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Saturday, January 8, 2011

15 Found Decapitated in Acapulco

HISTORY IN THE NEWS:



History never dies. It is reborn every minute of every day.

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DEDICATED TO THE ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.
 
TAG:  Attempts by the Michoacan and now the Sinaloa gangs to enforce civil order through horror recall bids for local autonomy and defiance of federal authority in early Mexico.  

IN THE NEWS:  IN AN ATTEMPT AT PUBLIC RELATIONS, THE LATEST FASHION AMONG MEXICO'S DRUG LORDS, CHACO GUZMAN OF THE SINALOA CARTEL HAS APPARENTLY LEFT 15 DECAPITATED CORPSES IN THE 'SENDERO' SUPERMARKET PLAZA IN ACAPULCO.  IT WAS A WARNING TO THE LOCALLY COMPETING BELTRAN LEYVAS AND FAMILIA MICHOCOANA CARTELS NOT TO ATTEMPT EXTORTION OR OTHER CRIMES AND TO STAY OFF SINALOA'S TURF. IN A POLITE NOD TO THE LEGAL ECONOMY AND ORDINARY CITIZENS THEY AVOIDED DUMPING THE HEADS AND BODIES IN A TOURIST AREA AND SUGGESTED THE DECPAITATIONS WERE ALL FOR LAW AND ORDER.
 
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:  After bodies of mistakenly executed tourists turned up last August in Acapulco and cartel arrests and horrors from the Brownsville corrdor in the northeast,  Ciudad Juarez in the north centre and Michoacan in the west, horror returns to west central Mexico in the Michoacan and Acapulco region. Though it's very hard to find a shape to Mexico's drug war, it appears that the old and established Sinaloa Cartel is moving in on cartels that may have been weakened by police pressure- the Beltran Leyva and the Michocoana- for control of the west coast, while the Gulf cartel and the Zetas occupy the eastern, Gulf region. Mexico has had a long history of regional resistance, attempts at autonomy and regimes of local corruption. In historical terns, one is left to wonder if the present anarchy isn't a remote descendant of the rebellious adventurers who controlled parts of Mexico during the conquest and the 17th century, and the local caudillos and corrupt PRI (Institutional Reolutionary Party) state governors who succeeded them. 







The present Mexican drug trade finds it origins with the marijuana boom of the 1960s in the Northwestern state of Sinaloa. Mexico's proliferating drug gangs, often hired to traffick drugs by the Coluimbian Medellin and Cali cartels, became more powerful when US and Columbian efforts broke the Columbian narcos in the 1990s. By then, Osiel Cardenas was trafficking drugs in Northeastern Mexico and his brother Antonio Eziquiel was rising quickly as one of his lieutenants. By the mid-1990s they had established the Gulf Cartel in the state of Tamaulipas on the Texas border and engaged a band of corrupt Mexican army commandos known as "Las Zetas" as their private militia. Meanwhile, the demise  of the all-encompassing, corrupt, PRI party in 2000 with the election of Vicente Fox released yet more of the drug trade to the cartels although Fox soon sent the army into Tamaulipas to battle the rising power of the drug lords. And then in 2003, the arrest of Antionio Eziquiel's brother and Gulf Cartel chief Osiel Cardenas, brought the Gulf gang into conflict with the Sinaloa Cartel and others who tried to move into the power vacuum. Between January and August, 2005, the Sinaloa and Gulf Cartels engaged in battles killing 100 in Nuevo Laredo alone. In 2006, President Calderon, launched a war on drugs, sending the military against the cartels, partiuclarly into the heavily contested, violent US broder region. 

-meanwhile, Los Zetas, a group of corrupt ex-army commandos worked as the Gulf's private security force, at the same time training the Michoacan cartel, in the state of Michoacan, west of Mexico city, forming a southern point to complete a triangular relationship wiith the big Sinaloa cartel in the northwest and the Gulf cartel in the northeast. Quickly earning a reputation for brutality, the Michoacan left severed heads as a warning to all who stood in their way, dumping five onto a Morelia dance floor in 2006. 

-However,  late that year, the Zetas rose into full partnership with the Gulf, causing the Zeta's former partners, the Michoacan cartel, to turn against them. In response, the Familia Michacoana, as they call themselves, went into allliance with the Sinaloa and Tijuana cartels, becoming one of the most powerful in the country. In December, 2006, President Calderon, sent 6,500 troops into Michoacan state to inaugurate his war on drugs. In 2008, gang-related grenade attacks left 8 dead in the Michoacan capital of Morelia. 

-The summer of 2009 saw new lows in the state when Michoacan members laid seige to police stations where gang members were held before torturing and killing12 police agents.  The following October, the US launched project Coronado against  Michoacan members working inside the United States, arresting 303. Slowly, the uncontrollable Zetas would become a threat to almost everyone. In early 2010, the Gulf realized that with its militia-cum-partner the Zetas, it had created a Frankenstein as the Gulf and the Zetas turned on one another, wreaking havoc along the Northeast Mexico-Texas border.  

-As of last February, the Michoacan Cartel has moved into alliance with the Gulf cartel against the Zetas and the Zetas' new allies the Beltran Leyva cartel. At the time of his death, this fall, the Gulf's Eziquiel Cardenas was in charge of the drug business in the place where he died, the border town of Matamoros, along with the cross  border "drug corridor" of Martamoros-Brownsville. The looming battle may now be between the Sinaloas in the west and the warring Gulf and Zeta cartels in the east with the Beltran Leyva cartel nearly knocked out of the running with two leaders lost and 30 innocent tourists, mistaken for enemies, dead. As Mexican jounralist Anna Guillermopuerto has pointed, out, the Gulf and the Zetas are technologically advanced modernizers devoted to full time trafficiking while the the Sinialoas are traditionalist who traffick what they also grow and present themselves as folk heros. Whatever edge the Northeasteners may have over the Sinaloa will be reduced for a time, with one Gulf leader in jail and his brother dead.  Over the last ten years more than a dozen cartels have sprung up in Mexico and since President Calderon declared war on the drug barons in 2006 and called in the military, over 28,000 have people been killed. It has risen to over 30,000 with 2010 hitting a record of 12,400 murdered in one year.

In January, 2011, Acapulco recorded a record 15 decapitations when the bodies were dumped in a plaza by the Sinaloa Cartel in a warning to the Michocoan and Beltran Leyva cartels competing for control of  the area.


IN HISTORY: In the 19th century, marijuana and opiates such as opium and cocaine were freely available in Mexico and only in 1910 did the United States outlaw the import of narcotics across the Mexican border. Though poppy cultivation became illegal in Mexico in 1928, corruption among local governors kept growers and traffickers in business. By the 1940s, the permanent Party of the Revolution, the PRI, which effectively ran Mexico as a one-party state, maintained a quiet monopoly over the drug traffic while the northwestern state of Sinaloa was already thriving as the largest centre for marijuana and opium. By the 1970s, Sinaloa and also the thriving northwestern marijuana-growing state of Chihuahua had come to the attention of the United States, now recipient of the tons of marijuana and other cross-border drugs that fed the new US counteeculture. Massive campaigns to shut down these drug centres by the Mexican govenrment in the 1970s and by a joint Mexican-US operation in the 1980s ultimately failed. By then the established drug cartels like the Oaxaca in the south and the Sinaloa in the west, had begun to open their own drug corridors to the Medellin and Carli cartels of Colombia after the US had shut the latter out of their Carribean and Florida routes. And when the Colombian cartels were finally repressed by the US and Colombian government the entire traffic from South America to the United States fell into the hands of the Mexican cartels. When democracy was pluralized and the PRI finally defeated in 2000, what remained of its control of the drug traffic was also lost to the cartels.


CONTENTS: SCROLL DOWN FOR:   

RELEVANT DATES

DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
.
PREVIOUS EN
TRIES
REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY

TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF MEXICO


RELEVANT DATES
  
Presence of Opiates in Mexico in 19th century.

-during the 19th century, marijuana cocaine and other opiates are available over the counter for medical use.
-poppy cultivation for the manufacture of heroin is carried on in NW Mexico, in Sinaloa.

-by the time of the 1910 revolution, drugs are prohibited or controlled across the border in the US while they are freely available in Mexico, creating conditions for the drug traffic.

Limited Drug and Migrant traffick in early 20th Century.

1926- poppy cultivation is prohibited.
1938 (circa)--marijuana, opium and the cultivation, production and sale of other drugs is healthy throughout Mexico, much of it under the protection of state governors and military authorities.
1942- Mexico sends 300,000 labourers to help the US war effort, beginning a tradition of migrant Mexan labour passing into the the southern US, sending money home and providing cheap labour for the US.


The PRI and Emergence of Sinaloa NW Narcotics Region.
1947- scandal erupts as the governor of Sinaloa is implicated in alleged drug trafficking.
-drug trafficking in  Mexico is protected by patronage and cronyism in the PRI which has permanent control over the entire country. Sinaloa remains the most prominent centre of drug trafficking- most of the transport being done by plane throughout northwestern Mexico. Authorities try and fail to shut it down.

Mexican Drug Trade Surges 1960s-1980s
1960s- the marijuana and opium trade from Sinaloa and Chihuahua into the United States grows exponentially.
mid-1970s- Mexican military launches Operation Condor, an unprecedented  but unsuccessful attempt to wipe out the drug traffic.

-Pedro Diaz Parada begins his career as head of the Oaxaca drug cartel by planting marijuana in his native Oaxaca.
-illegal Mexican migrants flocking to California and other border states.


Murder of DEA agent and the 'Buffalo' plantation.

1984- American DEA agent Enrique Camarena and Mexican pilot Afredo Zavala discover the immense 12 square kilometre marijuana plantation, 'The Buffalo' in the state of Chihuahua.
1985--Feb 7- American DEA agent Enrique Camarena and Mexican pilot Afredo Zavala are kidnapped by drug traffickers in Guadalajara, now an international hub of the drug trade. Their bodies are found a month later.

Columbian Medellin and Cali Cartels Engage Mexican Traffickers.
-Columbian drug Lord Pablo Escobar switches to Mexico for drug transit (Mexico already had its own traffickign netowrks in place) after US law enforcement tightens up on Florida and the Caribbean.
1985- Pedro Diaz Parada, the head of the Oaxaca cartel of Oaxaca and Chiapas in southern Mexico, is arrested and sentenced to 33 years.
-Columbian drug lords begin paying Mexican traffickers in kind rather than cash- often 30 tlo 50% of the cocaine shipped, thus laying the foundations for the Mexican drug traffick.
-1980s- the Familia Michoacan drug Cartel is founded as a vigilante group to bring law and order to Michoacan state and to aid the poor.
1987- Pedro Diaz Parada of the Oaxaca Cartel escapes from prison.
-Antonio Eziquiel Cardenas, begins drug trafficking career with Gulf Cartel, headed by his brother Oziel Cardenas.

Arrest of Sinaloa Cartel Boss triggers never-ending drug war.

1989- the arrest of Mexico's biggest drug lord, Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo of the Sinaloa gang, touches off the drug war which has never really ended, as rival cartels fought one another to obtain his place and his networks. Drug cartels begin strategically to use the police as well as corrupt police officials against one another and what often amounts to a three way battle between police and rival cartels.

