Tamaulipas

Mexico: fugitive narco-governors snared

Javier Duarte, the fugitive ex-governor of Mexico's Veracruz state, was detained in Guatemala on April 15 in a joint operation by Interpol and Guatemalan police. He's now awaiting extradition back to Mexico, where he is wanted on charges of money laundering and protecting organized crime. Duarte was governor of Veracruz from 2010 until he stepped down last October, shortly before the end of his term. He was doing so in order to face the allegations against him—but then he disappeared and went on the lam.

Mexico: mothers unearth clandestine burial sites

A group of mothers in the Mexican state of Veracruz who came together to search for missing loved ones announced Aug. 14 that they had disovered a total of 28 clandestine graves with remains of some 40 bodies. The women banded together under the name Colectivo Solecito to search for their kin after growing tired of waiting for authorities to do so. They said they found the graves since Aug. 1 in an area north of the port of Veracruz. The group's Lucia de los Angeles Diaz Genaocalled the area "a great cemetery of crime" that is used "like a camp to kill people who have been kidnapped." The discovered remains have been exhumed and delivered to police for forensic analysis.

Mexico: Zapatistas host Ayotzinapa families

The Zapatista rebels in Mexico's southern state of Chiapas marked the anniversary of their 1994 New Years Day uprising by hosting a national activist gathering in their territory. Guests of honor at the proceedings in the small pueblo of Oventic were a group of parents and other family members of the 43 students who disappeared in September 2014. The students, from Ayotzinapa in Guerrero state, are said to have been abducted by corrupt local police and turned over to a murderous narco-gang—but surviving kin and their supporters increasingly charge Mexico's government with a cover-up in the case. The Zapatistas' Subcommander Moises, joined by 43 masked rebels (one for each missing student), oversaw the ceremony and each embraced the family members. Moises expressed his own skepticism of the official investigation: "The Zapatistas believe that we cannot trust the bad governments anymore, they are the servants of capital, stewards of big capitalist business," he said. "The one calling the shots is global capitalism, that is why we cannot believe them." (TeleSur, Jan. 1)

SCOTUS turns down Mexican appeal in BP oil spill

The US Supreme Court on Nov. 30 denied (PDF) certiorari in an appeal by Mexican states attempting to sue BP over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The court let stand a lower court ruling in Veracruz, Mexico, et al. v. BP, P.L.C., et al, finding that the states of Veracruz, Tamaulipas and Quintana Roo cannot bring suit against BP because Mexico's federal government owns the affected property. The lawsuit sought damages for the cost of responding to the spill, contamination of the water and shoreline and lost tourism. The Mexican federal government filed a similar suit in 2013, which is currently being heard.

Chiapas peasants march against narco-violence

Maya indigenous peasants in Mexico's southern state of Chiapas are marching cross-country to oppose violence by the local narco gangs and the corruption of local authorities that protect them. The "pilgrimage" left the rural town of Simojovel some 15,000 strong at the end of March, and is now arriving at the state capital Tuxtla Gutiérrez, some 240 kilometers away through rugged country. The pilgrimage was organized by the Catholic pacifist group Pueblo Creyente (Faithful People) with the support of the local diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas in response to a wave of narco-violence in Simojovel.

Mexico's notorious 'Z-42' busted

Mexican authorities on March 4 announced the capture of Omar Treviño AKA "Z-42"—leader of Los Zetas, the ultra-violent narco-paramilitary network that has long terrorized the country. Z-42 was detained without a shot being fired by federal police and soldiers in San Pedro Garza García, an upscale suburb of northern industrial hub Monterrey, officials said. US DEA chief Michele Leonhart congratulated Mexico, saying the bust "strikes at the heart of the leadership structure of the Zetas." The US State Department had a $5 million price on Treviño's head, while Mexican authorities offered $2 million.

Mexico: migrant massacre document released

Police agents in San Fernando in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas aided Los Zetas drug gang in carrying out massacres of hundreds of Central American migrants and others in 2010 and 2011, according to a partially redacted document declassified by Mexico's Attorney General's Office (PGR). Although collusion between local Tamaulipas police and criminal gangs was already well known—US diplomatic cables released by the US government in 2013 discussed it, and locals refer to the police as "polizetas"—this is first time that the PGR has been required to release a document from an ongoing criminal investigation. Previously federal prosecutors had insisted that Mexican freedom of information laws didn't apply to open investigations. The document is now available on the website of the Washington DC-based National Security Archive, along with other relevant documents, including reports from US government agencies and US diplomatic cables released by the WikiLeaks group.

Tamaulipas: 'citizen journalist' assassinated

Mexico's northeastern border state of Tamaulipas, right on the South Texas line, continues to suffer the worst of the narco-violence that has been tearing the country apart for years—but with little media attention, as the local press is too terrorized by the cartels to even cover them. Now, courageous "citizen journalists" who have been taking up the slack are being targeted. Daily Beast on Oct. 21 noted the case of a crusading micro-blogger in the border town of Reynosa who went by the handle "Felina" (@Miut3) and used a photo of Catwoman as her Twitter avatar. Felina was an administrator of reader-generated Valor por Tamaulipas, which aggressively reports the frequent shoot-outs, slayings and abductions—in defiance of threats from the narcos. Last year, one narco-gang even distributed leaflets throughout Tamaulipas offering a reward of 600,000 pesos ($48,000) for anyone who would reveal the names of the site's administrators. Finally, on Oct. 8, Valor por Tamaulipas received the following tweet: "We're coming very close to many of you watch out felina." It wasn't a bluff...

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