Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mexican Classroom

Still waiting for the instructor:

"Mexico confronts resistant teachers; Government tries to regain control" by Joshua Partlow Washington Post  July 11, 2015

MEXICO CITY — They have seized public plazas and filled them with sprawling tent cities. They have burned government buildings and choked off a city’s gasoline supply. They have held marches and torched ballots and closed schools for weeks at a time.

Mexico’s rowdy public school teachers’ union — particularly the branch based in the southern state of Oaxaca — has long been a thorn in the government’s side, as it wages its battle against President Enrique Peña Nieto’s restructuring of the education system.

But now that last month’s midterm election has passed, and the teachers’ threats of an election boycott largely failed, Peña Nieto’s administration wants to strike harder at the union by sapping its funding and wresting control back into the hands of the state, according to Mexican officials.

Related: Mexican Election

The showdown focuses on whether the members of the union’s militant offshoot, with 80,000 members, will submit to standardized tests intended to assess knowledge of subject areas.

It's all over tests?

The wider union, the National Education Workers Union, with more than 300,000 members, is the largest trade federation in Latin America.

Merit testing for teachers is required under the 2013 constitutional overhauls pushed by Peña Nieto’s administration, and the tests have begun for teachers seeking promotions to administrative posts. The education minister, Emilio Chuayffet Chemor, has said that teachers who don’t take the test will be fired. 

There is an attack on teachers all across the planet, even when they teach the correct political dogma.

But teachers are resisting in other areas, particularly in Oaxaca, the home of Section 22, a part of the militant movement within the union, and one of the most vocal local chapters.

Oaxaca is one of the poorest states in the country, and government officials say the union there controls the education budget, decides which teachers get paid and promoted, and blocks government school programs they disagree with. Access to vacation days or better jobs can depend on participation in union activities and protests.

Damn unions.

The union in Oaxaca ‘‘has the power of the state without the corresponding obligations,’’ said a federal government briefing paper on the problems there.

Mexican officials say they have lost control of the State Institute of Public Education of Oaxaca, which they say is under full control of Section 22. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, would not discuss how they intend to take back governmental authority. Section 22 leaders did not respond to attempts to reach them.

You send in troops, what else?

‘‘The government needs to limit its functions,’’ Francisco Gil Villegas, a professor of social sciences at the College of Mexico, said of the union. ‘‘It’s not clear who is the boss of the teachers, who pays them, who punishes them for wrongdoing. Who’s going to make them fulfill their work obligations?’’

The conflict between Oaxacan teachers and the government dates back about a decade. In 2006, soldiers and police mobilized to drive out striking teachers from the central plaza who had camped there for months demanding pay raises.

Wow. Occupy Mexico! No wonder they are being called militant by the corporate pre$$.

Between 2006 and 2010, the teachers missed an average of 64 school days per year due to strikes and walkouts, according to government statistics.

Made the kids happy.

Since the teacher-testing plan passed, teachers have again staged massive protests and canceled classes for weeks at a time.


Then the coverage marched to a halt.

"Mexican drug lord stuns nation with prison escape via tunnel; Brazen plot sullies image of leader" by Azam Ahmed and Randal C. Archibold New York Times  July 13, 2015

First suspicion is a Jade Helm angle, but couldn't possibly be, right?

NEW YORK — Shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the Mexican drug kingpin whose capture last year had been trumpeted by his country’s government as a crucial victory in its bloody campaign against the narcotics trade, stepped into the shower of his cell in the most secure wing of the most secure prison in Mexico.

See: Sunday Globe Special: They Got Guzman

He never came out.

When guards later entered the cell, they discovered a 2-by-2-foot hole, through which Guzmán, known as El Chapo, or Shorty, had disappeared.

The prison break humiliated the government of Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, which had proclaimed the arrest of Guzmán and leaders of other drug cartels as a crucial achievement in restoring order and sovereignty to a country long beleaguered by the horrific violence associated with organized drug crime.

