Tag Archives: Mexico

Longing For The ‘Good Old Bad Days’ In Chihuahua

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MANUEL BENAVIDES, Chihuahua, Mexico — Mexico swears in a new president on Saturday. And the hope is Enrique Peña Nieto will be able to boost the economy and stabilize security. Both might be achieved if the nation ends its war on the drug cartels. In northern Chihuahua, citizens explain their hopes for a new government and their yearning to live without terror.

The people are friendly and welcoming in the remote village of Manuel Benavides, a beautiful place near the U.S.-Mexico border but about two hours southeast of Presidio, Texas.

 

Bullet holes pockmark the walls of an abandoned tienda near Manuel Benavides, Chihuahua, Mexico.

Bullet holes pockmark the walls of an abandoned tienda near Manuel Benavides, Chihuahua, Mexico.

But everyone’s terrified. No one wants to speak. Like much of Chihuahua, like much of Mexico, the truth is elusive, opaque and silence is the best policy.

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Mexico Interview: Lorne Matalon, Liz Rogers, John Waters

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Public radio reporter Lorne Matalon, federal public defender Liz Rogers, Big Bend Gazette publisher John Waters, and station manager Tom Michael conduct a KRTS roundtable on borderland issues, including drugs, immigration, and international politics.

You can podcast Lorne Matalon’s recent KRTS News reports on Mexico here.

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Mexico: Human Rights Abuse Allegations & Military Justice

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Mexican soldiers patrol Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico, during the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, November 2012. KRTS photo by Lorne Matalon.

Mexican soldiers patrol Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico, during the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, November 2012. KRTS photo by Lorne Matalon.

The Mexican Supreme Court recently ruled that General Manuel de Jesus Moreno Avina, who was in charge of the Ojinaga military garrison for 18 months – beginning in 2008 – should be tried for human rights crimes in a civil court. This would mark a departure from what the constitution currently stipulates: that military crimes be tried before a closed, secret military tribunal.

For KRTS News, Lorne Matalon reports from Ojinaga, Mexico.

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Possible Mexico Cartel Connection Probed in Texas

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A discovery in Marfa of 500 lbs of marijuana on a school bus on its way to Presidio, Texas. Across the border, in Ojinaga, Mexico, a corrupt Mexican general that may be tried in a civilian court.

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Mexico: Legal Precedent Set for Military Trial

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A patrol on the streets of Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico during celebrations for the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. Photo by Lorne Matalon.

A patrol on the streets of Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico during celebrations for the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. (Lorne Matalon)

Mexico is celebrating the 102nd anniversary of the start of the Mexican Revolution this week. In Ojinaga, citizens are paying homage to the past but also to the future. This week, a leak of documents in Mexico City shows that a disgraced former Mexican general will be tries in a civilian court rather in than a closed military trial. Citizens remain scarred by the reign of terror allegedly unleashed by Major General Manuel de Jesús Moreno Aviña. He stands accused of systematic abuses in 2008 and 2009 in Ojinaga, Chihuahua. According to the Mexican daily Reforma, General Moreno Aviña is responsible for at least seven summary executions and deciding which detained individuals would disappear.

KRTS General Manager spoke with reporter Lorne Matalon after he returned from Ojinaga.

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Mexico Election Debate Upstaged

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s electoral authority apologized to voters on Monday after a sober presidential debate was upstaged by a former Playboy model and her revealing outfit.

Clad in a tight-fitting white dress with a cut below the neckline to show much of her cleavage, Julia Orayen was working as an assistant on the televised debate, which focused on the economy and the drug-related violence ravaging Mexico.

Former Playboy model and presidential debate assistant Julia Orayen (white) hands out cards to the four candidates during a televised debate at the Federal Electoral Institute in this handout still image taken from video, in Mexico City, May 7, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Instituto Federal Electoral/Handout/ via Reuters TV

Former Playboy model and presidential debate assistant Julia Orayen (white) hands out cards to the four candidates during a televised debate at the Federal Electoral Institute in this handout still image taken from video, in Mexico City, May 7, 2012.
(Reuters)

At the start of Sunday night’s debate, Orayen walked in front of the camera to hand out cards to the four candidates, and created an immediate stir on online social media.

