Things That Matter

New Reports Show Why Tijuana Has Been Ranked As The Most Dangerous City In The World

VV Nincic / Flickr

Despite efforts to curb increasing violence in Mexico, the ever-growing murder rate in Mexico seems to only be on the uptick. The latest report from the National System for Public Security shows in the first quarter of 2019 there were 8,493 murders in Mexico recorded from January to March. The numbers are the most ever on record for the period. The most violent state is Guanajuato which located in the central part of the country. The violence there is mainly attributed to clashes between rivaling cartel gangs.
The rise in murders is a 9.6 percent increase from the same period just last year.

Just last year there were 33,500 murders in Mexico which was considered the most in the country’s history since records began in 1997.

The rising numbers contradict statements made by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has in various occasions said that the murder rate hasn’t risen since he took office in December.

López Obrador plans to reduce the violence through social programs and a new militarized police team known as the National Guard. It still is left to be determined if the new police force will make a difference when it comes to violence and the protection of citizens.

“What concerns us the most is guaranteeing public safety,” López Obrador said at a Navy event Sunday. “That is why a reform of the constitution was proposed so that the army and the navy can help us.”

The increasing violence has led to places like the city of Tijuana being deemed the “most violent city in the world.”


Just last month, Tijuana was deemed by Mexico’s Citizens’ Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice to be the most violent city in the world. The city had 2,519 murders in 2018, a 40 percent increase from 2017, according to KQED Public Media.

The same report shows that five cities in Mexico are among the most dangerous in the world. This includes Acapulco, Victoria, Juarez, Irapuato and Tijuana. The cities are home to where homicides have risen to historic levels in recent years amid a military-led war against criminal groups.

So why is this violence happening and what is being done to stop it?

Experts have pointed out that the increased violence is due to inter-cartel fighting and bloodshed. It’s also a sign of the power struggle for control between the Sinaloa and the Jalisco New Generation cartel groups as the main driver for the homicides. Both groups have attempted to cement themselves as the main smugglers of drugs and narcotics into the United States.

Even as López Obrador plans to increase authority force in Mexico through the new National Guard, it won’t be easy. López Obrador inherited a decade-long drug war that has seen thousands of citizens die along the way.

The plan to diminish the influence of drug cartels that have long gripped the country has been difficult. Previous presidents have had limited success with stopping violence and it’s still to be determined if the latest leadership will fare any differently.

READ: Trump Administration To Resume Controversial And Damaging ‘Remain In Mexico’ Policy For Asylum SeekersF

Claudia Ochoa Félix, Alleged Crime Leader Of The Sinaloa Drug Cartel, Was Found Dead

Things That Matter

Claudia Ochoa Félix, Alleged Crime Leader Of The Sinaloa Drug Cartel, Was Found Dead

Watching “Narcos: Mexico” on Netflix taught us one major aspect of cartels, there’s never just one person running a massive operation that includes importing and exporting drugs. Some may conclude that Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was the mastermind over his billion-dollar drug empire but there were many key players involved as well, many of which are in either in jail or dead.  Now, there’s one more casualty to add to the list. 

Claudia Ochoa Félix, an alleged leader of “Los Ántrax” — an “armed enforcement wing of the Sinaloa drug cartel” was found dead.

Instagram/@chismes_calientes2019

Officials report that the cause of death for Félix, who was found dead over the weekend in Isla Musala, Culiacan, Mexico. is being ruled as suspicious. Félix, who’s Instagram shows her both posing as a model and around weaponry, was an alleged leader of “Los Ántrax” and had affiliations with El Chapo’s cartel. Her ties to Mexico’s crime world gave her a couple of infamous nicknames including the “Kim Kardashian of organized crime” the “Anthrax Empress.” However, at the end of the day, the 32-year-old (some outlets report she was 35), Félix was seen as one of the most powerful women within the Mexican cartel, a title she has always denied

Preliminary reports show Félix was found dead over the weekend due to a suspected overdose.

Credit: Instagram/@velia.o

However, because of her involvement with the cartel, some reports claim the death is suspicious. According to The Sun, “It is unclear whether she was the victim of foul play or whether it was an accidental death. Aspiration occurs when someone breaths foreign objects such as fluids into their lungs, causing choking and death. Reports said that she went to a nightclub in the city and returned to a man’s house later that night. The presumed lover said he tried to wake Ms. Felix but when she did not respond he called the local authorities.”

Félix leaves behind three kids. She was also suspected of being romantically involved with another cartel leader, Jose Rodrigo Arechiga, also known as “El Chino Antrax.”

Credit: Instagram/@chismes_calientes2019

In 2016, Arechiga was arrested for his involvement with the Mexican cartel, and back then reports circulated that Félix was trying to take over the entire cartel empire which would have sparked a drug war against El Chapo. After El Chapo’s capture, which resulted in a guilty verdict earlier this year and now faces life in prison, opened the door for other drug rings in Mexico to take over. One of those was “Los Ántrax” — and its leader was allegedly Félix

“My children are being subjected to bullying, my mother is suffering from anxiety, and I am devastated and without peace, and now my physical integrity is threatened,” Félix said in a 2014 interview with VICE. “That’s not me in the majority of them,” she added. “I’ve filed a complaint before the authorities so that they can investigate and arrest those responsible for opening and administering [the accounts], causing irreparable harm to my children and myself.”