The opening in the shower led to a mile-long tunnel leading to a construction site in the nearby neighborhood of Santa Juanita. The tunnel was more than 2 feet wide and more than 5 feet high, tall enough for him to walk standing upright, and was burrowed more than 30 feet underground. It had been equipped with lighting, ventilation, and a motorcycle on rails that was probably used to transport digging material and cart the dirt out.

A few days after Guzmán’s arrest in February of last year, Peña Nieto told the Univision television network that he would be asking his interior minister every day if Guzmán, who had famously broken out of a Mexican prison once before, in 2001, was being well guarded.

“It’s the government’s responsibility to ensure that the escape that occurred a few years ago is never ever repeated,” Peña Nieto said.

A video camera watched over the notorious prisoner’s cell, but apparently did not record how Guzmán was able to tunnel out undetected. 

Been a lot of prison breaks lately, huh?

In the hours after the breakout, the government began a sweeping manhunt, calling states of emergency in the surrounding areas and shutting down the airport in the nearby city of Toluca. The police and military personnel, many wearing body armor and carrying automatic weapons, stopped vehicles near the prison, Altiplano, which is about 55 miles west of Mexico City, and tightened security along the borders of Mexico state, where the prison is located. The authorities also held 30 prison employees for questioning.

That has to be a first with the border.

Though this was perhaps Mexico’s most spectacular prison escape since the previous one by Guzmán, the country has seen many breakouts, which have often occurred with the collusion of the authorities.

You mean, like this one? 

I don't even believe this fantastical story.

Peña Nieto, on a state visit to France, issued a statement Sunday saying that the escape “represents without a doubt an affront to the Mexican state.” Though he said he would remain in France to finish the visit, he dispatched his interior minister to personally oversee the operation to recapture Guzmán.

Also see: 18 led to safety after robbery attempt in France

Is that where the tunnel came out?

Experts on the drug underworld were left dumbfounded and predicted the escape could bolster US demands to extradite top crime figures, particularly when US law enforcement personnel have played major roles in many dangerous cases.

The ones they are not working with anyway. 

And NOW WE KNOW the WHY of all this!

“It’s shocking, embarrassing, a huge blow, almost everything under the sun,” said Eric L. Olson, a scholar at the Mexico Institute of the Wilson Center who follows crime trends in Latin America. “It is almost Mexico’s worst nightmare, and I suspect many in US law enforcement are apoplectic right now.

“Mexico is going to be under increasing pressure from the US in terms of extraditing these top people,” he said.

I think we just saw who sprung him (if that is indeed what happened; looks to me like he was let go and this fabulous cover story script has been presented for fear factor among other reasons).

The United States never filed a formal extradition request for Guzmán, though US officials did discuss it with their Mexican counterparts, who made it clear that they would not readily give him up, US law enforcement officials said after Guzmán’s arrest.

‘‘He ought to have been housed in an American prison,’’ Peter Bensinger, a former administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said Sunday.

Washington’s official response Sunday was diplomatic, as Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement that the United States shared ‘‘Mexico’s concern regarding the escape’’ and stood by to help in the manhunt.


"The fact that Lynch felt compelled to make the statement in the first place is further evidence of the US’s complicated relationship with “El Chapo,” which WhoWhatWhy has explored here and here." -- http://whowhatwhy.org/2015/07/13/drug-kingpins-escape-highlights-complicated-us-relationship-with-el-chapo/

But one Mexico expert said American officials probably expressed more frustration behind the scenes.

‘‘I think this will add to the distrust many US agencies feel [toward the Mexican government] — even if that’s not publicly voiced,’’ said David Shirk, San Diego-based fellow for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

And Operation Fast and Furious and the like add to it?

Related: U.S. Government Brings Drug War to U.S. Cities 

Yeah, that's the other part of the duplicitous drug war, along with laundering the money to bolster banks.

Mexico has long struggled to reshape its police forces and root out corruption, but Olson said the prison system often takes a back seat as “the last thing in the chain of law enforcement.”

Peña Nieto himself told Univision last year that if Guzmán were to escape again, “it would be more than unfortunate, it would be unforgivable.”

