Thursday, October 09, 2008

A rising political star assassinated by narcos

“The slaying of a rising political star is ascribed to his refusal to have any contact with drug traffickers.” -- LA Times

MEXICO CITY -- Until he was gunned down over the weekend, Salvador Vergara Cruz was a man of some influence with a promising future in his political party. Mayor of an important resort town outside Mexico City, and a close confidant of his state's governor, Vergara apparently felt sufficiently at ease to travel without a specially assigned team of bodyguards despite receiving death threats from purported drug lords.

The 34-year-old Vergara was killed by hooded assassins armed with semiautomatic rifles as he drove with other officials toward his home city of Ixtapan de la Sal on Saturday afternoon.

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The Interamerican Press Association recently came out with a report on the status of press freedom in Mexico. It´s a very dangerous place to work.

Update: The latest issue of the Economist tells why it´s so hard to root out corruption. The highest authorities are involved, just as in the movie Traffic.

The arrest of senior officials shows the government’s resolve in fighting drug traffickers—and that the rot in law enforcement reaches the top

AT LAST the government seemed to be enjoying some success in its battle against the drug gangs. On October 25th Eduardo Arellano Félix, a leader of the Tijuana “cartel”, was arrested, the last of five brothers still at large who had run what was once one of the world’s most powerful trafficking syndicates. Tijuana has been the scene of a vicious battle between drug factions and the security forces, with over 150 murders in the past month alone. Mr Arellano (pictured above) was captured by Mexican officials acting on information from the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the US Marshals Service. It was an example of the kind of co-operation that officials in both countries hope will bring success for the crackdown against the drug gangs launched by Felipe Calderón when he took office as Mexico’s president almost two years ago.

But only two days later came news of more worrying recent arrests, those of two top officials at the attorney-general’s office who were among those supposedly leading the crackdown. Miguel Colorado González was in charge of assigning police to organised-crime investigations; Fernando Rivera Hernández was one of his deputies, in charge of intelligence. Three more junior officials were also indicted, and 30 were fired pending further investigation. According to investigators, the arrested officials had been passing information to the Sinaloa cartel, a more powerful rival to the Tijuana mob. They had received up to $450,000 a month in bribes, in some cases going back several years.
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