1992- Pedro Diaz Parada of the Oaxaca Cartel, sentenced in 1985 and escaping jail in 1987, escapes a second time.

Mexican Cartels take over from Colombia.

1990s- with the demise of the Medellin and Cali drug cartels, the trafficking of drugs between South and Central America thrives in Mexico, but the government takes little decicive action.

-the Familia Michoacan becomes the paramilitary arm of the Gulf Cartel, intended to control the drug trade in Michoacan.

-Guero, Palma and "Chapo" Guzman step into the shoes of imprisoned Felix Gallardo as heads of the Sinaloa cartel.

 -the Gulf cartel of Tamaulipas emerges as oe of Mexico's major drug gangs, hiring a an armed mercenary group, Los Zetas.

1997- the Arellano-Felix or Tijuana Cartel in Tijuana starts a war to control the border drug trade in Tijuana and Jalisco.

-Mexico experiences a brief lull in the drug wars.


Drug Wars Increase with Demise of PRI.

2000 December - Vicente Fox is sworn in as president.

-with the PRI out of power, the pervasive government party's 70 year quiet toleration and sweet-heart deals with drug trasffickers is at an end. Fox brings in an area of independent government opposition to the drug cartels

-Fox sends troop detachments to Nuevo Laredo and Tamaulipas on the US border to fight drug cartels.
2003- Oaxaca Cartel joins with the Tijuana Cartel.


Sinaloa and Gulf Cartels fighting for top place.


2003- March- arrest of Gulf cartel leader Osiel Cardenas leaves Sinaloa cartel, under the leadership of Mexico's wealthiest and most wanted drug baron, Joaquin "el Chapo" Guzman, to challenge the Gulf cartel's control of the Southwest Texas Drug Corridor.


2005 January - Six prison officers are murdered and top-security jails are put on high alert amid escalating tension between the authorities and drug gangs.


Jan-Aug- the Sinaloa and Gulf Cartels engage in their own battle killing 100 in Nuevo Laredo alone.

-violence increases as the cartels struggle to establish themselves in the state of Michoacan.

2006- Mexico has been criticised by the UN and rights groups over the unsolved murders of more than 300 women over 12 years in the border city of Ciudad Juarez.


US President Bush commissions Border Fence
2006 October - US President George W Bush signs legislation to build 1,125km (700 miles) of fencing along the US-Mexico border. Mexico condemns plans for the barrier, which is intended to curb illegal immigration.

Rise of Los Zetas.

-Los Zetas, corrupt military commandos and formerly the mercenary army of the Gulf Cartel, rise to acceptance as the Gulf Cartel's partners. Meanwhile, the Familia Michoacan, trained with the Zetas, forms its own cartel, turning to rivalry against the Zetas and the Baltran y Leyva cartels.

-the Michoacan cartel developes strong partnerships with the Sinaloa and Tijuana cartels, making the Michoacan one of the strongest in Mexico.

-Los Negros, the armed wing of the Sinaloa Cartel is formed to resist Los Zetas.


Surge in Mexican War on Drugs

2006 December - A new federal police force is created to tackle drugs cartels; thousands of troops are deployed in the western state of Michoacan as part of a major anti-drug trafficking drive.

-Mexican drug Cartels have become the major supppliers of cannabis, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine to the United States and in Mexico are beginning to control regions and municipalities by force and by intervention in state elections.

Dec 11 President-Elect Calderon intervenes directly in the drug war by sending 6,500 troops to Michoacan, directly west of Mexico City, this inaugurating Mexico's government militaty offensive on the cartels.

2007-January-  Pedro Diaz Parada, the head of the Oaxaca cartel of Oaxaca and Chiapas in southern Mexico, is arrested by Federal police a third time, having been arrested before, in 1985 and 1990.

-beginning of a long-running battle between the Juarez and Sinaloa Cartels for a major drug route leading into the US through the border town of Ciudad Juarez.

2008- April General  Sergio Aponte, in charge of anti-drug operations in Baja California, alleges that the cartels there are assisted by police corruption, bribery and intimidation.


Increase of Deadly Gang Wars in Border Towns.

-El Chapo Guzman, chief of tthe Sinaloa Cartel launches an offensive to expel the Juarez Cartel from Ciudad Jarez. Between then and fall, 2010, 7,000 will die in Juarez and environs due to the drug war.

April 26- a pitched battle between the Sinaloa and Tijuana drug cartels in Tijuana, Baja Califirnia leaves 17 dead. Gang wars in boirder towns are now threatenign border towns on the American side.

-Tijuana cartel, once powerful, is in decline due to arrests of much of its leadership and is entering a partnership with the Gulf Cartel. 


August 2008- 12 decapitated bodies bearing dragon tattoos found in Yucatan. The heads are never found. 


-the Beltran Leyva cartel leaves it alliance with the Sinaloa cartel to join Las Zetas.

-September, drug cartel grenade attacks leave 8 dead in Morelia.

-Drug-related violence rises sharply in 2008 and 2009

2009- March- Calderon calls 5,000 more federal troops into Ciudad Juarez.

-the US Department of Homeland Security considers the us of National Guard troops to protect US border towns. Texas and Arizona call for National Guard protection.



Barbarism of the Michoacan Cartel.

-July 11- the Familia Michoacan attacks serveral police stations in Morela in an attempt to free one of their members, Rueda Medina.

-July 14- The Familia Michoacan cartel, which operates a parallel government in the state of Michoacan, tortures and kills 12 police agents, leaving their bodies along road sides. 

-Oct 22- the US launches Project Coronado, seizing tons of weapons and drugs and arresting 303 individuals working for the Michoacan Cartel inside the United States.

 -December- Arturo Beltran, head of Beltran Leyva cartel surrounded and killed by a team of Government Navy commandos, chosen presumably for its lack of corruption.

 
Zeta Cartel and the Drug Wars of the NE border.

2010- January 31- drug traffickers attack a birthday party in Ciudad Jarez killing 16.

-government launnches a social investment program in Ciudad Juarez and the border region to fight the problem of drug trafficking.

2010- February 1- prisoners hired as gunmen are let out of prison in a secret deal between the warden and a cartel, proceeding to kill 10 in a bar in Coahuila.

February- the Michoacana Familia Cartel joins the Gulf Cartel against the Beltran Leyva and Los Zetas cartels in a war in the border region of Tamaulipas.

March 28- gunmen kill 10 at a roadblock in the state of Durango.

-the Gulf Cartel and the Los Zetas Cartel have a falling out and engage in gun battles across the state of Tamaulipas, wreaking havic in the state's  border towns.


-Antonio Eziquiel Cardenas of the Gulf cartel is in charge of drug trafficking and financial operations in Matamoros and the Matamoros-Brownsville, Texas, drug corridor.

May- Sinaloa Cartel alleged to have infiltrated the Mexican army and government in a bid to wipe out the other cartels.

May- allegations surface that elements of the police and military are in the pay of the Sinaloa cartel. The low arrest rate for Sinaloa members may be evidence of protection from within the government.

June 11- 19 are murdered at a Ciudad Juarez drug rehabilitation centre.

July 30- Ignacio Coronal Villareal, one of the Sinialoa cartel bosses, is killed in a shootout with Mexican military at his home in Guadalajara. Four other Sinaloa bosses remain.

- 45,000 government troops are engaged in the war on drugs.


Aug- Edgar Valdez, lord of Beltran Leyva cartel arrested.


-Beltran Leyva cartel splits into warring factions.

Aug, 25- 27 migrants found murdered by Los Zetas cartel in Timaulipas near NE border.


September 30- 18 Acapulco tourists disappear, later found in mass grave.


Oct. 15- Gunmen attack a party in Ciudad Juarez killing seven.






Nov. 24- Beltran Leyva cartel dismantled with arrest of gang boss Carlos Montemayor.

2011- Jan. 8- 15 decapitated bodies and heads turn up in supermarket plaza in Acapulco with Chaco Gizman's calling card.

DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS:  1910 to 1992

After thirty years of economic and industrial progress during the regime of Porfirio Diaz (1877-1907, the gap is so wide between rich and poor that consensus finally collapses. Political writer Francisco Madero speaks out when Diaz tries to rig the election of 1910. In response, Madero leadrs to people of Chihuahua take over the city of Ciudad Juarez on May 10, 1911, shifting the balance of power toward revolt.  Madero makes a deal with the  Cientifcos and comes to the presidency upon Diaz's resignation and exile to Paris. He undertakes labour and land reform which show little awareness of the tectonic powers of unrest he has unleashed. Half measures, his reforms fail to stem a tide of unrest. Elements of the military under General Victoriano Huerta turn against him  from the political right. In the south, Emilios Zapata leads an eight-year uprising of poor farmers from the left, beginning in the state of Morelos. Pancho Villa and Pascal Orozco lead a rebellion of dispossessed ranchers in the north from Chihuahua.  In 1913, Madero resigns and is taken into custody by Huerta.


Madero's 1913 assassination while in the hands of Huerta, makes way for Huerta`s own presidency which leans toward the old policies of Diaz. Meanwhile, the revolt of Zapata and Villa continues to aim for land distribution. Huerta, suspected of pro-German sympathies, resigns under US pressure in 1914. His troops, meanwhile suffer defeat in the north at the hands of Pancho Villa. In the summer of 1914, Huerta is sent into exile.  Huerta's First Chief, Venustianzo Carranza, turns on Villa and sets himself up as president in Mexico City. A revolutionary conve tion in the city removes Carranza; in response he sets up governemnt in Vera Cruz. Together with Zapata`s egalitarian rebel smallholders, Villa`s bandits occupy Mexico City in 1915,. But Carranza`s lieutenant Obregon defeats Villas andVilla and his private army who return to the north. Carranza`s general, Pablo Gonzales, meanwhile pursues Zapata`s force back into to south, proceeding with steady pressure and persecution. Carranza`s anti-US position, meanwhile, insures his popularity.

In 1916, the British reveal the Zimmerman Telegram, proof of Germany's proposed alliance with Mexico should the United States enter the war against Germany.Villa, now pursued by the US army for banditry, escapes America's clutches and the American force withdraws. Carranza, meanwhile promulgates the Constitution of 1917, a new constitution to limit (again) the power of the Church, separate Church and state and enshrine democracy and equitable land redistribution for Mexico's future; its section 123 stipulates an advanced labour code. The Constitution of 1917 which still stands as Mexico's constitution today. But Caranza himself made no real attempt to enforce the new constitution, breaking his promises to all constituents and the landowning elites, mostly from the north monopolized power despite the constitution.

The death of the rebel Zapata in 1919 is followed by the election to the presidency of the Sonora strongman of the liberal north, Alvaro Obregon in 1920; in the process, Carranza is murdered trying to escape with a private fortune. Obregon brings peace and labour and land reform. With the army behind him, he leads an agrararian dictatorship of the left; his non-democratic realpolitick, his labour policies and policies on foreign investment, however, do not make him popular with the United States. He arranges for one of his old Sonora fellows to succeed him and Elias Calles comes to power in 1924.

