Things That Matter

By Day He Herds Cattle and Moonlights as a Cartel Killer

Cartel hitman
CREDIT:  DARIO LOPEZ-MILLS / AP PHOTO

Although he’s eliminated 30 people since the age of 20, this cartel killer has no regrets and feels his work is necessary to protect his community.

“A lot of times your neighborhood, your town, your city is being invaded by people who you think are going to hurt your family, your society,” he says under anonymity to the AP. “Well, then you have to act, because the government isn’t going to come help you.”

The 29-year-old defends his cartel’s territory near Acapulco, in the  Costa Grande of Guerrero and near the farmland that produces heroin poppies and marijuana.

He disappears people for various reasons, but mostly because they work for a rival cartel or have shared information. By ‘disappearing’ he means kidnapping, torturing, and killing. When he tortures he does it in three ways: simulated drowning, beatings, and waterboarding. He also uses electric shocks to the testicles, tongue and the soles of the feet. Most of the time he gets the information he needs and ends the ritual by killing the person and burying them where no one will find them.

READ: How El Chapo Makes $80K from a $5K “Investment”

Although he remembers the number of victims he’s killed and where he buried them, he doesn’t remember the person. “Over time,” he says, “you forget.”

Since there are so many cartels in Mexico, there are many more killers like him. In fact, since 2007 the number of the disappeared has reached 26,000 in the country, 1,000 just in Guerrero. But he says the problem is much bigger than the officials report.

Because he only has a grade-school education, he raises cattle for a living and does the cartel killing as a side job. In terms of his future, he says, “I don’t really see anything.”

Read more about this problem and the cartel hitman’s fears here.

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One Of Mexico’s Most Iconic Revolutionaries Was Fine AF But What Did He Do For His Nation?

Culture

One Of Mexico’s Most Iconic Revolutionaries Was Fine AF But What Did He Do For His Nation?

As Mexico celebrates its independence from colonial Spain, many are reminded of the nation’s tumultuous yet rich history. From Mexico’s independence from Spain, to war with France and the US, to America’s only monarchy, Mexico has a long and varied history. 

Perhaps no other period in Mexican history was as consequential as el revolución — or the Mexican Civil War. It transformed Mexican society and culture and, in the process, created many of Mexico’s greatest and most well-known icons and political figures. 

Few are more well known and respected in Mexico than the revolutionary leader, Emilano Zapato. This mustachioed handsome general fought the revolution on behalf of Mexico’s farmers and working class as well as the Indigenous communities of the south, all of whom were all too often forgotten by leaders in the capital. 

Zapata is an iconic Mexican figure who championed the struggles of both the peasant class and Mexico’s Indigenous communities.

Zapata, who was 39 when he died, arguably ranks just behind Che Guevara on the list of iconic Latin American revolutionaries.

As a young man, he worked on a ranch that belonged to the son-in-law of Mexico’s then-dictator, Porfirio Diaz, where he got an up-close look at the extreme inequality dividing the country.

Politically active from an early age, Zapata emerged as a key leader of Mexico’s farmers when the anti-Diaz revolution broke out.

Along with Pancho Villa, he was among the most radical of the revolutionaries, calling for the large-scale redistribution of land to the country’s poor and indigenous farmers.

His name was invoked in El Grito de Dolores, the country’s major celebration on Dia de la Independencia.

Early in the morning on September 16, 1810, it’s said that Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang the bell of his church and made the call to arms to rise up against colonial Spain, which started Mexico’s War of Independence. 

Since 1812, nearly every Mexican leader has commemorated the historical moment by delivering their own version of “El Grito.” And this year, delivered by AMLO, Zapatista received his own chants of viva

He also had one hell of a mustache and fashion sense...

Credit: Klimbim / Instagram

Images of Zapata with a broad sombrero, thick mustache and bandoleer rival Che Guevara as icons of both romantic rebellion and capitalist entrepreneurialism. Zapata’s descendants recently applied to trademark his name and envisage earning royalties on merchandise ranging from T-shirts to tequila.

Although Zapata fought many battles in life, many say his legacy was cemented with his death.

They say Zapata never died that April 10th. That he lived and fled to the Arabian Peninsula and would return when most needed. They said something about his dead body wasn’t right. That a scar was different, that a mole was missing, that the body had all ten fingers, when the real Zapata was missing a finger.

“We all laughed when we saw the cadaver,” one of Zapata’s soldiers said decades later. “We elbowed each other because the jefe was smarter than the government.” They say Zapata knew about Guajardo’s impending trick and that Jesús Delgado — a spitting image of Zapata, who traveled with the general as a body double —was the man killed. Others say it was another man, Agustín Cortés, or Joaquín Cortés, or Jesús Capistrán, or, as Zapata’s son put it, “some pendejo…from Tepoztlán.” Whoever it was, the name didn’t even matter. The important thing was that, according to these stories, Zapata lived and would eventually return.

But in today’s Mexico, the country is divided on the revolutionary’s legacy. 

Credit: DazzlingCoins.com

Protests erupted Wednesday at commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, underlining how divisive the mustachioed peasant leader remains a century later.

He’s a figure that AMLO has tried to embrace, with varying degrees of success. 

