Friday, April 10, 2009

Crime in Guadalajara and other news bits

Last week the big news was that the head of the state´s homicide squad was assassinated while he was driving on the Guadalajara beltway.

Two men on a motorcycle pulled alongside of the chief´s personal pickup truck and began blasting away. At least 12 bullets penetrated the driver´s side door and window. The chief died instantly and crashed into two other vehicles. A neighbor who was getting a lift to work was in the passenger seat and died at a hospital several hours later.

Two suspects were caught after motorcycle police gave chase and a roadblock was set up. This kind of capture is rare.

Evidently the motive in the shooting was that one group of narco thugs was upset about the arrest of one of their pals.

The news media discover Mexico

Ever since Hillary Clinton came down here a while ago the American news media have begun to discover the neighbor on the southern border. Today I saw that Business Week is touting a cover story on Mexico.

Give Hillary credit for saying what American leaders should have been saying years ago: that the enormous sums of money and the high-powered weapons flowing down from the U.S., the world´s biggest market for illegal drugs, have destabilized Mexico. Drug money from the U.S. helps corrupt officials at all levels.

Crooked cab drivers

Funny story in Mural this week. The newspaper did en exposé on how Gudalajara cab drivers systematically overcharge passengers.

The head of regulation for taxis said, Hey, you´re exaggerating the problem. We got only 5 complaints last year. There is a phone number for complaints on every taxi´s windshield.

The paper called the taxi complaint number. It had been disconnected.

This would be funnier if it weren´t so frustrating. The exposé follows Mural´s series on how the suppliers of liquid natural gas systematically overcharge (a truck comes to your house and pumps up your tank).

Here public officials can pretty much ignore corruption stories without worrying about it.

The cardinal and abortion

On the other hand, the Catholic Church still has a lot of clout in the state of Jalisco, where we live. He managed to get members of the two major opposing parties last week to approve a ban on abortions in this state.

The Church is a powerful conservative force here, and state elections are just around the corner. No candidate wants to risk being denounced from the pulpit.

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