In order to complete the revolution of 1910, Calles will have to being to heel a restive Church intent on recovering many of its priviledges and its special place in education. In 1926, he takes firm measures to put the priesthood in its place. Catholic radicals respond by launching the Cristero movement. Conflict between the Cristeros and a fanatically secular goverment erupts with Catholic peasant insurrections in the western states in 1927. The Calles government responded with violence, inflicting scorched earth and forcible relocation on large areas of the Cristero resistance. The United States, meanwhile, protests Calles' further moves in nationalizing the oil industry. In 1928, Obregon returns to power, amid much protest, as part of a backroom deal with Calles, only to be assassinated by a radicalized Catholic. Calles takes effective power while rotating a couple of puppets through the presidency and founding his political machine, The National Revolutionary Party, a historic move to instiutionalize the revolution. By 1929, the Cristero resistance has risen to 50,000. A popular counter-revolutionary reaction from within his own party and the growing Cristero movement persuades Calles to sue for peace with the Church and the anti-clerical laws of 1926 are allowed to lapse.Calles' ambitious program of land redistribution falters and turns conservative due to opposition from the Church, the landowners and the military and the Cristero movement flares up again and is met with ferocity by proto-fascist groups supporting the government.

Calles considers the work of the Revolution to be finished but left in its wake is a massive and unwieldy political machine which contains millionaires cliques, upstarts, unions and reformers. The popular feeling of a revolution betrayed is taken up by one of Calles' own ministers, Lazaro Cardenas. Gradually Cardenas engineers the ousting of Calles from power. By 1936, Cardenas is president.

Cardenas founds the National Revolutionary Party  From then until1940, President  Cardenas entrenches the party's presence in every class and sector of society,  using it once and for all to enforce a program of land distribution, moderate socialization and the nationalization of resources and industries. One of his instruments is the nationalization of lands or industries whose owners fail to cooperate with his reforms. In 1938, he nationalizes the oil fields.The economy will pursue a path of rapid growth until 1970, with industry given precedence over agriculture. He reinforces the separation of Church and State. Cardenas is followed by Manuel Comacho who pursues a moderate, tardy version of Cardenas' policies but nevertheless fights fascism at home and puts Mexico frimly on the side of the Allies in World War Two.

In 1942, Mexico sends 300,000 labourers to the US to help in the war effort, starting a trend in which migrants and eventually illegal workers will flood into the US in search of employment. Comacho's successor, President Aleman (1945-1952) pursues a massive campaign of public works and import-replacing industrialization. Under Aleman, and succeeding presidents, anti-inflationary policy will sustain the economy. Ruiz Cortines, elected in 1952, launches a campaign against corruption and monopolies. In 1954, Cortines fights inflation and a mild recession by devaluing the Peso until the economy rebounds in 1956. His successor, Lopez Mateos, elected to office in 1958 on a platoform of moderate socialism, is immediately faced with a nation-wide railway strike. To the astonishment of the left, he blames Communism and takes miliary action against the strikers. At the same time, however, he turns against the far right, outlawing the Sinarquistas and completes an ambitious program of land resdistribution to poor farmers.

Despite industrial expansion, Mexican workers, by 1960, are finding themselves impoverished by inflation. Once again, a gap widens between rich and poor. The Cardenas miracle of 1940 has, by the 1960s, deteriorated with unrest and anger among peasants, workers and students under the rule of a right wing president, Gustavo Diaz Ordaz. After students move leftward under the influence mof Castro's Cuba, a military assault on a student demonstration at Tlatelolco in 1968 ends with hundreds of students killed and wounded. In the early 1970s, President Juan Echeverria moves the country to the left, nationalizing more of the economy and enacting reforms in aid of the poor, although he will be investigated, decades later in the 1968 crack-drown.  But after capital flight, loss of foreign investment and inflation, the country, though perennially controlled by the PRI, lurches to the right.

Meanwhile, in the mid-1970s, in a presage of things to come, Pedro Diaz Parada begins his career as head of the Oaxaca drug cartel by planting marijuana in his native Oaxaca.

The new president, Lopez Portillo, elected in 1976, brings in free market policies. With the top-heavy, entrenched bureaucracy of the PRI, however, the economy sags, its slow recovery due mainly to the discovery of  oil reserves in the Cantarell Oil Field in 1976. But throughout the 1980s, Mexico's huge foreign debt remains a problem. By 1981, the country is already suffering from a collapse in the price of oil. Unable to service its foreign debt, Mexico nationalizes its banks. In the mid-1980s, President de la Madrid  re-applies a free market strategy of privatization. But the economy, like the political system, remains stagnant, his policies producing high unemployment among poor workers, leading migrant labour to swarm across the border and work illegally in the US.

 In 1985 Columbian, drug lord Pabo Escobar, finding his drug trafficking routes in Florida and the Caribbean broken up by US drug enfocement, switches to Mexico, makign deals with smaller groups who already have their own routes into the huge US narcotics market. Escobar and other Columbian drug barons begin paying Mexican gangs in kind, cutting them a large percentage of the drugs for shipping them norht, thus kayingthe coundation for the Mexican drug trade. In the same year, Pedro Diaz Parada, drug lord of Oaxaca and Chiapas is arrested and sentenced to 33 years only to escape in 1987. 

De La Madrid attempts for the first time ever to break the stranglehold of the PRI by introducing political pluralization and the considerable privatization of parts of the top-heavy state. But despite pledges to restructure its foreign debt, the debt continues to grow. From 1988 to 1994, President Salinas Gotiari continues the policy of attempting to loosen the PRI's grip on power by giving rein to other parties. In 1992, the PRI suffers unprecedented losses in several state elections.




The drug wars get their start with the 1989 arrest of  Mexico's biggest drug boss, Guadalajara kingpin Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, opening a vacuum which other gangs will strive to fill, fighting a simultaenous three-way war with police that will establish the pattern of tectonic power shifts and violence to come.  Meanwhile, rising Sinaloa drug boss, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, falls out with Tijuana partners in 1989, a parting of ways that willhace remifications four years later. In 1992, meanwhile, Oaxaca kingpin Pedro Diaz Parada escapes for a secnd time. In 1993, the Tijuana gang ambushes but fails to kill former partner El Chapo Guzman of Sinaloa, sending him in flight to Guatemala where he is arrested.



RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS.


A new economic age is inaugurated in 1993 as Mexico signs the North American Free Trade (NAFTA) treaty with the United States and Canada. The political system is further democratized as President Salinas reforms the constitution. But the southern state of Chiapas, its local economy of traditional crafts and small farmers severely damaged by NAFTA, is rocked in 1994 by an uprising lead by the Zapatistas who protest the trade agreement and demand greater recognition of Indian rights


1994 sees the election of a new government under Ernesto Zedillo of the PRI despite attempts to rein in the old ruling party. Nevertheless, internal strains are evident from the murder of the preceding PRI candidate, Donaldo Colosio. Former president Salinas will go into exile n 1995 after his brother, Raul Salinas is linked the murder of Colosio. To make matters worse, pthe political uncertainty leads to capital fight, the Mexican stock market tumbles in December, with the Peso losing a third of its value. US president Clinton comes to the rescue with a $20 billion credit guarantee in order to save Mexico and NAFTA along with it.

Altogether however, the massive corporatism of the PRI, its cronyism and its partiality to industry, drains the rural areas of resources without giving anything back and the rural poor continue to flock as illegal migrants to the United States. In the towns bordering the US, the confluence of manufacturing made possible by NAFTA along with unemployed migrants and a burgeoining cross-border drug traffic all seem related to the large number of murdered and missing women in the area.  


With the demise of Colombia's Cali and Medellin Cartels, the centre of the Latin American drug traffick shifts to the Mexican gangs, which the Columbians have already primed with huge drug commissions for quantities trafficked. The government, however, takes little real action and the Gulf Cartel, centred in Tamaulipas, rises to the top with the help of Los Zetas, their own paramilitary force made up of corrupt mexican army commandos. Meanwhile in the west, the Guadalajara operation of jailed drug boss Felix Gallardo splits in two to form the Arellano-Felix or Tijuana Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel.


The Zapatistas of Chiapas press on with their their struggle, achieving an autonomy agreement in 1995 but in 1996 their military wing the ELN, battles government troops. Mexico is doubly shaken as the PRI makes its poorest showing on record that same year, achieving only a minority in parliament although, with the help of NAFTA the economy begins to recover in 1997. In the same year, Carrillo Funetes, the drug lord of the border city Ciudad Juarez, dies under surgery in a Mexico city hospital, leaving power vacuum in Juarez which Sinaloa boss El Chapo Guzman and Gulf boss Osiel Cardenas Guillen rush in to fill  And the following year, fighting escalates in Chiapas with grave human rights abuses alleged against the army. President Zedillo orders an investigation. In January 1998,the governor of Chiapas is forced to resign while peace negotiations stall and sputter for the remainder of the year. Meanwhile corruption developes among government figures due to links to the  drug cartels which are fast growing powerful.

With the PRI down but not out, the moderate conservative party, Alliance for Change, comes to power in 2000 with President-elect Vicente Fox beating the PRI by only 1%. The Fox administration is met in March 2001 with the Zappatistas, led by their commander, Sub-Commandante Marcos staging a march to Mexico City. Only a month later, the government passes a bill on indigenous rights which is abruplty rejected by the Commandante who swears the fight will go on. Fox's ambitious programs for tax reform and ending corruption are compromised by his lack of support in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

After a lull in the late 90s, the drug war heats up in 2000 as Fox sends military units to deal with drug violence among the cartels in border towns of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Laredo, the territory of  Osiel Cardenas's Gulf Cartel with Nuevo Laredo providing the richest crss-border trade of all both in legal goods and illegal narcotics. With the PRI out of power, the pervasive government party's 70 year quiet toleration and sweet-heart deals with drug trasffickers is at an end. Fox brings in an area of independent government opposition to the drug cartel, just as Sinaloa boss 'El Chapo' Guzman escapes prison in a laundry van, on January 20, 2001. 

With the fate of disappeared and murdered left-wing activists during the late '60s through the 80s dogging the government, Fox orders an investigation. In 2002, officials uncover files leading to the disappearance and execution of hundreds of activists. Former President Echeverria is investigated in connection with killings and disappearances in 1968 when he was Interior Minister and in 1971 when he was president. In 2004, three officers are charged with 134 murders. Echeverria is implicated in the shooting of student protesters


In  2003, the Gulf drug cartel's hold on the Southwest Texas Drug Corridor is challenged as the arrest and extradition to the US of Gulf drug boss Osiel Cardenas prompts the rising Sinaloa cartel and its leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to move in on the Texas drug route. In a further raising of the stakes, the Oaxaca cartel joins the Tijuana cartel. The long-simmering problem of the drug traffic escalates further in 2005 as six prison officials are murdered by incarcerated drug gangs. The following year, with 300 women  murdered and more reported missing over 12 years in the border drug trafficking city of Ciudad Juarez, a special prosecutor is hired to investigate. The war between the Gulf and Sinaloa Cartels becomes critical in 2005 with a 100 dead killed in gun battles in Nuevo Laredo.

In 2005, the popular Mexico City Mayor, Lopez Obrador, is investigated by the government in a land dispute; after a public furore, the case is dropped. The summer of 2006 finds Obrador and the conservative Felipe Calderon neck and neck in presidential elections. When  Calderon declares victory, mass street demonstrations, on behalf of Obrador, protest the decision, claiming vote rigging. In the fall, Mexico protests US President Bush's decision to build a security fence along the shared border to keep out illegal Mexican migrants.

