MEXICO TRAVEL & THE DRUG WAR
U. S. State Department's MEXICO Travel Warnings claim that millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year: Further, that this includes tens of thousands who cross the border every day for study, tourism or business and at least one million U.S. citizens who live in Mexico. In addition, that the Mexican government makes a considerable effort to protect U.S. citizens and other visitors to major tourist destinations. We do not dispute the veracity of this information, which ought to be given in the following context:
TRAVEL TO MEXICO ASSESSMENT
Security Corner's conclusion is that travel to Mexico -based on the "War on Drugs" conflict and common crime- is that indeed there are some areas that warrant caution in terms of violence. I live in Mexico City. See the State Department link below to identify the specific areas where the violence levels are highest. While anything can happen anywhere, like in most places in the world, I and most people (most expats are here by choice) are not paranoid and don't want you to be. Yes, our awareness and moves are more careful today than two years ago. We are not diplomats who live in a world of fantasy. If you are moving to Mexico, I encourage you to become familiar with these videos. Select the topic of your choice, HERE. Most input comes from actual travelers. We provide unbiased information that result in a safe, secure environment to both Mexico's visitors and residents.
You may think I am crazy (and maybe I am), but I routinely ride my bicycle to get around. While always keeping prevention rules in mind, I walk around, travel by subway, and use public transportation without any complication. I live in a centrally located area (Colonia Roma), don't lock myself in my house, and for more than 25 years have been a member of the so-called International Drinking Club with a Running Problem. At least once a month we travel throughout Mexico. So far, using common sense (not inebriated), we do business here as usual. I've been the victim of violent crime three times in Los Angeles. Last time, I got stabbed. After 9/11, do you feel the States is a .. safe country? Before making your own conclusions, I'd invite readers to use their own judgement to assess Security Corner's own US Traveling Warning.
Below is what the US Embassy and State Department will say about the situation here:
"Crime in Mexico continues to occur at a high rate, and it can often be violent, especially in Mexico City, Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Acapulco, and the states of Sinaloa and Durango. Other metropolitan areas have lower, but still serious, levels of crime. The low rates of apprehension and conviction of criminals also contribute to Mexico’s high crime rate. U.S. citizen victims of crime in Mexico are encouraged to report incidents to the nearest police headquarters and to the nearest U.S. consular office..." More, HERE.
This is a 2005 Narco News critique of the alarmist information routinely provided by the State Department, which we believe you should read. When assessing the Drug War Update below, with valuable contributions by Sylvia Longmire, please understand that the demand from drugs in the US and the flow of illegal and legal forearms into Mexico, plus apathy, corruption by the US Government is what has created this situation:
Drug War Update
"Although violence between drug cartels had been occurring long before the war began, the government held a generally passive stance regarding cartel violence in the 1990s and early 2000s. That changed on December 11, 2006, when newly elected President Felipe Calderon sent 6,500 federal troops to the state of Michoacan to end drug violence there. This action is regarded as the first major retaliation made against the cartel violence, and is generally viewed as the starting point of the war between the government and the drug cartels. As time progressed, Calderón continued to escalate his anti-drug campaign, in which there are now about 45,000 troops involved in addition of state and federal police forces.
"The U.S. Justice Department considers the Mexican drug cartels as the greatest organized crime threat to the United States. During the first 18 months of Calderón's presidency, the Mexican government has spent about $7 billion US in the war against drugs. In seeking partnership from the United States, Mexican officials point out that the illicit drug trade is a shared problem in need of a shared solution, and remark that most of the financing for the Mexican traffickers comes from American drug consumers. On the other hand, The US drug control policies in Mexico that have been adopted to prevent drug trafficking via Mexico and to eliminate the power of the drug cartels that bring about corruption, terror and violence have adversely affected the human rights situation in Mexico.
"On March 25, 2009, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, stated that "Our [America's] insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade", and that "the United States bears shared responsibility for the drug-fueled violence sweeping Mexico." U.S. State Department officials are aware that Mexican president Felipe Calderon's willingness to work with the United States is unprecedented on issues of security, crime and drugs, so the U.S. Congress passed legislation in late June 2008 to provide Mexico and Central American countries with $1.6 billion USD for the Merida Initiative, a three-year international assistance plan. The Mérida Initiative provides Mexico and Central American countries with law enforcement training and equipment, as well as technical advice to strengthen the national justice systems. The Mérida Initiative does not include cash or weapons. In January 2009, a U.S. military assessment expressed some concern that if the war is extended 25 years, it could cause a collapse of the Mexican government due to the military strength of organized crime, and that the conflict could possibly spread to border states.
