Popocatepetl registered 26 eruptions of low and medium intensity

In the morning the Popocatepetl registered 26 eruptions of low and medium intensity, the National Center for Disaster Prevention

 

Popocatepetl registered 26 eruptions of low and medium intensity

Popocatepetl registered 26 eruptions of low and medium intensity

Popocatepetl photo taken by President Felipe Calderon

 

MEXICO CITY, May 8. – The President, Felipe Calderon, posted on his Twitter account a photograph of Popocatepetl, that on his way to Puebla, the image was a favorite site for photo editing Instagram .

Calderon tweeted, “photo # Popo, flying to Puebla, was favorite on # Instagram, I hope the community likes twitter”

In the morning the Popocatepetl registered 26 exhalations of low and medium intensity, the National Center for Disaster Prevention, which warned “high” of volcanic activity.

Also reported that the set of seismic activity was accompanied by the emission of a dense continuous plume of water vapor, gas and small to moderate amounts of ash.

Latin American Leaders Demand Action on Illicit Arms Trafficking!

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At the close of the summit, the member countries issued a separate and special declaration (available in pdf format here) defining public security as a precondition for economic and social progress and calling for international cooperation, technical assistance and legislation to combat the illicit trafficking of weapons.

Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon also called on the international community to provide financial and technical assistance to the region and urged his counterparts in Latin America to strengthen legislative controls on the possession and use of firearms, ammunition and explosives.

These calls for a more regional approach to curbing arms trafficking were overshadowed by a controversial outburst from Ecuador’s president, the absence of 11 heads-of-state and the summit’s macro-economic themes.

But inside the summit walls, public security emerged as a top concern and representatives of a region struggling with high rates of violence and criminality used the platform to call for agreement on regulating the international arms trade. The surge in violent crime in Latin America has been particularly devastating to countries that have resources important to drug trafficking networks and relatively weak state institutions. Honduras, for example, is a transit country for the majority of cocaine smuggled out of South America and is on track to have the highest murder rate in the world.

A recent United Nations report (pdf available here) says that 31 percent of the estimated 468,000 intentional homicides committed around the world in 2010 occurred in the Americas. And firearms, which were used in 42 percent of violent deaths, “undoubtedly drive homicide increases in certain regions and, where they do, members of organized criminal groups are often those who pull the trigger,” according to the UN.

The ability of Latin American countries to control firearm availability certainly depends on international cooperation. Unfortunately, weapons transfers can take place on a relatively small scale without triggering attention from federal authorities. A variety of obstacles prevent stricter control over domestic guns sales in the U.S., such as powerful lobbying groups like the National Rifle Association and their congressional allies who block legislation that would tighten federal control over gun sales.

The availability of powerful assault weapons in the U.S. has likely had an effect on violence in the region. An analysis by blogger Diego de Valle illustrates how the expiration of the ban on assault weapons in the U.S. is correlated with rising homicide rates in the war against (and amongst) the drug cartels. Access to U.S. assault weapons may also be related to the rise in incidents of multiple homicides in Mexico.

The U.S. is an important player in controlling the circulation of illegal weapons in Mexico, but it is only one of many. According to arms expert Keith Krause, substantial quantities of weapons seized from Mexico’s criminals originate in Mexico or Central America. Honduras, for example, recently admitted that it cannot account for thousands of guns that disappeared from government warehouses. Many weapons that were funnelled to Central America to fight 20th century conflicts are still circulating today, fueling narcotics-related conflict in Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala.

But controlling this market is a tall order for any country or region. The illicit global market for small arms and light weapons (SALW) is estimated to be worth approximately $1 billion dollars annually. Trade flourishes in part because of a large gray market of legal guns that become illegal when they are lost or stolen from government stockpiles. Government weapons and ammunition stockpiles that are poorly monitored can be diverted to this gray market with little risk because, in the absence of a universal marking and tracking system, it is difficult to trace to a “legitimate” owner and hold that person accountable.

The long career of international arms dealer Victor Bout, and his eventual capture in a DEA sting explicitly demonstrates of the need for a global treaty on the weapons trade, according to Oxfam International. Despite significant evidence of Bout’s participation in illegal weapons sales, he was able to continue to sell guns and fuel conflict in the world’s worst war zones for two decades.

Currently, only 73 (out of 154) countries regulate trade in light weapons and, of those, only 56 have laws criminalizing their illicit transfer. The lack of a global treaty addressing the trade in SALW allows gun traffickers to avoid both arrest in countries that lack penalties and extradition to countries with comprehensive, enforceable laws.

Currently, commodities like bananas and electronics are highly regulated under international law, but there are no substantial agreements requiring states to monitor and restrict transfers of arms and ammunition around the globe.

This may change. A proposed global Arms Trade Agreement will be debated in the UN next year. And while it will not eliminate the illicit trade in guns, it can reduce the availability of military-grade weapons on the shadowy gray market and clarify the fuzzy boundaries between licit and illict trade in weapons responsible for hundreds of thousands violent deaths. It may also give Latin American and Caribbean governments a template for further regional and domestic action on this issue.

 

Drug-related homicides in Mexico could conceivably hit another record high 2011?

