms and drugs, and takes advantage of migrants: “The men are tortured, the women raped and ransoms demanded from relatives in the United States.” The government has tried to do something about this issue, but unfortunately the Zetas are pretty relentless.
Analysis: News stories are released all the time about issues at the United States-Mexico border. However, we never really hear about what goes on at Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala. Most people don’t realize that terrible things go on there every day. The government has tried to mitigate this problem but awful things are still happening (e.g. months after he was kidnapped, the body of the director of immigrant affairs in Tapachula was found in a tub of cement). Clearly, the government’s efforts aren’t really paying off. They have set up Beta Groups along the border to aid migrants, as this method has proven successful on the northern border, but most immigrants are illegal. Additionally, because of the recession and tighter security (not to mention, fewer people on security forces because of job losses), the gangs can still take people easily. The drug/crime-related issues in Mexico don’t seem to be improving at all, and it’s hard to figure out what exactly the government needs to do to make an efficient attempt at solving some of these conflicts.
Compare: Immigration conflicts are commonplace throughout the world. The rules for migrants from Guatemala aren’t all that strict because the police pity the people, but police forces aren’t always this generous. The things that go on at the Mexico-United States border concerning illegal immigrants are brutal sometimes. Additionally, drug gangs are everywhere – not just in Mexico. Brutal gangs like this exist in other areas like the United States, Iran, and Russia. The number of addicts in Mexico is extremely high, and the crime rate is off the charts in most areas. All countries have to deal with crime to an extent, but it’s been hitting Mexico a bit harder than others.

Carolyn Motta
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/08/world/americas/08mexico.html
3 Arrests in Deaths of Mexican Candidate and His Family
Summary: Recently, a legislative candidate and his family were murdered in the Mexican state of Tabasco. At first, a drug gang called the Zetas were suspected of killing candidate José Francisco Fuentes Esperón, and his wife and two kids. But they immediately denied it by raising a banner over the town saying that they were not responsible. There are about four other suspects though. One of the suspects, an 18 year old security guard claimed that they only intended to break into his home and rob him, but they never meant to hurt or kill him or his family; "but everything got out of control," he said. These suspects have no links to any drug gangs or organized crime.
Analysis: The crime has been increasing throughout Mexico, this being a prime example of it. Government officials are beginning to really worry how this is affecting the country and the country's youth. Even though this act of violence wasn't linked to any sort of organized crime, it is still a huge issue. The state attorney general commented that everybody is responsible for helping to repair the "social fabric" of the country. It is also important to note that a drug gang was the first to be accused of this serious crime. The Tabasco state government claimed that they were just a natural suspect in such a criminal act, even though they are mainly known for drug trafficking and not necessarily for violent criminal acts.
Compare: Although this article wasn't specifically about drug gangs, it is good to realize that drug gangs so exist all around the world. They are heavily concentrated in countries like Russia, Mexico, the United State, Britain, Iran, and many more. There is also a great increase of crime rates across the world as well.



Laura PC
http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14416623
“Calderón tries again”

Summary: Felipe Calderón has been the president of Mexico since 2006. He is halfway through his 6-year term, and although he began it with a great deal of power, he has lost a lot of it since then. He is part of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), which is the largest party, yet it lacks a congressional majority. Calderón recently called for ten new reforms related to controversial issues such as telecommunications regulation, labor laws, the budget, oil investment, and more. Because of recent changes in the government (cabinet changes, firing of attorney general), there is more chaos, which makes it even harder to achieve these reforms. Conditions in Mexico aren’t ideal right now: the unemployment rate is high, there has been a swine flu outbreak, and the economy is predicted to shrink by 7% during the course of this year. Calderon’s reforms are extreme, and unless changes are made, things aren’t looking too good for Mexico.
Analysis: It seems like Calderón has bitten off a bit more than he can chew. It’s somewhat unusual that he’s aiming to make all of these extreme reforms at a time when he doesn’t have that much power. Some of these reforms may prove beneficial to Mexico, but Calderón also seems to be neglecting other important issues. The new attorney general isn’t doing his job like the people want him to and he’s not dealing with some significant human rights violations. Naturally, this comes off as an error in Calderón’s judgment. I don’t think these reforms are the worst idea, but it would have made more sense to take on more moderate changes because then it would be more likely that improvements would occur. Hopefully, reforms like that concerning the budget will win more support from the PRI and the two parties will cooperate and improve the country more. However, only time will tell the fate and results of Calderon’s newly issued reforms.
Compare: Right now, Mexico is suffering from a lot of the same things as other countries: economic recession, an increase in unemployment, the spreading of swine flu, and changes in the government. Naturally, every country deals with these issues slightly differently, but it doesn’t seem like Calderón is addressing them as closely or directly as he should. Like our two-party system, I think it’s good that he’s trying to earn the support of the other major party, but he may not be going about that in the most efficient manner.

