Things That Matter

Authorities Suspect That Gang Violence Is Behind The Horrific Fire Bombing Of A Nightclub That Left Dozens Dead

In yet another deadly attack in Mexico, at least 28 people were killed Tuesday night due to a suspected arson attack at a bar in the Mexican state of Veracruz. According to the Washington Post, perpetrators locked the doors and emergency exits of the well-known “White Horse Nightclub” and then promptly set the building on fire with gasoline bombs.  

“They arrived in several vehicles, with rifles and pistols. They threatened the security guards at the door and took control of the entrance,” a witness told the AFP.

“The White Horse Nightclub”, a table-dancing bar, is a well-known gathering place in the working-class city of Coatzacoalcos where the main industry has long been oil and oil refining. The deadly inferno ravaged through the bar killing the 28 people and injured more than a dozen others. Images taken in the aftermath of the attack showed the bodies of women burned to death among a charred interior. According to Yahoo News, many of those who perished in the fire were dancers. Videos on social media showed dozens of people grouped together and embracing one another outside the burned down bar. 

“My niece starting dancing here a few months ago. She was a single mom, and she wanted to give her daughter a better life and go back to school,” Maria Vazquez, whose 22-year-old niece Sugedy perished in the bar fire, told the AFP.

Law enforcement believes that the deadly fire might have been caused by a gang dispute between rival groups. At this time, there is one main suspect that has been identified. 

Credit: @ajplus / Twitter

As of now, law enforcement is following leads that a suspect is a man who had been recently arrested but then subsequently released. Veracruz Gov. Cuitláhuac García said at a news conference that a key suspect has been identified as a man known as “La Loca” but would only call him as Ricardo “N″ due to officials no longer giving the full names of suspects. García says that the man was previously detained back in July but was then let go within 48 hours after being turned over to the state prosecutor’s office.

“The criminals went in, closed the doors, the emergency exits, and set fire to the place,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said at a morning news conference discussing the tragedy. “This is the most inhuman thing possible. It is regrettable that organized crime acts in this manner.”

President Lopez Obrador criticized the state attorney general, Jorge Winckler Ortíz, who was appointed by a previous, rival administration, for having released some of the suspects behind the attack who had previously been in custody this year.

Veracruz has become a central battleground area in the long Mexican drug war that started back in 2006. The area is also considered a hotbed of violence where Mexico’s rival drug cartels have been known to engage in illegal activities. Tuesday’s deadly attack is similar to one that happened back in April on another bar in Veracruz in the city of Minatitlan that killed 13 people.

Tuesday’s attack was one of the worst mass killings since President Lopez Obrador took office in December pledging to help Mexico by battling corruption and inequality in the country. This comes as homicides have reached record highs this year already. 

Credit: @XHNEWS / Twitter

President Lopez Obrador has frequently called for the end of the senseless violence that has plagued the country for the last 15 years. But so far, the number of murders has only continued to rise after hitting record levels in 2018.

Tuesday’s deadly attack adds to the record year of violence in Mexico, which has already registered 14,603 homicides from January through June. The Mexican government under President Obrador has faced challenges in stopping the senseless violence that has taken the lives of thousands of innocent people caught between a deadly drug war. 

“The fact that 2019 is on pace to be the most violent year does not come out of nowhere. We have seen how violence has been progressively increasing,” said Francisco Rivas, director-general of the National Citizen Observatory, a research group, told the Washington Post. “The president says we are improving, but we are worse than ever before.”

No arrests have been announced so far in the investigation. The Veracruz public security secretary and the prosecutor’s office are still looking into more leads at this time. 

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Mexican President Criticizes DEA For Role In Former Army Chief’s Arrest

Things That Matter

Mexican President Criticizes DEA For Role In Former Army Chief’s Arrest

Hector Vivas / Getty Images

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador criticized the historic role of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Mexico after a former Mexican army chief was arrested Thursday in Los Angeles on drug charges at the request of the DEA.

