She Stalked Her Daughter’s Killers Across Mexico, One by One – By Azam Ahmed – The New York Times

“SAN FERNANDO, Mexico — Miriam Rodríguez clutched a pistol in her purse as she ran past the morning crowds on the bridge to Texas. She stopped every few minutes to catch her breath and study the photo of her next target: the florist.

She had been hunting him for a year, stalking him online, interrogating the criminals he worked with, even befriending unwitting relatives for tips on his whereabouts. Now she finally had one — a widow called to tell her that he was peddling flowers on the border.

Ever since 2014, she had been tracking the people responsible for the kidnapping and murder of her 20-year-old daughter, Karen. Half of them were already in prison, not because the authorities had cracked the case, but because she had pursued them on her own, with a meticulous abandon.

She cut her hair, dyed it and disguised herself as a pollster, a health worker and an election official to get their names and addresses. She invented excuses to meet their families, unsuspecting grandmothers and cousins who gave her details, however small. She wrote everything down and stuffed it into her black computer bag, building her investigation and tracking them down, one by one.”

David Lindsay:  Thank you for an excellent piece of journalism and reporting. I hope this story gets turned into a movie, and it stops before the angry mother, Miriam Rodríguez,  is murdered. It should stop with her last successful arrest, and reveal her murder in before the credits.

Opinion | How Mexico’s Drug Cartels Are Profiting From the Pandemic – By Ioan Grillo – The New York Times


Contributing Opinion Writer

Credit…Fernando Carranza/Reuters

“MEXICO CITY — The CCTV footage taken just after dawn on June 26 shows a dozen armed men crowded in the back of a truck blocking a road in Mexico City’s wealthy Lomas de Chapultepec district. Minutes later, the gunmen fired over 150 rounds at the armored car of the city’s police chief, Omar García Harfuch. Three people died in the attack, including two of his bodyguards; Mr. García Harfuch survived gunshot wounds in the clavicle, shoulder and knee. “Our Nation has to continue confronting cowardly organized crime,” he tweeted from his hospital bed.

The brazen attack has shaken a city easing out of the coronavirus lockdown. Mr. García Harfuch blamed the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which the Mexican government has targeted in a joint operation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, freezing thousands of bank accounts linked to the gangsters. Striking near the heart of power could be an attempt to make the Mexican government back off as it reels from the pandemic, which has killed more than 30,000, and a plummeting economy.

There is no shortage of losses to mourn in 2020: loved ones dead from Covid-19, jobs, freedom of movement amid lockdowns. But there are winners: certain tech companies and medical suppliers, and drug cartels. As President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico meets with President Trump this week in Washington, they should be looking at the cross-border issues of drug and gun trafficking.”

City Malaise, Cured by a Cloud Forest? – By Wei Tchou – The New York Times


Ms. Tchou is working on a book about her family and the cultural history of ferns.

“I liked Oaxaca as soon as I learned to say its name, all those airy vowels, each subsequent “a” a little fuller in my mouth. Last year, I was in the throes of a deep depression. But reading “Oaxaca Journal,” Oliver Sacks’s account of traveling that Mexican state to study its flora with the New York Fern Society, made me feel dreamy and brave. A flash of wanderlust, my fascination with the fern (which began when I failed at keeping one alive in my tiny Brooklyn studio) and a physical urge to escape the brutal careerism of New York all nudged me into opening my laptop, taking a chance on my savings and booking a one-way ticket to the region.

At the time I flew out, I didn’t know very much about southern Mexico or botany, just that after reading the journal, I wanted to experience the quasi-spiritual journey Dr. Sacks had reported: “Tree ferns, climbing ferns, filmy ferns, shoestring ferns, they are all here, in unparalleled diversity.” Endless gullies of serene maidenhair ferns and giant 15-foot horsetails, long streams filled with Kelly green hornworts — all tucked within the elevated cloud forests of the region, whose shrouds of mist seemed to hold the very healing power of natural wonder that Dr. Sacks, a neurologist and naturalist, loved to praise. At the time he wrote the journal there were 690 species in the state alone.

López Obrador- an Atypical Leftist- Wins Mexico Presidency in Landslide – The New York Times


By Azam Ahmed and Paulina Villegas
July 1, 2018
MEXICO CITY — Riding a wave of populist anger fueled by rampant corruption and violence, the leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador was elected president of Mexico on Sunday, in a landslide victory that upended the nation’s political establishment and handed him a sweeping mandate to reshape the country.

