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Sunday, May 17, 2015

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There is hope for the future: Mexico's most valuable treasure; It's Children

Posted: 16 May 2015 08:46 PM PDT

Posted by DD, republished from Mexico News Daily

The governor applauds Patricio García's criticism of governors. -

DD; "Out of the mouths of babes".  This young girl in secondary escuela, (which means she is probably between 12 and 14 y.o.) told politicians (including Gov. Duarte of Chihuahua) to  their face that they are corrupt and inept.  She did not hold any punches.  She has the makings of a honest leader in Mexico and someone who can make a difference..   A video of her 3 minute speech has gone viral on You Tube with nearly 300,000 views in 2 days.

The second part of this post is a story about a program being initiated in (ironically) Chihuahua by the Duarte administration to steer youth away from a life of crime and becoming involved in drug trafficking and cartels.  To me, it is really thinking out of the box.  Not the typical "social" program of putting new playground equipment in the parks.

News Daily;

 The governor of Chihuahua got an unexpected earful yesterday in a strongly-worded speech by a secondary school student who lashed out at government for corruption and ineptitude.
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Luz Elena Patricio García took the microphone at a talent and culture event in Ciudad Juárez and gave a spirited discourse on the state of the nation in terms of governance. She pulled no punches.



Flanked by Gov. César Duarte Jáquez and a member of his cabinet, Patricio García made a blanket accusation against state governors for robbery and failure to complete their obligations.

"These fourth-rate politicians misuse tax revenues, squander what belongs to us for their personal benefit instead of completing public works for the benefit of our communities.

"Our country is being left paraplegic . . . ."

The speaker delivered her dissertation with all the flair of an experienced politician and several times drew loud applause from her audience, in which Gov. Duarte enthusiastically joined.

Patricio García warned that when citizens lose their confidence in those who govern, governability is put at risk, creating the danger of an armed movement.

She pointed out that students are well aware of what is going on.

"You believe that because we are young people we have not become aware of this serious problem, but allow me to contradict you, because we are the ones most affected and of course we know and we understand every move you make. Not all of us youngsters are ignorant; we know that corruption continues growing."

Patricio García finished her dissertation, which ran at least three minutes long, by observing that Mexico has many honest people who, unlike politicians, wish for its health, happiness and prosperity.

The governor congratulated Patricio García on her ability at public speaking and later published a photo of them together on his social media accounts.

DD.  

This story is also from Mexico News Daily.

DD.  The following story almost made me like Governor Duarte.  It seemed to be an example of "thinking out of the tox".  Maybe he has used that ability to steal millions from the treasury, but I thought maybe in this case he was using that innovative thinking to help the people.

But  being somewhat of a skeptic, especially concerning anything that  the Duarte administration in Chihuahua is doing so I went to a good friend "jlopez", a long time contributor to BB, whose opinions I highly respect.  "jlopez"'s comments  remind me of a old TV commercial from the '80s and '90s, "When EF Hutton talks, people listen".  When readers see a post on BB by jlopez, they read it.

 He has had a lifelong passion for music.  I asked him if teaching a child how to play a musical instrument and develop in that child a love of music could actually do anything to help keep that child out of a life crime.  His response follows this story.

 Guitars, not guns, with Chihuahua's Plan Villa  
'The child who plays an instrument never takes up arms or drugs'

Armed with their instruments
It's guitars before guns for children in the state of Chihuahua, where Plan Villa aims to form 1,000 orchestras, along with the creation of 7,500 basketball teams, as diversions away from organized crime.

Named after the famed revolutionary general Pancho Villa and timed with the 100th anniversary of his tenure as governor of Chihuahua, the plan is designed to keep youth away from the influence of organized crime. Government officials say the objective is also to demonstrate to children that they have talent they can utilize.

Children will have access to 70,000 instruments, including violins, guitars, percussion instruments, clarinets, saxophones and others, and each orchestra will be accompanied by choirs of 30 youths.

"The child who plays an instrument never takes up arms or drugs; they are hard to transform into somebody who doesn't understand the value of the human being that they are," said Marcelo González Tachiquín, Secretary of Education, Culture, and Sports.

Members of Chihuahua's current 50 youth orchestras have joined for various reasons. While some are bored at home, others were forced to by parents and several are following their idols.