Currently, the Mexican drug cartels already have a presence in most major U.S. cities.In 2009, the Justice Department identified more than 200 U.S. cities in which Mexican drug cartels "maintain drug distribution networks or supply drugs to distributors" - up from 100 three years earlier
"U.S. authorities are reporting a spike in killings, kidnappings and home invasions connected to Mexico's cartels, and at least 19 Americans were killed in 2008. Also, more than 200 Americans have been killed in Mexico since 2004. If so, Mexico turns out to be unequivocally SAFER than the US for Americans
photo credit "For the US Joint Forces Command, in terms of worst-case scenarios, Mexico bears some consideration for sudden collapse in the next two decades as the government, its politicians, police, and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and pressure by criminal gangs and drug cartels. The Joint Forces Command are concerned that this internal conflict over the next several years, will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state, and therefore would demand an American response based on the implications for homeland security alone."
More, HERE by Wikipedia.
In closing, After a two-year battle that has killed more than 5,000 people, just in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico's most powerful kingpin now controls the coveted trafficking routes through Ciudad Juárez. That conclusion by U.S. intelligence adds to evidence that Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán's Sinaloa cartel is winning Mexico's drug war.
The assessment was made based on information from confidential informants with direct ties to Mexican drug gangs and other intelligence, said a U.S. federal agent who sometimes works undercover, insisting on anonymity because of his role in drug investigations.
NSDUH data show that in 2008, 14.2 percent of individuals 12 years of age and older had used illicit drugs during the past year. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug, with 25.8 million individuals 12 years of age and older (10.3%) reporting past year use. That rate remains stable from the previous year (10.1%) (see Table B1 in Appendix B). Psychotherapeutics ranked second, with 15.2 million individuals reporting past year "nonmedical use" in 2008, a decrease from 16.3 million in 2007. In 2008, approximately 5.3 million individuals aged 12 and older reported past year cocaine use, 850,000 reported past year methamphetamine use, and 453,000 reported past year heroin use.
Above Assessment was compiled, edited by
Sylvia Longmire, Retired, USAF Captain
Sylvia is a [medically] retired Air Force captain and former Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. During her eight years with AFOSI, Sylvia conducted numerous criminal investigations and worked extensively in the fields of counterintelligence, counterespionage, and force protection. During her last assignment, Sylvia worked as the Latin America desk officer, analyzing issues in the US Southern Command area of responsibilty that might affect the security of deployed Air Force personnel. From Dec 2005-Jul 2009, Sylvia worked as an intelligence analyst for the California state fusion center and CalEMA's Situational Awareness Unit, focusing almost exclusively on Mexican drug trafficking organizations and southwest border violence issues. For the last five years, she has regularly lectured on terrorism in Latin America at the Air Force Special Operations School's Dynamics of International Terrorism course. She holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of South Florida in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, with a focus on the Cuban and Guatemalan revolutions.
Sylvia and her husband co-wrote an article titled "Redefining Terrorism: Why Mexican Drug Cartels are More than Just Organized Crime," which was published in Henley-Putnam University's inaugural issue of The Journal of Strategic Security. She also recently wrote an article titled "Al Capone's Lessons for Today's Cartels," which was featured on the cover of Homeland Security Today magazine's December 2009 issue, and has twice been a guest on the Bill Handel syndicated talk radio show. Sylvia has been interviewed and appeared in articles by local newspapers, news stations, CNN Mexico, and the Mexican daily El Universal.
Sylvia is currently an independent consultant and freelance writer, and contributes regularly to Security Corner in Mexico, Homeland Security Today magazine and website, Examiner.com and MexiData.info. She also provides services as an expert witness for immigration and asylum cases.
TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES BY MEXICAN NATIONALS
Mexicans are advised to exercise MAXIMUM CAUTION, monitor developments that might affect your safety in the United States because of Hate Crimes. The FBI reports that hate crimes against Latinos rose almost 40 percent between 2003 and 2006, and Hispanic activists say they are being targeted with threats and intimidation. This is just a recent incident: STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A rash of recent assaults on Mexican immigrants has heightened tensions in Port Richmond, already on edge following the savage beating of a 25-year-old baker earlier this (April 2010) month.
