Skip to comments.[Nuevo Laredo Mexico: El Maņana] Editor says hands off on narco beat
Posted on 02/08/2006 8:25:13 AM PST by SwinneySwitch
NUEVO LAREDO - Ramón Darío Cantú Deándar, the owner and general manager of Nuevo Laredo's El Mañana newspaper, promised to all but stop covering the ongoing bloody turf war between rival drug cartels to protect the paper's employees.
"We have asked our personnel to remain calm," Cantú Deándar said in a news conference Tuesday, the day after masked men attacked the newsroom with machine guns. "We will be careful with what we publish regarding the drug trade."
The paper already had been downplaying the increasing violence in the city as part of its efforts to maintain the community's image, but Monday night's assault has strengthened management's resolve to keep away from stories about trafficking-related crime.
The publisher vowed to maintain a "zero investigations" policy.
"They are forcing us to do that, to not inform about violent incidents so that the city's image and credibility are not stained," Cantú Deándar said.
Jaime Orozco Tey, who turned 40 on Monday, was still listed in critical condition in Hospital San José with five gunshot wounds, including several to his back. Witnesses said he was coming down the stairs and walked right into the gunfire; others said the gunmen continued firing at him as he sought cover.
Orozco Tey is an overnight reporter who has been with the paper for 14 years.
"We have two daughters, ages 9 and 7. They are anguished about what happened to their father," said his wife, Lily. She said she's trusting in God and medical treatment for her husband's recovery.
The other reporter injured in the attack was treated at the scene after he was hit by broken glass.
In a Tuesday news conference at the now heavily guarded office, Cantú Deándar said he has no choice but to protect the newspaper's employees.
Meanwhile, President Vicente Fox condemned the attack and instructed the nation's attorney general to investigate the matter directly.
"This attack is against all journalists and freedom of expression," Fox told reporters while visiting the state of Sinaloa, according to the Associated Press. "Of course we condemn organized crime's aggression against members of the media who inform the daily lives of our citizens."
For his part, Tamaulipas Gov. Eugenio Hernández Flores demanded that the federal government fulfill its responsibility.
"There is willingness, but no action has been taken to stop organized crime, which the federal government is clearly aware of," Hernández Flores said.
Fox and Hernández Flores both promised safety to border journalists. Dozens of armed federal agents and police officers were patrolling the streets of the city Tuesday, creating uneasiness in the community.
But Cantú Deándar scoffed at the promise of safety, noting that faith in law enforcement at all levels is lacking. No agency has tackled organized crime in Nuevo Laredo head-on, he said, suggesting that's why the violence has proliferated.
After the news conference, Cantú Deándar went to the local office of the Mexican attorney general to give a statement about the attack. While he believes it's clear that drug traffickers were behind the assault, he said he knows of no specific motive for the attack.
Monday night's attack started at about 7:40 p.m., when several masked men entered El Mañana's building and began shooting in the reception area and headed toward the editorial offices. Alarmed by the loud gunshots, employees ran for cover within the building, some of them to the pressroom and others to the rooftop.
Around the nation and internationally, journalists added their voices to denounce the violence against their colleagues.
Ricardo Flores, president of the Association for Democratic Journalists, condemned the passive stance toward investigations and the crime wave sweeping the border city of about 300,000. Since Jan. 1, there have been at least 25 homicides, compared to six during the same time period last year.
Flores said he considers the attack on El Mañana an assault against freedom of expression, and he said there are no guarantees for freedom of the press in Nuevo Laredo.
(Miguel Timoshenkov can be reached at 728-2583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Let's send San Fran P.D. to Nuevo Laredo. Community policing you know. Nature hikes, midnight basketball and that sort of stuff will certainly correct these poor, misunderstood, misguided drug dealers, don't you think?
Los dos Laredos Ping!
Please FReepmail me if you want on or off this South Texas/Mexico ping list.
OMG! Has Mexico just given up? Is the military in on it? What the heck is going on down there?
If here is no action, there is no willingness.
People say terror doesn't work--but they usuallly have never experienced being the target of totally ruthless sociopaths.
It's easy to criticize these guys from our easy chairs at home.
