MEXICAN NAVY


This article is dedicated to the many brave men and women who form part of the Mexican Navy. Daily they risk their lives providing emergency assistance to victims of natural disasters. Quietly, they engage in the fight against crime and terrorism. Some of these officers die anonymously in the name of their country along with numerous members of police forces. This is a consequence of the current Drug War plaguing Mexico in unprecedented levels. Their parents, children, spouses, lovers and friends are mute witnesses of their pain, sorrow, loss. These officers who are no longer around with us had one common goal: despite their low salaries, poor working conditions, deficient training due to limited resources they still wanted to make ours a better society. Perhaps new generations of Mexicans will see that their deaths were not in vain, pursue their ideals. What we –Mexicans- need is political leaders with a better vision of the global context. Hopefully, this article will serve that purpose as a Tribute in rendered to the Mexican Navy. “.. In 2004, 19.1 million Americans, or 7.9 percent of the population aged 12 or older, were illicit drug users, according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.”

Drug Enforcement Agency

June 16, 2006: The National Synthetic Drug Control Strategy”, News from DEA, Congressional Testimony

April 26, 2006: Transit Zone Operations: Can We Sustain Record Seizures With 
Declining Resources? News from DEA, Congressional Testimony

Mexican Navy, seen -in the Drug War- Beyond our Borders

“Steve” wouldn’t identify himself (understandably), but publicly provides more than interesting Testimony about Mexican Marines. Using such a parapet, made accusations not only against our police, military but also alleged serious corruption by US federal agents. Not that we are naïve, find this hard to believe. The goal here is to enhance our GLOBAL view: the problem lies on both sides of the Mexico- U. S. border. More than fighting the drug traffic, has anybody asked the U. S. Government what they are doing to REDUCE the demand for drugs? Their internal punitive drug prohibition policies? More about this, at the end of the article.

These are excerpts from Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, a public non–profit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 348 public television stations:

 

'Steve' grew up in the San Diego/Tijuana area and was involved in drug trafficking and money laundering with Mexican cartels. He asked FRONTLINE to protect his identity. “We still got everybody paid off (in Mexico). We got the Mexican marines that patrol Rosarito and Encinada and those areas paid off. We got air surveillance paid off. We got the patrol cars that are going to carry some of it. We got the truckers that are going to come in. you'd better have everybody paid, from interception to federales to Mexican marines--everybody paid along the coast--stashers, protection, everything. Because now it better work like a Swiss clock. Nothing better go wrong.

What about corruption on the US side?

“If you get a corrupt US Customs agent, when I was in the business, they were charging, I believe it was 30 grand a carload. And they don't care what it is in the car. It could be a body; it could be drugs; it could be a hundred kilos; half a kilo, a ton. Obviously, usually you're paying up front 30 grand. And usually you're packing that car to the hilt, getting it across. And he'll fly you. He'll let it go by. There is definitely corruption in the Customs Service.

Twenty percent of your cars are going to get busted at the border. The other eighty percent is going to get through. I know that, because that's how I used to do it. I used to send 12 cars at a time. The way I figured, as long as six cars--fifty percent--got through, I was making a good profit. I'd bring in cars from the gang bangers, stolen cars, and I'd make them legitimate in Mexico from junkyards. Now they're a legit car that cost them $200--a brand new Suburban, a brand new Cherokee with professionally made stash holds. I had a guy who actually trained the dog for the DEA, who would make sure that his dogs were trained not to smell my loads. I'd just flood the thing. I'm only one of hundreds that would do that. It's the cost of business. You're making so much money that it's a cost of business”

The System– Corruption in Mexico (the rest of above story)

More, here

  • “Poor Mexico, across the river from the world’s biggest drug market, and the world’s biggest weapon supplier..”
  • Tráfico de Armas

TRIBUTE TO THE MEXICAN NAVY 

 Becoming aware of the details of above interview and visiting each Site –as indicated- is what motivated me to write about the Mexican Navy. Again, I acknowledge major problems with corruption. The fact is -corruption exists in every nation. However, finger-pointing at Mexico is unfair when our Navy men and women are underpaid, overworked and in the eye of the needle permanently, while the best paid –in the world- police officers, as seen above, do not escape from the same problem we are accused of. Illegal practices should be punished, indeed. When current conditions change, perhaps by new political trends, the fight against drugs may be more effective, make more sense. More lives will be spared, fewer persons will be deprived of their freedom. On the other hand, our Navy forces do have lots of other responsibilities where they get ample credit for, in their own country, as seen below. 

