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AssessmentsNov 5, 2019 | 16:12 GMT
A funeral for Benjamin LeBaron on July 9, 2009, in Chihuahua state, Mexico. LeBaron was a victim of cartel violence.
Eliminating the Cartel That Killed 9 Americans in Mexico Will Not Be Easy
Gunmen in Mexico ambushed three vehicles carrying three American women and 14 of their children in a remote part of Sonora state on Nov. 4, killing the women and six children, El Heraldo de Chihuahua reported. Whether this ambush was an intentional attack or a case of mistaken identity, the involvement of dual-nationality Americans has brought a great deal of media attention to the incident, and this will undoubtedly result in additional pressure on Mexican authorities from the U.S. government. The criminal groups operating in the mountains of this region are firmly entrenched, however, and have access to extensive resources. It will take a significant counterinsurgency effort to root them out.
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On SecurityJul 23, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka "el Chapo Guzman" (C), is presented to the press on Feb. 22, 2014 in Mexico City.
'El Chapo' Is Done, But Mexico's Cartel Wars Certainly Aren’t
And so the curtain falls on the career of a criminal mastermind. On July 17, Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera was sentenced to serve life plus 30 years in prison following a February conviction on 10 counts, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, drug trafficking and firearms charges. Shortly after the sentencing hearing, Guzman was sent to the U.S. administrative maximum (ADX) penitentiary in Florence, Colorado. Guzman has a long history of shenanigans in -- and escapes from -- Mexican penitentiaries, but the book is now officially closed on him. Guzman has never been incarcerated in a facility like the ADX in Florence, which is home to some of the most dangerous criminals and terrorists in the world, meaning he has zero chance of either continuing to run his criminal enterprise from the prison or escaping from it. The end to Guzman's illicit activities, however, does
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AssessmentsJul 11, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Mexican police take position outside a house during a search in Tlajomulco de Zuniga, Jalisco State, Mexico, on June 21, 2019.
Murder in Mexico in 2019: A Midyear Checkup
Mexican news outlet Milenio on July 1 published its unofficial count of murders in Mexico for the first half of 2019. Milenio counted 2,249 murders in June alone, the highest monthly number the news outlet has recorded since it began keeping its own tally in 2007. In fact, this is the first time that Milenio's numbers have ever surpassed 2,000 for any given month. According to Milenio, the four states with the highest murder counts in June were Jalisco with 206, Mexico with 202, Baja California with 181 and Guanajuato with 176. While these numbers are not official, they still serve as a good barometer by which to measure the state of the country's violence. As expected, Mexico appears well on its way to another record-setting year for murders. Based on the trends we outlined in our 2019 annual cartel forecast, the high levels of violence in Jalisco, Mexico State, Baja
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SITUATION REPORTJun 25, 2019 | 20:53 GMT
Venezuela: Former Intelligence Director Arrives in U.S., Shares Details of Maduro Government
Former Bolivarian Intelligence Service Director Christopher Figuera arrived in the United States on June 24, El Espectador reported June 25, telling the press a variety of things about the government in Caracas including that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's son benefits from the sale of illegally mined gold.
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On SecurityJan 29, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
Officials display rifle ammunition seized from the Los Zetas drug cartel in June 2011.
Tracking Mexico's Cartels in 2019
Since 2006, Stratfor has produced an annual cartel report chronicling the dynamics of the organizations that make up the complex mosaic of organized crime in Mexico. When we began, the landscape was much simpler, with only a handful of major cartel groups. But as we noted in 2013, the long process of balkanization -- or splintering -- of the groups has made it difficult to analyze them the way we used to. Indeed, many of the organizations we had been tracking, such as the Gulf cartel, imploded and fragmented into several smaller, often competing factions. Because of this fracturing, we changed our analysis in 2013 to focus on the clusters of smaller groups that emanate from three main geographic areas: Sinaloa state, Tamaulipas state and the Tierra Caliente region.
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On SecurityOct 23, 2018 | 05:30 GMT
A Mexican Army expert in protective gear displays crystal meth paste at a clandestine laboratory near la Rumorosa town in Tecate, Baja California state, Mexico on Aug. 28.
How the Globalization of Mexican Business Helped Spread Crime
Recently, I found myself explaining to a client how illicit goods flow into and through Mexico and then onward to the United States, and it occurred to me that there are many logistical similarities between Mexican transnational criminal organizations and the countless manufacturers operating in Mexico. After further consideration, it became clear that many of the factors that make Mexico an attractive destination for foreign businesses also make it attractive for criminal enterprises. It is no mistake that the pieces of real estate that Mexican criminal groups fight over often directly overlap with major logistical and production nodes of the traditional economy. In many ways Mexico's globalized criminal landscape is a mirror of its globalized legitimate economy -- and they have both been growing in power.
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On SecuritySep 25, 2018 | 08:30 GMT
Mexican soldiers escort Oscar Pozos Jimenez (L) and Jose Serna Padilla, an alleged member of the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion, in Guadalajara on March 18, 2012.
What Happens When a Major Mexican Cartel Leader Falls?
