By Lizbeth Diaz
COLONIA LEBARON, Mexico, Nov 9 (Reuters) – Members of a breakaway Mormon community tucked in the hills of northern Mexico buried the last of their dead on Saturday after a devastating massacre, and some headed for safer ground in the United States.
Hundreds of friends and family from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border gathered in rural Colonia LeBaron to honor Christina Langford, who died in an ambush on Monday that killed nine. Family members say she exited her car with her arms outstretched to signal she was not a gang member – but not before wedging her infant daughter’s car seat on the floor of the vehicle.
The baby, Faith, was found unharmed in the bullet-riddled sport utility vehicle.
Tucked away in the fertile valleys of the Sierra Madre mountains a few hours drive south from the U.S. border, the communities stem from the late 1800s, when upheaval over polygamy in the Utah-based church led to their founding.
Shrouded in fog on Saturday morning, LeBaron showed its roots, with some aging buildings appearing to be straight from a Wild West movie set. LeBaron is scattered with signs touting religious life but also advertisements for rodeos featuring alcohol, hinting at traces of secularism.
Agriculture is the heart of the local economy and pecans are among the main crops, with children often helping collect the nuts on their families’ property. Many families send their sons to the United States to work when they get older, though they maintain deep roots in Mexico.
While fears of further violence may send some north, Rosa LeBaron, 65, said she had no doubt the tragedy would bring their community closer.
Authorities tried to arrest El Chapo’s son, who is believed to be running the cartel now. All hell broke loose.
The state government said Mr Guzmán was found in a house by a police patrol on a routine search. It said cartel members subsequently launched the huge attack in an attempt to seize him back from the authorities. Fighters also attacked security forces in other parts of Culiacán.
Witnesses described scenes of panic in the city, a stronghold for the Sinaloa cartel, as families with small children fled from gunfire.
“No one knows what is going on but everyone is afraid and they have told us to not come in to work tomorrow,” Ricardo González, a city resident, told AP.
Footage on social media showed a pick-up truck with a machine gun mounted on the back, in scenes reminiscent of a war zone. Other footage showed families scrambling to take cover under cars and in shops as gunfire roared. In one video, a girl asked her father: “Why are they shooting bullets?”
Sinaloa state’s head of security, Cristobal Castañeda, told the Televisa network that two people had been killed and 21 injured, according to preliminary information.
Pictures showing what appeared to be dead bodies on the streets suggest the death toll could rise.
Some police officers were wounded, local officials said, but would not provide further details.
As fighting brought the city to a standstill, the Sinaloa state government said an unknown number of inmates had escaped from the Aguaruto prison.
It said it was “working to restore calm and order” and called on residents to “remain calm, stay off the streets and be very attentive to official advisories on the evolving situation”.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s government said it considers a shooting at a crowded department store in El Paso, Texas that left eight of its citizens dead an “act of terrorism” against Mexicans and hopes it will lead to changes in U.S. gun laws.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard met Monday afternoon with local authorities in El Paso and said Mexico will participate in the investigations and trial there, as well as take legal action against those who sold the gun to the shooter.
“An investigation will be opened for terrorism, because that’s what it was,” Ebrard said at a press conference. “And the extradition request is not off the table.”
Ebrard also met with families of the victims and the injured and promised to speed up the repatriation process for the bodies of the eight Mexican victims.
“We agree that it appears racism and white supremacy are serious problems in the United States,” Ebrard said.
It’s a bit comical that Mexico – dysfunctional and rife with violence that it is – would take this stance. Glass houses and whatnot.
Chaos erupted along a highway in southern Mexico when a caravan with some 1,000 Central American migrants on their way north was intercepted by a special law enforcement unit as the Mexican government escalates efforts to block asylum seekers from reaching the US in response to President Donald Trump’s tariff threats.
The group of migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, including many women and children, departed from Ciudad Hidalgo at the Mexico-Guatemala border early Wednesday morning and was bound for Tapachula, the principal city in the region.
The special unit of 200 military police, immigration agents and federal officers formed a blockade about 11 miles outside of Tapachula near the town of Metapa to confront the caravan, which was accompanied by state and local police.
While the vast majority of the migrants complied with law enforcement directives and boarded buses and immigration agency vehicles, some resisted and were wrestled to the ground by unarmed agents.
Well, it’s something… maybe.
Mexico City (AFP) – Mexico said Wednesday that central American migrants will be given “regional visitor cards” near the Guatemalan border that restrict their movement to the south of the country, impeding their ability to reach the United States.
The restriction will be a blow to tens of thousands of migrants, fleeing the poverty and violence at home, who enter southern Mexico and travel across the country in so-called “caravans” in an attempt to seek asylum in the US.
The cards will be given out in the southeastern city of Tapachula, where Mexican media report there are around 5,000 would-be migrants planning to head to the US.
US President Donald Trump has warned of a raft of sanctions — including closing official border crossings — unless Mexico cracks down on migrants.
It is not clear what effect issuing regional visitor cards will have on the caravans given many of the migrants have entered Mexico illegally anyway.
Mexico City (AFP) – Mexico suffered a record 33,341 homicides in 2018, according to official statistics released Monday, breaking the record set in 2017, as violence fueled by a war on the country’s powerful drug cartels plagues the country.
More than 200,000 people have been murdered in Mexico since the government controversially deployed the army to fight drug trafficking in 2006. The previous record was 28,866 homicides in 2017.
