Apr 16, 2015

Cubans and Yankees: The End of Anti-Imperialism and Anti-Communism

La Jornada (Translated by WorldMeets.Us): It's already commonplace to say that the meeting between Barack Obama and Raul Castro at the Summit of the Americas in Panama is a milestone. It is of course, and it will have implications for the entire continent as it changes the nature of relations between Latin America and the United States - giving a new tone. It is time to bury the last shovelful of Cold War dirt and the highfalutin rhetoric that came with it.

If relations between the two countries continue to progress, there are two ghosts that seem destined to their graves, even if of course we continue to hear their echoes: anti-imperialism and anti-communism. The far-right Tea Party in the United States and the champions of 21st century socialism will beat these ghosts as long as the racket brings them political gain. Read more. 

DEA's Leonhart Doomed? Committee Declares 'No Confidence' Amid Sex Party Scandal

U.S. News: Nearly two dozen lawmakers serving on the House oversight committee say it’s time for leadership change at the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The current DEA administrator, Michele Leonhart, infuriated committee members Tuesday with her testimony about agents who repeatedly attended sex parties with prostitutes that were funded by drug cartel members. Read more. 

Mexican court backs reporter fired after Pena Nieto property scoop

Reuters: A court ruling issued on Tuesday may force a broadcaster to negotiate the reinstatement of a high-profile journalist fired last month after helping uncover a scandal involving President Enrique Pena Nieto's family.

The Mexico City judge ordered an April 27 hearing that may determine whether Carmen Aristegui and her popular show return to the air. Read more.

Apr 13, 2015

Mining co. in Mexico has 'good relationship' with cartels

AP: The director of the mining company robbed of $8.5 million in gold in Mexico made the rare revelation in a television interview that his company has a "good relationship" with area drug traffickers.

Rob McEwen of Canada-based McEwen Mining Inc. said in an interview Thursday with Canada's Business News Network that company employees ask the drug cartels for permission before they explore. Read more. 

Mexico Water Commission chief resigns over helicopter flap

AP: The director of Mexico's National Water Commission resigned Thursday following an uproar over his family's use of an agency helicopter to reach Mexico City's airport.

David Korenfeld announced his resignation to reporters more than a week after social media filled with photographs, apparently taken by a neighbor on March 29, showing people walking with suitcases to a helicopter marked with the agency's name. Read more. 

Apr 8, 2015

$8.5 Million in Gold Reported Stolen from Sinaloa Mine

Americas Program, April 8:

News reports have come out regarding an armed heist of some 900 kilos of gold from a mine in Sinaloa.

All the information in the news articles comes from the company press release, found here.

The company reports that the "gold-bearing concentrate" containing some 7,000 ounces of gold was stolen from its El Gallo 1 mine in the state of Sinaloa. The company states that the mine works two gold deposits and a silver deposit "in the foothills of the Sierra Madre" located in the township of Mocorito on ejido and private lands. It further states that there were no injuries and no material damage and that business continues as usual.

The company, which has its head offices in Toronto, writes that the Mexican authorities are "vigorously investigating" the crime. Mexican authorities have issued no statements so far, a day after the April 7 announcement.

The amount of concentrate carted off and the apparent absence of a clash between company security forces and the robbers raises many questions regarding just how this crime occured. The company reports that the insurance company will be paying damages although "the Company's policy will not be sufficient to cover the entire expected loss."

In 2012 the Federal Attorney General's Office (PGR) reported seven open cases of mine robberies in silver and gold, in the states of Sonora, Durango, Chihuahua, San Luis Potosí and Zacatecas. Lately Michoacan has seen entire mining areas taken over by organized crime, with direct sales to China according to some sources, including this interview I did with Tania Vazquez some weeks back. Some reports indicate that agreements are made with drug cartels. Previous robberies have been mostly of lingots in transport but the PGR stated that some criminal groups have the capacity to refine gold-laden material.

An outright robbery of a refinery has been relatively rare. It will be interesting to watch for more information as this case continues.

Attack in western Mexico kills 15 police officers, wounds 5

AP: Gunmen ambushed a police convoy in the western state of Jalisco, killing 15 state police officers and wounding five as bullets riddled their vehicles in the deadliest single attack on Mexican police in recent memory.

The attack happened late Monday as the convoy traveled on a rural road between the Pacific coast resort of Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara, the state capital, the Jalisco state prosecutors' office said. The death toll exceeded that of what had been the largest recent since attack on law enforcement, an assault that killed 12 federal police officers in neighboring Michoacan state in 2010. Read more.