Monthly Archives: October 2010

Congress fails to act on IFE nominees

The Chamber of Deputies recessed for the long holiday weekend without electing three new board members for the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), by the legal deadline of October 30th. According to press reports, the PAN and PRI leadership had agreed to give two of the vacancies to PRI-approved nominees and one to a PAN-approved nominee, freezing out the PRD.  The supposed deal was attacked not only by the PRD but also by a number of Deputies in both the PAN and PRI.  (Such a deal in 2003 contributed to the IFE’s loss of credibility as an impartial arbiter in the wake of the 2006 presidential election.)  The vote is now scheduled for Wednesday, after Congress returns from the Day of the Dead holiday.  The three IFE board members to be elected to 9-year terms will be selected from a list of 17 candidates already approved as meeting the legal requirements for the position. (Reforma 10/29)

Fourth massacre in a week: 7 killed in Mexico City

Seven youths between the ages of 19 and 28 were gunned down in central Mexico City, near the Tepito black market district. Two vehicles reportedly opened fire on a group of youths on the street late at night. This is the fourth massacre in Mexico in less than a week. As in the other cases, the authorities are attributing the killings to drug gangs, but have provided no substantive information. (Universal 10/28)

15 dead in new massacre

In the third large scale massacre in less than a week, 15 persons were killed and 2 wounded in a car wash in Tepic, Nayarit today. At 11 am, the attackers drove up in two vehicles and started firing.  The vehicles were found abandoned a short distance away. The Governor of the State, Ney González, announced that he fired the head of the state police and seven other senior police officials in the wake of the killings. (Reforma 10/27, Excelsior 10/28)

Entire police force of Nuevo León town quits after hail of bullets and grenades

Police station in Los RamonesThree days after the inauguration of a new police station in the town of Los Ramones, 60-km outside Monterrey on the Matamoros highway, gunmen pulverized the building with high caliber weapons and grenades (3 exploded of 6 launched) during a midnight attack.  Five officers were in the building at the time of the attack; none were injured.  Today, all 14 policemen in the town of 6,000 resigned.  The state highway police and the Army have assumed responsibility for law enforcement. (Universal 10/26, Reforma 10/26)

Data: Crime rates up 60% in Mexico City and Mexico State

Crime rates in Mexico City and Mexico StateThe fifth annual study of crime victims carried out by the independent CIDE research institute shows that crime rates, as measured by victim surveys, have surged in Mexico City and the State of Mexico.  40% of those surveyed said a member of their household was a victim of a crime in 2009, as compared to an average of about 25% in each of 2005-07—an increase of 60%.   The rate of violent crime has also jumped, with 22% saying a member of the household was the victim of a violent crime. Robberies of persons are now the most common crime, surpassing theft of auto parts. The CIDE researchers speculate, “The increase in violent crimes could be indicative of criminals acting under the influence of drugs, given the recent transformation of these jurisdictions into drug transit corridors. … Another possible explanation is that the high rate of impunity makes it possible for violence to become more generalized.” (CIDE)

Incidence of specific crimes

Massacres pose direct challenge to authorities

Less than two weeks after President Calderón declared that “the prestige of all three levels of government depends on the rescue of Ciudad Juárez,” the slaughter Friday night of 14 youths at a birthday party underscored the inability of the authorities to bring order to Mexico’s most violent city, where at least 2,421 persons have died this year.

The outgoing mayor of Juárez, José Reyes Ferriz, (and who lives in El Paso) gave an interview to Proceso just before leaving office in which he summarized the tally from his three years in office:

“7,000 dead, including 190 police officers; 10,000 orphans; 250,000 people who have emigrated from the city because of the violence; 10,000 businesses closed; 130,000 jobs lost; 25,000 homes abandoned; and 80,000 addicts. (Reforma 10/26)

Meanwhile in Tijuana, recently celebrated for a modest decrease in killings, the murder of at least 13 persons at a drug rehab clinic Sunday is being viewed as revenge for the much publicized seizure and destruction of marijuana by forces under the command of police chief Col. Julián Leyzaola Pérez. Messages broadcast on the police band said, “Remember there were 135 tons; there will be more dead.” (Reforma 10/26)

 

 

Digital TV initiative at risk

Supreme Court Minister Olga Sánchez Cordero ordered the suspension of the presidential decree issued on Sept. 2 that would have accelerated the transition to digital TV in Mexico to 2015 from 2021. Sánchez was acting on a petition by the Congress to rule on the constitutional issues. Speaking at a business forum, President Calderón said, “We are pushing forward, with determination, and despite the resistance, for the transition to digital television in Mexico, in order to … give higher quality and more options to consumers.”  The full court could take many months before ruling on the substance of the constitutional controversy. (Reforma 10/26)

13 killed, 16 wounded in Juárez massacre

On Friday night, two carloads of assailants broke into a party in Ciudad Juárez and slaughtered 13 persons, and left another 16 wounded, including a 9-year old boy.  (Universal 10/23)

Chamber of Deputies approves Revenue Law

As expected, the Chamber of Deputies voted to approve the Revenue Law leaving the value added tax rate unchanged at 16%, by a vote of 354-81-4.  The PRD, PT and Converagencia voted against, as did a handful of dissident PRIistas. The Chamber voted a Ps. 7 per pack increase in the cigarette tax, and a 25% tax on energy drinks. At the same time, the Chamber increased the estimated growth rate of the economy and price of oil, and the target deficit (to 0.5% of GDP), which will increase the total revenue pie by Ps. 60 billion pesos. The package now goes to the Senate for final approval.(Universal 10/20)

 

Calderón proposes law to make military subject to civilian courts for torture, disappearances, and rape

President Calderón sent forward revisions to the military criminal code to bring Mexico into compliance with the rulings of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights by making soldiers and sailors accused of the crimes of torture, forcible disappearance, and rape subject to prosecution in civilian courts.  The law would require military investigators to refer cases where there was probable cause to the federal investigating magistrate. Those accused and convicted would continue to be held in military, not civilian, prisons. (Universal 10/19)