In addition, no matter what your nationality: the US in under permanent 24/7 THREAT of terrorism. Visitors could be caught up in attacks targeted at American, British, Canadian, Australian citizens, other nationalities. Terrorists may attack official or civilian targets. Crime rates are higher in the larger cities, such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Many parts of the United States are subject to different natural hazards, including earthquakes, fires or wildfires, floods, extreme heat, hurricanes, landslides and debris flow (mudslides), thunderstorms and lightning, tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanoes (Hawaii, Alaska and Pacific Northwest), winter storms (freezing rain, heavy snow and blizzards) and extreme cold. Tourists are often targeted for petty crimes such as pick-pocketing and theft, particularly on public transport. It is recommended that before visiting your destination point, Google it and write NAME OF CITY TO BE VISITED, then "crime, areas to be avoided & gang activities" to determine your level of threat.
ComeBackAlive.com, a site dedicated to Dangerous Countries worldwide provides the following description aboout the United States, on quote:
"There are more than 200 million guns in the possession of Americans. Most violent acts in the States are the result of robberies, domestic disputes and drug-related violence. Terrorist acts, ranging from the killing of abortionist doctors to the bombing of the World Trade Center, are highly publicized but not considered a real threat to travelers. The threat of robbery or violent crime in inner cities and some tourist areas is real and should be taken seriously. Travel in America is considered safe (by .. Americans), and danger is confined to random violence and inner cities. Those seeking adventure can find it in a New Orleans bar at five in the morning or strolling through South Central L.A. after midnight." ..
MORE, in Preparation for your upcoming trip to the United States of America, HERE
Excerpt from Canada's Global Research article You Write What You Are Told Or How The Western Media Promotes a Mistaken View of the World by Ramzy Baroud : "Media channels – especially those dispatching their news from various Western capitals - focus not simply on sensational news, but they also intentionally sensationalize news, and purposely relay the news so as to be understood within Western contexts. Thus ‘democracy’, ‘elections’, ‘government restrictions’ and ‘terrorism’ are the usual buzzwords..." More, HERE.
If your nationality is American do you feel the United States is REALLY a .. safe country? Before making your own conclusions, I'd invite readers to use their judgement assessing Security Corner's own US Travel Warning.
Within the same context, we again take the words by well-known Canadian author and adventurer Robert Young Pelton:
"Of the top 10 countries most visited by U.S. citizens, only Mexico has a State Department advisory for travelers. What can you say about a country that's rapidly becoming one of Mercedes-Benz's biggest markets and yet a full quarter of the population lives in extreme poverty? Mexico is where the Third World runs smack into the First World-like putting Mogadishu next to Santa Barbara, with a 1,820-mile border between them. Tell any red-blooded American he's gotta stay here for more than a week, and he'll be scrambling over the chain-link fence and dashing for Escondido. Even in the far south, where Mexico blends seamlessly into Guatemala, there is turmoil, where you can seamlessly blend into a shallow grave." In addition, "For the traveler, Mexico is filled with extremes. Whether you want the coke-dusted lifestyle of the rich and famous on the Mexican Riviera, or like to shop for .45 caliber ammo behind the saloon in Sonora, Mexico has a little danger for everyone."
If being PARANOID is not your style, take note. This information is valid, current up to date:
Mexico is the number one destination for foreign tourists within the Latin America region, ranking worldwide in the tenth place in terms of the international tourist arrivals, with 22.6 million visitors in 2008 while US dollar travel spending by all visitors rose 3.4% to US$13.3 billion. More significantly, WTTC's research shows that the country's Travel & Tourism Economy increased its contribution to 13.2% of Mexico's GDP, growing by 3.8%.
Much more, HERE by Wikipedia.
This is Mexico's Federal Tourism Secretariat's OFFICIAL WEBSITE Visit Mexico
Before Mexico travel, we highly recommend a thorough review of SecurityCornerMexico.com's Page on the
Culture of Safe Travel, Crime and Loss Prevention
Most input comes from actual travelers.
"DRUG WAR" South of the Border by the Experts
Evidently, in an armed conflict like Mexico's it is no surprise that innocent victims can and will be caught in the center of fire. The beheadings, other evidence of limitless violence has shocked Mexican society and the world. We wished this war came to a stop. Mexico is becoming more and more dysfunctional. Is the US foreign policy hiding other intentions?