That was the sentiment among analysts and ordinary people alike in Mexico on Sunday, as they struggled to grasp how a kingpin already known for burrowing tunnels was able to do so under what was supposed to be an impregnable prison.

Think I know how.

In addition to pioneering the use of tunnels to smuggle drugs under the US border, Guzmán built a warren of them in Culiacán, the capital of the state of Sinaloa, where his cartel was based and where he was believed to have been hiding for years.

Ah, the Sinaloa cartel.

See: U.S. Government Helped Rise of Mexican Drug Cartel

Then they got 'em!


Know who I distrust?

"In Mexico, escape heightens distrust" by William Neuman New York Times  July 14, 2015

MEXICO CITY — Mexican authorities on Monday intensified their search for Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the country’s most notorious drug kingpin, as many Mexicans expressed disbelief at his stunning escape and wondered how much of the government’s waning credibility may have slipped away through the tunnel that carried the trafficker to freedom.

Well, if they didn't have any credibility to begin with....

“They’re all in it together; they’re all accomplices,” said José Manuel Gil, 61, a grocery shop owner in Mexico City. “These all-mighty criminals are so powerful, I have an impression they have a direct line to the president, to let him know what they are doing and just wiring millions to buy off their free rein.”

The stunning escape of Guzmán, known as “El Chapo,” or “Shorty,” from what was supposed to be the country’s most secure prison was the latest blow to an already weakened President Enrique Peña Nieto. It fed cynicism in Mexico about the country’s leadership and its corruption-riddled institutions.

“The lack of rule of law, the stain of corruption, and the disaster of the criminal system in Mexico is probably Mexico’s No. 1 problem,” said Enrique Krauze, a historian. “The escape only underlines the cruel and bitter reality. We need to reform the system starting from its roots.”

Historians will recall the same regarding early 21st-century AmeriKa.

Of Guzmán’s escape he added, “Our worst nightmare has happened. This has a terrible weight, real and symbolic.”

On Saturday night, Guzmán entered the shower area of his cell and dropped through a small opening in the floor, about 20 inches square. He climbed down a ladder in a vertical shaft, then continued through an elaborately constructed tunnel about a mile long that ended in a small house on a construction site in a nearby community.

When guards noticed that he had not come out of the shower, they sounded the alarm, but by then he had disappeared. The escape was announced Sunday morning.

Local news media reported on Monday that the head of the Altiplano prison, which is about a 90 minute drive west of Mexico City, had been detained and was being questioned by investigators, along with about 30 other prison employees.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Alma Camarena Díaz, 54. “The level of corruption in this country, it is just everywhere.”

US agents had intelligence on at least two previous plots to help Guzman escape from prison, according to internal Drug Enforcement Administration documents obtained by the Associated Press.



At least they got his son:

"Son of alleged drug-cartel chief arrested in Mexico" Associated Press  June 24, 2015

MEXICO CITY — The son and alleged second-in-command of the leader of Mexico’s most violent drug cartel was captured in the western state of Jalisco, National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said Tuesday.

The suspect, Ruben Oseguera Gonzalez, 25, was born in California and holds dual US-Mexican citizenship, Rubido said.

Oseguera bears the nickname ‘‘el Menchito,’’ the diminutive of his father’s nickname. His father, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, is the alleged leader of the Jalisco New Generation cartel and is nicknamed ‘‘Mencho,’’ a phonetic derivation of his first name.

Rubido said the younger Oseguera served as second in command of the cartel and was captured with an assault rifle that was inscribed ‘‘CJNG’’ — the cartel’s initials in Spanish — followed by a number ‘‘2.’’ The rifle had ‘‘Menchito’’ inscribed on the other side, Rubido said.

Soldiers and federal police captured Oseguera in the Guadalajara suburb of Zapopan. Rubido said he was accompanied by his brother-in-law, who was also arrested, but they had no bodyguards.

Rubido said Oseguera had recently undergone a nose operation, and a photo of the suspect showed his nose stuffed with what appeared to be cotton wadding. It was unclear whether the suspect was trying to change his physical appearance.