Meredith Allen
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/04/world/americas/04mexico.html
17 Killed in Mexican Rehab Center
Summary: Ever since Mexican President Felipe Calderon began the national war on drug gangs, violence has reached an all time high. The city of Juarez has been under control of a drug smuggling group called Juarez Cartel since the 1980s. Because of this gang, many others, and the cities close proximity to the border, Juarez continues to be one of the most violent cities in all of Mexico. Just a few weeks ago, men in masks, armed with automatic weapons stormed into a rehabilitation clinic in Juarez called Aliviane. The men lined up recovering drug abusers and alcoholics and opened fire on them. Seventeen men were killed and three men were wounded. Unfortunately Aliviane is not the first rehab center to be targeted by gangs. Last year President Calderon sent in over 10,000 troops and federal police officers to the city of Juarez. Even despite the reinforcements, the city recorded 1,600 deaths in 2008 and with 326 killings already in August alone; the city doesn’t seem to be improving.
Analysis: Mexico’s war on drugs and gangs hasn’t seemed to lessen the violence this nation is suffering from. Since this war began, the nation itself has become more violent in the past three years, and options are running out. Drug traffickers have so much power that 10,000 federal troops cannot stop the slayings or smuggling. What I find to be very unusual and also disturbing is gangs targeting rehabilitation centers. I wonder if this approach is some kind of revenge that drug lords have taken upon themselves to punish those who have tried to right their wrongs. A mother of one of the men shot to death in Aliviane was quoted in the article. It must have been extremely painful to know that her son was killed by the same thing he had saved himself from.
Comparison: In class recently I remember one of my peers relating Mexico’s current drug problem back to America’s prohibition in the 1920s. America also struggled through a violent, crime-filled time when alcohol was illegal and distribution and sale became an underground part of society. The government admitted defeat when alcohol was legalized again and instantly crime rates went down. Could this at all be possible in Mexico? If certain drugs were legalized, that would automatically stop it from being criminal activity. And if it wasn’t criminal activity, and there were no repercussions for these acts. Crimes would also instantly decrease like they had in America. That could easily make Mexico a safer country. But while alcohol has been accepted in most countries around the world, drugs have a long way to go before a whole government can accept them, even the soft drugs. Many drugs have very hard reputations where lives are put at risk every time they are bought, sold, and ingested. Some would argue that legalization of any drugs could cause more death and hardships than they do while illegal.



Meredith Allen
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/07/world/americas/07mexico.html?_r=1
In Mexican Vote, Nostalgia for Past Corruption
Summary: When Carlos Salinas de Gortari left office in 1994, it began the decline of the PRI or Institutional Revolutionary Party. In 2000 the party was voted out of office and lost control for the first time in seventy years. The party was infamous for its government corruption. So when Mexico held elections and the Institutional Revolutionary Party won control of the lower house of Congress, it came as a bit of a shock to the rest of the world, and to current Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Calderon is a member of PAN or the National Action Party. In 1994, the PRI party was marked with scandal as President Salinas' administration was under investigation concerning the assassination of Luis Donaldo Colosio, a candidate handpicked by Salinas himself. But for some reason the country of Mexico has put the bad reputation out of mind when they voted PRI back into power. It is said that the corrupt government only slightly bent the rules, helping out the working-class Mexican. According to Luis Osorio, “…the PRI is corrupt. So we voted for the PAN, and they turned out to be just as corrupt. They turned everything into their personal business.” Corruption appears to be rampant, but the PRI’s style of corruption has a nostalgic pull on the people. Although these recent elections swung in favor of PRI, PAN party members are quick to say that this success does not necessarily mean a success in three years when elections for the presidency rolls about.

Analysis: In Mexico, there are two leading political parties. The choice seems to be between one style of corruption, or another. Oddly enough, the Mexican people have come to find that the PRI suits their everyday lifestyle best. The acceptance of government corruption is a common problem in many under-developed countries and history has shown it has many significant repercussions. For example, government officials are often privately benefiting financially at the expense of the people. As seen in Salinas’ administration, violence is often the by-product. In addition, resources can be misused or aid misdirected. In general, corrupt governments do not serve the people of their country well. This can be reflected in the health and well-being of the people. Mexico’s economic hardships have also exacerbated the corruption and the consequences. This economic crisis has global reach and has affected individual savings and financial security across the world. At times like this, an unhealthy government has even less ability to protect its citizens than that of a stable government. The example of a political party passing out food during such a crisis shows how short-sighted these government officials are in preparing for the future.
Compare: Voters everywhere are subject to pressure and sales pitches from politicians. In Mexico the PRI handed out food and other items to win votes. The strategy was to position themselves as the party for the common man. It was successful and made the PAN seem uninterested in the plight of the people. Compared to the United States, this form of campaigning would most likely be considered bribery, therefore illegal. Nevertheless, politicians often pick controversial topics that are identified as “folk” issues. Although politicians all over the world still try to win votes by promising material gain, Mexico has taken it a step further.