In 2014, a woman named Yuriana Castillo Torres was allegedly killed in Culiacan, Mexico, because assailants confused her with Félix. 

Credit: Instagram/@_farandulaygentevip

Both women were dark beauties, and unfortunately they also both died too young. Torres was romantically linked to Arechiga. According to reports from 2014, Torres was killed very violently. Milenio reported that Torres was kidnapped and that authorities found that her body showed signs of “torture and was tied with hands and feet with wires, wore sportswear and was wrapped in a white sheet.”

In other related news from the drug cartel world, a New York police officer who provided security for El Chapo’s wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, was found guilty for selling cocaine. Officer Ishmael Bailey, 36, was arrested this week on “charges of conspiracy and sale of a controlled substance for allegedly acting as security twice when a load of cocaine was transported from various locations around Queens,” the New York Post reports. 

As we reported earlier this year, Aispuro announced she would dedicate her time to working on a fashion collection

“I am very happy to be able to create something like this. I hope it’ll be something everyone likes,” she told the New York Daily News. “I will give it my best effort to make it good for everyone and within everyone’s reach. I want to start with a line of caps, then I’ll begin to produce clothes, jackets.”

It’s good to see there is life outside of the crime world. 

READ: Hoping To Stop The Drug War, Mexico’s President Asks Drug Cartel Leaders To ‘Think Of Your Mother’

 
 

El Paso Artists Joined Together To Commemorate El Paso Gun Violence Victims With A Mural That Highlights Community Strength

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El Paso Artists Joined Together To Commemorate El Paso Gun Violence Victims With A Mural That Highlights Community Strength

Just seven weeks after the massacre at an El Paso Wal-Mart that took the lives of 22 people and injured 24 others, the border city is still recovering from their tragic losses. Though the victims have been laid to rest and the survivors are working towards healing, the city is still feeling the effects of the life-shattering experience. 

As national news has moved on from the tragedy, the minds and hearts of local El Pasoans are still with the embattled town. 

With that in mind, a new mural created by a pair of talented street artists has been created to celebrate the power of the Texas town. 

Twitter / @AlyssaCBS4

El Paso brothers, John Ramirez and Jamie Hernandez Jr., worked hard to craft this graffiti style mural. Reading “El Poderoso Tejano,” the vast wall painting is located between Ascarate Street and Valencia Place on the United States side of the border city. The mural was sponsored by local tee-shirt company, OG Family. The company will be selling tee-shirts of the mural design and all profits from their sale will go to the victims of the El Paso assault.

“It shows that everybody came as a community,” David Barbosa, co-owner of OG Family said of the mural. “For one purpose. That purpose is to show that we’re united no matter what happens. At the end, El Paso is united.”

The mural will also be featured in a music video for local El Paso record label, 915 Records Familia. The rap video will be filmed on September 28th. During the video shoot, a local car show will also take place at the mural’s site bringing together El Paso’s car community, rap community and street art community all in one spot. 

Though the Ramirez Brothers are now getting the credit they deserve for this mural, they were not named by local El Paso media who first reported the new artwork

Twitter / @cassyjernandez1 

In a video first promoting the mural, the brothers were not named as the artists. Instead, they were called “unlikely artists” and “former gang members.” Thankfully, Cassie Hernandez, a family member of the two artists, took to Twitter and credited them for their amazing work. 

In response, Twitter applauded the Ramirez Brothers’ craftsmanship and celebrated the spirit of El Paso’s survivors. 

 Twitter / @braydenbern

This Twitter user called out the attention to detail the artists put into the piece and also credited their commitment to graffiti-style art. The street art style came into popularity in the 1980s with the emergence of hip-hop culture. Cholo-inspired graffiti script especially became a calling card of Latinx communities and their street artists. While street art was once looked down upon, it is now celebrated for the unique and bold art form that it is.  

Many supporters were offended on the Ramirez Brothers’ behalf for the dis by local news. 

 Twitter / @angelitaaaxo

The original news story definitely did a disservice by leaving out the Ramirez Brothers’ names and by calling out any speculative former gang affiliation they might have had. Instead, their work as amazing artists and dedicated members of their community should be commended. There’s nothing “unlikely” about their talent or their love for El Paso.

This mural joins others that have recently gone up in El Paso to honor the victims of mass shootings.

Tweet / @thedailybeast

A mural honoring Joaquin Oliver, a victim of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, was unveiled the day after the tragedy in El Paso. The mural was planned before the Wal-Mart attack so the timing made the new addition to El Paso even more heartbreaking. Local artist Gabe Vasquez also created a mural reading “El Paso Strong” dedicated to the spirit of the border city.