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Peña Nieto Survives First Debate

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(Reuters) – Mexico’s presidential front-runner Enrique Pena Nieto was forced onto the defensive on Sunday by his rivals who accused him of corruption, lies and being a pawn of the media during televised election debate.

Pena Nieto, of the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), has led opinion polls for months and his two main opponents repeatedly turned on the 45-year-old, albeit without airing any new accusations against him or his party.

Handout of presidential candidates posing before attending their first televised debate in Mexico City's World Trade Centre

Handout of presidential candidates posing before attending their first televised debate in Mexico City’s World Trade Centre.

Pena Nieto’s debating skills had been questioned in the run-up to Sunday night, but he hit back against broadsides from Josefina Vazquez Mota of the ruling conservative National Action Party (PAN) and leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

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“World Views” Interview With Zach Messitte: Mexico, Cartels & Mexican Election 2012

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Lorne Matalon joins the program for a conversation with Zach and Alan McPherson about the escalating drug violence in Latin America. “WorldViews” is produced by NPR member station KGOU at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK.

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CBC Radio Network Documentary: Guatemala, Los Zetas & Corruption

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Carlos Morales sits under a picture of Che Guevara in Santa Cruz, Alta Verapaz. Morales heads the Union of Peasant Organizations. He believes the state of siege is a pretext for suppressing agrarian reform in a region with a history of land disputes.

Juan Alberto Ortiz, alleged head of one of the leading drug cartels in Guatemala City is arrested after U.S. DEA operation in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. (Presidencia de la Republica, Guatemala)

Do people fear a brutal drug cartel or its own military?

For two months this year, the army laid siege to the province where the cartel — founded by former Mexican Army special forces soldiers who deserted — has been muscling in on trafficking routes, once controlled by Guatemalan cartels.

The offensive’s now been called down, but the military presence remains — and so do questions about its effectiveness.

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Interviewed by PBS NewsHour: Mexico Drug Cartels Moving In On Guatemala Routes

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Mexican drug cartels are carving out new territory in northern Guatemala, adding another layer of violence and crime to a country with one of the highest murder rates in the hemisphere.

Guatemalan soldiers check a car for at a checkpoint, Coban, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.

In December the Guatemalan government declared a two-month state of siege in the rural province of Alta Verapaz, bordering Mexico, in order to crack down on the growing influence of the notorious Mexico-based Los Zetas cartel.

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Mexico’s Drug War Comes To Guatemala

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Carlos Morales sits under a picture of Che Guevara in Santa Cruz, Alta Verapaz. Morales heads the Union of Peasant Organizations. He believes the state of siege is a pretext for suppressing agrarian reform in a region with a history of land disputes.

Mexican drug traffickers have worked their way south into Guatemala. The Guatemalan army has been trying to beat them back. But some Guatemalans are expressing loyalty to the drug cartels which have provided services – schools, roads, clinics, even security – that the Guatemalan government hasn’t delivered.

Mexico’s war against the drug cartels is spilling south into Guatemala. The cartels are threatening to take over parts of northern Guatemala near the Mexican border.

In response, the Guatemalan government has taken a page from its larger neighbor — and deployed the army to try and push the traffickers out. The government has declared a “state of siege” in one province, called Alta Verapaz, that it said has been overrun by one of Mexico’s most feared cartels.

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US Visa Restrictions Eased For Cuban Artists

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“Amigos, guajiros y borrachos” (Friends, farmers & drunkards) 2010 Oil & acrylic on canvas, 47” x 39"

The Obama administration is easing restrictions on visas issued to Cuban artists who refuse to defect or renounce their loyalty to the Cuban Revolution. The World’s Lorne Matalon profiles two artists who’ve come to the US from Cuba because of this opening.

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Colorado River Water Rights

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Under a longstanding treaty, the Colorado River irrigates 3 million acres of farmland and supplies water to 30 million people in the United States and Mexico. Between population growth and a decade long drought, the Colorado is under such stress that Western states – desperate to maintain water supplies – want to purify agricultural runoff currently diverted into Mexico. But as The World’s Lorne Matalon reports, Mexico covets that water, because it has given birth to a productive wetland.