Mexico declares a Literal War on Drugs at the end of 2006, creating a special anti drug police force as federal troops are sent to battle drug gangs in the western state of Michoacan. In August, 2006, Javier Arellano Felix and several capos of the Tijuana cartel are arrested by US authorities. Drug gangs spread to control territory, towns, town councils and elections as Mexico becomes the chief exporter of cannabis, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine to the Uni9ted Stateds  Meanwhile, the paramilitary force, Los Zetas, is raised into full partnership with the Gulf cartel. Los Negros, the armed wing of the Sinaloa cartel is formed to oppose Los Zetas. By now, it's clear that two different drug and gang cultures have developed among the Sinaloas on the west coast and the Gulf cartel on the east coast. Guzman's older, Pacific coast Sinaloa cartel is traditionalist, involved in the time-honoured growing and production of marijuana and cocaine, cultivating the image of the storied outlaw, a friend to the poor and common people, celebrated in the narco-corridos or folk songs distributed on CDs, lionizing the local narcos as folk heros. On the east side, however, the Gulf has moved into the more modern and more profitable business of straight, international drug trafficking with the use of surveillance and communications technology techniques far ahead of anything used by the Pacific families.

The Familia Michoacana, formerly trained by Los Zetas and working for the Gulf cartel, parts ways, becoming the  Michoacan cartel in its own right in rvalry against the the Zetas and the Baltran y Leyvas and forming alliances with the Tijuana and Sinaloa carrtels, making the Michoacana one of the most powerful cartels in Mexcio.  In January 2007, Oaxaca boss Pedro Diaz Parada is arrested for a third time and Isiel Cardenas, head of the Gulf Cartel is extradited to the US. The Sinaloa and Juarez gangs fight a bloody war over drug routes passing through Ciudad Jarez into the US.

In 2007-2009 drug violence rises sharply with thousands killed in three way fights between rival drug gangs with the police and the army, often in pitched battles in urban drug trafficking centres on the US-Mexican border. In April, 2008 General Serio Aponte, part of a military mission to subdue the drug traffick in Baja California, reports that police there are almost entirely in the control of the Baja drug bosses. On April 26, fightng between the Sinaloa and Tijuana cartels in Tijuana takes 17 lives as violence in  Mexican border towns threatens to spill over into the US. Sinaloa boss El Chapo Guzman has a falling out with partner Beltran Y Leyva as Beltran narrowly escapes a police ambush and escapes arrest through the offices of corrupt police. The Guzman and the Sinaloas lose the Beltran Y Leyva cartel to partnership with Los Zetas. The Tijuana, cartel, ravaged by arrests, seeks refuge in partnership with the Gulf cartel.
2008

September, 2008 sees 8 dead from a cartel grenade attack in Morelos.

In March 2009, Calderon sends 5,000 troops to the border town of Ciudad Juarez as the US department of Homeland Security answer requests by the Arizona and Texas state governments for NationalGuard protection from Mexican cross-border drug violence. Midsummer witnesses the total barbarism of the Familia Michoacan Cartel, west of Mexico city,  with attacks on police stations and the torture and murder of a dozen police agents, the Michoacan grotesquely organizing itself as a puritanical relgious-based neighbourhood vigilante goup and community organization. In February, the Michoacan Cartel joins the Gulf Cartel against the Beltran Levyas and the Gulf's former hitmen, Los Zetas.

In May 2010, allegations surface that elements of the police and military are in the pay of the Sinaloa cartel in a bid for total domination. The low arrest rate for Sinaloa members may be evidence of protection from within the government. In the summer a series massacres unfold in Ciudad Juarez at drug rehab centres and at parties, some gang related, others murky and lost in the violence and squalor. In August,72 migrants (usually found by the cartels on trains moving north on the single train route, unmonitored by the government, to escape the poverty in Central America) under the control of the Zetas are found murdered near Nuevo Laredo in Tamaulipas.



PREVIOUS ENTRIES

REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS.

Mexico has known human habitation since at least 25,000 BC. Evidence of agriculture dates back to 8,000 BC with agricultural settlements in existence by 5,000 BC. In  1600 BC, the Mokaya or "maize" people had villages down the Pacific coast of Chiapas and into Guatemala. A primitive agricultural civilization thrives in Mexico around 1200 BC when the  Mokaya came to an abrupt end with the rise of the Olmecs

Out of the farming communities grows the Olmec Civilization (1500-400BC) which fulfils the requirements of high or civilizational development: the urban concentration of public ceremonies; monumental
architecture; a variety of settlement patterns; standing armies; nationwide distribution systems; nationally organized food production; a state structure independent of tribes and kinship; specialized skills and trades; strict social hierarchies; high population density in urban areas; economies based in intensive agriculture. The Maya and Aztec civilizations would descend from the Olmecs.

The Olmecs expand to rule northern Central America and Southern Mexico. The Cascajal stone of about 900 BC with 62 symbols shows signs of written communication. Around this time, San Lorenzo, the Olmec capital is destroyed by warfare, giving way to a new capital at La Venta. The earliest pyramids belong to this period along with social and religious forms influencing other settlements from central Mexico to El Salvador- such as Zazacatla in the Valley of Mexico which adopts an Olmec hierarchical social structure.

Signs of the decline of the Olmec from 600 BC  begin with the abandonment of the religious centre at Tabasco despite the rise of the city of Monte Alban in Oaxaca. In 400 BC, La Venta is destroyed. Even with the establishment of a new capital at Tres Zapotes  around 400 BC,the civilization has vanished by about 200 BC. With migrations toward  Lake Texoco on central Mexico, a new people began to take root in the last century before the Christian era.

The civilization of Teotihuacan rises just north of Mexico City around 100 AD. Around 200 the Temple of Quetzacotl is completed, dedicated to the god who made space, time and humankind. As the Mayan kingdom of Campeche thrives to the south in Guatemala  in the 5th century and the Mayan city of  Palenque becomes a trading state with a far reach, the Teotihuacan empire spreads through southern Mexico into Guatemala. In the 6th and 7th centuries, the Mayan capital of Calakmul wields hegemony over the Mayan kingdoms and expands into Yucatan as the First Mayan Empire. The Mayan  astronomy and their calendar and mathematics are advanced- and their  number system is in advance of that used at the time in Europe.

Between 600 and 900 Mayan culture reaches its height just as Teotihuacan goes into decline. Around 750, the great metropolis of Teotihuacan is destroyed and its people dispersed. During the following century the Maya follow, going into decline. Around the year 900, the Mayan population outstrips the food supply, the ceremonial areas are abandoned and the civilization collapses.However a second Mayan civilization survives in the Yucatan building cities around 1100 in what would be known as the Second Mayan Empire. At its centre was a league of three Yucatan cities, the League of Mayapan. Around the same time a Toltec leader "from the land of the Feathered Serpent" to the north, is said to have come as a bringer of wisdom to the Yucatan Maya, beautifying the capital of Cichen Itza and, apparently, bringing human sacrifice. After he departed he was considered to be the god, Quetzacoatl.To the south, meahwhile, in the valley of Oaxaca, flourishes the world of the Zapotecs, said to have produced the finest goldwork of ancient and medieval Mexico.

The Toltecs, rising in the highlands descend to supplant the Maya around the year 1000. With the fall of the Toltec capital, Tula in 1156, the Aztecs begin to take root in the central Mexico with the founding of Tenochtitlan in 1193.  The Toltecs, meanwhile, had managed to adopt ideas and pyramid architecture from the Maya. Toltec temple centres develop into massive urban agglomerations. In the 1200s, meanwhile, the three Yucatan cities fall into internecine warfare. Around the same time, the Toltec imperium began to collapse due to infighting. They are briefly succeeded by the Chichimeca culture north of the Valley of Mexico.

In 1325, the Aztecs occupy the Valley of Mexico , ovethrowing the Toltecs and the Chichimeca. On Lake Texcoco the Aztec king Tenoch founds the city of Tenochtitlan. The Toltec, meanwhile, found the city of Tlatelolco. Under their king, Tezozomoc, the latter advance westward to form an empire but with his death, the Toltec empire disintegrates in local rebellions. It is now the Tenochtitlan Aztecs who conquer the region; the need of enemy prisoners for human sacrifice leads to a policy of almost continual conquest. Their culture, in the end, contains little that it new; it is mostly inherited from the Maya and the Toltecs.


The Aztec king, Itzcoatl (1426-1440), at the head of a military theocracy, expands the empire, leaving old state and social structures of conquered peoples intact. Meanwhile, the last of the Mayan league around Mayapan dies out. The Aztec expansion continues in alliance with the neighbouring kingdoms of Texcoco and Tlacopan  on the Pacific and Gulf coasts. In 1487, on the eve of the Spanish conquest, 80,000 people are sacrificed at the temple of Tenochtitlan. Montezuma II (1466-1520) having  amassed wealth through taxation and conquest of territories as far as Central America enlarges and beautifies Tenochtitlan. He is still in power as the Spanish, under Cordova land at Yucatan in 1517. Hernando Cortes, acting for the colony of Cuba, lands at Tabasco where he encounters the Maya and hears about the Aztecs. Spanish explorers dispatched by Cuba and Jamaica, meanwhile, explore and map the Caribbean coastline. Cortes, sent out by Velasquez, the Cuban governor, finally lands at Vera Cruz, to the north, in the spring of 1519 where he releases himself from fealty to Velasquez by making Vera Cruz a separate colony of Spain. In August, 1519, he leads an expedition inland across the Sierra Madre. After defeating the Tlaxcala, he secures them as allies against the Aztecs.

The Spanish Conquest of Mexico lasts from 1519 to 1524, its relative speed due to the fact that peoples like the Tlaxcalans, alienated by the Aztec appetite for human sacrifice, are quick to ally themselves with Cortes. En route, the Spanish parly with  the Choluhan people. Cortes suspects a plot and to set a precedent, a massacre of Choluhans is carried out on his sorders. On November 8, 1519, Cortes and Montezuma meet in Tenochtitlan, an extraordinary city built on an island. Montezuma is taken hostage by Cortes. Cortes, taken away by mission to Veracruz, leaves a lieutenant, Alvarado, in charge of the captive Montezeuma. Fearing the Aztecs, Alvarado launches an attack on their priests and aristiocracy and the Aztecs rise in rebellion in early 1520. Cortes returns. Montezuma, sent out to calm his own people in behalf of the Spandiards, is instead killed by them. On June 30, the Spanish are driven out of the city. In 1521, the Spanish rally back at Veracruz and transport disassembled sailing vessels over the mountains to confront the waterbound Aztec city with a naval siege in an attempt to starve the city in a blockade. Tenochtitlan falls in August, 1521 and Cortes plunders the temple. Only the Itza people of the Maya remain unconquered. Spain establishes a Council of the Indies. Mexico City is laid out according to a Spanish plan. In 1522, the king of Spain makes Cortes Captain-General. In 1524, Spain attempts to rule and regulate its new colonies with the establishement of the Council of the Indies.