Introduction

Mexico has a traditional affinity to the sea because we have long –10,740.9 kilometers to be exact, one of the 10 longest in the world- shores bathed by the Pacific Ocean, including the Sea of Cortes, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. The latter two form part of what constitutes the Atlantic Ocean in the American Continent. The Sea represents not only communication among nations, source of economic resources but also the scenario of tough battles.

Brief History of Mexican Navy 

Mexican Naval History is rich. This is only a brief version for Security Corner readers, provided by our official information sources:

  • Born in 1822 after Independence from Spain. Their first military ship is called “Iguala”.
  • On November 23, 1825 under the command of Frigate Captain Pedro Sainz de Baranda the last military presence from Spain is defeated at the San Juan de Ulua fort.
  • In 1837 Frigate Captains Blas Godinez and Tomás Marin defeat US Navy ships on orders to support the separation of Texas from Mexico.
  • In November 1838 the Mexican Navy defended the invading French fleet in the city port of Veracruz and San Juan de Ulua Fort.
  • During the 1846-47 Mexico – US armed conflict Cap. Tomás Marín and his troops defended Alvarado Port in Veracruz forcing the foreign military forces to withdraw.
  • In 1900 the first organic law of the Mexican Navy is promulgated.
  • In 1917 the Mexican Navy does participate relevantly during the revolution and post-revolution times.
  • In 1940 the Mexican Navy becomes an autonomous entity as a Secretariat.

More about the Official History of the Navy, here 

The Navy’s School at Anton Lizardo, Veracruz 

Young Mexican men and women have several options for education in the Mexican Navy, such as Engineer in Naval Sciences, Medical Doctor Surgeons, Military Nurses, Mechanical Navy Engineers, Electronic and Communication Navy Engineers and a career military officer in the Anton Lizardo’s highly respected military school. To date, just this school has 797 cadets and of these only 150 are expected to graduate due to their hard rigor in academic and performance requirements.

 

 

 

On board a ship 

Are you ready to board?

To date Mexico’s Navy fleet consists of 53,008 men and women. To carry out their duties, they have the following number of military equipment: 180 ships, 125 aircraft, 2970 units for ground transportation. All this divided in two Naval Force Units, 7 Regions, 9 Zones, 11 Sectors and 7 Navy Sub Sectors. These are all distributed strategically, NOT geographically. The futuristic strategic development of the Mexican Navy consists of the following 25 years promoting their force in these areas: Defense of the Maritime Territory, the State Attributions on The Sea and Diplomatic Action.

More here:

Mexican Drug War & Credit to the Navy

While much of this information is classified, next is brief documented information we were able to obtain about what men and women in the Mexican Navy accomplished in this area. In summary, in the year 2005 the Mexican Navy was responsible for the confiscation of a little less than 11,300 kilograms of cocaine:

  • On November 4, 2005 a racing boat was detained in the coasts of the Pacific Ocean with exactly 2,172.70 kilograms of cocaine
  • On 11/29/2005 “Estefany” a racing boat was found to contain 6,826.32 kilograms of the illicit, profitable drug
  • On 12/9/2005 the occupants of yet another racing boat were arrested and in possession of 2,430.88 kilograms of cocaine.

 

 

 

Devastation by Hurricanes 

Separately, Security Corner is featuring a special article dedicated to the victims of the world’s natural disasters by writing Evacuations. We received support by The New York Times, the National Autonomous University (UNAM) and Mexico’s Center for the Prevention of Disasters (CENAPRED). The Mexican Navy was VERY BUSY in 2005 and 2006 helping mostly peasants, farmers who lost their homes as the consequence of hurricanes. This was the case during July 13-29 because of hurricane “Emily”. September 25-October 30 because of “Stan”. And from October 19 to December 10 as the worse hurricane hit Mexico’s southeastern coasts during “Wilma”. This writer volunteered time at the Red Cross Hospital in Mexico City when Wilma entered Quintana Roo, saw dozens of Navy men in uniform busy as hell loading military trucks. These were not playing games. Serious, dedicated, putting in long hours of hard work in benefit of the people of Mexico.