It is at least the second time that the younger Oseguera has been captured. Federal forces arrested him in January 2014, and he was held for almost a year on weapons, drug, and money-laundering charges. A court ordered him released in January 2015, but it was not clear why.

The Jalisco cartel is blamed for some of the bloodiest and boldest attacks on federal forces in years. The gang was implicated in an ambush that killed 15 state police officers in April and in a May 1 attack in which a rocket launcher shot down an army helicopter, killing 10.

Federal forces last month killed 42 suspects believed to be affiliated with the gang on a ranch in Michoacan state, which borders Jalisco.

In just a few years, New Generation has grown from a small branch of the powerful Sinaloa cartel to one of Mexico’s strongest criminal groups in its own right, according to the US Treasury Department, whose Office of Foreign Assets Control maintains a ‘‘black list’’ of drug trafficking organizations.

Then they had U.S. assistance, didn't they?

New Generation’s quick rise reflects a rapidly changing organized-crime landscape in Mexico as the government targets top leaders of established cartels.


More than any other criminal group, New Generation has taken advantage of the government strategy, strengthening and grabbing territory as its rivals are weakened.

With whose help?

The Zetas cartel was once considered Mexico’s most violent, but arrests of its top leadership have lowered the gang’s profile.

Ah, yes, the Zetas.


Things are heating up in Mexico:

"Deadly Mexico fire deemed suspicious" AP  June 25, 2015

MEXICO CITY — A fire that killed 17 residents at a retirement home for poor people on Mexico’s northern border may have been intentionally set, the city’s mayor said Wednesday.

My first thought was drug gang.

Mexicali Mayor Jaime Diaz Ochoa said the area where the fire started is being investigated because there appeared to be no natural source, such as electrical wires or fuel, for the origin of the fire. Other officials said it started near a perimeter fence.

‘‘There is the assumption that it could have been intentional,’’ Diaz Ochoa told the Televisa network Wednesday. ‘‘In the area where it started there are . . . boxes, which by themselves could not have started the fire.’’

Diaz Ochoa also said he had been told there was a dispute between the administrators of the facility.

‘‘We have been told by the representatives that there was a dispute for control of the nonprofit,’’ he said.

The wood-frame, tin-roof facility was run by the nonprofit Cultural Society for the Promotion of Social Welfare. It housed poor, abandoned, or formerly homeless elderly people.

In its government registration page, the group lists one of its functions as ‘‘giving humanitarian assistance to low-income elderly people in need, including food, shelter, clothing and medical care.’’

Diaz Ochoa said state prosecutors were investigating the fire. Some of the bodies were badly charred and are still awaiting identification.

One resident was still in very serious condition, with burns. Three others injured in the fire were recovering and may be released from a hospital soon, officials said.


I find it hard to believe someone would burn down an old folks home over disputed control, but if so Trump is right.

Maybe there was a natural connection:

"Erupting volcano in western Mexico forces airport to close, dozens to flee" by the Associated Press   July 13, 2015

MEXICO CITY — Ash and cinders spewed Saturday from the Colima Volcano in western Mexico, prompting authorities to close the airport in the state capital of Colima and order the evacuation of a half-dozen hamlets on the flanks of the peak.

At least 70 people were staying at a shelter by the late afternoon.

The volcano began erupting on Thursday and has become increasingly active, leading officials to issue orders to relocate people living nearby.

Civil protection officials described the volcano’s movements as ‘‘atypical,’’ a kind of activity not seen since it underwent a strong eruption in 1913....

I decided to dismiss the class a bit early; you can stay and continue working if you want.


So you kids learn anything?


"US aid offers go ignored in ‘El Chapo’ search; Delay confuses law enforcement on both sides" by Azam Ahmed and Damien Cave New York Times   July 14, 2015

MEXICO CITY — Hours after the world’s most infamous drug lord, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, escaped Mexico’s highest-security prison over the weekend, the United States offered everything it has — marshals, drones, even a special task force — to help find and recapture him.