VIDEOS for your own assessment:
PRESIDENT OBAMA'S CURRENT FOREIGN POLICY
AN UNHOLLY ALLIANCE
Should Mexico expect US military invasion invoking "democracy", best interests of the rich and powerful at risk as in other areas of the world? We do not see reciprocity in this growing conflict. The Merida Initiative is looked at by experts and local politicians as the real problem leading to the current situation.
We leave this topic to the experts:
Times Square Bomber Linked With CIA-Controlled Terror Group
Jaish-e-Muhammad founded by CIA-MI6 asset who bankrolled 9/11 hijackers
By Paul Joseph Watson
© Copyright Paul Joseph Watson, Prison Planet, 2010
Is the CIA behind Mexico's Bloody Drug War?
Author John Ross in a speech he delivered at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C. in April 2009.
What does Washington want from Mexico?
- The U.S. seeks total control of Mexico's security apparatus.
- With the creation of NORTHCOM (Northern Command) designed to protect the U.S. landmass from terrorist attack, Mexico is designated North America's southern security perimeter and U.S. military aircraft now has carte blanche to penetrate Mexican airspace.
- The North American Security and Prosperity Agreement (ASPAN in its Mexican initials) seeks to integrate the security apparatuses of the three NAFTA nations under Washington's command.
- The Merida Initiative signed by Bush II and Calderon in early 2007 allows for the emplacement of armed U.S. security agents - the FBI, the DEA, the CIA, and ICE - on Mexican soil and contractors like the former Blackwater cannot be far behind.
- Wars are fought for juicy government contracts and $1.3 billion in Merida moneys are going directly to U.S. defense contractors - forget about the Mexican middleman
MEXICO'S DRUG WAR
.. It's a war that cannot be won, but that hasn't stopped the Mexican government from sticking to its basic game-plan.
.. No one disputes that 23,000 people have been killed since 2006 in a largely futile military operation initiated by Mexican president Felipe Calderon.
.. Present policy is failing and needs to be changed
.. Washington's deeply-flawed Merida Initiative, which provides $1.4 billion in aid to the Calderon administration to intensify military operations, is largely to blame
.. Narcotics trafficking and drug addiction go hand-in-hand with destructive free trade policies which have fueled their growth
.. NAFTA, in particular, has triggered a massive migration of people who have been pushed off the land because they couldn't compete with heavily-subsidized agricultural products from the US
.. young men have turned to the cartels as the only visible means of employment and upward mobility
.. free trade has not only had a ruinous effect on the economy, but has also created an inexhaustible pool of recruits for the drug trade
.. It's no coincidence that Kabul and Bogota are the de facto capitals of the drug universe.
.. US political support is strong in both places, as is the involvement of US intelligence agencies.
.. But does that suggest that the CIA is at work in Mexico, too?
That's the question
Druglords and Politicians: Washington's Drug War Strengthens Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel
.. US is providing $1.6 billion in aid to Mexico under the terms of the Merida Initiative
.. No one really knows whether US drug war funding is helping to achieve the stated security goals or not.
.. Most likely, it's just money down a rathole. But that doesn't seem to bother the Obama administration.
.. They're determined to stick with the same failed Bush policy to the bitter end.
.. HEADS OF THE ENTIRE US NATIONAL SECURITY ESTABLISHMENT were gathered in Mexico to address the escalating violence in Juarez
.. Washington elites now believe that Mexico is on its way to becoming a "failed state".
.. They think that--when the oil fields run dry--the violence and anarchy will spill across the border and spread like wildfire.
.. they hoped that armored vehicles and checkpoints would send the dealers running for the hills.
.. they were wrong; the fighting only intensified
.. White House is changing its approach and adding social programs and "institution building" to its military strategy.
.. Plan Mexico will provide $300 million for "social cohesion" and various poverty-fighting programs
.. the fundamental plan is the same which means its prospects for success are "slim to none."
.. What Clinton and Co. fail to understand, is that their efforts are actually strengthening the biggest cartels by wiping out the smaller gangs
.. puts the drug trade in the hands of people who are more competent and politically-connected
.. It's a losing strategy. Expect Ms. Clinton to be shocked when she finally figures it all out.
The US Mexican Border: Obama's Bloody War in Juarez
.. Violence in Juarez is not accidental.
.. The result of a deeply-flawed US/Mexico policy.