Kenia Rubio, 10, began playing the clarinet after she saw the cartoon SpongeBob Squarepants, which has a clarinet-playing character named Squidward.

But Plan Villa is not just about music. It also plans to help youth recover their love for basketball. González Tachiquín said the focus is not on who wins because "we want to create a culture of competitiveness with a foundation of rules, something very urgent now for the times in which we live in Mexico."

Youths like Daniel Salas and Isaac Ramírez, both 17 years old, admit that the sport has helped them stay away from drugs and alcohol. Now that their free time is spent playing sports, their friends have changed.

A fundamental part of the plan will be students' emotional well-being. It will also seek to cultivate an appreciation for school. Students' school sweaters, for example, will indicate the year in which they will finish university.

From April until next August, elementary school teachers and principals are going to be receiving training to be able to understand and apply the new model.

González Tachiquín pointed out that "Chihuahua is fortunate to have a seasoned faculty and a well-constructed alliance between the government, union bases and parents."

DD;  Could teaching a child how to play the guitar or saxophones really keep him from pursuing a life of crime?.
 
-Here is part of "jlopez's"  response, reprinted here with his permission from an email he sent me.

"If a kid really has musical talent enough to take up music studies, he or she will have no time or room for anything else for a while. Then there are the related subjects that one has to learn along with the music, such as composition, history, names of composers and performers. Pretty soon, the kid begins to emulate or look up to an artist or a composer. It's almost inevitable. The main trick is to keep them from being perverted by popular music, which in rural areas means narco-related music, until the love of real music takes root. Once they begin to perform, they'll be hooked. So, short answer, done right, music training will keep them out of gangs and drugs.

But the greatest gift from music training is creating self confidence in the kids. They are doing something nobody else can do, they are creating beauty. Once that gets ingrained, preferably at an early age, they generally don't go wrong. This self confidence is especially valuable for kids in a place like Mexico.

I think teaching kids to play musical instruments in an orchestra is a good idea. No better way to spend taxpayer money, in my opinion.


Guitars, not guns, with Chihuahua's Plan Villa
Guitars, not guns, with Chihuahua's Plan Villa
-

More executions and more banners in Tijuana.

Posted: 16 May 2015 04:53 PM PDT

Borderland Beat


Violence keeps increasing in Tijuana. Heads, tortured bodies, daylight shootings and banners are returning to the streets of Tijuana in the middle of a war between criminal cells struggling to gain a little terrain against their competitors.

This war is being fueled by retail cells used by larger cells as cannon fodder and innocent victims are becoming common as drug addicts are being used as hitmen in exchange for some spare change and a dose or two of crystal meth.

Among those innocent victims was a 4 year old boy who died after a group of men shot towards his house and injured both his mom and him, his mom is currently in the hospital but the little kid died from a bullet which destroyed his intestine. 

The death of this child prompted Municipal Authorities to quickly try to show a response and briefly presented a man as related to this and being a member of CAF, they quickly changed that version and 3 men were arrested, Miguel Angel Rodriguez Bravo aka "El Popeye", Juan Omar (last name withheld by authorities because he is a minor) and Jesus Flores Flores aka "El Tribi", "El Popeye" was released by the Attorney General´s office under the assumption he was only a "witness" but was quickly executed a few hours later in the same area were the shooting took place.


A woman was executed early today in the same area and a banner was left mentioning the death of the little boy, she apparently had been tortured, having several teeth missing and her skull crushed by a 30 pound rock, she also received 2 shots. The message read:


"ASI LOS VOY A DEJAR COMO A POPEYE PUTA SAPA PONE NIÑOS PERROS MATA NIÑOS. ERES TU TRIBI Y TU GEFE VERSI, GENTE INOCENTE SE RESPETA PUTO CHOMPAS"

Roughly translated into:

"This is how I´ll leave you, just like Popeye, fucking snitch giving kids, fucking child killers. Its you Tribi and your boss Versi. Innocent people are respected fucking Chompas"

All this is part of the war being waged in the Sanchez Taboada district, but that´s not the only district being fought.

2 corpses belonging to two men were abandoned in the back of a pick-up truck outside a Mormon church temple located near the third stage of the Tijuana River Canal. The victims had their ankles, hands and face covered in gray masking tape. The bodies showed visible signs of torture. These men are believed to be part of the cell led by Marco Tulio Carrillo aka "El Marlon", one of the CDS cell leaders threatened in the banner previously left with 2 heads(Read about it HERE).