Okay. That is another ancillary benefit of this "escape." Further U.S. military penetration of Mexico, perhaps even further advancement to the fabled North American Union (when enough of the world abandons the dollar).

But the Mexicans have kept the Americans at bay, without giving an answer on the extra help, according to Mexican and US officials. They say the delay has confounded law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border and undermined efforts to recapture Guzmán, the billionaire head of the Sinaloa cartel, before his wealth and global connections help him disappear.

Okay. I'm thinking there going to kill him in a raid somewhere. That's why you let the fox loose, right? Then everybody looks good and the boot of global tyranny is advanced yet again.

“We can’t really understand why they are refusing to give an answer,” said one Mexican official, who works in the country’s security apparatus but was not authorized to speak publicly about his government’s deliberations. “We’re just on standby.” 

I think I explained it pretty good. Resisting more AmeriKan encroachment even as illegals stream over the border.

Mexico’s hesitations over the US offer reflect years of strain between the two countries as their ambitious joint effort against the cartels has waned, with a drop in extraditions to the United States, divided priorities in Mexico and financing for shared projects in decline.

Whaaaaaat? We are all best buddies in the northern end of this hemisphere. How could there be strains?

Mexico’s interior secretary, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, said Monday night that the two countries were cooperating, just as Mexico worked closely with Guatemala to secure its southern border. But at a news conference about the search for Guzmán, who absconded through an elaborate tunnel dug 30 feet beneath his prison shower, Osorio Chong made clear that no additional US assistance should be expected.

“We are not going to do something new beyond what we have already been doing,” he said.

Mexican and US officials said the manhunt was being shaped by some of the same struggles over urgency, control, and sovereignty that led Mexico to resist extraditing Guzmán to the United States after his arrest in a joint sting operation in early 2014.

This may seem like a shock to Americans of this age, but could the UNITED STATES be preparing for an INVASION of MEXICO?  I mean, it HAS HAPPENED BEFORE and they DO HAVE OIL. Would allow the Empire to secure this half of the hemisphere as it sets its sights on the raw materials of the South.

Suspicions and fears have dogged the security relationship between the nations since the United States increased its involvement in Mexico’s drug war nearly a decade ago.

“It’s frustrating,” said Carl Pike, who was the assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Special Operations Division for the Americas until he retired in December. “It was a lot of work by a lot of really good people to put him in there, and then to just put him in a situation where he can climb in a tunnel and get away?”

Given Guzmán’s use of tunnels at the border and under safe houses, Pike added: “It’s kind of like a joke. ‘Gee, a tunnel, who would have thought?’ It’s kind of a no-brainer.”

Yup. This propaganda and double-talking doublespeak in the duplicitous drug war really is a joke at this point. Whole newspaper is.

In a country where Guzmán’s previous prison escape in 2001 is still legendary — by some accounts, he left in a laundry bin — breakout attempts were widely seen as inevitable. But Mexico and the United States have long maintained that Mexico is stronger and less vulnerable to cartel manipulation because of their shared security duties.

Under Mexico’s last president, Felipe Calderón, US involvement in taking on the cartels increased tremendously, to the point that US surveillance drones flew deep into Mexico and manned US aircraft flew over the country to eavesdrop on suspects.

Oh, yeah? 

Since then, there have been many high-profile arrests, and US officials have often marveled at the trust that has developed in small groups.

But in recent years, especially after President Enrique Peña Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, took over in 2012, the bitterness drawn from how Mexico and the United States interacted in the past have increasingly reemerged.

Oh, I see. We have a government straying from U.S. doctrine and this "escape" is a convenient way to apply pressure.

Given their history of animosity, war, and misunderstanding, both countries are skeptical of each other, said Adam Isacson, a senior associate at the Washington Office on Latin America.

Yeah, basically stole the Southwest from them. Those are now tales of heroes, Daniel Boone and all that, the Alamo. Only problem there? They were Confederates.

“The Mexicans think we are domineering and imperialist, and we think they are corrupt,” Isacson said.

There is no reason both can't be true.