Things That Matter

Cartel Violence Targets Mexican-American Family Near US-Mexico Border Killing At Least Nine

At least nine members of a Mexican-American family of 14 were brutally killed during a highway cartel ambush in Mexico, according to authorities. The family of three mothers and 14 children were Mormon-fundamentalist with dual American and Mexican citizenship. 

While the family was crossing the border between Galeana, Chihuahua and Bavispe, Sonora cartel members attacked the family who was spread across three cars with guns. When one bullet his the gas tank of an SUV it exploded. 

The victims were identified as Christina Marie Langford Johnson, 29; Dawna Langford, 43; Trevor Langford, 11; and Rogan Langford, 2-and-a-half, Rhonita Miller, 30; Howard Miller, 12; Krystal Miller, 10; and the 8-month-old twins, Titus and Tiana Miller, according to NBC News. 

Authorities believe the attack ensued when cartel members may have mistaken the vehicles for rival SUVs. 

A gruesome attack highlights Mexico’s cartel violence.

The Mexican government says some family members, including a woman and her children, were burned alive. Eight children survived, although some were seriously injured. A 9-month-old survived being shot in the chest, as did a 4-year-old who was shot in the back, according to Kendra Lee Miller a family member who spoke with NBC. 

Kendra said 13-year-old Devin Langford managed to escape uninjured. Devin walked roughly 14 miles to La Mora for help after concealing his wounded siblings in bushes and branches. Another child, 9-year-old McKenzie Langford who as grazed on the arm with a bullet was also forced to go and look for help when Devin did not return. McKenzie was lost for hours before being discovered by search parties. 

“Everyone is in so much shock,” Willie Jessop, a family member of one of the victim’s said. “It’s just unbelievable, and there’s just no way to comprehend it.”

According to Arizona Central, the family who is from Queen Creek, Arizona were a part of a massive local Mormon community. 

“It’s devastating,” Leah Staddon, another family member told Arizona Central. “It’s incomprehensible, the evil. I don’t understand how someone could do that.” 

Trump reacts to the attack on Twitter, saying he will “wage war.” 

“A wonderful family and friends from Utah got caught between two vicious drug cartels, who were shooting at each other, with the result being many great American people killed, including young children, and some missing,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively.”

President Trump did not specify in what form the “help” would be provided, whether in the form of aid or military support. 

“The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!” Trump wroteadding: “This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth. We merely await a call from your great new president!”

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador responds to Trump. 

While López Obrador says he did not read Trump’s tweets he took a more optimistic tone. 

“In the spirit of cooperating… I am sure he has not been disrespectful. Every time we talk it is with that spirit of helping, which we appreciate very much,” he said. 

However, López Obrador warned against a “war on drugs” — perhaps he is aware of how the one in the United States failed horribly. 

“The worst thing is war … those who have lived war, suffered from war, know what that means… It is the opposite of politics, war is synonymous to irrationality, war is irrational,” he said.

Is Mexico’s approach with violent cartels coming to a head? 

The attack, which still has authorities scrambling to piece the incident together and find the remaining family members who are missing, comes weeks after a “botched anti-drug raid,” according to the Washington Post. 

The Sinola cartel gained control of Culiacan following the attempted arrest of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s son Ovidio Guzman. After detaining him, the Mexican government released Ovidio to prevent a violent standoff with the cartel. 

The Los Angeles Times says Mexico’s homicides may exceed last year’s record high next year, while extortions are up 37 percent, and kidnappings are up 9 percent. According to Yahoo News, there have been 250,000 killings in Mexico since 2006 when Mexico used military intervention to combat organized crime. 

As López Obrador avoids militant responses, he has deployed 50,000 members of Mexico’s National Guard to thwart crime. Many are wondering if this incident will change López Obrador’s more diplomatic approach. 

Violence In Mexico Is Expected To Get Even Worse Just As The Country Enters The Worst Phase Of The Pandemic

Things That Matter

Violence In Mexico Is Expected To Get Even Worse Just As The Country Enters The Worst Phase Of The Pandemic

Sergio Maldonado / Getty

On paper, Mexico has seemed to largely escape the worst of the Coronavirus pandemic. Although its leaders came under fire from many at the beginning of the outbreak, the healthcare system hasn’t collapsed and in many parts of the country, it’s largely been business as usual.

However, officials are warning that as the economic impacts of the pandemic begin to take hold, the country could be in store for a very violent 2020. And this dire warning comes as Mexico is already experiencing it’s deadliest year in modern history, unrelated to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Even with Coronavirus restrictions, deadly violence continues to rise in Mexico.

Officials had thought that with Coronavirus-related restrictions in place, much of the widespread violence that plagues the country would gradually be reduced as more people stayed at home. But with the 6,000 homicides between March and April, 2020 is shaping up to be the deadliest year in modern Mexican history – just after 2019 claimed the top spot last year.

So far in 2020, homicides have climbed by 2.4% in the first four months of the year, compared to 2019. In the first four months of this year, 11,535 murders were registered, up from 11,266 homicide in same period last year, preliminary data from the security ministry showed. Just over 34,600 murders were logged in Mexico in all of last year.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador pledged to bring down gang-fueled violence afflicting Mexico when he took office in December 2018, but homicides hit a record level in 2019 and have continued to climb even during the Coronavirus lockdown.

