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Mexico would be Syria if it hadn’t had the option to send its rural poor, one fifth of its population, to the United States. 70,000 killed in Mexico since 2006

September 6, 2013

6/17/13, “Mexico would have died as well, without the option to send its rural poor fully one-fifth of its population to the United States.”

The US and Mexico share a 2000 mile border.


Only’ 4200 were killed in first 4 months of new Mexican president’s term:

5/5/13, “Violence in Mexico: Journalists’ sons killed and seven bodies found,” Reuters via NY Daily News, “Around 70,000 people have died at the hands of Mexican drug cartels since 2006.”

“Roughly 70,000 people have died in drug-related killings since 2006, when Calderon launched his military-led campaign. More than 4,200 have died in the first four months of Pena Nieto’s term, a slower pace than early 2012.” (item at end of article)

84 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000, and 20 more have disappeared since 2005.”


Just across from El Paso, Texas in Ciudad Juarez some 3,100 people were killed in 2010:

In December 2012, newly installed President Enrique Pena Nieto promised to switch the focus of Mexico’s drug wars from tackling the gang leaders to reducing the crime and violence that affect the lives of Mexicans….

Where are the worst-hit areas? Violence was first concentrated in the northern border regions, especially Chihuahua, as well as Pacific states like Sinaloa, Michoacan and Guerrero. Ciudad Juarez, just across from El Paso in Texas, was the most violent city. In 2010, some 3,100 people were killed in Juarez, which has a population of about one million. Violence has now dropped markedly in Juarez.

Guerrero, home to the resort of Acapulco, Sinaloa and Nuevo Leon remain among the most violent regions. One of the focal points of violence since 2010 has been Mexico’s third-largest city, Monterrey, which became the centre of a turf war between the Zetas and Gulf cartels. Veracruz on the eastern coast saw a series of mass killings in 2011 after previously being largely untouched by the violence….

The government’s efforts have for years been undermined by corruption by members of the security forces who collude with the gangs. Former President Felipe Calderon deployed more than 50,000 troops and federal police against the cartels. Many of the main gang leaders were either arrested or killed. However, the violence soared under his administration.”…


Escalation of killings in Mexico, Dec. 2006-Dec. 2012. via BBC


Northern Mexico crime-run coal mines share the US border, are  more lucrative than drugs,

and partner with the Mexican ‘government:

1/4/13, Coal mining is “more lucrative for Zetas than selling drugs.

1/4/13, “Mexican Cartels Go Underground—to Mine Coal,”


11/17/12, Mexican druglords strike gold in coal,AFP via Gloucester City News

Since the Zetas discovered coal, violence has been on the rise, especially in a town of 150,000 called Piedras Negras, or black stones….Legitimate businesses help cartels launder money and bring in extra revenue….Such business activities allow them not just to bring in more money “but above all gain social and political legitimacy.“…Traffickers sometimes kidnap, mug or even kill miners and their bosses, or force them into business-sharing agreements.”…

The Mexican government buys coal from the Zetas:
10/31/12, Coal mined by the Zetas is “sold to state-owned electric company CFE.”
1/8/13, “The coal is then resold to a (Mexican) state-owned company, which is also suspected of being in cahoots with the Zetas, at a profit 30 times greater than the initial investment.”
9/11/06, “Mexico’s Mine Crisis: Tiny coal mines escape inspections,Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, J.L. Sherman

Jorge Gutierrez, 31, started working on heavy equipment at a pocito owned by his father-in-law a decade ago. He now rents four sites of his own and has 55 employees….In the U.S., they have too many regulations,” he said.”, Esequiel Ramirez, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


“Mexico’s federal human rights agency has said that criminal involvement in the mines poses a threat to miners’ lives, by stripping them of basic safety protocols.“…


5/4/11, Mexican Mine Explosion Leaves Five Dead; “No Chance” For Other Miners, Labor Secretary Says,”

“The gas explosion that trapped 14 miners underground Tuesday in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila has now claimed the lives of five of those workers….

Mining near-surface coal in the region is a way of life for thousands of miners who sell the coal to the Mexican state for power generation and often work with little more than basic tools.

photo, Northern Mexico open pit coal mine sells coal to Mexican gov.


“And for the state of Texas in particular, it’s all happening just across the border.”

1/8/13, Los Zetas, Drug Gang From Mexico, Gets Into Coal Mining Business,” Huffington Post

From TakePart’s Andri Antoniades:

“The Los Zetas drug cartel is arguably Mexico’s most violent and most feared gang. Recently, they took over the country’s Coahuila region in the north, which shares a border with Texas. But the cartel wasn’t there to expand its drug or prostitution rings. Instead, the gang took over the dirty business of coal mining.