Credit: @lopezobrador_ / Twitter

Mexico’s current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has expressed admiration for Zapata, pledged to revive Mexico’s rural economy, and declared 2019 the year of Emiliano Zapata.

But in the revolutionary leader’s home region of Morelos, a battle has broken out over his legacy, as López Obrador pushes for the completion of a power plant and pipeline that have faced strong opposition from the local community.

“It’s a mockery – declaring 2019 the year of Gen Emiliano Zapata and then commemorating it by handing over the water from farmers in his birthplace to multinationals,” Zapata González said.

Zapata, whether you see his picture as a young man or were among those who claimed to have seen him in old age, has come to symbolize whatever noble cause the Mexican Revolution stood for.

Today, a century after Zapata’s death, across Mexico and other parts of the world, the living—and perhaps even the dead—continue their fight inspired by Emiliano Zapata.

Mexico Tells The US There Will Be No ‘Safe Third Country’ Agreement And Here’s What That Means For Migrants

Things That Matter

Mexico Tells The US There Will Be No ‘Safe Third Country’ Agreement And Here’s What That Means For Migrants

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Over the summer, Trump came down hard on Mexico and other Central American nations in an effort to make his base happy by reducing migration to the US. He threatened to slap tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Mexican goods bound for the US unless Mexico did more to stem the flow of migrants making their way to the US border.

Mexico agreed and implemented several of their own inhumane policies targeting migrants and deployed a new national guard force to its southern border with Guatemala. Now, as apprehensions at the US-Mexico border have dropped, the US is still pushing for a ‘safe third country’ agreement with Mexico. And Mexico is saying no thank you!

Mexico’s Foreign Minister rejected calls for a ‘safe third country’ deal because other policies are already working.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said that Mexico doesn’t need to take any new measures to reduce the number of undocumented migrants bound for the U.S. because the current strategy is proving successful.

Ebrard said Mexico’s efforts have reduced undocumented migration from Central America by 70% and that he expects the trend to be irreversible. Ebrard said he also told Trump that a Safe Third Country agreement, which would make refugees apply for asylum in Mexico before the U.S. and has been sought by acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, doesn’t have support from Mexico’s Senate nor president.

The Foreign Minister led a Mexican delegation on Tuesday for meetings at the White House that included a brief conversation with President Donald Trump. Ebrard said that he explained the importance of the steps Mexico has taken since June, including the deployment of the National Guard, and also expressed concern about guns flowing south from the U.S.

Even Trump himself had praise for the ‘progress’ being made by Mexico.

Trump took to Twitter to tout the major decline in apprehensions at the Southern Border. Of course, in typical Trump fashion, he claimed credit for the decrease. Trump had threatened to slap tariffs on Mexican goods bound for the US back in June, unless Mexico played a more active role in preventing migrants from reaching the US border.

Since then, Mexico has bolstered its immigration enforcement, deploying newly formed National Guards units and other officials to its southern border with Guatemala. The government there has also worked with U.S. officials as the Trump administration expands the controversial “Remain in Mexico” program

A ‘safe third country’ agreement, like the ones agreed to by Guatemala and Honduras would put migrant’s lives at an even greater risk.

Although the two countries don’t have a safe third country agreement in place, Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy is effectively the same thing.

A statement from Pence’s office after Tuesday’s meeting said the nations agreed to implement “to the fullest extent possible” the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as “Remain in Mexico.” More than 42,000 non-Mexican migrants have been sent to Mexico to wait weeks or months for their U.S. legal processes since the program began in January, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Human rights advocates say this makes them vulnerable to the violence that plagues many of the cities on Mexico’s northern border.

And, meanwhile, the US court system has allowed the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy to resume for migrants who cross into New Mexico and Texas.

The Ninth Circuit court has temporarily lifted a nationwide injunction against President Donald Trump’s effort to deny asylum to immigrants who enter the U.S. after passing through another country.

The ruling basically lifted the injunction that was put in place blocking Trump’s expansion of the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy. Now, with this ruling, Trump can expand his policy to the border states outside the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction – New Mexico and Texas.

One of the central arguments against safe third country agreements, is that it creates extra pressures on governments already struggling to help refugees.

Many experts say that Guatemala and Mexico lack the resources to handle so many asylum claims and point to State Department warnings that asylum seekers are at risk of violence in both countries. Many also say that such agreements don’t address the root causes that push people to flee and may just encourage them to find different routes to the United States.

Crimes against migrants largely go unsolved and unpunished.

The State Department’s own advisory for Tamaulipas (a state where migrants are returned to under the ‘Remain in Mexico policy) warns against all travel here. “Federal and state security forces have limited capability to respond to violence in many parts of the state,” it says.

“For us, for everyone, it’s very dangerous,” agreed Pastor Aarón Méndez Ruiz, who runs the Casa del Migrante Amar, a shelter in Nuevo Laredo.

Migrants have long been frequent targets of crime here. The risks are high enough that rather than let Mexican deportees walk from the border bridge to the state migrant reception center nearby, officials transport them in vans.

Criminals were making such easy prey of migrants coming and going from one migrant shelter that the federal police posted a permanent, round-the-clock sentry across the street.