Mexico is the new Colombia. The drug lords and Mexican "mafia" gangs control the country and the Mexican officials are just figure heads. The Mexican government doesn't want anyone to know they have lost control of their country.
It's only a matter of time before they get brave enough to try and take a border city on our side. Why wouldn't they, our Gov. has shown little resistance. ( might be time to buy more ammo)
Miraculously, he lived to tell about it. He no longer works for the Border Patrol.
The corruption in South Texas is pretty bad. Almost all the border sheriff departments have a difficult time keeping their deputies from going on the take. There is just so much money floating around down there. Add in the violence and corruption on the other side of the border and I start to wonder why we don't have tanks and AWACS planes by the hundreds all over the border.
I believe it!
Trust me it's not just South Texas; it's the entire Southern border. I know a Customs & Border Protection officer who was part of a big drug bust on both sides of the border, and was also threatened. He was told not to over react; but there was a drive by shooting at his home with his wife and baby in the house. Thankfully no one was hurt, but he quit the CBP.
"OMG! Has Mexico just given up? Is the military in on it? What the heck is going on down there?"
Business as usual. Wait until this mess gets exported northwards.
I like it!
This seems to have been missed today. Big event in DC.
Tancredo leads immigration protest (Washington DC)
Washington - As the U.S. Senate prepares to take up immigration legislation, members of a citizen border-watch group rallied outside the U.S. Capitol today, pledging to torpedo any bill granting legal status to undocumented workers.
"If the president of the United States really wanted to, he could secure the border tomorrow," U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Littleton, one of several speakers, told the Minuteman Project rally to loud cheers. " ... The unfortunate, dirty truth of the matter is, he has no desire to do so."
Shouting "stop the invasion," a few dozen protestors from as far away as California said they'd work to force out of office anyone who voted for a "guest worker" program for foreigners.
Counter-protestors shouted such slogans as "Right-wing bigots go away" and carried signs reading "Change your name, you're still the KKK."
Minuteman Project volunteers intermittently camp out along the U.S. Mexican border, watching for illegal crossings. Members of the group will lobby lawmakers as they consider immigration measures.
President Bush wants a program that would allow certain foreigners to stay in U.S. jobs for a minimum of three years. He included $247 million in his latest budget proposal to fund rollout of the guest-worker plan.
There are various bills in the Senate that would also allow the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally to work toward permanent legal status. The Senate is expected to take up the issue in March.
A House bill that passed in December included numerous provisions to secure the border, including fences in some areas. It also would force employers to verify workers' legal status.
The House bill did not include a guest-worker provision.
"The Senate is much more inclined to do something along the lines of what the president wants than the House was," said Grover Norquist, a Republican strategist who often serves as an informal liaison between Congress and the White House.
Tancredo, a leader of the anti-immigration movement, said he believes there's a "50-50 chance" that he and his followers can stop a guest-worker plan from passing in the Senate.He called the $247 million in Bush's budget for a guest-worker program "wishful thinking."
Tancredo and his followers are a "very vocal, but minority group," said Randy Johnson, a vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which backs a guest-worker plan. Many large businesses depend on immigrant labor.
But Johnson said it might be difficult to pass a guest-worker program this election year. He noted that lawmakers are under pressure not to endorse what opponents perceive as amnesty for illegal immigrants.
There's a possibility that "the whole thing will roll into 2007 in the end," Johnson said. Or, the Senate might pass border-security measures less stringent than those adopted by the House, then try for a guest-worker measure in 2007.
One of the bills before the Senate, sponsored by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz. and Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., would allow people in the country illegally to pay a fine and enter a program to work toward permanent legal status.
A tougher bill in the Senate requires people to go back to their home country before they enter a guest-worker program.
If any bill containing a guest-worker provision passes the Senate, it would be sent back to the House for a vote. And Norquist said that despite Tancredo and his supporters, there probably are enough House votes for the program to pass.
"At the end of the day, the Hispanic community will be really (angry) at anyone who is not helpful." Norquist said.
Journalists representing Mexican, Spanish, Italian, Salvadoran and U.S. media encircled Tancredo after his speech, shouting questions.