Laura PC
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/24/world/americas/24mexico.html?_r=1
In Mexico, Ambivalence on a Drug Law
Summary: There has been a seemingly endless drug war going on in Mexico since 2006. In an effort to focus the war more and improve some of the problems, Mexico has instituted a new drug law that decriminalizes the possession of small quantities of drugs, including marijuana, heroin, and cocaine. Under the law, people are allowed to have certain amounts of these drugs without being arrested. Instead, they are sent to treatment programs where they can receive help, in the form of rehabilitation. This law was introduced in hopes of not only getting more help for drug addicts, but also making more room in prisons for criminals that are dangerous and need to be jailed. One particular drug addict, Yolanda Espinosa, has mixed feelings about the law. On the one hand, she feels that the change is good, and she doesn’t have to worry as much about having drugs on her anymore. But on the other hand, she worries that this will make it okay for others to become like her, and she hopes that “this won’t make more people live like this.”
Analysis: This law is extremely controversial, as it is basically legalizing drugs, to an extent. The law has many positive sides to it: those who are addicts can worry less about being punished, those who want to help addicts can work to help them move away from addiction, and those involved with jails can focus only on the truly dangerous criminals that are bringing harm to others. However, at the same time, allowing addicts this privilege is practically like giving them the actual drugs, and telling them that it’s okay to use them. It’s good that the government is moving from the arrest of addicts (with small quantities of drugs) to the referral to free treatment programs, as they now have access to free help. But by making this law, the government is making the “dangerous criminals” into a priority. If the government allows addicts this right, it is likely that they won’t patrol those with drugs as closely as they will watch criminals, and as a result more people might get their hands on drugs. If drug addicts aren’t regulated as closely, people might not be taken to get the treatment that they need. Tijuana is a key example of a city overflowing with addicts. If they are allowed to have certain amounts of drugs without being arrested, it’s possible that police will begin to ignore them more and more, resulting in an increased number of addicts and therefore, a group of people that will continue to destroy itself.
Compare:
All countries have to prioritize when it comes to the issues they are dealing with. The government is almost always the body to make these decisions, and decide what problems should receive the most attention. In Mexico’s case, the drug law may have some beneficial effects, but at the same time it seems like the government is putting the issue lower down on the scale of importance. This can be related to the UK, which is suffering a recession right now (like a lot of the world). The UK has decided it is going to spend as much money as is necessary to maintain the employment of the people during the recession. The country has obviously put its priorities in order when it comes to government spending, and just like Mexico made its decision, the UK decided to put this issue at the top of its list.



Andriy Rusyn
Source: **http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8219450.stm**
Title: Textbook sparks furor in Mexico
Summary: A new Mexican textbook, written, published, and distributed by the Mexican ministry of education is sparking controversy. The textbook is criticized because it fails to mention the Spanish Conquest. The text ends at 1500, right before the Spanish Conquistadores came in from Spain and ravaged the Native population, and begins again at 1821, the year Mexico gained its independence. Many see this omission of the destruction caused by the conquistadores, which left millions dead, as a calculated way to discourage a critical analysis of the conquest, instead allowing the students to sympathize more with the Spanish conquerors then the natives. Although there is much criticism, the nation’s assistant education secretary said it was not warranted, because the students would study the Spanish conquest in secondary school, and because the textbooks were continually being improved.
Analysis: This article is a clear example of how some countries’ governments use their reach and power to influence public opinion, even from a very early age. Although these accusations are not proven completely true, they are well founded, and are an excellent example of propaganda. The article mentions the 25 million children that are starting the new school term that will be using this new textbook. Although it may seem miniscule, Mexico is apparently trying to facilitate improved relationships with Europe, and at the same time to distance itself from the indigenous history of the region. Modern, first world countries like Spain are not painted in a bad light, therefore allowing for greater public support in favor of increased relations with Spain, while the history of the native Americans, whose ancestors make up a miniscule portion of the current Mexican population, their history might be considered unruly and unfit for a country that strives to thrust itself far from the verge of becoming a failed state and into the first world. Also, the prevalence of Catholicism is another important possible reason that the Mexican government could be trying to associate itself with modern day Christian Spain and not the “heathens” of the past, although this is less likely to be playing a direct role, and more likely just a cultural influence that could have made the decision to omit certain parts of history a little bit simpler.
Compare: This decision is clearly one that has not been well calculated, and as the article mentions, the Mexican government was not expecting this backlash. Other governments like China actively do things like this, but because they are such valuable trading partners, they are not criticized as actively. The UK, on the other hand, is too democratic and has too many freedoms for something like this to happen, and there would probably be protests before the book even was published that would lead to a reprinting. In other words, this is something that can only happen in an unstable “democracy” like Mexico.