Cortes sends sends Sandoval and Orozco south to annex the valleys of Puebla and Oaxaca, subduing the Zapotecs. Cristobal de Olid is send to pacify Michoacan and Jalisco to the north and west. Cortes himself  subdues rivals and racalcitrant tribes and the northeast and sends lieutenants to destroy rivals as far away as Central  America. On a retributive expedition to Honduras, Cortes brings Cuauhtemoc, heir to Montezuma and other Aztec nobles along to prevent any rebellion in his wake; on the way, he suspects them of a plot and has them executed. In 1527 the Spanish Crown, suspecting him of personal ambition has him demoted. By 1528 the Spanish have met greater resistance from the Maya in the south where they find this once great people living in the ruins of their former civilization, with priests worshipping in temple plazas overgrown with grass.

In 1528, Juan de Zumarraga arrives as Bishop of Mexico, charged with conversion of the Indians to Catholicism. Missionary work begins in the Valley of Mexico. Franciscans work the northwest in Michoacan and New Galicia. The Augustinians are sent to the northwest and the Dominicans to the south, in Oaxaca. The Pueblos Hospitales de la Santa Fe were utopian relgious communities founded for the Indians by the missionary orders with communal labour, self-government and intense relgious observance. The most famous are at Mexico City and Michcoan.

Because of the Conquistadors' anarchic and ambitious methods Spain abandons the Council of the Indies for direct rule by the Crown under the viceregal system. In 1529, an audiencia or adminstrative court with legal powers based in Mexico city extends royal rule. Mexico becomes the seat of the Viceroyalty of Spanish America in the north, comprising  Venezuela, the West Indies and everything north of Panama. Meanwhile, Nuno de Guzman, head of Mexico's audiencia, is sent to rule in place of Cortes. But Guzman's anarchic rule and poor treatment of the Indians leads to his abrupt dismissal.  Antonio Mendoza is appointed Viceroy in 1535 and proves to be an expert administrator.The Viceroyalty of the southern possessions, meanwhile is at Lima. While the mother country concerns itself with the extraction of wealth, actual government is left to the Viceroyalties.  Though the Maya are finally conquered in 1541, Mayan revolts will continue for decades. Cortes, meanwhile, returns to Spain, is not accorded the sovereignty of Mexico that he has wished for, and finishes out his days in other attempts at colonization and exploration before dying, almost in obscurity in Seville, Spain, in 1547. In the same year, the Yucatan Maya of Mayapan are subjugated by the Spanish under Francisco Montejos and a new city built- Merida.


The semblance of a civilization is born in 1542 with the outlawing of slavery and a capital at Mexico City, which, at 300,000, is larger than any city in Europe. Captain General Antonio Mendoza completes a successful rule in 1550, having brought peace and prosperity to the colony. 1551 sees the granting of charters for a university at Mexico city. Nevertheless, outlaw governors, the tyranny of local officials and the consequent native uprisings end disastrously for the natives. And after 1550 a new barbarism emerges in the subhuman conditions in which the Indian population is sent to work in the silver and golder mines- and in the ecomiendas, the plantations in which the Indians labour as peons in conditions close to slavery. The latter half of the century witnesses persistent attempts by the Crown to assert its authority over adventurers, outlaw governors, powerful relgious orders and a new, colonial elite. Through the New Laws, Spain attempts to limit the autonomy and abuses of the ecomiendas by limiting the tribute demanded of the Indians and redirecting it to the crown. Above all the New Laws cut short inheritance rights for the ecomiendas thus preventing the rise of an independent aristocracy. In the 1560s, the Chichimecas are pushed back in the north and the new lands and silver mines developed.

The later sixteenth and early 17th century sees the decimation of the indigenous population through disease and labour on the ecomiendas but especially in the mines, leaving the Indian population reduced from 20 million upon conquest to 11 million in 1600. While the indigenous people inhabit a parallel, if subordinate, society to the Spanish with its own institutions, the period from 1570 to 1650 sees a hybrid society developing as the Indians come to adapt to Hispanic social structures and institutions.

In the 1620s the colonial elite still struggle for near-absolute mastery against the Crown. When the Viceroy, the Marquis de Gelves tries to break up a manifestly unjust monopoly on the sale of grain and staples that keep prices artificially high, the entire colonial establichment, including the audiencia close ranks against him and have him removed from office. 

In 1697, the Itza capital of Tayasal in the Mayan region of Peten is the last independent entity to be conquered by the Spanish. Maya resistance continues in the highlands with a rebellion in Chiapas in 1712, and in Yucatan in 1761, a restiveness and protest which will continue to the present day. In 1717 the Franciscans are sent to settle and Christianize the north in the region of Texas. The ecomienda system of peon labour is abolished in 1724. In this same period, meanwhile, Mexico experiences a boom in silver mining, producing more silver even than Peru. Mexico City has also produced the highly sophisticated financial system needed to handle it. The contrasts remain huge: Spain's Charles III charters Mexico City's Institute of Fine Art in 1785 while the Aztec language of Nahuatl is still spoken as late as 1750.

As the eighteenth century draws to a close, the clergy are prominent in the growing protest, embodied for them in the simple, Indian Christianity of the Virgin of Guadeloupe, against the Bourbon reforms which rationalize and centralize royal authority in the colonies. In 1800, on the eve of Latin American independence, Mexico has recovered from the decimation of the native peoples and the population has begun to surge. The cities and the colonial aristocracy are among the wealthiest and most powerful in the world. Even with the loss of Louisiana, Mexico's northernmost possession in the Mississippi Valley to Napoleon, the empire is powerful and royal control in stronger in Mexico than in any other of the colonies.

Napoleon's arrangement of the abdication of King Ferdinand of Spain in 1810 sets in motion the process of colonial independence. Deprived of their monarch, the colonies consider his sovereignty to be vested in the people themselves. There arises a Creole movement to declare sovereignty and effective independence with a junta in the name of the deposed king. Those who are Spanish born, by contrast, declare sovereignty but in subservience to the spirit of the monarchy.  Meanwhile, a Mexican priest, Father Miguel de Hidalgo ignites a rebellion which will lead the colonies to claim what was formerly the king's sovereignty for an independent Mexico. He leads the lower classes against the Creole or American-born upper classes in the name of the Church and the teachings of Christ. Father Hidalgo's capture and execution in 1811 was only the bedinning of the revolution. Hidalgo was succeeded by the half-Indian Vincente Guerrero as leader of the rebels. After much fighting between the colonial establishment and the rebel groups, the  conservative alliance of landowners, Church and army, horrified by the 1820, liberal, constitutionalist revolt in Spain, take the independence of Mexico into their own hands under General Augustin Iturbide, achieving the final break from Spain in 1821 with the Treaty of Cordoba.

In 1821, General Iturbide emerges as emperor of an independent Mexico. But with the Plan of Iguala, promising independence, equality between Creole and Indian, and a Catholic Church, the intervention of General Santa Anna on behalf of disaffected Creoles in 1823 brings down Iturbide's monarchy and Mexico is declared a Republic. Now, the country will bear the burden of two factions, reproduced almost everywhere in Latin America: the liberals who favour decentralization, back business and trade and mistrust the Chruch and the army; while the conservatives or centralists favour the concentration of power in the hands of the Church, the army, the landowners and the silver monopolies. The liberal federalists rule from 1824 to 1828 their rule prolonged by a coup d'etat by Vincente Guerero. Slavery is abolished for good in 1829; in the same year Santa Anna blocks a Spanish attempt at reconquest. Guerrero is toppled in a coup by the conservatives in 1830.

As American settlers pour into the northeast, Santa Anna, who plays both sides, creates contsitutional distatorships in 1836 and 1843. In 1836, American settler volunteers hold off the Spanish at the Alamo and defeat and capture Santa Anna at San Jacinto before setting up the 'Lone Star Republic' of Texas. A boundary dispute follows. In the Mexican-American war of 1846-1848 the United States lays seige to Chaputepec and enters Mexico City. The northern region of Texas is annexed by the United States. Disgraced, Santa Anna is exiled to Venezuela.

In the War of the Castes, of 1847, the Maya rise up once more in protest against intolerable treatment by Creole white henequin planters, Yucatan's bid for indepdence in 1840 only barely contained. At the same time, the Sierra Gorda Rebellion breaks out in Guanajato, Queretaro and San Luis Postosi- who demand that haciendas be broken up for llandless Indians. Bandits, meanwhile, ravage the north and centre.


Mexican conservatives, fearing a liberal revolution against privilege, recall Santa Anna, provoking in turn a   reform movement determined to wipe out the conservative drift towared monarchy once and for all. From 1848 to 1853, by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden Purchase,  Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and part of Colorado are ceded to the US. Santa Anna, seen to have lost northern Mexico while reigning as a spendthrift and a desport, is tossed out by the liberals in 1855. Juan Alvarez, an Indian, is appointed president and moves, with enacted to laws, to break up the immense church lands into holdings for small farmers and to abolish the special courts and privileges of the church and the officer class. But the land reform, aimed at church holdings, is also destined to break up Indian lands, upsetting the traditional order altogether with the benficiary being the new landowning class or hacienderos. After much resistance, the resignation iof Alvarez and a widenign rift between liberals and conservatives, rich and poor, the reforms are given force in the Constitution of 1857, whose spirit remains alive in Mexican law today. Benito Juarez, another Indian and the man who had brought in the law opposing privileges for the church, succeeds to the liberal presidency while the conservatives put up their own rival president. Unable to sustain itself, the situation degenrates into civil war.  

The Three Years War, a civil conflict  from 1857 to 1860 ends with the victory of the Liberal faction under Benito Juarez. Elected president in 1861, he the first pure Indian to become a head of state in Latin America. Clerical and aristocratic priviledge lie in ruins but all is not well. Mexico's heavy debt to European nations, incurred partly by the Three Years War, leads England, France and Spain to send expeditionary forces to demand repayment. Contingents from the the three creditor nations land at Veracruz. For England and Spain it's a political gesture. But France it's a tatse of ambition and opportunity.

But French emperor Napoleon III decides to occupy Mexico and make it an imperial colony on the pretext of protecting the Catholic Church against a tide of liberalism. With the single greatest obstacle to his plan, the United States, distracted by the Civil War, the temptation is impossible to resist. With the connivance of Mexican conservatives, French troops land and launch an attack on Mexico City. After an initial defeat on May 5,1862, the French take the city. Louis Napoleon  then appoints the Austrian Archduke Francis Maximilian as Emperor Maxilmilian of Mexico. In the wake of a fake, staged national referendum by the French, Maxilmilian is crowned king in 1864. Juarez retreats into near-obscurity in the north.

