5 links from the past week
- The U.S. Department of Justice ordered the arrest (and then the release) of former Mexican Defense Minister Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos because it believed the General was tied to a regional drug trafficking group based in Mexico’s Pacific state of Nayarit. At the Mexico Violence Resource Project, Nathaniel Morris tells the recent story of drug trafficking in Nayarit, a principal source of illegal opioids, and the extreme complicity of local government.
- On a related topic, Dolia Estévez at Mexico’s SinEmbargo talks to Craig Deare, a defense academic who specializes in Mexico, about the Cienfuegos case. Deare finds it unlikely that the General would throw so much away just for a relationship with a minor narco group. The article also includes a long transcript of a 2018 interview Gen. Cienfuegos gave to Deare. Cienfuegos says much that I disagree with, but it’s a rare glimpse into the worldview of Mexico’s top-level military.
- The quarterly “metering updates” from the University of Texas’s Robert Strauss Center have become an essential document for understanding what’s happening to asylum-seeking migrants at the border. The latest edition finds that, eight months into the pandemic, 15,690 asylum seekers are STILL on waitlists in nine Mexican border cities, hoping to present at U.S. ports of entry.
- A long, fascinating, but ultimately inconclusive investigation by Israel’s Ha’aretz reveals a host of details about the Mexico operations of NSO, the Israeli company that makes and sells the super-controversial Pegasus phone-hacking software.
- One link that’s not about Mexico: Fernando Silva at ContraCorriente details how even in the capital, Tegucigalpa, the Honduran government’s response to victims of hurricanes Eta and Iota has been improvised, politicized, and far from sufficient.