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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.
AssessmentsAug 2, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
This image shows Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, delivering news about the central bank's decision to cut its benchmark interest rate.
Tracking the Global Ripples of the Fed's Rate Cut
The last time the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates, the global financial crisis was in its early stages, Beyonce’s "Single Ladies" topped the Billboard 100 list and George W. Bush still occupied the Oval Office. On July 31, more than a decade after that last loosening of monetary policy, the Fed announced a cut of 25 basis points in the federal funds rate. The decision was driven by several factors, including an increasingly dim outlook for global economic growth, further signs that U.S. inflation is softening and, of course, relentless pressure on the central bank by U.S. President Donald Trump to deliver a rate cut. The Fed’s decision will cascade across the world as other central banks feel pressure to match its moves in dealing with their own slowing economies. However, fears of a global currency war set off by a series of rate cuts are overblown. Nevertheless, Trump’s concerns
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
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
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.
SnapshotsApr 30, 2019 | 14:41 GMT
Venezuela: A Guaido-Led Military Uprising Appears Underway
The Venezuelan opposition's push for regime change seemed to be stalling -- until now. It appears that a military uprising against the government of President Nicolas Maduro is underway. No matter how it turns out, the uprising will be consequential. If successful, it will usher in a more business-friendly opposition government. If it fails, the Maduro government will crack down heavily on its opponents and call upon external backers such as Russia to protect itself from future coup attempts.
AssessmentsMar 22, 2019 | 20:28 GMT
Soldiers in February 2012 in Monterrey, Mexico, at the scene of drug violence.
Mexican Cartel Poised to Launch an Offensive for Control of Monterrey
The Cartel del Noreste, the remnant of the Los Zetas cartel that controls the lucrative Nuevo Laredo smuggling plaza, has taken actions over the past week suggesting it is preparing a push to seize control of Monterrey, Mexico's third-largest metropolitan area and a major regional business hub. Such an offensive would likely meet resistance from the groups currently in the area and so would involve significant violence -- something businesses with interests in the area should prepare for.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Contributor PerspectivesMay 21, 2018 | 07:00 GMT
A massacre of students marred the legacy of the Mexico City Olympic Games held in 1968.
The Legacy of 1968 Continues to Burn in Mexico
In Mexico, drug cartel assassins ushered in the first week of 2018, a key election year, with the murders of at least five political candidates, a spree of violence that has continued: More than 30 candidates have been assassinated to date. Cartel killers have also targeted journalists, especially those working to expose their nefarious activities, murdering a dozen in 2017 and at least four so far in 2018. Upcoming national elections and the promises of politicians advocating a crackdown on drug violence have incited a particularly vicious brand of wrath from the cartels, as the death toll this year seems destined to eclipse last year’s record-setting murder rate.
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