But when the US Government, victorious in the civil war, expresses its disapproval of the intervention, the French withdraw, leaving the Emperor Maximilian alone to rally Conservative support before he is  overthrown and shot by the Liberals in 1867. Liberal leader Benito Juarez returns to power, the conservatives forever discredited for having supported the foreign ursurper. State and Church are definitively separated. Juarez continues with a program of difficult reforms before dying in 1872 but leaves the Indians at the mercy of the hacienderos whose lands continue to expand as those of the Indians diminish.  His elected successor Sebastien Tejada exproriates more church and Indian lands and builds the first railroad before attempting illegally to extend his own term in office in 1876, inciting the wrath of a sugar planter and military officer from Oaxaca, Porfirio Diaz

In 1876, Porfiro Diaz comes to power at the head of  a popular coup. With the support of the Church, the landowners and the army, he launches a truly massive economic expansion which features industrialization, the development of oil fields and railway building. His own technocrats, the Cientificos, declared dictatorship, foreign investment and entepreneurship necessary for  development. The conservatives, and their own restive caudillos, still holding out hope for a return of monarchy make even the thought of parliamentary rule impossible.To hold on to power after his term has ended, Diaz arranges for a friend to serve from 1880 to 1884 and bides his time while the place-holding president gradually falls in scandal and corruption, Diaz securing his own re-election in 1884. Every 4 years until 1911, Diaz rigs his re-election. The explosion in development, which lasts thoughout the Diaz' dictatorship from 1877 to 1907 hides protection of church priveledges despite the consitution of 1857, conceals the increasing exploitation of poor workers and farmers, continued expropriation of the Indians to make way for export crops and altogether a widening gap between rich and poor. Political dissidents are perscuted. The seeds are sewn for the revolution of 1910, which will transform Mexico.

The use of narcotics is already common in Mexico in the 19th century- marijuana, cocaine and opaites in general being used for medical reasons and commonly available in stores over the counter. Attempts top control various drugs, for public safety, after 1870 were not successful.

  CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY:


TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF MEXICO
(Thanks in part to BBC for several items after 1910)

(Thanks to 'Timelines of History' for several  items before 1519)
(Thanks to  www.facts-about.org.uk for some items between 1519 and 1910)
(Thanks to Luis Astorga for items from Drug Trafficking in Mexico.)
(Thanks to Wikipedia for items on the Mexican Drug Traffc)

NEOLITHIC TIMES.

25,000 BC- possible earliest migrations from Bering Strait arrive in Mesoamerica.
 
11000BC    Scientists in 2001-2002 discovered skeletons in caves along Mexico’s Yucatan coast that dated to about this time.
 
11000BC    Peñon Woman, found in central Mexico in 1959, dated to this time. She shared many of the features found in the Kennewick Man (1996) of Washington State.
 
7,975BCE    Humans lived in a cave near Oaxaca, Mexico, named Guila Naquitz (White Cliff). Scattered remains of tools, seeds and plants were found in 1966 by archeologist Kent Flannery and some of the seeds were dated to this time. The squash seeds showed signs of cultivation.

7000-1500 BC- THE ARCHAIC PERIOD.

5100BCE    agriculture established.
 
2700BCE    Domesticated maize in Mexico goes back to this time.
 
2500BC    - a 4,500-year-old burial in Mexico that showed front teeth ground down so they could be mounted with animal teeth. It was the oldest example of dental work in the Americas.


1600BC    The Paso de Amada site of Chiapas, Mexico, was first settled about this time in the Soconusco region, which extended down the Pacific coast into Guatemala. The town numbered about 2,000 people, who were later dubbed the Mokaya (maize people).
 
1600BC-1250BC    An earthen mound on the southern Mexico-Guatemala border dated to this period and was considered part of a chiefdom center of the Mokaya people.

1500 BC- 150 AD. THE FORMATIVE PERIOD

-established farming villages raising beans, corn, squash. Pottery and weaving.

1500-400 BC- The Olmec Civilizarion. 


-Olmecs ancestral to all the great dynasties lof Mexico.
-these societies fit the requirements of civilization: namely- economies founded on intensive farming; dense concentrations of population; strict social hierarchies; specialization of skills and trades; state structure and administration that cut across kinship and locality; food production organized on a national basis; efficient systems of nationwide distribution; permanent armies; diversified settlement patterns; monumental architecture; concentration of public functions in cities and other areas.

1500BC    A court to play ulama was built about this time in Chiapas, Mexico. Olmecs used latex balls for the game. The Olmecs processed rubber using latex from rubber trees mixed with juice from the morning glory vine. The rubber was used to make a bouncy ball for their ball games.
 
1500BC-1100BC Evidence found in 1998 revealed terraced farming for corn back to this time in northeast Mexico on a hilltop overlooking the Rio Casa Grandes.
 
1400BC-400BC    The Olmecs, who called themselves Xi, were the earliest known civilization of Mesoamerica. They influenced the subsequent civilizations of the Maya and Aztec. They inhabited the Gulf Coast region of what is now Mexico and Central America. Their capital was San Lorenzo, near the present day city of Veracruz. In 1968 Michael D. Coe authored “America’s First Civilization: Discovering the Olmec.”       
 
1250BC-1150BC    This time frame is referred to as the Initial Olmec Period of southern Mexico.

1200BC    The tradition of the Mokaya people at coastal Chiapas and Guatemala came to a sudden end about this time. This appeared to coincide with the rise of the Olmec people.

-Olmec carved monuments- massive busts of Olmec rulers in basalt.

-an Olmec capital at San Lorenzo.

1200BC-400BC    The Olmecs built impressive cities and established trade routes throughout Mesoamerica, that included settlements at La Venta and Tres Zapotes.
 
1200BC-300BCE        The Olmec people ruled southern Mexico and northern Central America.
 
1150BC-1000BC    This time frame is referred to as the Early Olmec Period of southern Mexico.
 
1000BC    The settlement at Canton Corralito on the southern Mexico-Guatemala border covered at least 60 acres by this time and was believed to be a colony of the Gulf Olmec people. About this time the nearby Coatan River began to rise and engulfed the settlement.

900BC        In 2006 Mexican archeologists discovered a stone block in Veracruz state inscribed with 62 distinct signs that dated to about this time. The Cascajal stone was attributed to the Olmecs, who civilization lasted from about 1200BC-400BC.

-destruction of the Olmec capital at San Lorenzo by invasion and internal revolt.

-La Venta rises to become the new Olmec capital.

The Late Olmec Period.

900BC-500BC- This time frame is referred to as the Late Olmec Period of southern Mexico, which featured pyramids for the first time in ceremonial centers. La Venta, the 2nd major Olmec capital dates to this period.

800 BC- Olmecs beginning to influence social mand relgious organizations from the Valley of Mexico to as far south as El Salvador.


800BC-500BC  Zazacatla in central Mexico covered less than one square mile between during this period. Inhabitants of Zazacatla adopted Olmec styles when they changed from a simple, egalitarian society to a more complex, hierarchical one. Much of it was later covered by housing and commercial development extending from Cuernavaca.
 
600BCE- The great Olmec Ceremonial Center in Tabasco, Mexico, was abandoned about this time.
 
600BCE    The Zapotec city of Monte Alban was founded in the Oaxaca valley.

400 BCE- destruction of the Olmec capital of La venta.

-new Olmec capital established at  Tres Zapotes.

300 BC- 200 AD- Olmec civilization gives way to:

The Zapotec Civilization.

-Zapotec civilization of Monte Alban in the Oaxaca Valley

The Emergence of Teotihuacan.

200BCE    Migrations began toward the area north of Lake Texcoco where the urban center of Teotihuacan developed.
 
100BCE    The area around Palenque first occupied.
 
0-   Paintings on rock surfaces in the central mountain ranges of the Baha Peninsula by unknown native Indians.
 
100-150   - a pre-Columbian civilization from the Pyramid of the Moon in Teotihuacan. Just north of Mexico City, Teotihuacan planned at about the beginning of the Christian era; sacked and burned by invading Toltecs in 650.

Teotihuacan the largest city in pre-conquest America.

150-900 THE CLASSIC PERIOD.

200-650- The Empire of Teotihuacanin Central Mexico.
 
150-200AD    The Temple of Quetzalcoatl in Teotihuacan (City of the Gods) was built near what later became Mexico City. Quetzalcoatl was considered as the origin of all human activities on earth, the creator of land and time and its divisions.
  

200-850 AD- Epoch of the Classic Maya in Yucatan


200-300    Campeche (Mexico), from the 3rd century, was the principal town of the Maya kingdom of Ah Kin Pech (place of serpents and ticks).


300- highlands of Guatemala conquered by Teotihuacan.


300        Mayans began building on Cozumel Island off Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula about this time. The town of San Gervasio built and inhabited through 1650. Cozumel covers 189 square miles, about the size of Lake Tahoe


Teotihuacan.

300-900 -the empire of Teotihuacan, largest of the ancient Mexican empires, will spread from the Valley of Mexico to Guatemala.

400- Conquest of Peten by Teotihuacan.

431- A great Mayan dynasty at Palenque; soon began trading with communities hundreds of miles away.

 562- Tikal in Guatemala was conquered possibly by the Mayans of Calakmul city in Mexico. Calakmul is one of the largest of Mayan cities with more than 6,000 structures. It was the capital of a widespread hegemony of Lowland Maya kingdoms during the Late Classic (600-900).

-Teotihuacan at its height- a fully planned metropolis of 11 square miles, population 150,000.

600-900    A three hundred year dynasty ruled over Palenque.  In the Pyramid of Inscriptions is the tomb of Pakal, the greatest king of the dynasty.

-Mayan cultural and artistic achievement reaches is height.

615  -Pakal (12) became the Mayan ruler of Palenque. His reign ended with his death in 683.

Decline of Teotihuacan.

650-750  -The Teotihuacan culture began declining and was almost abandoned by the end of this period. 




c750        Teotihuacan, the 1st major urban center of Mesoamerica, fell about this time. It was burned, deserted and its people scattered. It contained the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun.

Collapse of the Yucatan Maya.

750-850 -beginning of the collapse of the Maya of Yucatan.



800- discovery of metallurgy.

900- end of Maya civilization as the population exceeds the food supply; ceremonial areas are abandoned, possibly due to a rebellion against monumental fertility gods in favour of private rites and worship. Outlying areas in the Yucatan continue to thrive, albeit at the mercy of the great Mexican empires.

900-1250- EARLY POST-CLASSIC PERIOD.

The Toltec Empire replaces the Mayan.

900- 1250- rise of the Toltec empire in highlands. Toltecs penetrate Mayan lands.

970- 1000- Topilzin, Toltec high priest of Quetzalcoatl.

1000-1500- temple centres develope into vast, urban agglomerations.

987-1187- Toltec city of Cichen Itza established in declining Mayan civilization.

1156- fall of Tula, the Toltec capital.

1187-1446- northern Yucatan ruled by Mayapan dynasty.

1193- Aztecs found Tenochtitlan.

1250-1519- LATE POST-CLASSIC PERIOD.


The Aztec Empire.

1325-1519- duration of the empire of the Aztecs.

1350- Aztecs occupy the Valley of Mexico, overthrowing the Toltecs.

- the Culhuacan Aztecs build Tenochtitlan on lake Texoco.

- the Tepanec Aztecs build the city of Tlatelolco

- under king Tezozomoc, the Tepanecs expand across the west to form an empire.

1423- upon the death of Tezozomoc, the Tepanec empire crumbles in local rebellions.

-Tenochtitlan Aztecs expand in a triple alliance as Aztec human sacrifices of prisoners and conquered peoples feed the increasing appetite of the gods of the temple cities.

Itzcoatl, King of the Aztecs.

1426-1440- conquests of Itzcoatl, king of the Aztecs.

-despite their conquests, Aztecs leave tribal and city state structures intact.

1475- the Tenochtitlan Aztecs take control of Tlatelolco.

