Thursday, May 7, 2015

Today's Mexico City Headlines: What'd I tell you?

Five days after a coordinated attack by a ruthless drug trafficking cartel left 17 dead, buildings burned across the state and the population terrified, Jalisco Governor Aristóteles Sandoval hit the media circuit yesterday and came up with some stunners. One of them is put bluntly in Milenio’s lead front-page headline: “I alerted the PGR a year ago: Sandoval.”
    The person he alerted was Jesús Murillo Karam, the strong but controversial former head of the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR), who was farmed out in February to run the Agrarian and Urban Development Secretariat.
    What Sandoval informed Murillo of was the spectacular rise of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. While authorities were congratulating themselves for the decline to near-obscurity of the Knights Templar organization in neighboring Michoacán, New Generation was filling the void. It is now considered the most powerful crime organization in Mexico, a rating most Jaliscans won’t dispute.
    Sandoval told both Milenio (via an interview with Carlos Puig on Milenio’s television channel) and El Universal that Murillo didn’t respond.
    The governor, the former attorney general and President Peña Nieto all belong to the same party — the PRI — and Sandoval tried to emphasize that he is satisfied with federal support for the state during this crisis.
    But he strongly implied that a prompter response from the PGR might have slowed the New Generation rise and avoided the May 1 debacle.
    He gave another reason for New Generation’s rapid growth — they were allowed to. Under his predecessor from the conservative National Action Party, Emilio González Márquez, there existed, according to Sandoval, a kind of Pax Narca, an agreement between the crime organization and the government that the former could operate if it didn’t interfere with the latter.
    That could be the reason that New Generation was not a household name, despite a number of violent attacks. Those attacks have become deadlier and more frequent since May of 2014.  Sandoval took over from González on March 1, 2013.
    Sandoval also readily acknowledge that a number of local police departments have been infiltrated by New Generation.
    The governor also mentioned a New Generation modus operandi that had been revealed days earlier — the use of contracted labor for its narcoterrorism.
    “The ones who commit the crimes are young people whom they pay 500 or a thousand pesos to burn a vehicle,” he said. “They operate through a messaging network and have the capacity to act quickly.”

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