Mr. López Obrador’s victory puts a leftist leader at the helm of Latin America’s second-largest economy for the first time in decades, a prospect that has filled millions of Mexicans with hope — and the nation’s elites with trepidation.

The outcome represents a clear rejection of the status quo in the nation, which for the last quarter century has been defined by a centrist vision and an embrace of globalization that many Mexicans feel has not served them.

via López Obrador, an Atypical Leftist, Wins Mexico Presidency in Landslide – The New York Times

David Lindsay Jr.
David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval at NYT Comments.
Congratulations to Lopez Obrador, the former mayor of Mexico City, for winning the presidency of Mexico. Good luck. This writer was shaken to the core by two depressing but excellent articles in the NYT on Sunday, July 1: “Tracking a Package: the perils and price of Migrant Smuggling”, which told the story of Christopher Cruz who went $12,000 in debt and nearly died getting smuggled into the US, and “Mexican Voting Near, Assassins Thin the Ballot”, which reported that 136 politicians had been assassinated since last fall, for running against the wrong cartel or gang.
I still believe that we have to legalize all the addictive drugs that are popular, to cut down their price, and the huge profits, over $50 Billion per year in just the US, that go to cartels and drug gangs. Legalization worked to disarm the gangs in the US after the end of prohibition, and will work again, though the drug cartels and gangs are more diversified now, and my solution will only slow them down, not stop them from killing and terrorizing for profit. Countries that adopt this idea will have to have serious investment in supports for drug addicts. There will be less easy money to corrupt police, judiciary, and politicians, and legalization might give governments a fighting chance.
Several famous economists from both right and left have written that legalization is the only way to cut these cartels and gangs down to size, including Milton Friedman and Herbert Stein.
All the economists I interviewed at the Univ. of WA in 1990, where I received my MBA, agreed, though they didn’t want to be quoted, since the idea was so unpopular.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs on Drug Wars, and the Environment, at &
Here is the top comment at NYT that I endorsed enthusiastically.
Dannie Otto
Hiroshima, Japan

How can the NYTimes write a 5,000 word profile of Obrador and not once mention that he was a highly successful mayor of Mexico City who left office with an 80% approval rating?

Meanwhile, you take every opportunity to falsely link him with former Venezuela strongman Hugo Chavez. You slur Obrador with an implied linkage, but don’t show any connection at all to Chavez or any other U.N. Democratic strong men.

Responsible journalists would have examined his real history as a politician, including decades within the PRI. He broke with the PRI over entrenched PRI corruption.

Obrador is not a novice politician who burst on the scene as a surprise candidate wielding slogans. He has a track record you could have analyzed as a guide to how he might govern as president.

I am not an expert on Obrador or Mexican politics, but I have read a bit. So far, the most concerning tidbit I have learned is that he hired Rudolph Giuliani to advise Mexico City police. I will grant him a pass on that because at the time Giuliani had not yet sank into the demented demagogue who is a plague on American public life today.

We expect better from the NYTimes.

Dannie Otto

The End of Mexican Democracy? – The New York Times

Mr. López Obrador has promised “a change of regime.” Mexican voters should carefully consider what he means, given the precedents.

To begin with, he has said that he does not believe in the existence of Mexican democracy, though it has been in the context of its rules, institutions and freedoms that he has gained the likelihood of power. Nor does he trust in the National Electoral Institute. After losing the 2006 election by a wafer-thin margin (0.62 percent), he declared the election fraudulent and led his followers in occupying the Paseo de la Reforma, the central artery of Mexico City, an action rejected by the public. Defeated by a larger margin (6.63 percent) in 2012, he again claimed fraud. He has continued to show disdain for the institutions of liberal democracy. “To hell with their institutions,” he famously said in 2006 and has not disavowed his assertion. And he recently accused the Supreme Court of being an instrument of the oligarchy used to dominate the people.