Aztec Human Sacrifice.

1487- Aztec dedication of the temple of Tenochtitlan- 80,000 sacrificed.


1492- Columbus the first European to discover the Americas.

1500s        Zapotec Indians founded the town of San Antonino after Spaniards took over Ocotlan in Oaxaca. The residents later came to be called Tonineros.

Montezuma II, King of theAztecs.

1502        Moctezuma Xocoyotl (Montezuma II), an Aztec prince, inherits the Aztec throne becoming the 9th ruler of the Aztecs.


1466-1520    Montezuma II, Aztec emperor. He amassed great wealth through taxation in Mexico and Central America. He used his wealth to enlarge and beautify his capital at Tenochtitlan which reached a population of 200,000.

Cordoba of Spain finds remains of Mayan civilization.

1517        Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba, Spanish explorer, sails from Cuba and discovered the Mayan civilization in the Yucatan, southeast  Mexico.

Arrival of Cortez

1519        Mar 13, The Spaniards under Cortes land at Vera Cruz with 10 stallions, 5 mares and a foal. Smallpox is carried to America by the Cortes expedition.

1520- Spain makes Cortes ruler of a Spanish empire of 5 million subjects.

Spanish Conquest of Mexico.

1519-1524- Cortes conquers the Aztec empire. Tribes resentful of Aztec human sacrifice, easily break away from Aztec domination and form alliances with the Spanish.

Population of Mexico at that time, 11 million. 

1520 Moctezuma II ( aka Montezuma ) is killed,

1521- Augustt 13- Cortes plundered the Aztec capital at Tenochtitlan.

1524-  Cortés met the Itzá people, the last of the Maya to remain unconquered by the Spanish.
-Spain establishes the Council of the Indies.


1528 The Spanish under Francisco de Montejo begin their conquest of the northern Maya. The Maya fight back with surprising vigour, keeping the Spanish at bay for several years.

-despite attempts by the Chruch and the Crown to protect the Indian population, the harsh conditions of peon labour on the ecomiendas or plantations and espcially in the mines reduces lifes expectancy. Even worse is the lavoc left by diseases imported from Europe.

Chruch and State in Spanish Mexico.


1528 Juan de Zumarraga (1468-1548) arrives as bishop of Mexico City and begins native conversion to Catholicism.

1535- Antonio de Mendoza established in Mexico as first Spanish Viceroy of Spanish America north of Panama, the west Indies and Venezuela. Mexico is one of two Viceroyalties, the other at Lima, governing most of the South America. Mexico and Lima are sister cities of Castile and Aragon, responsible to the Crown at Castile. Mexico and Lima each have a Royal Council through which the Spanish king wields direct authority- though in fact, geography made this impossible. In practice, while Spain extracted wealth from the colonies, the Viceroys of Lima and Mexico ran the day to day administration.

Spanish Conquest of the Maya.


1541 The Spanish are finally able to subdue the Maya and put an end to Maya resistance. Revolt continues, however, to plague the Spaniards off and on for the rest of the century.

1542 The Spanish establish a capital city at Mérida in Yucatán.

1542- slavery is outlawed.

-Mexico City, with a population of 300,000 is far lerger than any European capital.

1550- Juan Ines de Sepulveda and Bartolome de Las Casas refer to Aristotle in debating whether or not Indians are natural slaves.

1551- Univerities in Mexico and Peru are given charters.

Ravages of Disease and Peon labour on the Population.

-Spain begins to supervise the extraction of silver and gold, retaining a fifth of all mined metals.

1600- poor working conditions and imported disease reduce the population 20 2.5 million from 11 million nearly a century bafore.

1650- gradually life expectancy of the Indian population begins to recover.

1697 The city of Tayasal, capital of the Itzá in the Petén, is taken by the Spanish. Thus the last Maya independent political entity is subdued to the Spanish Crown.

Continualtion of the Mayan Rebellion.

1712 The Maya of the Chiapas highlands rise against the Mexican government. They will continue to do so off and on until today.


1718 Franciscan missionaries settle in Texas which is of New Spain
 

1718 Mission San Antonio de Valero was established which later became famous as the Alamo

1724 The Spanish Crown abolishes the system of encomienda, which had given Spanish land owners the right to forced Indian labour.

1761 The Maya of Yucatán, led by Jacinto Canek, rise against the government.

Conditions on the Eve of Independence.

1767- Jesuits made to leave Spanish America.

1797- population of Mexico City- 113,000- larger than any European city- and the Spanish-American aristocracy is wealthier and mmore ciltivated than any other ruling class in the new world.

1800- the population has recovered from its 16th century decimation and the economy had begun to surge.

1803 Napoleon took Louisiana back from New Spain but sold it to the United States
 

1810 - Overthrow of the king of Spain by Napoleon
 

The Revolt of Father Hidalgo.

1810 September 16 Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla (1753-1811) preaches his Grito de Dolores, sparking rebellion and the War of Independence
 

1811 Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla is captured and executed
 

Mexican Independence: Iturbide and Santa Anna.

1821 Spain recognizes Mexican independence with the Treaty of Cordoba.

1822 General Augustin de Iturbide assumes control as Emperor of Mexico
 

1823 General Santa Anna deposes Iturbide, the monarchy fails, and a new constitution creates a federal republic


1829 President Vicente Guerrero abolishes slavery
 

1829 A Spanish attempt at re-conquest is halted by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (1794-1876)
 

Americans Migrate to Northeast Mexico: the Alamo.

-American settlers begin to crowd into Northeast Mexico claiming land and working it with slaves; slavery, meanwhile is illegal in Mexico.

1835- Santa Anna's dictatorship ends in exile.


-American colonists declare their independence from Mexico and form the state of of Texas. 

1836 February 23 to March 6 - A band of 189 Texas volunteers defied a Mexican army of thousands for 13 days of siege at the Alamo
 

1836- April Battle of San Jacinto - General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna is captured by Sam Houston

1839- discovery of Mayan civilization by American John Lloyd Stephens and the English artist Frederick Catherwood.

American Conquest of Northern Mexico from Texas to California.

1846-1848 US-Mexican War as the US wrests all territory from Texas to California from Mexico.

1847 The Yucatán Maya rise up against the Mexican government, rebelling against the miserable conditions and cruelty they have suffered at the hands of the whites. The rebellion is so successful that the Maya almost manage to take over the entire peninsula in what has become known as the War of the Castes.

 1848 The treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo reduces Mexico's territory by half, ceding present-day Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, and part of Colorado to the U.S.

1853 Santa Anna agrees to the Gadsden Purchase, ceding a further 48,000 square km (30,000 square mi) to the United States
 

The Three Years' Civil War and Benito Juarez

1857-1860- civil war, the "Three Years' War."

1860- Benito Juarez, the victor, takes control at the head of the Liberal faction.

-Juarez becomes Latin America's first pure Indian head of state.

-durign the 19th century, marijuana cocaine and other opiates are available over the counter for medical use.

-poppy cultivation for the manufacture of heroin is carried on in NW Mexico, in Sinaloa.

Louis Napoleon and the Mexican Debt Crisis.

-the defeated Conservatives apppeal to Europe.


-European nations, having made loans to Mexico were unable to obtain repayment due to the Three Yreas War and a bankrupt Mexican goverment.  Moreover,  President Juarez decides to default on the loans while European bondholders demand repayment. 

1861-1862- with the US occupied by civil war, Britain, France and Spain occupy Veracruz to demand repayment of the loans.

-Britain and Spain withdrew, believing they had made their point.

French Occupation of Mexico and the Emperor Maxilmilian.

-the Emperor Napoleon III decides to capitalize on the Mexican debt crisis by making contact with Mexican Conservatives and bringing Mexico into a French colonial empire for the expansion of the French economy. The new colony was to be led by the Austrian Archduke Maximillian.


1862- Mexican troops repel a French attack on Mexico City on May 2nd but the city falls to the French on June 10.


1863 the French occupy Mexico City and Napoleon III of France appoints Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria (1832-1867) as Emperor of Mexico
 

1864- -Maximilian accepts the crown after a fake referendum staged by the French. 

1866-  Washington views the French occupation of Mexico as a direct violation of the Monroe Doctrine. 

At US Prompting, France withdraws from Mexico; execution of Maxilmilian.

-with Washington having won the American Civil War and demanding the withdrawal of France, Napoleon III ends his Mexican project.

-Maximilian remains in power at the request of conservative factions. The liberals move to oust him.

1867- Maximilian is captured and executed. Juarez and the Liberals return to power.

President Porfirio Diaz's Industrial and Economic Revolution.

1876- Porfirio Diaz becomes president at the head of a popular revolt.

-Diaz cultivates support from the Church, the army and the landowners. His dictatorship brings stability and foregin investment but at he expense of poor farmers and workers. 

-Diaz regime brings massive, ninefold increase (1877-1907) in foreign investment and trade.

-industrialization and railway construction.

Industrialization and Rural Poverty Seed Unrest. 

-however there's a massive increase in the gap between rich and poor.

-by the time of the 1910 revolution, drugs are prohibited or controlled across the border in the US while they are freely available in Mexico, creating conditions for the drug traffic.

The Mexican Revolution.

1910 - Beginning of Epic Revolution against the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz, triggered by unrest amongst peasants and urban workers soon to be led by Emiliano Zapata.

-FRancisco Madero, a member of the elite speaks out against Diaz's rigging of the 1910 election.

                     Madero.

1911 - Mexico's dictator, Porfirio Diaz, resigns. The new president is Francisco Madero, a liberal. Madero introduces land reform and labour legislation. Political unrest continues with Zapata leading a peasant revolt in the south.

                     Villa, Zapata and Carranza.

1911-1919- Emilio Zapata leads the Mexican revolt of peasant and workers dispossesed durign the Diaz era in the southwestern stae of Morelos.

1913 -in Chihuahua Pancho Villa leads a private army of unemployed woorkers and small ranchers against the capital.

-in the state of Coahuila, Venustianzo Carranza leads an iinsurgency.

                       President Huerta and Carranza.

1913 - Madero is assassinated. Victoriano Huerta seizes power and a new revolutionary movement aimed at land redistribution develops under Pancho Villa and Zapata. 

1914- the United States sends troops to Vera Cruz for fear of German influence on Mexico.

1914 - Huerta resigns. He is viewed with suspicion by the United States for his alleged pro-German sympathies. Huerta resigns and is succeeded by Carranza, governor of Cuahuila.

-Pancho Villa and other revolutionaries turn against Carranza.

1915- Carranza puts down Villa and his movement.

1916- Mexican writer Mariano Azuela (1873-1952) publishes Los De Abajo about peasant soldiers sacrificed in the revolutionary war.

                       US Intervention; pursuit of Pancho Villa.

1916 - US forces cross the border in pursuit of the guerrilla leader Francisco "Pancho" Villa.


-"Zimmerman telegram" intercepted by the British reveals a secret German proposal to Mexico to wit: if the US enters the war against Germany, Germany, in alliance with Mexico will take back all lost Mexican territories from Texas to California.


1917 - US forces withdraw, having failed to kill Villa. A new, nationalistic quasi- soocialist constitution is adopted by President Carranza, which is designed to ensure land redistribution and permanent democracy in Mexico. It is still the constitution today.