It was mentioned that another banner was left in a bridge located between Lazaro Cardenas and Federico Benitez blvd. It´s content wasn´t revealed but it was said it was similar to those previously left signed by CAF.

And just hours ago, at 9:00 AM, another man was executed in the Otay Universidad area when he was walking on the street, witness reports claim he was intercepted by several gunmen who shot him several times. According to reports, several "security houses" have been located in the area before.


In Zona Norte there was an execution too, a man was shot just moments ago in the Zona Norte flea market where he sole merchandise, preliminary reports claim there MIGHT be a suspect under custody, the victim who was shot twice was carrying a plastic bag filled with marijuana.

The highly lucrative Zona Norte is being fought by 3 main cells, those loyal to "El Chacal" and formerly under "El Mono" which are aligned with CAF and are the main force there, those under "El Alejo" which apparently work for Jose Soto aka "El Tigre" and his cell and a new group trying to gain control of Zona Norte under orders of "La Rana", brother of "El Akiles", believed to be responsible for the execution of "El Mono"


Julian Leyzaola: The hitman said the police chief sent him to kill me

Posted: 16 May 2015 12:31 PM PDT

By Lucio R. Borderland Beat, written using material from Zeta Tijuana Magazine

Details of the attempted assassination as told by Leyzaola

From the Military Hospital in Mexico City, Juárez, Julian Leyzaola the former Secretary of Public Security, gave an interview to Zeta in Tijuana.  

In the interview the former secretary says that just before the attack, the gunman told Leyzaola that he had a message for him, he then told him that it (the hit) was from Juárez municipal police chief Jesús Antonio Reyes Ramírez (image below left).

Leyzaola also told Zeta Magazine, that he had no faith in justice being achieved in his case, that the police would not even take his statement.  He shares that his transfer to D.F. was because of security issues.

He says he is contemplating after his rehabilitation is complete, to move back to Baja California and live a "normal life, like normal people".

A week following the attempt on his life, he clarifies what exactly happened on the day that left him with three bullets in his body, one hitting his spine, and also about the man who wished him dead.

Leyzaola chose a trusted journalist, Zeta Tijuana's editor, Adela Navarro Bello, to share his story with via a telephone interview.

He explains that on the day of the shooting, he was with his wife and two year old son.  They had plans to cross the border into El Paso to shop.  They were on a busy highway and stopped to exchange currency at a "cambio" (money exchange house). 

His wife and son exited the vehicle, leaving him alone behind the wheel of his Jeep.  That is when the sicario approached the vehicle, gave the message and immediately fired into the car.


Leyzaola says he was unarmed because they were going to cross over into the U.S.

During his time as secretary, Leyzaola clashed with the administration of Chief Reyes Ramírez.  

Never a man that is shy about sharing what his conclusions are, he straight out said the Chief was working for "Los Aztecas". He discovered the ties during his time as secretary.

He says he warned the state government about Reyes Ramírez, when the chief was applying for a position, saying, "he is a scoundrel with ties to organized crime".

But in time, Leyzaola left his position, and despite his warnings Reyes Ramírez became chief.

About his injuries, he says he was hit by a total of three bullets.  One came in through the side, and is still in his body but poses no problem, another pierced his lung, and the surgery for that injury was successful, but it is the bullet that hit his spine that is the medical issue.  He says he is non-ambulatory, that the bullet "shattered my spine", and it's that injury, that is the cause of his need for rehabilitation. 


He did not share a long term prognosis, or if his inability to walk is permanent.  

Mexicos Cartels and the economics of Cocaine

Posted: 16 May 2015 11:28 AM PDT

Posted on Borderland Beat by Otis B Fly-Wheel reproduced from a Stratfor article

[ Subject Matter: Cocaine, Drug profit economics and Cartels
Recommendation: No prior subject matter knowledge required, this is an older article but contains a lot of information as to why the cartels move drugs, current profit margin on cocaine 3,200 %, current profit margin on legal exports 15%]

By Scott Steward



At Stratfor, we follow Mexico's criminal cartels closely. In fact, we are currently finishing our 2013 cartel forecast, which will be released later this month. As we analyze the Mexican cartels, we recognize that to understand their actions and the interactions between them, we need to acknowledge that at their core they are businesses and not politically motivated militant organizations. This means that although violence between and within the cartels grabs much of the spotlight, a careful analysis of the cartels must look beyond the violence to the business factors that drive their interests — and their bankrolls.