There is a genuine linkage of religious fervor (which it seems just to call messianic) between Mr. López Obrador and his followers. Confident in that connection, he has shown an unbending intolerance toward criticism from the media and intellectuals. He has a disqualifying adjective for every group that doubts or opposes him: “fakes,” “conservatives,” “sellouts.” He has called the press “fifí” (bourgeois). He has proved to be incapable of self-criticism and shows a significant tendency to divide the country between “the people” who support him and all the others, who support “the mafia in power.”

via The End of Mexican Democracy? – The New York Times

It’s Time for an Immigration Enchilada – by Jorge G. Castañeda – NYT

President Trump rescinded Mr. Obama’s DACA policy. He has proposed a four-pillar overhaul of American immigration policy that most Democrats and Latinos in the United States detest. Strangely enough, however, it might benefit Mexico, especially if it is accompanied by additional changes in the issuance of temporary-worker visas, and in particular those known as H-2A and H-2B.

The first pillar of Mr. Trump’s proposal — regularizing the status of the Dreamers and a million other young people who also could qualify for DACA status with a long and winding road to citizenship — works to Mexico’s advantage. Somewhere near 1.5 million of these young people are Mexican; that is roughly one-quarter of all undocumented Mexican citizens in the United States. Granting them the equivalent of amnesty, with the beacon of eventual citizenship, satisfies one of Mexico’s most crucial immigration demands.

via It’s Time for an Immigration Enchilada – The New York Times

In Mexico- Trump’s Bark Has Been Worse Than His Bite – by Ioan Grillo – NYT

But immigration patterns may also change independently of what Mr. Trump does. Mexican migration was decreasing even before Mr. Trump kicked off his campaign. The Pew Research Center estimated last April that the number of undocumented Mexicans living in the United States had dropped from 6.4 million in 2009 to 5.6 million in 2016.

Several factors, including changing demographics in Mexico, may have combined to cause this drop. The average number of children per family here has been decreasing sharply, which means there are fewer people in the work force and less pressure on parents to provide.

While the electrician, Mr. González, was one of eight siblings, he has only one child himself. He makes 250 pesos, or about $13, a day in Mexico, less than the $17 hourly wage he made painting houses on Long Island. But as we stare at the towering Popo volcano, he says he has no plans to return north. “I am my own boss here, I want to build my business,” he told me. “And this is a beautiful place to be.”

Ioan Grillo (@ioangrillo) is the author of “Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields and the New Politics of Latin America” and a contributing opinion writer.

via In Mexico, Trump’s Bark Has Been Worse Than His Bite – The New York Times

Ioan is Welsh and Rumanian version of Jobn, pronouced Yo-Anh.

Don’t Tinker With Nafta. Fix It. – The New York Times

“In 2011, PKC, a Finnish auto parts company in Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, thwarted its employees’ efforts to choose their own union to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement. The company interfered with a union election and terminated employee labor activists. BMW pledged in July 2014 to spend $1 billion to build a factory in the northern state of San Luis Potosí days after signing a protection contract with the Confederation of Workers of Mexico notarized by a Labor Ministry official. They will be paid slightly over a dollar an hour and wages will top out at $2.50. To this day workers at both plants continue to be denied the right to freely negotiate with automakers.

These common abuses have had a lasting economic impact as companies move from Canada and the United States to take advantage of workers who lack basic rights and are underpaid. Mexico has yet to develop a free and democratic trade union movement, and that’s at the heart of the problem.”

Too bad this op-ed chooses not to allow comments. These guys have not convinced me. According to them, everyone else is to blame, but not the American Auto Workers Union. It appears that they were unable or uninterested in  finding a Mexican to co-author this piece. Too bad. They write everything is Mexico’s fault. They ignore that the Mexican’s tough attitude towards their workers is also part of the reason they are taking away billions of dollars a year of our auto work.

They ignore the argument of some famous economists, that Nafta was not responsible for this massive transfer of jobs. These economists point to the fact that the workers of Mexico are much poorer, but still educated, and willing to work much harder than their American counter parts.

They left out, that Mexico probably has looser environmental protections, which if corrected, would be good for the environment, and help level the playing field a little.

California Engages World, and Fights Washington, on Climate Change – The New York Times

“LOS ANGELES — The environmental ministers of Canada and Mexico went to San Francisco last month to sign a global pact — drafted largely by California — to lower planet-warming greenhouse pollution. Gov. Jerry Brown flies to China next month to meet with climate leaders there on a campaign to curb global warming. And a battery of state lawyers is preparing to battle any attempt by Washington to weaken California’s automobile pollution emission standards.