Carolyn Motta
http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=14091538
Taking on the unholy family
Summary: Since September 2006 the federal government of Mexico has been up against an intense crime mob: La Familia (the Family). La Familia has been known to commit crimes for “divine justice,” such as murdering those who deserve to die. They have also been involved in controlling petty crime, extortion, loaning money to farmers, businesses, schools, and churches, paying for community projects, and more. La Familia is focused in the western state of Michoacan, the president of Mexico's hometown. It is said that in that state there is almost no economic activity that La Familia is not involved with. Aside from financial and economic involvement, La Familia has a huge impact on the drug problems in Mexico. They are known to be the biggest producer of methamphetamines in addition to controlling the import, transport, and sale of cocaine in Michoacan.
Analysis: The drug issue in Mexico has been an increasingly problem throughout the country. The state of Michoacan receives a great percentage of cocaine imports from Colombia and Peru. It also grows a lot of marijuana throughout the state. But, because La Familia does not focus solely on drug production and trafficking, they have been a great rival to the Mexican federal police. Things have escalated to the point where federal officials and politicians are deathly afraid of La Familia; about 20 police have been murdered, including two mayors. Now, with the recent law that allows people to posses a certain amount of drugs on them, the drug problem is sure to increase. However, since La Familia is definitely not the only drug gang involved in the production and trafficking of drugs, it is very hard to control the problem. The government needs to make the decisions on how and when to control these kinds of issues in Mexico. And things are not looking up: with the recession in full swing, the increasing unemployment rate provides La Familia, as well as other crime mobs, with more recruits and potential clients.
Compare: Mexico is not the only country with drug problems. Out of the seven countries with the worst drug problems in the world, four are core-nations: Russia, Britain, the United States, and Iran. While these countries may not be known for producing drugs across the world, they are certainly known for consuming them.




Max Lewis
Source. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/07/world/americas/07mexico.html?_r=1
Title. In Mexican Vote, Nostalgia for Past Corruption
Summary. In the most recent election in Mexico the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, was elected back into office, after it was voted out nine years ago in 2009 for corruption. It had governed Mexico for more than 70 years. As it turns out, the party before this election, the National Action Party, or PAN, was just as corrupt. In the article, a struggling juice vendor is interviewed about the election. He said that PAN was voted into office because PRI was corrupt, “and they turned out to be just as corrupt.” One of the differences between the two governments, according the juice vendor, was that the PRI tolerated a “bending of the rules”, which allowed the working class, and illegal street vendors or unlicensed cabdrivers to earn a living. When informed about the economic crisis, the PRI handed out food and other necessities. PAN, however, was accused of being out-of-touch at a local level, and therefore not able to connect with its voters. Although the system is anti-modern and askew, it’s functional.
Analysis. Although the state of Mexico is seemingly “functional”, an untrustworthy and corrupt government can lead to many problems. Especially when it comes to government spending and borrowing. Since both parties are so corrupt, it is very unpredictable as to which party will take office next term. The PRI could govern for the next few terms, or they could be voted out of office just as fast as they were voted in. Although both parties are corrupt, PRI does connect with the people at a more personal level. The people of Mexico have to chose between two wrong and unjust political parties, so they must chose which one they can benefit most from. The PRI is a good example of this. While both the PAN and the PRI were corrupt, the PRI gave necessary food to people who needed it, and tolerated certain legal activities, knowing that it would benefit and improve their quality of life. The Mexican people still did not have a good choice, but were more able to function under the PRI rather than the PAN. Looking at this situation, it is hard to call Mexico a “Democracy”. By having a government that is corrupt, it is going to be difficult for other nations to trust and trade with Mexico. Because they cannot be trusted, Mexico’s reputation is going to be tarnished until an active, faithful, and honest political party is erected in Mexico.
Compare. Both Mexico and America are going through a financial crisis. However, it is noticeable that America’s government is more democratic and has a more venerable reputation than Mexico. This is partially because America has been switching and handing over power between two uncorrupt and pure political parties. Also, with this switch of power towards a more “tolerable” political party, the PRI, immigration may rise with the toleration.

Jacob Carl
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/22/world/americas/22mexico.html
Mexico Hits Drug Gangs with Full Fury of War
Summary:
Many people today believe that there is a drug war going on all around Mexico. There are many drug cartels and gangs with rocket propelled grenades and other weapons. However the so called war is a more of a struggle between the police and these gangs. It all started when police and government were paid to look the other way during drug smuggling. Now that the new government has begun to crack down on gangs there is spreading violence across Mexico. One city has sent 6000 troops in to try and stop this drug issue. The new government is desperately trying to destroy these gangs once and for all. These have created a major problem recently with more and more violence caused by fighting over drugs and territory.
Analysis: The government needs to step up and take down this issue for once and for all. The whole problem started because the government was corrupted by money and greed. Now that this new government is in control they need to do more to protect the citizens that are being affected by this terror. There are drugs and weapons everywhere and many people are in constant fear for their lives. This problem is also spreading into other parts of the world including the United States. It has begun to creep into border towns and many towns are seeing problems grow.
Compare: This is not the first time a country has had problems with drugs. Many countries including Russia, Germany and the United States has had to deal with this issue. However there is not as much public disturbance from this issue in America. Most of the problems have spread from Mexico. It seems that other countries have handled the issue better or maybe even in a more private fashion. However if Mexico does not stop the drug problem it will begin to spread back into American soil and many people in Mexico will be affected.