The former Mexican Defense Minister was arrested by the DEA on drug charges.

Salvador Cienfuegos Zepedas was the secretary of National Defense in the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto from 2012 to 2018. President Lopez Obrador claims that the arrest is proof of corruption from past governments.

President Lopez Obrador used the arrest to criticize the U.S. government and the DEA.

President Lopez Obrador, speaking at a press conference in Oaxaca, claimed that there is a double standard. While Cienfuegos Zepedas has been arrested by the DEA, the president claims U.S. officials have not been held accountable for trafficking arms into Mexico to track them to the cartels. According to the president, Mexican officials are being held at a higher and harsher standard than U.S. officials.

“Why is it that it’s just the people in Mexico who took part in these acts being accused or implicated, and (the DEA) aren’t criticizing themselves, reflecting on the meddling by all these agencies in Mexico,” Lopez Obrador said at the press conference. “They came into the country with complete freedom, they did whatever they wanted.”

The former defense minister’s arrest sent shockwaves through Mexico.

Cienfuegos Zepedas was the first high-ranking Mexican military official to be arrested in the U.S. with drug-related corruption. He was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport and will be facing drug and money-laundering charges. It’s been less than a year since Genaro Garcia Luna was charged with taking bribes from the Sinaloa drug cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

President Lopez Obrador wants to protect the military’s reputation.

Lopez Obrador also said he hopes that the armed forces aren’t blamed for this scandal and that Mexico must take care of institutions as important as the Secretary of National Defense. Mexico does not currently have an ongoing investigation of the retired general and will await the result of the U.S. investigation, according to the president of Mexico. 

Cienfuegos Zepedas is due to make a court appearance related to four charges in California on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020.

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Showtime’s ‘Bad Hombres’ Is A Documentary Highlighting The World’s Only Binational Baseball Team

Entertainment

Showtime’s ‘Bad Hombres’ Is A Documentary Highlighting The World’s Only Binational Baseball Team

tecolotes_2_laredos / Instagram

Sports have a way of bringing people together. The experience of rooting for your team is a unifying feeling that transcends borders and culture. Showtime is exploring the importance of sports through the lens of the Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos.

“Bad Hombres” is a documentary highlighting immigration under President Trump through baseball.

Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos are the only binational professional baseball team in the world. The team splits their home games between stadiums in Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Director Andrew Glazer wanted to highlight the immigration issue through a sports lens to offer a different layer to the narrative.

“Most of the people trying to come into the U.S. are families and children trying to escape horrible violence in Central America,” Glazer told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “That story has been told, so what I wanted to do was show people in a way that I thought would be relatable to what life is like on the border. What life is like on those two sides and how interconnected they are. The thing that struck me to be honest is that initially in Laredo, Texas was how pervasive Spanish is spoken.”

The documentary shows the struggles of the baseball team trying to make sense of the volatile U.S.-Mexico border relations.

The Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos split time playing their home games between two stadiums in the U.S. and Mexico. The Trump administration’s constant battle with Mexico and threats to close the border put the team’s season in jeopardy. A first look teaser shows team managers trying to coordinate the release of game tickets in time with the ever-changing immigration announcements from the Trump administration.

“Bad Hombres” speaks politics without directly addressing politics.

“Even though my film has an overarching political message, the players are not covertly or overtly political in any way,” Glazer told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “They are baseball players and they are living their lives and a lot of them are trying to make it to the majors and some of them were in the majors and are now finishing their careers. There wasn’t a whole lot of political discussions.”

Glazer made sure to highlight the depths and complexities of the team members dealing with the political climate without politics.

“Inherently, what made the team fascinating is you had players from the U.S. who were Anglo-American players and Mexican American players who had a different perspective,” Glazer told DJ Sixsmith. “Then you had Mexican players and some Dominican players and Cuban and people from everywhere else. There were different languages and different perspectives. Seeing how that developed over time was pretty fascinating.”

“Bad Hombres” is streaming on Showtime.

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