Coahuila is a coal-rich region, and as the AFP reports, the Zetas muscled in on that industry assured of the financial gains that would come with it. But coal is of particular significance to the Zetas beyond its monetary rewards; mining is free from the sticky consequence of prohibitive laws attached to other rackets like drug selling or sex trafficking.

The Zetas reportedly mine the coal through their own poorly-paid workers, or they buy it from small-time miners who are obliged to cooperate. The coal is then resold to a state-owned company, which is also suspected of being in cahoots with the Zetas, at a profit 30 times greater than the initial investment.

Estimates of the cartel’s profits from coal mining in Coahuila hover around $25 million a year.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Zetas infiltration of Mexico’s Coahuila region was covert and swift. In under three years, the cartel was able to control every aspect of commerce, from politics to small businesses, all under the threat of extreme violence for anyone who didn’t cooperate.

Though some report the mining operation has been an open secret in the region for some time, the Zetas involvement wasn’t widely known outside of the country until October when during a press conference, the former Coahuila governor Humberto Moreira told reporters that a recently killed Zetas leader was running the coal mining industry before his death.

In his interview with Al-Jazeera, Moreira says the practice is exceeded even drug running in terms of its earning power.

The drug cartel’s involvement in an industry rife with human and environmental abuse lends itself to some obvious concerns. Al-Jazeera reports that the Coahuila mines are already noteworthy for being particularly unsafe, including one accident in 2006 where 65 people died. But tunnel collapses occur with some frequency there, as do methane gas explosions. Mexican human rights officials report that since the Zetas’ infiltration, miners are no longer allowed to utilize what little safety protocols they previously had access to, making the environment all the more hazardous. But as Moreira explained for workers, it’s not a matter of choice, “Here those in poverty are forced to seek work where they can…”

No matter how careful businesses are, just the act of coal mining produces a scourge of environmental abuses. According to Greenpeace, the proliferation of metals and ash into the surrounding skies pose serious health risks to nearby residents. But the process also causes a enormous deposits of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, excessive water waste and heightened toxicity from large chunks of inner earth being hollowed out and dumped onto its surface. In the hands of individuals known for their brutality and utter lawlessness, the power to further pollute the earth is all the more overhwhelming. And for the state of Texas in particular, it’s all happening just across the border.

Does cartel involvement in the industry make you more concerned about the industry’s environmental effects?”


10/31/12, “3 Coal companies investigated for drug ties in Mexico,”

Impulsora JBN,
Perforaciones Tecnicas Industriales and
Minera La Mision”…

5/3/13, “Mexico: Journalist Killings Go Largely Unpunished,” AP via Huffington Post

6/17/13, “Syria and Egypt can’t be fixed,” Spengler, Asia Times


Thousands from Central America try to get to the US each year through Mexico. Below, an El Salvador jail.



8/29/13, “Inside El Salvador’s secretive prison pits where notorious gangs are crammed together like livestock in cells the size of a shed,” UK Daily Mail, James Nye. getty photos


5/20/11, “Despite danger, Central Americans migrate through Mexico,” CNN, by Catherine E. Shoichet


5/1/13, “All aboard for the American Dream: Desperate migrants ride the ‘Train of Death’ through Mexico to reach the U.S risking violent attack, rape and kidnap,UK Daily Mail, ap photo



Mexicans purposely caused train derailments, 11 Central American migrants dead:

8/30/13, “Officials: Theft Caused Fatal Mexico Derailment That Killed 11,” AP via Huffington Post

MEXICO CITY: “Officials have determined that the theft of some parts from a southern Mexico train track caused a derailment that killed 11 Central American migrants.

The Communications and Transportation Department said Friday that the theft of a metal bar used to join rails and its screws were the “decisive cause” behind the accident Sunday in a remote region of Tabasco state. The rail company’s technicians carried out the investigation.

The rails were not aligned, causing eight of 12 train cars to leave the tracks and flip over. Authorities initially said six Honduran migrants died, but rescue crews found five more victims this week while removing the wrecked railcars.

Thousands of migrants brave brutal conditions each year as they travel atop train cars on their way to the United States.”


9/18/2002, “U.S. Will Get Power, and Pollution, From Mexico,” NY Times, Tim Weiner

Mexico’s environmental law enforcement is weaker, its government less transparent, its desire for foreign capital bottomless. California’s energy demand is enormous — as big as its citizens’ resistance to huge power plants.”…


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