Jacob Carl
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/14/us/14drought.html?ref=americas
Eyes Turn to Mexico as Drought Drags On
Summary
: The waste water in New Mexico from years of farm water run off has collected in the desert of Mexico. The water has built up from over 40 years and has created a vast wasteland where the desert was. Now that water is needed so desperately in the Southwest many people want to take this water back. Many people are interested in filtering this water through a desalination plant and reuse it in much of the US. However this can not be taken form Mexico, due to its use by many animals. There are many environmentalists stepping up to protect this land. These groups are working to check the ecology and find exactly what should be done about this land that holds two endangered species.
Analysis: This is a problem that has been effecting the relationship between US and Mexico for years. There are many arguments that we disagree on. The governments need to work together on this issue. There should be other areas they can look to water. They also might be able to keep the majority of the marshland there and get some for the drought in the Southwest. I believe that the wetlands should stay in place and other options should be looked into for the drought. We already filled Mexico with waste water. The least we can do it is leave it there once they made it work out for them.
Compare: There are many droughts throughout Mexico and the United States. As the population grows and people expand there is a much higher need for water. Especially in desert areas like Vegas for example where there are urban areas sprung up in the middle of the desert. We need to work together with Mexico to find ways to support the growing population and the spreading of it into desert areas. It is not the best option to destroy the wetlands of Mexico to provide water for the urban areas of Southwest America. It is more important to protect the environment and find another source of water for the southwest region of the United States.

Jacob Carl
http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/10/08/business/global/08swine.html
Travel Sector Takes Steps to Resist Flu
Summary: Ever since the first notifications that Mexico had Swine Flu its travel industry has been suffering. It is now trying to bounce back and has taken many precautions against the virus. In all public air ports and train stations there are being many hand sanitizer units put up. In many major hotels there are many efforts to reduce the spread of the flu. All employees are being reminded to wash their hands. They are also making sure to sanitize areas that are being touched the most.
Analysis: With everyone afraid of this new virus Mexico must step it up in order to keep people traveling. Many people are afraid to travel and be in public spaces. If the public feels safer then they will be more likely to spend money and travel a lot more. People should not let a virus determine there life and not travel because they are afraid they will get the virus.
Compare: This event is similar to much of the world. The whole world is in fear of the swine flu. IT is a common theme that people are not traveling because they are afraid they will get sick. The United States has taken these measure to in making sure public places and airports are cleaner then usual. In our schools there are hand sanitizer dispensers. Some schools have even been closed to avoid the issue.

Jacob Carl
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/17/world/americas/17juarez.html
In Mexican Drug War, Investigators Are Fearful
Summary: The Mexican drug war is becoming increasingly more dangerous. The deaths and gangs are growing all around the country. The whole system is corrupt and the gangs control much of Mexico. Even the investigators and lawyers are in danger as more and more have ended up assassinated. This has lead to even more corruption as lawyers and law enforcement become scared to tell the truth and get the gangs arrested.
Analysis: It is very dangerous that the gangs are gaining control of Mexico. They are gaining control over the government of vast amounts of the country. The corruption is leading to larger gangs and more drugs, which runs on in a never ending cycle. The country is experienceing very hard times and more and more people are leaving in fear of the drug war.
Compare: As the gangs grow and government corruption grow the problem will spill over into neighboring countries. This has already begun to affect the United States with Mexican drug gangs is the Southwest. We are seeing more and more corruption. We have put much money and energy into trying to help Mexico get rid of this problem. Th US is experiencing this same problem and it is crucial to work together with Mexico to stop this problem once and for all.



Darien Lombardi

Source: http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=14091538

Topic/Title: A New Family of organized Crime arrives and Mexicos reaction to it.

Summary: A new organized Crime group named “La Familia” has arisen out of the Economic Crisis affecting many nations in the world. La Familia appeared on the scene by lobbing 5 severed human heads into a nightclub located in the city of Michacan, and with the heads a messaged was attached saying, “La Familia doesn’t kill for money, kill women or kill innocents. Only those who deserve to die will die. Let everyone know that this is divine justice.” La Familia originated from The Zetas, who were an special forces unit that defected to the Gulf Cartel. Some members of the Zetas broke off from the Gulf Cartel and formed another organization named La Familia. La Familia organizes itself according to very business models. Its field officers are not permitted to use drugs and one of the leaders of La Familia himself has published a self help guide. Drug trafficking is the main business it engages in along with debt collecting. The Mexican government has found no solution to this newly arisen ordeal.