The attack was almost cinematic: Just over a week ago, gunmen dressed as mariachi musicians shot dead five people at a restaurant in Mexico City's Plaza Garibaldi, a place of attraction for locals and tourists alike. The latest violence to grab the headlines illustrates how cartel figures are now dragging violence with them into the tourist areas and upscale neighborhoods they frequent and inhabit. At the same time, it shows how the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) has expanded its presence throughout the length and breadth of Mexico. As a result of the group's atrocities, CJNG leader Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes (El Mencho) has become public enemy number one. But amid the violence, the bigger question for Mexican authorities is not how to capture or kill Oseguera Cervantes, but a far more distressing one: What happens the day after?
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AssessmentsSep 17, 2018 | 18:48 GMT
Plaza Garibaldi on Sept. 15, 2018, in Mexico City a day after a shooting there.
Mexico: Cartels Drag Violence Into Tourist Zones With Latest Shooting
The party atmosphere surrounding Mexico's Independence Day celebrations in Mexico City's Garibaldi Plaza was shattered Sept. 14 when a group of three gunmen dressed as mariachis opened fire on a group seated at a restaurant. The hail of pistol and rifle fire killed five people and injured another eight. The apparent target of the attack was Jorge Flores Concha "El Tortas," the leader of a criminal organization known as "La U," or "La Fuerza Antiunion," a group that split from the powerful Union Tepito crime network.
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On GeopoliticsJul 5, 2018 | 20:24 GMT
Mexico's new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, speaks July 1 during a celebration at Zocalo square in Mexico City.
What Will Lopez Obrador Do About Mexico's Corruption?
Some political regimes bend for decades until they break. After years of pressure building on Mexico’s political establishment, an overwhelming presidential and legislative victory by populist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Mexican voters propelled Lopez Obrador into the country’s highest office with more than half the national vote, the highest tally for any presidential candidate since 1994. Lopez Obrador has a strong platform to target well-entrenched political adversaries under a broad, anti-corruption umbrella. The new president, however, could trigger major upheaval as he strives to tackle graft that has infested the public and private and sectors. The question now is whether Lopez Obrador turns to political pragmatism once in power – becoming a product of the system he was elected to dismantle – or uses the powerful tools at his disposal to try and upend the country’s political order.
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On SecurityApr 17, 2018 | 08:00 GMT
The Federal Police of Mexico patrol near the Puente Grande prison in Zapotlanejo, Jalisco, from which Rafael Caro Quintero was freed on Aug. 9, 2013.
20 Million Reasons for a Cartel Leader in Hiding to Worry
During the wee hours of Aug. 9, 2013, Mexican drug kingpin Rafael Caro Quintero strode out the main entrance of the Puente Grande maximum-security prison. His well-dressed legal team accompanied him as he took in his first breath of air as a free man since 1985. A judge had ruled that he had been improperly tried in the kidnapping, torture and murder of an agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Caro Quintero had claimed that he left the drug business in 1984, but U.S. prosecutors said he had never stopped. On April 12, 2018, the reward for his capture was raised to $20 million, and he was added to the FBI's list of Ten Most Wanted Fugitives. The U.S. government is clearly paying a lot of attention to a drug kingpin who had been in prison for 28 years. So who is Rafael Caro Quintero and why does he
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On SecurityNov 9, 2017 | 09:15 GMT
The powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl is responsible for a rash of overdose deaths in the United States
The Chinese Connection to the Flood of Mexican Fentanyl
In August, I wrote about how Mexico's cartels are capitalizing on the fentanyl trade. Afterward, many people asked me how China fits into the equation. In tracking the flow and distribution of the synthetic opioid, The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's recently released 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment was ambiguous about the relationship between the Mexican cartels and China. Explaining China's role in its manufacture and its interactions with Mexican traffickers will require an examination of how two other cartel drugs -- methamphetamine and heroin -- intersect with fentanyl.
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SnapshotsOct 16, 2017 | 20:34 GMT
Venezuela: The Opposition's Last Hope for Change
The United States may eventually regard it as illegitimate, but Venezuela's ruling party managed to retain governorships in most of the country's 23 states that held elections on Oct. 15. Although the opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), made gains in some regions -- such as Anzoategui, Nueva Esparta, Tachira, Merida and Zulia -- the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) conclusively kept its majority hold over the country's governorships. The opposition's greatest hope for change now is for the U.S. government to deem the results as illegitimate and to implement heavier sanctions against the Venezuelan government or state energy firm Petroleos de Venezuela.
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On SecurityAug 31, 2017 | 08:00 GMT
Mexican federal police patrol the beach in Cancun, a resort town rarely touched by violence. But recent drug cartel battle there have resulted in spillover violence that left some tourists dead.
There's No Need to Panic Over the Mexico Travel Warning
Travelers who keep an eye on the U.S. State Department warnings may know by now that it has issued cautions for the Mexican states of Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur. The addition of those states to its periodic updates of travel dangers caused a significant stir, largely because they are the homes to two of Mexico's most popular resorts: Cancun and Cabo San Lucas. It is not surprising that these states were included the warning, which was issued Aug. 22. As Mexico's powerful drug cartels have splintered, a spiral of crime and violence has enveloped all parts of the country, to include its storied resorts. However, I believe that by understanding what drives the violence, and the types of the incidents that result, companies operating in Mexico and travelers to the country can avoid most of it.
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