As President Trump moves to reverse the Obama administration’s policies on climate change, California is emerging as the nation’s de facto negotiator with the world on the environment. The state is pushing back on everything from White House efforts to roll back pollution rules on tailpipes and smokestacks, to plans to withdraw or weaken the United States’ commitments under the Paris climate change accord.”

Mexico City- Parched and Sinking- Faces a Water Crisis – The New York Times

“More heat and drought mean more evaporation and yet more demand for water, adding pressure to tap distant reservoirs at staggering costs or further drain underground aquifers and hasten the city’s collapse.In the immense neighborhood of Iztapalapa — where nearly two million people live, many of them unable to count on water from their taps — a teenager was swallowed up where a crack in the brittle ground split open a street. Sidewalks resemble broken china, and 15 elementary schools have crumbled or caved in.”

“That’s what this series is about — how global cities tackle climate threats, or fail to. Around the world, extreme weather and water scarcity are accelerating repression, regional conflicts and violence. A Columbia University report found that where rainfall declines, “the risk of a low-level conflict escalating to a full-scale civil war approximately doubles the following year.” The Pentagon’s term for climate change is “threat multiplier.”

And nowhere does this apply more obviously than in cities. This is the first urban century in human history, the first time more people live in cities than don’t, with predictions that three-quarters of the global population will be urban by 2050. By that time, according to another study, there may be more than 700 million climate refugees on the move.”

The whole city occupies what was once a network of lakes. In 1325, the Aztecs established their capital, Tenochtitlán, on an island. Over time, they expanded the city with landfill and planted crops on floating gardens called chinampas, plots of arable soil created from wattle and sediment. The lakes provided the Aztecs with a line of defense, the chinampas with sustenance. The idea: Live with nature.

Then the conquering Spaniards waged war against water, determined to subdue it. The Aztec system was foreign to them. They replaced the dikes and canals with streets and squares. They drained the lakes and cleared forestland, suffering flood after flood, including one that drowned the city for five straight years.

“The Aztecs managed,” Ms. Castro said. “But they had 300,000 people. We now have 21 million.” “

Great article. Thank you Michael Kimmelman and Josh Haner. 

I’d like to produce a movie about the Spaniards ruining what the Aztec’s had built.
As several people said at the Women’s March in Washington, “It is time for us all to join Planned Parenthood.”
The real culprit is population growth. The earth just went from 1 to 7.5 billion humans in the last 100 years, and is scheduled to go to 13 billion in the next century or so. The graphs of population growth and carbon dioxide increase are almost identical.
The sea levels will rise, there will be billions of climate change refugees, and the wars and massacres will reduce our numbers, as in the past, exacerbated by the decline in water and food. Like a giant algae bloom, the explosive growth of the human population might cause the extermination of our species, and is already causing or will cause the extermination of thousands of others species. Everyday, I wonder, why is population growth still a mostly taboo subject for world leaders and the press? Why was it left out of this article?

Of course I do not agree with everything Gemli writes in this comment, but it gave me some laughs:


is a trusted commenter Boston 1 day ago

“The president is crazy and Congress is malevolent. The vice president is a well-groomed evangelical mannequin and the president’s chief strategist is a crypto-clansman in a flak jacket. The cabinet is crammed full of incompetents and destroyers. Australia is our enemy and Russia is our friend.

All of this happened when Democrats closed their eyes for a few minutes, trying to get some rest from the cacophony of a weird campaign, certain beyond doubt that nobody in their right mind would vote for a blithering crotch-groping ignoramus who mocked the disabled.


We won’t let it happen again, but the damage has been done. Folks from the fly-over nation made pouty-faces and marched to the polls, fed up with affordable medical care, sick to death of rational and compassionate leadership, frustrated with the intelligentsia and willing to give the ignoratti a go.

They decided that the country should be run like a business. It makes perfect sense, until you realize that the country is not a business. It’s a whole lot of people who depend on competent leaders to protect them, and to give them the opportunity to grow and flourish. Instead, we hired a megalomaniac with a screw loose.

Let’s not pretend that the voters who put this moronic man in the Oval Office deserve our respect. They deserve ridicule. They deserve to be shortchanged and abused by the man they voted for. It gives me a measure of peace to know they will suffer under the lash of an idiot they elected.”