 

Stats Murder in Mexico

Stats Murder in Mexico

Drug-related homicides in Mexico could conceivably hit another record high this year but the murder count has likely leveled off and is expected to start declining, the University of San Diego said in a report, which also cited an increase in the number of Mexicans seeking asylum in the United States.

“The figures for this year are still quite bad, with more than 10,000 people killed, but not significantly worse than in 2010, when there were at least 20 percent more homicides than in 2009,” David Shirk, director of USD’s Trans-Border Institute, told Efe.

 The report was presented Wednesday at a conference in San Diego titled “The Effects of Violence in Mexico on Migration and Immigration Policy.”

Shirk said there had been a sharp slowdown in the “spiral of violence” due to a decrease in homicides in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, which in 2009 accounted for as many as a third of all murders and kidnappings in Mexico, and to new dynamics in cities such as Tijuana.

“Violence in Tijuana peaked in 2008 and 2009. Now presumably, after drug traffickers realized that violence was bad for business, there’s a pact between the Sinaloa cartel and the remnants of the Tijuana (mob), with the former gaining influence, and that’s pushed the violence to the east of the city,” Shirk said.

According to the expert, the “Tijuana model” of not interfering with the traffickers’ operations could be adopted in other Mexican cities, a move that would mean returning to the policy that existed before President Felipe Calderon launched a nationwide crackdown on the cartels upon taking office in December 2006.

The strategy has led to headline-grabbing captures of cartel kingpins, but drug war-related violence has claimed nearly 50,000 lives nationwide over the five-year period.

“That would mean all the death and violence has served no purpose, which is an unfortunate and cynical vision and a great tragedy if they’re unable to interrupt the way the cartels conduct their business,” Shirk said.

A total of 10,933 drug-related deaths were registered through Nov. 4, 2011, the expert said, citing figures compiled by the Mexican media. That compares with 15,273 homicides for all of 2010.

Most of these slayings are concentrated in four states while at least 230,000 Mexicans were internally displaced last year as a result of the war on drugs, which also has led to an increase in the number of asylum requests in the United States.

Those asylum seekers, however, have a difficult time winning their cases in part due to political reasons, immigration attorney and conference participant Ginger Jacobs said, noting that in granting their requests the U.S. government would be acknowledging that Mexico cannot protect its own citizens.

According to the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, 3,231 Mexicans requested asylum last year but only 49 of those petitions were granted. That amounts to a 1.5 percent success rate, compared to 35.6 percent and 41.6 percent for Chinese and Colombian applicants, respectively.

Shirk said Mexico’s plight is due in part to high drug consumption in the United States and the north-to-south flow of weapons and therefore a change in Washington’s current supply-side oriented anti-drug strategy is essential.

Mexico must transform its justice system to give prosecutors autonomy at the local level, but in the United States marijuana must be legalized because most prosecution and policing expenditures there are focused on that drug even though it represents only between 15-20 percent of cartels’ revenues, he said.

Legalization would free up scarce resources that would be better spent tackling much more profitable drugs like cocaine and heroin, which together with expenditures on witness-protection programs and judicial reforms in Mexico could make a difference, the expert said.

Mexican Government -criminals- human rights of abuse!

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President Felipe Calderón declared that “criminals” are “the main threat to the human rights of Mexicans,” to meet Wednesday with leaders of Human Rights Watch (HRW), an organization that presented a critical assessment of human rights in the country.

During the meeting, HRW gave his report to President Calderon’s initiative and defined the formation of a joint working group to analyze the content of the study, said the Office of the President in a statement.

“The (criminals) who through offensive crimes such as homicide, kidnapping and extortion, systematically violate the fundamental guarantees of the citizens and their families.

“Hence the legal and ethical obligation of the Government, to deploy all the means at its disposal to which, under the principle of responsibility, strengthen the presence of authority in communities with greater criminal rivalry,” said President Calderón.

The Mexican president expressed his conviction that full respect for fundamental rights is an essential element “for both the consolidation of our democracy, to build real and lasting security.”

Calderon said that in recent years, “Mexico has taken decisive steps for effective promotion and protection, always within a framework of transparency and openness to public scrutiny, whether international or domestic.”

He explained that the Constitutional Reform in the Field of Human Rights, the Law Reform Amparo and Constitutional Reform Criminal Justice System in Mexico “is not only aligned with international standards, but builds a solid foundation for our future generations develop in a more open, integrated and democratic. “

He also noted that the strengthening of security institutions and law enforcement of the three orders of government is, in more ways than one, a necessary condition to strengthen the protection of human rights of Mexicans against crime.

“Are corporations and local prosecutors who, pursuant to the authority of law, it is primarily the prevention of crime and law enforcement.

“Therefore, the Federal Government has promoted the transformation of state and municipal institutions, through the purification of their staff and improving its legal instruments,” he said.

He said that the Federal forces have worked closely with the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and various international organizations to further training in human rights.

Furthermore, he added, “that have always been open with full transparency, to accept the recommendations of the Commission and, where appropriate, to initiate processes for the demarcation of responsibilities.”

President Calderón was accompanied by Secretaries of the Interior, José rancisco Blake Mora; of Foreign Affairs Patricia Espinosa, and Attorney General’s Office, Marisela Morales Ibañez, as well as by the Coordinator of Social Communication of the Presidency of the Republic Alejandra Sota Mirafuentes.