Analysis: La Familia is more than just an organization spawned from selfish anarchy, but its acting much as another state for the city of Michacan. Its operations mimic the Italian Mafias in that it operates on a business level provided funding for the community, businesses, schools and churches but extorts them into submission. Its function to run down businesses who cannot afford to pay back debts only create a vacuum of jobs to be filled by the organization itelf. The economic downturn has in fact fueled La Familia to expanding larger and larger. La Familia operates with most all the ecnomic activity in the Michacan area under its supervision thus being able to traffic drugs as well as people into the United States. Many other organization much be thriving due to the global economic downturn sometimes leading to the only opportunity for supporting oneself is illegal activities.
Compare.: The economic crisis has affected many crime rates of different countries such as the U.S, Japan, England, etc… across the world. With desperation comes drastic measures and many families that are impoverish see no other way out than to become involved in crime organizations which sometimes is the only choice. Columbia and its drug cartels provide a stable source of income and business for organizations responsible for getting products through borders and Mexico itself.


Source: __http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8213329.stm__
Title: Mexico probe after kidnap deaths

Summary: Mexico City holds one of the highest kidnap rates in the entire world. Just this past Friday, police force shot 2 members of their force, and the man they were trying to arrest. Juan Maya Aviles, the anti-kidnapping Chief, responsible for these deaths will remain off duty. This occurrence started with a call to the police station, reporting that a middle-aged women had been kidnapped, and was being held in a Mexico City home. Police immediately reported to the home, and began shooting with AK47 rifles. Unfortunately, police returned fire, which resulted in shooting 2 members of their force in the back. Lastly, the kidnapper killed his hostage, and then killed himself.
As if the deaths were not enough, it was later revealed that the woman's driver had tipped police off about a probable kidnap attempt, showing that there is a good chance that the police were in compliance.

Analyze: I found this article extremely disturbing. It is unbelievable how corrupt the Mexican police force is. A situation that could have easily resulted in no death, took an unnecessary down-spin, and ended with four people dead. Another aspect to the situation is the aftermath that has come from this situation. Many campaigns have begun to arise, campaigning for better-trained policemen, and less corruption in the police force. I think that for situations such as this one to never happen again, Mexico’s government and police force will need to take great steps. I think that with the campaigns, Mexico is headed in the right direction, but time will only tell.

Compare: Mexico’s corrupted police force is easily comparable to other countries. Whether it is in the police force or not, every country has a glitch in their systems. I think it is important that countries make their faults available to their citizens, and take strides to better their situation. Although Mexico receives more attention to their faults, its important that every country take a look at themselves as well.





Max Lewis
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/world/americas/13drought.html

Mexico Now Enduring Worst Drought in Years

Summary – Usually, El Niño, a weather pattern that warms the Pacific Ocean waters and changes weather around the Pacific Basin, is blamed for causing the large drought in Mexico. The rainy seasons usually start in June, but the first three months intended for the season were dry. Rain would fall every day, watering all of the spring crops and filling reservoirs. Mexican officials are now warning the public that these water levels have reached dangerously low and need to be conserved at any cost. Upwards of 40% of the land has been affected by the drought. This has also affected Mexico’s neighbors like Guatemala. Main crops like corn, beans, and wheat have drastically gone down in number due to El Niño’s drought. 20 million Mexico City residents have left their homes in search of better water supply. Aquifers that were built by Spanish conquerors are now being used to gain water, and they are being pumped twice as fast as rainfall can rejuvenate them. A suprising fact was that one third of Mexico City’s water supply was lost due to leaking faucets and faulty plumbing. The government in response went door to door checking for leaking faucets and fixed what they could.
Analysis – Mexico is in desperate need of a good, trustworthy leader; and they are in desperate need of a well-balanced economy. This situation with el Niño is going to be detrimental to both aspects of Mexico. A good leader is going to be needed to make the right decisions to conserve water. Also, without water, many of Mexico’s main crops are going to reduce in supply, which will hurt the overall economy. The government is making good steps to fixing leaky faucets and faulty plumbing. Also, the government is doing whatever it can to not only inform the public, but also tell them how they can improve their conditions with water conservation. Overall, this situation is only going to take money away other more important things at hand. Along with all of the drug wars, corrupted government officials, and low economical status, Mexico does not need a drought added to their plate.
Compare - There are many droughts all over the world, and United States has had plenty. It seems like the only time countries really focus on conservation of water is when they are low in supply. I feel like if countries focused on water conservation like they would during a drought, droughts would happen a lot less, and less money would be spent on water, and improve the government spending overall.

