After the recent massacre of nine Mormon-affiliated U.S. citizens in Mexico—three women and six children—President Donald Trump publicly vowed to slap an official designation of Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) on that nation’s cartels. Did he mean it? Or was he just seeking to rally his base ahead of next year’s elections? Is this something that Trump will follow through on—or not? Bloomberg reports Trump is scheduled to meet Friday with top advisers to decide whether to go ahead with the plan. Superficially, this looks like a tough policy, but it’s a singularly bad idea. Such a move would, in theory, unleash the full fury of U.S. might against the narcos. From sanctions to drone strikes to military intervention, all options would be on the table. It might also allow Trump to reallocate more funds for his beloved border wall. But the consequences would range from complicated and unpredictable to perfectly disastrous. One is … [Read more...] about Trump Agrees With Families of Massacred Mormon Moms and Kids: Mexican Cartels are ‘Terrorists’
CHILAPA DE ÁLVAREZ, Mexico — It’s a little past 10 o’clock on a Thursday night, and the last taco vendors in Chilapa’s central park are packing up to go home—but the cartel assassin known as “El Chimino” has just started his late shift. Rival gang members, striking deep into his boss’s territory, now pose a growing threat—and Chimino must hunt down the competition. He cruises methodically around the park tonight, using a cartel-owned taxi for cover. He’s accompanied by two more hitmen under his command, their weapons stashed beneath the seats. At major intersections the driver parks in the shadows between streetlights, and the men recon the town square on foot. The invaders call themselves the Ardillos (squirrels), and they’ve already murdered many of Chimino’s band. His orders from the boss: to attack on sight. The team completes its sweep of the streets around the park, then settles on a corner outside a … [Read more...] about The Mexican Hitman and ‘The White Boy’
CHICAGO–It’s summertime on the South Side of Chicago, and the sirens never seem to stop. In neighborhoods with names like Little Village, Back of the Yards, and Dolton, squad cars and ambulances scream day and night past shuttered storefronts and boarded-up houses. Welcome to the one of the most violent cities in America. There were 764 homicides here in 2016, according to a recent study by the University of Chicago Crime Lab. That’s a jump of more than 50 percent from the previous year, with most of them occurring in poor “ghetto” communities on the South and West Sides. All that killing is fueled, at least in part, by the city’s booming drug trade. Native poet Carl Sandburg once dubbed his home town “Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler.” Add one of the country’s busiest airports and a cluster of major highway arteries to all those railroads and you get what DEA agent Mark Giuffre, of the Chicago Field … [Read more...] about How Mexican Cartels Prey on Chicago’s Chaos
TIERRA CALIENTE, Mexico — It’s a scorching Friday afternoon in early February. In the sleepy town called Tlapehuala, the siesta hour is shattered when the local boss for the Familia Michoacana cartel rolls through on “personal business.” The crime lord swoops along the dusty, sun-bleached streets in a gray, plateless Nissan pickup captained by his personal bodyguard. Many of the town’s residents appear to recognize the resident strongman, or at least his vehicle. But there’s not much they can do about el jefe’s presence here today. That’s because the police station in Tlapehuala has been closed for over a year—so there’s no one to call, or file a report with, even if they wanted to. A brave local introduces me to the capo on the steps of the economic secretary’s office—the town’s lone, remaining government outpost—after his “business” inside the building is finished. “[La Familia] … [Read more...] about Abandoned by the Police, Mexican Villagers Fight to Take Back Their Towns
The young Mexican woman walked to her death with a firm step.Her face betrayed no fear as she climbed the ladder to a scaffold on a bridge overlooking the Yuba River. The afternoon sun sparkled on the waterway as it wound through pine-shrouded mountains.The night before, hundreds had celebrated the Fourth of July. Now, they watched, silent, as the woman pushed back two plaits of black hair from her shoulders. She placed the noose around her neck.When they called for her last words, she declared, fearless, “I would do the same again if I was so provoked.” Advertisement Here in this small town in the northern reaches of the Sierra Nevada, the legend of Josefa lives on more than 160 years after her death. Her saga, cobbled together through historical news articles, books and history buffs, is largely unknown even among the state’s Mexican American population but has riveted young and old here in the middle of Trump country.A neighboring town staged a play about … [Read more...] about She was hanged in California 168 years ago — for murder or for being Mexican?