Narcolimosnas – la caridad de los carteles de la droga infecta la Iglesia Católica mexicana

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EL PASO – La Marina mexicana mató a Heriberto Lazcano, “El Lazca”, líder de los Zetas, uno de los carteles de la droga más violentos y temidos el 7 de octubre. Lazcano había sido relacionado con 30,000 asesinatos. De acuerdo con las autoridades mexicanas, Lazcano poseía un rancho donde solía deshacerse de sus víctimas usándolas como alimentos para sus leones y tigres. Una placa en una pared de la capilla en la villa de Tezontle, HIdalgo, proclama que el edificio fue donado por Heriberto Lazcano. “Señor, escucha mi plegaria; escucha mi clamor por piedad; en tu fidelidad y justicia ven a mi alivio”, se lee en la placa que hace referencia al Salmo 143 de la biblia.


Narcolimosnas – alms from drug cartels infect the Mexican Catholic church

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EL PASO – The Mexican Navy killed Heriberto Lazcano, “El Lazca,” leader of Los Zetas, one of Mexico’s most feared and violent drug cartels on October 7. He had been connected to some 30,000 murders. According to the Mexican authorities, he owned a ranch where he used to get rid of his victims by feeding them to several lions and tigers. A plaque on a wall of the chapel in the village of Tezontle, Hidalgo, proclaims the building was donated by Heriberto Lazcano. “Lord, hear my prayer; listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief,” reads the plaque referring to Psalm 143 in the bible.

Rosental Alves, direct of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, left, and mario Tedeschini-Lali, deputy director for innovation and development at Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso in Rome, present the international OJAs. (©Brandon Weight)

Borderzine’s Mexodus project recognized among Homicide Watch, ProPublica and as the best in online journalism

SAN FRANCISO – In a night full of online journalism superstars, Borderzine’s bilingual Mexodus project won the Online Journalism Award for Non-English Small/Medium projects at the ONA conference here September 22. Mario Tedeschini-Lali, deputy director for innovation and development at Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso in Rome, and Rosenthal Alves, director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at The University of Texas in Austin, presented the awards for Non-English projects. Alves declared Mexodus the winner by reading one of the judges’ comments – “It gives a broad and deep look at life and death issues and amazing collaborative efforts by student journalists and their teachers,” Alves said. For months, students and professors from universities across the U.S. and México requested public records, reported and created multimedia stories that exposed the journey of thousands of middle class families who fled Mexico to escape the violent drug war. The project was led by the University of Texas at El Paso.

Mexodus, Borderzine's especial project.

Projects on U.S.-Mexico border, development in Brazil win Online Journalism Awards

By Alejandro Martínez

A student project that explored the migratory effects caused by drug violence along the U.S.-Mexico border and a comprehensive reporting package on the ongoing development of Paraná state in Brazil won the Online News Association’s 2012 awards for non-English projects during the ONA’s latest conference in San Francisco. “Mexodus,” published by Borderzine, a bilingual student publication of the University of Texas in El Paso, aimed to document the flight of families and businesses from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico to its sister city of El Paso, Texas. The mass migration followed a surge in drug violence and petty crime in the Mexican border city. Students from four universities in Mexico and the U.S. contributed to the nine-month project and published around 20 stories in both Spanish and English. “Retratos Paraná,” published by the Curitiba-based daily Gazeta de Povo was a four-month project in which a team of journalists traveled across more than 6,200 miles in the Brazilian southern state of Paraná to paint a detailed picture of the developing region.

New study provides context to the tsunami of drug-related violence in Mexico

EL PASO – The Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars has created a resource that provides background information on the major criminal groups battling for control of territory and lucrative drug trafficking routes in Mexico. Casualties have escalated to more than 30,000 people killed in drug-related violence since Mexican President Felipe Calderon began to crackdown on cartels. More than 50 U.S. citizens were killed in Ciudad Juarez in the past two years. “Given the extreme violence in Mexico, the United States in particular is looking at ways to support Mexican efforts against organized crimes,” said Eric L. Olson, author of A Profile of Mexico’s Major Organized Crime Groups and senior associate at The Mexico Institute. Olson said that President Barack Obama favors U.S. support of anti-drug Mexican efforts and that the U.S. has acknowledged partial responsibility for the situation in Mexico because of U.S. consumption of illicit drugs.

New Plan Stresses Improved Cross-border Communication

EL PASO, Texas — Improving the balance between security and trade along the U.S.-Mexico border, including much better communication, is essential for both countries to focus on and solve the huge problems of arms and drug trafficking. “Mexico and the U.S. will have to work together to maintain security and help trade. It will take both countries to give important information to one another,” said newly appointed Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Alan Bersin. Right now there is not enough trust or confidence on either side of the border, he said. These are essentially the two basic ingredients that Secretary Janet Napolitano and President Obama have included in a new vision for the U.S.-Mexico border.

Border Patrol Agents Numbers Increase Along U.S. Borders

EL PASO, Texas — The Border Patrol numbers of federal agents has grown to about 11,000 since the year 2007, this number has tripled since the tragic events of 9/11 according to the agency’s website. One of President George W. Bush’s final acts in office was to push the bill containing the budget request for the U.S. Border Patrol which totaled just fewer than $11 billion of tax payers money. With more funding, the U.S. borders have seen a sudden increase in the numbers of agents patroling high traffic areas. Just in The El Paso/Las Cruces area about 400 new agents were hired for the stations of the El Paso sector which are located in El Paso, Fabens, Fort Hancock, Ysleta, Alamogordo, Albuquerque, Deming, Las Cruces, Lordsburg, Truth or Consequences, and Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Drug busts have yielded about 100 tons of illegal narcotics since this sudden increase in funding for the Border Patrol nationwide, with big contributions coming out of the El Paso sector.

The Failure of The War on Drugs

EL PASO — President Richard Nixon declared war on drugs in 1969 with a stepped up campaign targeting the production, distribution and consumption of illegal drugs. Forty years later many consider that war a complete failure.