Darien Lombardi
Link:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/09/06/mexico.candidate.killed/index.html
Title: Mexican Legislative Candidate, Family Killed
Summary: A legislative candidate for the offices in the southeastern state of Tabasco was killed along with his wife and two children. This news brought campaigns for legislation to a halt in the region. Jose Francisco, Fuentes Esperson, and their two sons were found on saturday dead in their home. His wife was shot, his boys were suffocated, and he was tortured. In response the Tabasco State Government announced protection to all running candidates during their campaigns if they wanted as said by Gov. Andres Granier Melo. In February a police official who had arrested a drug trafficker was killed along with his mother, wife, nephews, and children. They day before Fuentes and his family were killed unknown gunmen fatally shot two state police officers and injured two others.
Analysis: The safety of government officials is not guaranteed, especially when the candidate runs against the wishes of the major drug cartel's that control the political under belly of local government. Brutal demonstrations such as these are a prime example of illegitimate channels to spread fear to all politicians who would endanger the cartel's businesses. The Tabasco State government recognized the impact that the legislators death as well as his families might have on future candidates for government and their platforms for office. The Tabasco state offered protection to try to insure that democracy will be ensured without fear.
Compare: The growing influence of The cartels in political channels had increased dramatically in Central America. Local Politicians have become corrupt out of fear for their lives, so their policies of preventing drug trafficking are not to be found. These targeted hits could bring about a halt to the democratic system if this trend continues to grow . The longer the government delays to reform is crime combating policies the further these drug cartels will oppress any opposition of thought against their organization.


Allison Shaheen, 1st period.
Source: BBC
Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8219450.stm
Title: Textbook sparks furore in Mexico
Summary: Mexico's latest history textbook, which is distributed to the majority of the 25 million students that just commenced the school year, has quickly raised controversy among the area. Hernan Cortes' crew of arriving conquistadors has been completely left out of the text. Many point to conservative leader President Felipe Calderon, as the source of why this information was not placed in the textbooks. A large group of people are enraged by this publication and officials have even stated that the textbook was, "an attack on the nation's identity". The government was quick to deny, and assistant education secretary, Fernando Gonzalez said the "criticism was not warratned", and that the textbooks are "continually being improved".
Analysis: I found this article to be a classic example of government control over what we are learning. I strongly feel that those who are extremely upset this definitely have justifiable reasons. The students of Mexico have every right to learn about the history of their country, and it is unfair for the government to be withholding information from them. The most interesting aspect I thought was how many people this information was being reached to, 25 million. I found this to be a form of political socialization, having students learn a false history at a young age.
Compare: This article can be comprabable to many nations. Even here in the United States, we are not given the "full story", in our textbooks. Many times, the literature is altered to have the United States being the "good guys". This is what I see happening in Mexico. I think that it is important for all nations to work on focusing on different prospectives of a situation.



http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601086&sid=apdeaEgtdkbs
Taylor Rogalski


Mexico Lawmakers Say Calderon's Budget Proposal Punishes Poor
Summary: Mexico's president Felipe Calderon hopes to ease tax problems by applying a 2% sales tax to all products. This plan has created a wide controversy, with many people saying that it punishes the poor and is very regressive to the economy. “Other governments think about their people,” lawmaker Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada said. “Calderon’s thinks about the markets and the rating agencies.” PRI lawmaker Jesus Alberto Cano Velez states that the plan “looks regressive, insufficient and without stimulus for growth and jobs." Many say that the underlying cause is Mexico's "addiction to oil", and that this tax is just avoiding giving the state the resources that it needs to function through more legitimate means than increasing spending for the poor.

Analysis: I think that this regressive tax will be detrimental to the economy and Mexico's citizens. If a family that makes $20,000 a year spends $1,000 per month on food, then the $200 of taxes that would come from that is 1% of their income. If a family that makes $100,000 a year spends $1000 a month on food, then the $200 of taxes is only .002% of their income. Progressive taxes are definitely the superior choice, since it doesn't make as lasting of an impact on the funds of lower income families. However, could the potential surplus of funds for Mexico's government outweigh the additional 2% that each family would pay for a product? With the amount of drug war-related killings recently, maybe some members of the lower income bracket would see this as worth it for them to ensure their family's safety. However, a progressive tax plan could generate roughly the same amount of income without having such a large effect on those who cannot afford to spend any extra money, so only time will tell in this case.

Comparison: This is related to the budget crunch that NC is having right now; an additional 1% sales tax was instituted on September 1st. This is a very similar issue, and is happening in a place that's very different than Mexico, but the public response is the same. Time will tell whether or not this new tax will be beneficial to our state's economy, but hopefully if it ends up being counter-productive, it can be used as an example for Mexico's congress before they institute Calderon's new plan. Or, perhaps in the meantime Calderon will get his priorities straight and do what he thinks is truly right for the majority of Mexico's citizens.

