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14 de febrero de 2006

Análisis de la frontera

Por estos días he tenido acceso a varios artículos de Stratfor, un servicio de análises de inteligencia geopolítica. Uno de los países que observan es México.

Los documentos no están traducidos. Francamente, no sé a quién le interesaría leer esto pero si sabes leer inglés, los siguientes fragmentos ofrecen varias perspectivas políticas que los gabachos tienen al observar a México bajo la lupa de Riesgos con r mayúscula. Sí quieres el artículo entero es nada más de decirme y te lo mando.

Al haber leido los artículos, lo interesante para mi es que mientrás a mis conciudadanos, tijuanenses, les embarga la violencia y todo lo malo que de ahí se suscita por multiples factores fuera del alcance del gobierno, es importante enfatizar que la mira de los analistas no está en Tijuana. Está en Nuevo Laredo. Y eso da mucho en qué pensar.

México - U.S.: Retórica de campaña Mexico, U.S.: Election-Year Rhetoric on Both Sides of the Border
February 10, 2006 19 40 GMT

The increasing rhetoric between the two countries at the legislative level is underscored by the uptick in violence along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexican border. Home to drug cartels, gangs and smugglers of all kinds, the border region is seeing more unease than in previous decades. In the past three weeks, U.S. authorities discovered a well-constructed tunnel stretching from Tijuana to San Diego, Calif., containing large amounts of marijuana; they also found significant weapons caches in Laredo, Texas. Mexican authorities try and often fail to contain the gangs and intertwining cartel violence. In Nuevo Laredo, gangs make a point of killing one person per day and recently targeted journalists working for the El Manana newspaper, which was reporting on drug activity.

Mexican President Vicente Fox can do little about the border situation; he sent fewer than 2,000 paratroopers and federal police forces to patrol the region. Mexico can neither retain soldiers stationed at the border nor afford to train and send sufficient new troops there. Police and soldiers often switch sides and defend drug traffickers after realizing they can earn more money by working for the drug industry. Mexican officials strongly deny that soldiers contribute to the problem, but the rhetoric conflicts with reality. The troops who do stay in the border region travel to dangerous locales, but generally after an attack has occurred. Given their small numbers and the magnitude of the problem, Mexican troops can do little to pre-empt attacks.

A caveat to the unrest is that electoral politics have become partially dependent on the issue. Mexico will hold presidential elections in July, and the United States will have mid-term elections in November. The border gives politicians issues for their platforms that encompass more than security. Some U.S. politicians point to drug and immigration issues as factors affecting both the country's economy and safety. Many U.S. lawmakers facing November elections hope to prove their leadership and viability by taking strong stances on the issues.

Caos en la Frontera Chaos on the U.S.-Mexican Border: Opportunity for Al Qaeda? August 02, 2005 17 23 GMT

Illustrating the Mexican government's failed efforts in Nuevo Laredo, a group armed with heavy machine guns, AK-47 assault rifles and at least one rocket launcher attacked a house on Mexicali Street on July 28. The occupants of the house, supposedly a rival drug gang, returned fire with their own weapons. Part of the house collapsed in the ensuing battle, while grenades were left strewn around the residential street. Police investigating the scene afterward reportedly found a hit list complete with names and photographs of more than a dozen local officials who had been "sentenced to death" by the gang. Hours later, another firefight broke out in the affluent Madero neighborhood, with assailants attacking a house with automatic weapons.

So far, the problems in Nuevo Laredo have not spilled over the border into Texas, possibly because the criminal gangs that control Nuevo Laredo use Laredo and its surrounding area as a trans-shipment point -- and want to keep it from becoming another battleground.

Complicating the situation is Los Zetas, a group of elite anti-drug paratroopers and intelligence soldiers who deserted their federal Special Air Mobile Force Group in 1991 and began hiring their services out to the cartels. Zetas members reportedly have crossed the border and engaged U.S. law enforcement personnel.

Peligro al alza en la Frontera Increasing Danger on the U.S.-Mexican Border
June 14, 2005 17 30 GMT

Nuevo Laredo is a battleground for several rival drug gangs, most notably the Juarez Cartel, the Tijuana Cartel, a cartel from western Sinaloa state, and the Gulf Cartel from Matamoros. As the cartels battled over turf, they have infiltrated Nuevo Laredo's police force and placed corrupt police officers on their payrolls.

Growing anti-U.S. sentiment in Mexico, stoked by election-year rhetoric and negative publicity over a group of American vigilantes that organized its own border patrol in Arizona, also contributes to a dangerous situation for Americans on the border. To further complicate the situation, the so-called Minutemen are soon to expand their activities from Arizona into New Mexico and Texas.

In one sign of the increasing anti-U.S. sentiment, officials in the border cities of Tijuana and Mexicali recently revoked permission for U.S. corporations to bring U.S. security details into the country, saying security must be provided by Mexicans. The city officials invoked a federal law against such practices, although U.S. embassy officials who contacted the Mexican government on behalf of U.S. corporations were unable to verify the existence of such a law. In any case, if the law does exist, it was not enforced before mid-May. Many U.S. firms with dealings in Mexico are now scrambling to find trustworthy Mexican companies to provide security for their personnel.

Few Mexican security firms, however, meet U.S. standards. These companies consist of former police officers or off-duty officers who possibly continue to maintain corrupt relationships with organized crime. At the same time, Mexico offers no reliable process for conducting background checks on these officers, suggesting that the only way to ensure reliable security is to develop a personal relationship with a local firm over time. In the meantime, U.S. corporate personnel are facing a higher risk of falling victim to crime in Mexico.

American tourists visiting U.S. border cities also are facing increased threats. Dozens of reports have appeared over the past 18 months of U.S. citizens going missing in Mexico during short trips across the border. With the increase in activity by drug gangs, many of the missing likely ran afoul of organized crime. Mexican police so far have proven ineffective at solving the disappearances.

With drug wars raging on both sides of the border -- and law and order broken down in Nuevo Laredo to the point in which the army has been sent in -- the U.S.-Mexican border has become a dangerous place.

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