Proceso magazine, reporting on the Mexican Navy

Jorge Carrasco Araizaga, reporter of above prestigious magazine in its 1524 issue dated January 15, 2006 appears to coincide with the assertions made by this columnist. On one hand he provides a well-documented article by the name of “The Forgotten”. In it he exposes the dramatic situation experienced by the homeless in Tapachula, State of Chiapas. Dramatic photos speak by themselves. In these it is evident they are desperate, need urgent assistance. President Vicente Fox had made public statements assuring to invest more than 10 million pesos, replace houses lost and make efficient programs to recover the economy of the devastated areas of Chiapas, Veracruz, Campeche, Quintana Roo by no later than December 2006. In Mr. Carrasco’s opinion President Fox’s administration will be weighed in great part by what -if anything- is accomplished between now and then.. as the rainy season in 2006 is fast approaching. On the other hand, Mr. Carrasco hails the role of the Mexican Navy. These are excerpts from such article:

The Navy mobilized its troops, ships, aircraft from Salina Cruz, Acapulco, Lázaro Cárdenas and Manzanillo in a rescue operation cost of a little less than 2 million US dollars. Initially, navy personnel evacuated thousands of persons. Engaged in rescue operations, transported food, provisions, medicine, medical, cargo, civil personnel. In the first hours after hurricane Stan entered Chiapas, navy men and women moved in 4 municipalities. The most devastated. Then, to the rest of the communities, flying their planes to rescue victims and distribute provisions in the Sierra of Motozintla to include areas within the territory of Guatemala. Thousands of stranded victims were assisted. They coordinated their actions with State Civil Protection authorities. Some 30,000 persons were transported in their helicopters, aircraft. About 500 official military operations were carried out. The estimated amount of persons rescued is in the range of 6,000. Above article ends with a message, on quote, by Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía, Chiapas State Governor:

 

 

 

“ The people of Chiapas has been particularly appreciative to the men and women of the Mexican Navy because of the large number of coastal municipalities affected by hurricanes –in 2005. These officers have risked their lives, landed in inaccessible locations and saved more than 20,000 lives in the worst times of this tragedy”..

Also a detailed report of 6 fishermen by Mexican Navy

So, when you see a member of the Mexican Navy, please salute them. They truly deserve our respect and admiration. 

Acknowledgements

My appreciation goes to Admiral Marco Antonio Peyrot González, Mexican Secretary of the Navy for his support. Also, special thanks to Contradmiral José Luis Sánchez Sánchez, Chief, Special Assignments and Navy Captain José Francisco Rafael Valencia, Press Office Director. On the other hand, Security Corner says “GRACIAS” to Dr. Ethan Nadelmann for allowing us to close this article with this condensed message: 

 Dr. Ethan A. Nadelmann, J.D., Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. He authored the book, Cops Across Borders, the first scholarly study of the internationalization of U.S. criminal law enforcement. A new book, co-authored with Peter Andreas and entitled Policing the Globe: Criminalization and Crime Control in International Relations, will be published in the summer of 2006. These are his words: “punitive drug prohibition policies in the United States may well represent the most crime-producing government intervention ever devised. First, the simple act of producing, selling, purchasing and possessing marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other strictly controlled and banned drugs are crimes in and of themselves, which occur billions of times each year in the United States alone. U.S. law enforcement officials make over one million arrests for violations of these laws alone each year. U.S. prisons and jails now hold more than 400,000 people incarcerated for violations of these laws -- an eightfold increase from the 50,000 incarcerated in 1980..” More about his work, here  

End of Article


Security Corner is a monthly column, result of intensive research by Mr. Mario González-Román to serve as support to the International Community. In some cases, official support was received from the Mexican Government, non-profit private organizations and personal contributions in pursuit of the objective of each article. In others, information was acquired via Internet, by personal interviews or other channels. In each case, credit is given to information sources. Authors’ rights are reserved –copyright- and you are not authorized to reproduce or share its contents, unless you have PREVIOUSLY requested and received - in writing - permission from the author. Mr. González-Román is a retired FSN employee from the Embassy of the United States of America, where he worked per prior consent by Mexican Congress as evidenced in Federal Official Diary no. 16, dated September 23, 1981. Please visit his personal Site.

 

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