Darien Lombardi
Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/19/opinion/19iht-edglenny.html
Title: Ending the 'War on Drugs'
Summary: Ciudad Juarez in Northern Mexico and Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan have ceased the illegality of narcotics in their respective states. Many Intellectuals, Philanthropists and law enforcement officials all agree that the “War on Drugs” is a “disastrous policy that achieves none of its aims and inflicts huge damage on global security and governance wherever it is prosecuted.” Many argue that state regulation of narcotics would bring in huge tax revenues, jump starting many economies, and also reduce misuse of narcotics due to regulation and taxed distribution. Former president of Brazil, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, and Oxford University Criminologist, Diego Gambetta, both have attested to bring an end to the war on drugs. They both accuse the war of not only doing nothing to stop drug trafficking but also leading to tens of thousands of deaths due to ruthless gang cultures and oppositions to the cartels. In Afghanistan, opium has been prohibited resulting in a high value for the drug. The Taliban have been able to regulate it in order to buy weaponry for the insurgents to use against NATO forces in battle.
Analysis: The overwhelming input of opinions from around the world on ending the War on drugs is surprising. Many officials have stated that the War backfired on itself, and they would be right. These Drug cartels are in fact thriving from the prohibition allowing themselves to manufacture drugs in low law enforced countries and ship them into 1st world countries for a higher price. This seeds developing countries with crime, murder and corruption thus stagnating the economy from advancing.
Compare:
The Effects of prohibition of narcotics in many first world countries has led to increased rates of drug trafficking, growing, and cartel violence in developing countries. These cartels then traffic the drugs at a lower price back into the first world countries and in return receive either more funds for their operations or in the Taliban's case more money to fund insurgent attacks. Cartels in Latin America have set up organizations across the Atlantic Ocean in West African countries to ship cocaine into high demand countries such as Britain and the Netherlands. The prohibition of drugs is a flawed system in a now globalized society. Countries cannot afford to fund illegal organizations in a time of economic crisis. The tax revenues collected from regulating drugs could boost some struggling economies.

and do what he thinks is truly right for the majority of Mexico's citizens.

Allison Shaheen: Mexico Current Event!
Source: BBC

Call for Action on Unemployment
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8281067.stm

Summary: The Organisation for Economic Co-Operationn and Develop has recently stated fierce plans to take on the major issue of unemployement. The OECD, an organisation comprised of countries from Australia to Luxenbourg, and of course Mexico. Throughout all of the OECD countries, there has been a steady increase in the unemployment rate, and action must take place soon.On the contrary, the OECD has seen slight growth in natiohns economies, but Mexico is by no means at the point, and is one of the most struggeling countries. Actions to soon be encouraged include: effective safety nets, shift to low-carbon society, and labour mobility.

Analysis: Although this article is somewhat generic, I found it extremely interesting. I was completely unaware of the OECD organisation, and i think that it is very beneficial to Mexico to be a member. Mexico's unemployment situation is scary, and it is reassuring to know that the OECD not only understands the severity of the situation, but plans to take action.

Comparision: Unemployment issues are prevelant among almost all countries in today's society. It is essential for other countries to watch the actions being taken by others to see what works and what doesn't work. This article is extremely relevant to the hardships that our communities are facing today.


Darien Lombardi
Source: New York Times
Link : http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/24/world/americas/24mexico.html?ref=americas
Title : Survey Shows Pull of the U.S. Is Still Strong Inside Mexico

Summary: The Pew Research Center in Washington DC came out with a study that has shown the ammount of mexicans who desire to immigrate to the United States even in such dismal economic times. The studies showed that 1/3 of the mexican population surveyed said they would immigrate to the United States and half of those people said that would come into the United States even without legal documentation. 78% of mexicans said that they were not happen with the direction their nation is taking. More than half of the surveyed population said though that the economy would get better in the coming year.
The Pew Research center has also done surveys around the world in 24 nations including Palestine to examine "global attitudes." The Immigration rates have dropped significantly since 2007 due to a more strict border patrol and a lack of available jobs. It is predicted however that this trend will soon end and when the economy rises again the immigration rates will too according to the article.
Anaylsis: The article emphasises the amount of people in mexico who want too seek a lang of better opportunity any way they can. Mexico's economic status are limited by the Nations growing corruption and crime problems as well as its suffering during this new economic slump the world seems to be facing. The number of Mexicans that would cross the border with out legal documentation is really telling of the desperation some families face in Mexico. People there still see America as a land of vast opportunity economically, and socially.
Compare: Many countries In Europe experience the same thing. In Eastern Europe the many are left unemployed or earning small wages to support their families. They find that there is a greater opportunity in fully industrialized countries in western Europe so they use the EU's transportation to their advantage and cross over to other borders without any necessary documentation.