And now as the country begins to find a ‘new normal’ and slowly reopen, officials are warning that the situation will only get worse.

Credit: Henry Romero / Getty

Speaking at a “justice, transparency and Covid-19” conference, Santiago Nieto, the head of the government’s Financial Intelligence Unit, bluntly declared that an economic and security “crisis is obviously coming.”

He predicted that burglaries, financial fraud, human trafficking and child pornography offenses will be among the crimes that will increase. Mexico’s court system will consequently come under significant pressure, Nieto said.

For his part, the head of the Federal Protection Service, a division of the Security Ministry, told the newspaper El Universal that Mexico is likely to go through a “very rough” period of insecurity in the next three to six months.

Although the economic losses haven’t been as severe as in the U.S., Mexico was already in a precarious economic situation before the pandemic.

So far, the pandemic has left more than 750,000 Mexicans without work in the formal sector – this isn’t including the roughly 60% of Mexican society that works in the informal economy. And analysts and financial institutions are forecasting that the economy will suffer a deep recession in 2020.

Commissioner Manuel Espino Barrientos said the Coronavirus pandemic and the economic downturn caused by the mitigation measures put in place to limit the spread of the virus will leave Mexico in a “very complicated” security situation.

Violence and crime will increase because a lot of people “will not find work but they will be hungry,” Espino said.

Despite the economic downturn, a new poll shows that a majority of Mexicans support further extending strict stay-at-home orders.

Although Mexico’s President AMLO has repeatedly stated that the country’s Coronavirus pandemic is under control, that’s not what most Mexicans feel, according to a new poll.

Conducted by the newspaper El Financiero on May 22 and 23, the poll found that 52% of those polled believe that the Coronavirus situation has not been controlled.

Participants were then asked to offer an opinion on the government’s coronavirus mitigation measures, and 64% of poll respondents said that more restrictions should be enforced and stay-at-home orders/recommendations should be extended.

Photographer Diego Huerta Took An Update Photo Of The Most Beautiful Girl In Mexico

Culture

Photographer Diego Huerta Took An Update Photo Of The Most Beautiful Girl In Mexico

diegohuertaphoto / Instagram

Diego Huerta is a photographer who has used his talents and time to document indigenous communities to preserve the culture and history. One of Huerta’s most famous photos was one of a young girl that he called the most beautiful girl in Mexico. He recently shared a new photo of the girl as a woman.

Diego Huerta shared an updated photo of the most beautiful girl woman in Mexico.

Huerta first met the girl when he was traveling through Mexico years ago. The first photo, posted in 2016 but taken in 2011, highlighted the young woman that he dubbed the most beautiful girl in Mexico. The latest photo shows the girl grown up and still living in her same pueblo in 2017. She is still a stunning reminder of the beauty that exists in southern Mexico.

The woman lives in Chiapas, the last Mexican state before entering Central America by way of Guatemala. There are multiple indigenous communities in Chiapas. While Huerta does not mention the indigenous community the woman belongs to, the clothing appears to represent the Zoque people.

The woman is still creating wander and interest among Huerta’s fans.

Credit: diegohuertaphoto / Instagram

Her quiet and still composure makes her seem like a Mexican Mona Lisa, tbh. Her stoic face in the photographs has captivated Huerta fans for years. The first photo of the young woman was seen around the world and her beauty was celebrated by everyone who saw the photo.

The young girl’s eyes are what drew in the love and praise from people around the world.

Huerta made it a point to call out the young girl’s eyes in the photo. It isn’t because of the color of her eyes. He was intrigued by her eyes because she is deaf and her eyes are one of the ways she is able to communicate with the world around her.

“In my journey through South Mexico, in a town located in the middle of the Chiapas’ mountains I found the most brilliant eyes that I have ever seen,” Huerta wrote in the original post. “The beauty of this girl was similar to the panoramic views I was able to appreciate every time I turned around. She´s deaf, the way to communicate with her was by signs. It is no mystery that the beauty of the true Mexican woman is way above all beauty contests.”

People are obsessing over her beauty that seems to improve with age.

Credit: diegohuertaphoto / Instagram

Nine years makes a big difference in a young person’s development. It can be the difference between 11 and 20, which is a huge difference. Her silent beauty is proof that indigenous communities hold some of the most beautiful people in the world. There is no reason to praise and adhere to Euro-centric beauty standards.

The Instagram posted is filled with messages of appreciation celebrating the photo and the young woman we saw grow up.

Credit: diegohuertaphoto / Instagram

Huerta currently has a documentary about the Tehuana people in Oaxaca. His photographs and film collection highlighting and exalting the indigenous community of Mexico is beautiful and necessary. He is collecting an important and vibrant part of human history by giving the first people to inhabit the land a chance to shine and show who Mexico truly is.

READ: Photographer Diego Huerta Is Giving Everyone A Look Into The Tehuana Culture In Oaxaca, Mexico