.. Merida Initiative has led to the militarization of law enforcement which has intensified the battle between the state and the drug cartels.
.. It has increased the incidents of gang-related crime and murder by many orders of magnitude.
.. The military is uniquely unsuited for tasks that should be handled by criminal investigators or the police.
.. That's why the death toll keeps rising.
.. Bottom line is that the troubles in Juarez have more to do with Plan Mexico than they do with drug-trafficking.
.. This is "policy-driven" carnage and the United States is largely to blame.
.. Laura Carlsen: The Obama administration has supported Plan Mexico and even requested, and received from Congress, additional funds beyond what the Bush administration requested.
.. LC: In the three years since Calderon launched the war on drugs in Mexico with the support of the US government drug related violence has shot up to over 15,000 executions and formal reports of violations of human rights have increased sixfold.....
.. LC: Washington recognizes serious problems with the drug war model and yet continues to claim, absurdly, that the rise in violence in Mexico is a good sign--it means that the cartels are feeling the heat..
Laura Carlsen, Director of the Americas Policy Program: Laura Carlsen holds a B.A. in Social Thought and Institutions from Stanford University and a Masters degree in Latin American Studies, also from Stanford. More HERE.
“La militarización no es el camino para encarar la crisis política de México”
Entrevista con la socióloga Laura Carlsen
Global Research Articles by Mike Whitney
The "Evil Guys List"? "Free Journalism" in the Service of US Foreign Policy
The Role of Reporters without Borders
© Copyright Mike Whitney, Global Research, 2010
© Copyright F. William Engdahl , Global Research, 2010
© Copyright 2005-2009 GlobalResearch.ca
U.S. Consulate worker in Juarez was targeted for assassination
By Bill Conroy - May 1, 2010
Hit ordered because she refused to commit a fraud, law enforcement sources claim
Mexican Labor News & Analysis: May 3, 2010
by Dan Labotz
Dan La Botz (born on August 9, 1945 as Daniel H. Labotz) is a prominent labor union activist, academic, journalist, and author in the United States. He is currently running for a seat in the US Senate for the Socialist Party of Ohio. More HERE by Wikipedia.
March 16, 2010 Report
IT'S ALL ABOUT SUPPLYING THOUSANDS OF POUNDS OF COCAINE & MARIHUANA TO THE AMERICANS ..
Mexico's Drug War 2010 - (1 of 7)
Katya Adler BIO by BBC
Supplementary Information RE. Above VIDEO
Mexico's Drug War
Saturday April 17, 2010
He's America's most wanted fugitive, after Osama bin Laden, with a $5 million bounty on his head. He's pursued by the FBI, the DEA and tens of thousands of Mexican troops and Federal Police. But Joaquin Chapo (Shorty) Guzman is not without resources of his own. He recently made the Forbes list of the world�s richest men with an estimated personal fortune of $1 billion. Not since Pablo Escobar dominated the worlds cocaine supply in the 1990s has one narco-trafficker become so notorious.
.. Katya Adler journeys deep into the heart of a shocking conflict, uncovering the human stories behind the seemingly random and disturbing violence. She charts the rise of Guzman, the quest to arrest him, and the bloody drug war that is threatening to turn Mexico into a failed state on the southern border of the United States. And she asks whether the continuing freedom of the world's most powerful drug runner, Joaquin 'Chapo' Guzman, is evidence that the government's war is toothless.
OBAMA'S WAR .. Tens of thousands of fresh American troops are now on the move in Afghanistan, led by a new commander and armed with a counter-insurgency plan that builds on the lessons of Iraq. But can U.S. forces succeed in a land long known as the "graveyard of empires"? And can the U.S. stop the Taliban in neighboring Pakistan, where U.S. troops are not allowed and the government is weak? Could the commitment to escalate in Afghanistan be President Obama's undoing?
Copyright © CBC 2010
Drug Cartels Infiltrate Mexico's AG & US Embassy in Mexico
Lacking Intelligence on BOTH SIdes of the Border
Alex Jones - Cele Castillo
USG Chartered Jet Crashed in Mexico with 4,000 Pounds of Cocaine
US Consulate Employees in Juarez Gunned Down
Mexico 'favours' Sinaloa cartel
Inside USA - Mexico's drug war (July 28, 2008)
Mexico's Drug War (Part 2)
Philip Agee on Writing Inside the Company: CIA Diary
P. Agee Part 2