Saturday, February 28, 2015

Today's Headlines: La Tuta busted. Let's party.

A full 24 hours had passed between Friday's pre-dawn capture of the Michoacán capo La Tuta and the publication of this morning’s papers, but that didn’t stop four of the five major Mexico City dailies from leading with the news in big, bold headlines. El Universal even goes with a full two-deck banner, something it doesn’t often do: “Government celebrates capture of La Tuta.” Excelsior follows the festive mood: “Partying over La Tuta capture.”
    La Jornada’s lead head was more explanatory than celebratory: “La Tuta detained in Almoloya, the last Templar leader.” Almoloya is the name of the State of Mexico town where the maximum security Altiplano Prison is located; the facility is often simply called Almoloya. Templar refers to the Knights Templar, the criminal organization that La Tuta (Servando Gómez) headed for most of the last decade. At its height, it ran the Michoacán drug trade, including shipping crystal meth to China. It also brought in nearly $2 million dollars a week through extortion and control of mining operations.
    La Tuta, who would publicly taunt authorities in his heyday, apparently kept up the chatter in captivity. Milenio's lead head quotes him: “‘I knew the PF was going to capture me’: La Tuta.”  El Universal also quotes him in the head of a supporting story: “La Tuta: ‘I had to take power in Michoacan.’” There was, he explained, a power vacuum, so what else could he do? That might not be an effective defense strategy, however.
    Reforma drops the capture to its No. 2 hole, leading instead with the seemingly intentionally dry “Hospital being relocated.” (It’s about a public hospital under construction in the State of Mexico city of Cuautitlán Izcalli, adjacent to Mexico City, that’s located 160 meters from a gas distribution business. That’s well over the legal requirement of 100 meters distance, but the gas explosion at the Mexico City children’s and maternity hospital last month inspired extra caution.)
    Reforma’s La Tuta headline is also a quote, but from Interior (Gobernación) Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong: “‘We are recovering Michoacán’” A tad optimistic, perhaps, but some welcome news after so many years of spiraling violence in one of Mexico's most beautiful states.