Columns of moist air hover above still water in the Cienega de Santa Clara, mirroring the desert sky. The wetland is an oasis in dry northern Mexico, a haven for birds and fish, some endangered.

(Lorne Matalon)

“The Cienega is the most important wetland in the Colorado River delta.”

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Rio Santa Cruz: Saving A River Along The US-Mexico Border

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Flying over the village of San Lazaro, Sonora, Mexico

Just south of the US border, the Santa Cruz River is a dust bowl, a scarred ditch tapped dry by the booming twin cities of Nogales, Mexico and Nogales, Arizona. Not long ago, people waded in and held baptisms in the river. Today it looks like fire has destroyed the riverbed and the trees beside it. But it’s a very different story a couple of hours farther into Mexico. Lorne Matalon has the story.

San Lazaro, Mexico – population 600 – it’s on the floor of a remote valley crisscrossed by warrens of paths carved into the boundless Sonoran desert. It’s where the Santa Cruz starts wending its way north toward the U-S. And it’s where 20-year-old Arturo Alvarez leads a group of young people working on a restoration team. ‘We’re watching bird migration patterns,’ Alvarez says. The group is known as Los Halcones– the Hawks-and it’s also monitoring the river’s temperature, and the health of the vegetation lining its banks.

(Lorne Matalon)

Less than a decade ago, little took root here. The protective underbrush and cottonwood and mesquite saplings had been trampled by cattle and horses. But Los Halcones have fenced off two miles of the river and saplings are now abundant.

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Mexican Mennonites

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People get around by horse-drawn wagon at the Mennonite village of El Sabinal, Chihuahua, Mexico.

The northern Mexican state of Chihuahua is one of Mexico’s most violent. Rising drug-related crime has taken a heavy toll on the state – just south of the border from New Mexico and Texas. But amidst the violence, a pacifist community thrives. Mennonites have been living in Chihuahua for decades. They’re considered a part of the state’s tapestry now – famous around Mexico for their cheese and other farm products. The World’s Lorne Matalon traveled there to meet some of Chihuahua’s Mennonites.

Matalon: The village of El Sabinal in the remote Chihuahuan desert of northern Mexico looks like something out of another era. The houses are simple one-floor structures, vintage hand-made farm tools are still in use – and most people here get around in horse-drawn carriages.

(Lorne Matalon)

Matalon: El Sabinal is an orthodox Mennonite community – meaning its 600 people generally avoid modern contraptions like cars, electricity, modern music, and telephones. They also speak a German dialect to communicate with each other. But when it comes to speaking with outsiders — Spanish is the language of choice.

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Mexico’s Mix Of Politics And Drugs

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A mayoral candidate in Mexico has said publicly what just about every Mexican knows to be true — the drug cartels have thoroughly contaminated Mexican politics. But this candidate is caught on tape.

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Mexico Before The Election

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Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon will be watching his country’s upcoming local elections very carefully. That’s because his conservative party is trying to win Congressional seats and Calderon wants to make sure he has enough support to fight the country’s rampant drug problem.

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Collateral Damage In The Drug War

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Complaints about human rights abuses by the military are on the rise. Civilians are getting caught in the crossfire as the Mexican army battles drug lords.

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Mexico: Maquilladoras & The Drug War

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Mexico has deployed the Army to several cities along the US border where drug trafficking is a problem. One of those cities is Reynosa just south of McAllen, Texas. Both towns are growing thanks to free trade (NAFTA) and maquilladoras, the assembly-line factories in Mexico that manufacture goods for export. The World’s Lorne Matalon reports on Mexico’s drug war & its effect on the regional economy.

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Drug Cartels Still In Action

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Mexico’s violent drug cartels didn’t simply pack up and go home when the H1N1flu arrived. In fact, they’re just as active as before. The World’s Lorne Matalon reports that the government has once again stepped up its attempts to beat back the cartels.

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