There are several distinct business factors that have a profound impact on cartel behavior. One example is the growing and harvesting cycle of marijuana in the Sierra Madre Occidental. Another is the industrialization of methamphetamine production in Mexico and the increasing profit pool it has provided to the Mexican cartels in recent years. But when we are examining the transnational behavior of the Mexican cartels, the most important factor influencing that behavior is without a doubt the economics of the cocaine trade.

The Cocaine Profit Chain

Cocaine is derived from the leaves of the coca plant, and three countries — Colombia, Peru and Bolivia — account for all the coca harvested in the world. Turning coca into cocaine hydrochloride is a relatively simple three-step process. Once the leaves of the coca plant are harvested, they are rendered into what is known as coca paste.



From there, the coca paste is processed into cocaine base, which eventually becomes cocaine hydrochloride. The process involves several precursor chemicals: kerosene, sulphuric acid, sodium carbonate, hydrochloric acid, potassium permanganate and acetone. Most of these chemicals are readily available and easily replaced or substituted, making them difficult for authorities to regulate.

According to figures from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, coca farmers in Colombia receive $1.30 for each kilogram of fresh coca leaf. In Peru and Bolivia, where the leaf is air-dried before being sold, farmers receive $3.00 per kilogram.

For the fresh leaf used in processing in Colombia, it takes somewhere between 450 and 600 kilograms of coca leaf to produce 1 kilogram of cocaine base, depending on the variety of coca plant used (some varieties have a higher cocaine alkaloid content). At $1.30 per kilogram, this means that it costs somewhere between $585 and $780 to purchase the coca leaf required to produce one kilogram of cocaine base. One kilogram of cocaine base can then be converted into roughly one kilogram of cocaine hydrochloride, which is commonly referred to as cocaine.



As cocaine progresses from the production site to the end users, it increases in value. According to figures provided by the Colombian National Police, a kilogram of cocaine can be purchased for $2,200 in the jungles in Colombia's interior and for between $5,500 and $7,000 at Colombian ports.

But the price increases considerably once it leaves the production areas and is transported closer to consumption markets. In Central America cocaine can be purchased for $10,000 per kilogram, and in southern Mexico that same kilogram sells for $12,000.

Once it passes through Mexico, a kilogram of cocaine is worth $16,000 in the border towns of northern Mexico, and it will fetch between $24,000 and $27,000 wholesale on the street in the United States depending on the location.

The prices are even higher in Europe, where they can run from $53,000 to $55,000 per kilogram, and prices exceed $200,000 in Australia. The retail prices per gram of cocaine are also relatively high, with a gram costing approximately $100-$150 in the United States, $130-$185 in Europe and $250-$500 in Australia.

Along the supply chain there is also quite a bit of "cutting," which is when substances are added to the cocaine to dilute its purity and stretch profit. According to the Colombian National Police, the purity of cocaine leaving the country is about 85 per-cent. By the time it reaches the United Kingdom, purity is 60 per-cent, and it drops further to about 30 per-cent at the retail level, according to the U.N. World Drug Report 2012.



Cartel Behavior

There has been a thriving two-way flow of contraband goods across the U.S.-Mexico border since its inception. Mexican organized crime groups have been involved in the smuggling of marijuana to the U.S. market since the U.S. government began to restrict marijuana in the early 1900s, and Mexican organized criminals profited handsomely during the Prohibition era in the United States.

As U.S. demand for illicit drugs increased in the second half of the 20th century, Mexican organizations branched out to become involved in smuggling other types of drugs, including pharmaceuticals and black tar heroin poppy cultivation was also introduced to Mexico in the 1930s

(Otis: a quite important point is missed out here on the timeline, during the second world war American demand for morphine for the injured outstripped its supply. Mexican cartels were legally supplying USA with black tar opium to be processed into morphine. This demand dried up after the end of WW2, and the export of the black tar opium across the border again became illegal.)

These Mexican organized crime syndicates, such as the Guadalajara cartel also began to traffic cocaine into the United States in the late 1970s, but for many years the Mexican organizations worked as junior partners for the powerful Colombian cartels in Medellin and Cali. Mexico was a secondary route for cocaine compared to the primary route through the Caribbean.