The new record shows the grim challenge facing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, an anti-establishment leftist who took office in December with a promise to curb the gruesome violence.
His strategy is built on creating a national guard that will officially bring civilian police duties under military control.
It is worth noting that Mexico has very strict gun control laws. It is almost as if criminals and cartel thugs don’t obey those laws.
Even leftist bullies know that lower taxes spur economic growth.
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s new leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday decreed tax cuts for northern states that he says will help power economic growth and deter migration to the United States.
An executive order in the government’s official gazette granted lower rates for both value-added and income taxes in more than 40 municipalities bordering the United States, an area that has become a flashpoint over U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies to deter immigrants, including building a wall.
Lopez Obrador’s tax cuts could reduce government tax income during 2019, when he will implement a budget that seeks to use spending cuts to help fund new social welfare and infrastructure projects.
I hear ya, amigos. I also wish the Mexican government would have enforced their southern border and not allowed thousands of people to spend weeks roaming through Mexico.
Hundreds of Tijuana residents congregated around a monument in an affluent section of the city south of California on Sunday to protest the thousands of Central American migrants who have arrived via caravan in hopes of a new life in the U.S.
Tensions have built as nearly 3,000 migrants from the caravan poured into Tijuana in recent days after more than a month on the road, and with many more months ahead of them while they seek asylum. The federal government estimates the number of migrants could soon swell to 10,000.
U.S. border inspectors are processing only about 100 asylum claims a day at Tijuana’s main crossing to San Diego. Asylum seekers register their names in a tattered notebook managed by migrants themselves that had more than 3,000 names even before the caravan arrived.
On Sunday, displeased Tijuana residents waved Mexican flags, sang the Mexican national anthem and chanted “Out! Out!” in front of a statue of the Aztec ruler Cuauhtemoc, 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) from the U.S. border. They accused the migrants of being messy, ungrateful and a danger to Tijuana. They also complained about how the caravan forced its way into Mexico, calling it an “invasion.” And they voiced worries that their taxes might be spent to care for the group.
“We don’t want them in Tijuana,” protesters shouted.
Left-wing candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador has claimed victory in Mexico’s presidential election, saying “profound change” is coming.
The ex-Mexico City mayor, known by his initials Amlo, is projected to win about 53%. His rivals have conceded in a crushing defeat for the main parties.
Mr López Obrador’s key pledge has been to tackle the “evil” of corruption.
Late on Sunday, the 64-year-old promised to respect civil liberties and said he was “not looking to construct a dictatorship, either open or hidden”.
Some opponents have expressed fears that his leftist and populist policies could damage the already sluggish economy and turn Mexico into “another Venezuela”, which is suffering a deep economic crisis and rampant inflation.
Hailing a “historic night”, Mr López Obrador called on all Mexicans to reconcile and repeated his campaign pledge to review energy contracts for signs of corruption.
“Corruption is… the result of a decadent political regime. We are absolutely convinced that this evil is the main cause of social and economic inequality, and also that corruption is to blame for the violence in our country,” he said.
He has insisted that no-one involved in corruption will be spared, not even those he calls “brothers-in-arms”.
So what are his other main policies?
On combating Mexico’s record levels of violence, much of it related to drug cartels, Mr López Obrador said he would have daily meetings with his security cabinet, which under him, he said, would be under a “unified command”.
Sunday’s election followed one of Mexico’s deadliest campaigns in decades with more than 130 political candidates and party workers killed.
The good news is that totalitarian regimes usually have a pretty good track record of quashing unauthorized corruption and criminal activity. Mao’s China or Stalin’s USSR were paragons of regimes that quelled crime. Unfortunately, they do so by internalizing the corruption into the regime, centralizing power, and crushing civil liberties. I suspect that we will see the nationalization of some industries (despite claims to the contrary), suppression of civil liberties (despite claims to the contrary), rampant inflation, the general decline of Mexico, and the accompanying exodus of Mexicans seeking a better alternative.
Build the wall.
One final note… these statements are contradictory…
He also said his government would be fiscally disciplined and taxes would not be raised.
On social policies, he said he would double pensions for the elderly upon taking office on 1 December as a first step to reducing Mexico’s disparate income levels.
Under plans unveiled by the Trump administration on Tuesday, almost all people staying in the US illegally can be subject to deportation.
Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said his country could not “accept unilateral decisions imposed by one government on another.”
But Mr Videgaray said on Wednesday: “We are not going to accept that because we don’t have to and it is not in the interest of Mexico.”
Mr Videgaray also warned the US about treatment of Mexican citizens.
“The Mexican government will not hesitate in going to international organisations, starting with the United Nations, to defend human rights, liberties and due process for Mexicans abroad according to international law.”
So here’s where we are… the Mexican government doesn’t want to allow its own citizens to return to Mexico, thus forcing deported Mexicans into a border purgatory, after which the Mexican government will go to the international organizations to blame America for it.
In 2014, Mexico launched the “Plan Frontera Sur” to tighten border controls, register migrants and stop them using the perilous network of trains known as “La Bestia”, or “The Beast”.
But migrants quickly adapted.
Elisabel Enriquez, Guatemala’s vice-consul in Tapachula, said migrant smugglers now rent trucks and shuttling migrants from southern Mexico all the way to the U.S. border over 2,000 km away for up to $8,000 per person.
Two such trucks were stopped in recent weeks, she said, one stuffed with about 115 migrants and the other about 60.