Yesterday, three Mexican journalists’ bodies were discovered, dismembered and stuffed into plastic bags. They apparently had been asking the wrong questions in a country where drug violence is already dangerously high. Fox News reported at the time: It was a bloody start to World Press Freedom Day in Mexico as authorities in the eastern state of Veracruz discovered the bodies of three news photographers slain and dumped together in plastic bags near a canal, less than a week after the killing in the same state of a reporter for an investigative newsmagazine. Press advocates called for immediate government action to halt a wave of attacks that has killed at least six current and former reporters and photographers in Veracruz over the last year, most of them among the few journalists still working on crime-related stories in the state. The deaths have spawned an atmosphere of terror and self-censorship among journalists. The problem isn’t confined to Veracruz. Mexico is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists, with reporters and photographers suffering a rising number of attacks in recent years as the country grapples with tens of thousands of killings, kidnappings and extortion against the backdrop of a militarized government offensive against drug cartels. Prosecutions in the cases are all but unknown, as is the case with almost all homicides and other serious crimes in Mexico. Today, an even more grisly discovery has surfaced, as 23 total people were found dead in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. 14 of the corpses were beheaded and wrapped in plastic bags, with their heads preserved in separate ice boxes. The other 9, however, were discovered in a truly horrific state. WTOP Washington describes the carnage : The bodies of nine people were found hanging from a bridge in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, just 6 miles from the U.S. border. Five were men and four women. Pictures showed the nine bound, gagged and hanged. A message left with the bodies identified them as members of the Gulf cartel. A rivaling cartel, Los Zetas, is believed to be responsible for the deaths. All of the victims showed signs of torture. Their hands were tied and their eyes covered, sources tell WTOP.The increased violence comes as Mexican President Felipe Calderon has been waging a war on the Mexican drug cartels using government resources – a war where only one side is following any rules, and where apparently only one side cares who gets caught in the crossfire. So far, more than 50,000 casualties have occurred from this standoff between the cartels and the Mexican government. These 23 are simply a particularly gruesome sample.
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23 More People Dead in Bloody Mexican Drug Wars
President Barack Obama is convening a summit with leaders from Mexico and Canada on Monday that aims to boost a fragile recovery and grapple with thorny energy issues against a backdrop of painfully high gas prices.
Obama, Calderon, Harper talk trade, energy
AP – President Barack Obama insisted Thursday that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi “step down from power and leave,” his most explicit statement of support for rebels challenging Gadhafi’s four-decade rule in a region convulsed by uprisings against authoritarian regimes. Gadhafi has vowed to stay.
Obama declares Gadhafi must leave now
Reuters – President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon vowed greater cooperation to combat drugs and arms smuggling and ease trade tensions as they sought to smooth over cross-border differences.
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Obama and Calderon seek to ease tensions
AFP – US President Barack Obama and his Mexican counterpart Felipe Calderon Thursday vowed to step up the fight against Mexico’s violent drug cartels, and resolved a decades-old trucking dispute.
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US, Mexico leaders debate drugs, trucking dispute
What to Watch for: President Obama will meet with Mexico President Felipe Calderon to discuss the idea of U.S. armed agents operating in Mexico (Breitbart) Rebels deploy around Libyan oil port in Brega (AP) President Obama will take reports’ questions on Libya (Politico) Pope Pope Benedict XVI exonerates the Jewish people for Christ’s death (Breitbart) Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, appointed by Mubarak, resigns (LA Times) Today on the Main Site: Liberal Wrestlemania by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.: It’s not a sex crime? Quotations From Chairman Ryan by G. Tracy Mehan, III: Shifting from a culture of spending to one of cutting. Non-Discrimination by Roger Scruton: By penalizing old-fashioned morality you do not make toleration of the new morality more likely. Time for a Congressional Conclave by James M. Thunder: How might we nudge this Congress and future Congresses to meet their obligations? The Royale Treatment by Christopher Orlet: A remembrance of corner taverns gone by. In Defense of American Exceptionalism by Herman Cain: Unfortunately, some politicians have either forgotten or chosen to ignore the glory of our founding. Meet Jonathan by Michael Johnson: Who is this sensational boy conductor? Clip of the Day: U.S. Rep. Trent Franks thinks it’s feasible to impeach President Obama over the Defense of Marriage Act
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The Day Ahead: Thursday, March 3, 2011
Reuters – President Barack Obama told Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Saturday that the Cancun climate conference had built on the Copenhagen accord and advances the effort to address climate change, the White House said.
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Obama sees Cancun meet as advance in climate change fight
At LAT : In contrast to their upbeat public assessments, U.S. officials expressed frustration with a “risk averse” Mexican army and rivalries among security agencies that have hampered the Mexican government’s war against drug cartels, according to secret U.S. diplomatic cables disclosed Thursday. The cables quoted Mexican officials expressing fear that the government was losing control of parts of its national territory and that time was “running out” to rein in drug violence. The cables gave a much starker view of the pitfalls and obstacles facing Mexican President Felipe Calderon, a departure from the public statements of unwavering support that have come out of Washington for most of the 4-year-old war, which has claimed more than 30,000 lives. Two cables from U.S. Embassy officials in Mexico, one dated January of this year and the other October 2009, praise Calderon for persisting in his campaign to tackle “head on” the powerful cartels that traffic most of the cocaine, heroin and marijuana that reaches the U.S. But the Mexican president’s struggles with “an unwieldy and uncoordinated interagency” law enforcement effort have created the perception that he is failing, the cable dated Jan. 29 said. His inability to halt the violence or contain the rising death toll has become a principal political liability as his public ratings have declined, it said. The U.S. assessment said Calderon’s tools are limited: “Mexican security institutions are often locked in a zero-sum competition in which one agency’s success is viewed as another’s failure, information is closely guarded, and joint operations are all but unheard of,” said the January cable, which is signed by the No. 2 official in the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, John D. Feeley, a veteran diplomat with extensive experience in Latin America. “Official corruption is widespread, leading to a compartmentalized siege mentality among ‘clean’ law enforcement leaders and their lieutenants,” he said. “Prosecution rates for organized crime-related offenses are dismal; 2% of those detained are brought” to trial.
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WikiLeaks Cables Reveal Unease Over Mexican Drug War