As a result, the Colombians pocketed the lion's share of the profit made on cocaine trafficked through Mexico and the Mexicans received a fee on each kilogram they transported. (However, they did not assume any of the risk of losing shipments between South America and Mexico.)

In the late 1970s and the 1980s — the early phase of Mexican involvement in the cocaine trade — Central American middlemen such as Juan Matta-Ballesteros were also heavily involved in the flow of cocaine through Mexico. They moved cocaine from South America to Mexico, becoming wealthy and powerful as a result of the profits they made.

Juan Matta-Ballesteros

As U.S. interdiction efforts, aided by improvements in aerial and maritime surveillance, curtailed much of the Caribbean cocaine flow in the 1980s and 1990s, and as the Colombian and U.S. governments dismantled the Colombian cartels, the land routes through Central America and Mexico became more important to the flow of cocaine. It is far more difficult to spot and seize contraband moving across the busy U.S.-Mexico border than it is to spot contraband flowing across the Caribbean.

This increase in the importance of Mexico allowed the Mexican cartels to gain leverage in negotiations with their Central American and Colombian partners and to secure a larger share of the profit. Indeed, by the mid-1990s the increasing importance of Mexican organizations to the flow of cocaine to the United States allowed the Mexican cartels to become the senior partners in the business relationship.

In a quest for an even larger portion of the cocaine profit chain, the Mexican cartels have increased their activities in Central and South America over the last two decades. The Mexicans have cut out many of the middlemen in Central America who used to transport cocaine from South America to Mexico and sell it to the Mexican cartels. Their efforts to consolidate their control over Central American smuggling routes continue today.

This move meant that the Mexican cartels assumed responsibility for the losses incurred by transporting cocaine from South America to Mexico, but it also permitted them to reap an increasing portion of the profit pool. Instead of making a set profit of perhaps $1,000 or $1,500 per kilogram of cocaine smuggled into the United States, the Mexican cartels can now buy a kilogram of cocaine for $2,200 or less in South America and sell it for $24,000 or more to their partners in the United States.

But the expansion of the Mexican cartels did not stop in Central America. According to South American authorities, the Mexican cartels are now becoming more involved in the processing of cocaine from coca leaf in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.

There have also been reports of seizures of coca paste being smuggled to cocaine processing laboratories in Honduras and Guatemala. The use of these Central American processing laboratories, which are run by Mexican cartels, appears to be a reaction to the increased efforts of the Colombian National Police to crack down on cocaine laboratories and the availability of cocaine processing chemicals. (Otis: see link to Chivis article on coca being grown in Mexico).

U.S. counter-narcotics officials report that today the Mexican cartels are the largest players in the global cocaine trade and are steadily working to grab the portion of cocaine smuggling not yet under their control. But the efforts of the Mexican cartels to increase their share of the cocaine profit are not confined to the production side; they have also expanded their involvement in the smuggling of South American cocaine to Europe and Australia and have established a footprint in African, Asian and European countries.

Furthermore, they have stepped up their activities in places like the Dominican Republic and Haiti in an attempt to increase their share of the cocaine being smuggled through the Caribbean to the U.S. market. As seen by recent operations launched by U.S. law enforcement, such as Operation Xcellerator, (Otis: see link to Buggs article on this operation). Operation Chokehold and Operation Imperial Emperor, the Mexican cartels have also been increasing their presence at distribution points inside the United States, such as Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas, in an effort to increase their share of the cocaine profit chain inside the United States.

While marijuana sales have always been an important financial source for the Mexican cartels, the large profits from the cocaine trade are what have permitted the cartels to become as powerful as they are today. The billions of dollars of profit to be had from the cocaine trade have not only motivated much of the Mexican cartels' global expansion but have also financed it. Cocaine profits allow the Mexican cartels to buy boats and planes, hire smugglers and assassins ("sicarios") and bribe government officials.

Cocaine is a product that has a very limited and specific growing area. Consequently, that distinct coca growing area and the transportation corridors stretching between the growing area and the end markets are critically important. With a business model of selling cocaine at over 10 times the cost of acquisition — and even greater over the cost of production — it is not surprising that the competition among the various Mexican cartels for the smuggling corridors through Mexico to the United States has become quite aggressive.

Original article in English at Stratfor

Mexicos Cartels and the economics of Cocaine is republished with permission of Stratfor

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