-laws are passed to control the sale, use and trafficking of drugs. Most drug traffickign takes place in the Baja- Tijuana area.

1919- death of Zapata.

1920 - Carranza is murdered. Civil war follows but the Cranza constitution of 1917 stands.

-marijuana cuultivation is prohibited.

National Revolutionary Party Consolidates the Revolution.

The National Revolutionary Party  is formed by President Ellias Calles. It dominates the government, crushing opposition including military revolts, implementing reform by force.


- NRP leader Plutarco Ellias Calles manages some land reform but becomes conservative due to opposition from the Church, labour and the military.

1923- death of Pancho Villa.


1926- poppy cultivation is prohibited.

President Cardenas and The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)
 
1929 - the NRP is re-named the Instiutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

1934-1940- under President Lazaro Cardenas the PRI consolidates, applies the revolution through collective economics and land reform (17,8 hectares to 800,000 people through communally owned ejidos. Mexican oil companies nationalized and farms collectivized in state cooperatives.

-Cardenas reorganizes the PRI as the Mexican Revolutionary Party (MRP) so that it represents every class and sector of society.

Industry and Nationalization of Oil.

1934 - President Lazaro Cardenas begins programme of oil nationalisation, land reform and industrial expansion.

1938- Cardenas expropriates foreign-owned oil companies.

-marijuana, opium and the cultivation, production and sale of other drugs is healthy throughout Mexico, much of it under the protection of state governors and military authorities.

Long Period of Mexican Economic Expansion.


1940-1970- rapid growth of the Mexican economy.

1940 - Leon Trotsky murdered by Mecader in Mexico.

-industry emphasized over agriculture. Gross national product increases dramatically at the expense of equality.
-Mexico City's Torre Mayor, Latin America's tallest building.

1942 - Mexico joins the allies, declares war on Japan and Germany.

-Mexico sends 300,000 labourers to help the US war effort, beginning a tradition of migrant Mexan labour passing into the the southern US, sending money home and providing cheap labour for the US.

President Aleman.


1946-1952 - President Aleman

1946- Aleman formally reorganizes the MRP into the PRI

-anti-inflationary policy brings prosperity into the 1970s but social tensions increase between of widening gap between rich and poor.

1947- scadal erupts as the governor of Sinaloa is implicated in alleged drug trafficking.

I940 Economic Miracle declines with Inequality.

-drug trafficking in  Mexico is protected by patronage and cronyism in the PRI which has permanent control over the entire country. Sinaloa remains the most prominent centre of drug trafficking- most of the transport being done by plane throughout northwestern Mexico. Authorities try and fail to shut it down.

1960s - economic decline.

- unrest amongst peasants and labourers over unequal wealth distribution is suppressed.

-the marijuana and opium trade from Sinaloa and Chihuahua into the United States grows exponentially.

1968 - Student demonstration in Tlatelolco, Mexico City, during the Olympic Games is fired upon by Mexican security forces. Hundreds of protestors are killed or wounded. The extent of the violence shocks the country.

President Echeverria Pushes Country to the Left.

1970s- President Juan Echeverria brings in price controls on some food products to help the poor.
 
-Echeverria plans to make Mexico the leading nation of the Third World, with Mexico as the model of big government. He increases the state's part in the economy to 50% and the number of state-owned enterprises from 86 to 740.

-hyperinflation, flight of foreign capital and crisis in balance of payments arise as a consequence of Echeveria's policies. 

Lopez Portillo Brings back the Free Market. Discovery of oil.

 -Mexican military launches Operation Condor, an unprecedented  but unsuccessful attempt to wipe out the drug traffic.

1976-1982 Lopez Portillo elected president. he brings back free market policies. Nevertheless he is saddled with the costly, immense bureaucracy guaranteed by the entrenched ruling party, PRI.


1976 - Huge offshore oil reserves discovered; the Cantarell field becomes the mainstay of Mexico's oil production.

-Pedro Diaz Parada begins his career as head of the Oaxaca drug cartel by planting marijuana in his native Oaxaca.

-the Mexican economy recovers.

1979- John Paul II gives blessing to the Latin American tidal wave of religiosidad popular by placing the Mexican people under the protection of a native Indian Madonna on a visit to the Shrine of the Virgin of Guadeloupe.


1980s- Mexico carries a massive foreign debt.

Fall of Price of Oil Brings Economic Downturn.

1981- economy sufferes from decline in the price of oil.

1982- unable to meet its interest payments on its foreign debt, Mexico nationalizes the banks.


De La Madrid Liberalizes the economy.

1982-1988- President Miguel de la Madrid adopts economic liberalization and privatization of state companies.

-the Mexican economy blends with the North-East Pacific economy of the western US, Alaska and western Canada.


lllegal Migrants Crossing to US.

-illegal Mexican migrants flocking to California and other border states.


1984- American DEA agent Enrique Camarena and Mexican pilot Afredo Zavala discover the immense 12 square kilometre marijuana plantation, 'The Buffalo' in the state of Chihuahua.

1985 - Earthquake in Mexico City kills thousands and makes many more homeless.


-Feb 7- American DEA agent Enrique Camarena and Mexican pilot Afredo Zavala are kidnapped by drug traffickers in Guadalajara, now an international hub of the drug trade. Their bodies are found a month later.

-Columbian drug Lord Pablo Escobar switches to Mexico for drug transit (Mexico already had its own traffickign netowrks in place) after US law enforcement tightens up on Florida and the Caribbean.

PRI begins to lose its Monopoly on Power.

-De la Madrid addresses growing economic problems with mixed policies of politcal pluralization, limiting the power if the PRI.

1985- Mexico signs an agreement promising to restructure its debt.

-nevertheless Mexico's foregin debt continues to grow.

1985- Pedro Diaz Parada, the head of the Oaxaca cartel of Oaxaca and Chiapas in southern Mexico, is arrested and sentenced to 33 years.

-Columbian drug lords begin paying Mexican traffickers in kind rather than cash- often 30 tlo 50% of the cocaine shipped, thus laying the foundations for the Mexican drug traffick.

-1980s- the Familia Michoacan drug Cartel is founded as a vigilante group to bring law and order to Michoacan state and to aid the poor.

1987- Pedro Diaz Parada of the Oaxaca Cartel escapes from prison.

-Antonio Eziquiel Cardenas, begins drug trafficking career with Gulf Cartel, headed by his brother Oziel Cardenas.

1988-1994- President Carlos Salinas Gotari- conintues De La Madrid policy of political pluralism.


1989- the arrest of Mexico's biggest drug lord, Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo of the Sinaloa gang, touches off the drug war which has never really ended, as rival cartels fought one another to obtain his place and his networks. Drug cartels begin strategically to use the police as well as corrupt police officials against one another and what often amounts to a three way battle between police and rival cartels.

1989-  After a fallling out, Tijuana associates of Sinaloa drug boss El Chapo Guzman attempt to murder him at Tijuana airport but accidentally killed Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocamp instead. Guzman, now on the run, ends up in Guatemala where he is arrested. 

1992- PRI loses in several state elections.


1992- Pedro Diaz Parada of the Oaxaca Cartel, sentenced in 1985 and escaping jail in 1987, escapes a second time.


Mexico, US and Canada joined in North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).



1993 - Mexican parliament ratifies the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) with the US and Canada- the agreement is a threat to small businesses.

-Salinas carries out democratization of the political system through reform of the constitution.

Chiapas Rebels Against NAFTA Threat to Local Culture, Economy.
 
1994 - uprising in Chiapas due in part to the threat of NAFTA to local Indian culture, business and small farmers.

-a guerrilla rebellion in Chiapas by the Zapatista National Liberation Army is brutally suppressed by government troops. The rebels oppose Nafta and want greater recognition for Indian rights. The government recognises the Zapatista National Liberation Front (EZLN).

March 23- presidential candidate Puis Donaldo Colosio is assassinated.

Zedillo of the PRI wins Violent Election followed by crash of Peso.

1994- August - Presidential elections won by PRI candidate Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, after the previous candidate, Luis Donaldo Colosio, was murdered. The stock market plunges in December, the peso loses a third of its value.

-US President Clinton sends a $20 billion credit guarantee to prevent the collapse of the Mexican economy and NAFTA  along with it..

1995 - Former President Carlos Salinas goes into exile after his brother Raul Salinas is connected with Colosio's murder.

1990s- with the demise of the Medellin and Cali drug cartels, the trafficking of drugs between South and Central America thrives in Mexico, but the government takes little decicive action.

-the Familia Michoacan becomes the paramilitary arm of the Gulf Cartel, intended to control the drug trade in Michoacan.

-Guero, Palma and "Chapo" Guzman step into the shoes of imprisoned Felix Gallardo as heads of the Sinaloa cartel.

 -the Gulf cartel of Tamaulipas emerges as one of Mexico's major drug gangs, hiring a an armed mercenary group, Los Zetas.

Agreement Reached on Chiapas.

1995 November - The government and the EZLN reach an agreement on greater autonomy for the indigenous Mayans of Chiapas.

1996 - The insurgency in the south escalates as the leftist Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) attacks government troops.

1997- Carrillo Fuentes, drug lord of Juarez dies under surgery in Mexico City. Immediately Sinaloa boss El Chapo Guzman and Gulf Cartel boss Osiel Cardenas Guillen move in to take over the Ciudad Juarez territory.

1997- the Arellano-Felix or Tijuana Cartel in Tijuana starts a war to control the border drug trade in Tijuana and Jalisco.

The PRI Finally Loses Power.

1997 - The PRI suffers heavy losses in elections and loses its overall majority in the lower house of parliament for the first time since 1929.

1997 December - 45 Indians killed by paramilitary gunmen in a Chiapas village. The incident causes an international outcry, President Zedillo starts an investigation.

-Mexico experiences a brief lull in the drug wars.


1998 January - Governor of Chiapas resigns. Peace talks with the rebels are reactivated, but break down at the end of the year.

Fox elected President for Right of Centre Opposition.
 
2000 July - Vicente Fox of the opposition Alliance for Change wins presidential elections, the first opposition candidate ever to do so. Parliamentary elections see the Alliance for Change emerge as the strongest party, beating the PRI by just over 1%.


2000 December - Vicente Fox is sworn in as president.

-with the PRI out of power, the pervasive government party's 70 year quiet toleration and sweet-heart deals with drug trasffickers is at an end. Fox brings in an area of independent government opposition to the drug cartels


-Fox sends troop detachments to Nuevo Laredo and Tamaulipas on the US border to fight drug cartels.

Zapatistas of Chiapas Renew their Demands.

2001 March - Zapatista guerrillas, led by Subcomandante Marcos, stage their 'Zapatour', a march from Chiapas to Mexico City to highlight their demands.

2001 April - Parliament passes a bill increasing the rights of indigenous people. A few days later, Subcomandante Marcos rejects the bill, saying it leaves the Indian population worse off than before. Marcos says the uprising in Chiapas will continue.

2001 November - President Fox appoints a prosecutor to investigate the disappearance of left-wing activists during the 1970s and 1980s.

2001- Sinaloa drug boss El Chapo Guzman escapes prison in a laundry van.

2002 March - Roberto Madrazo wins the contest to lead the PRI, which governed for 71 years until 2000.

Political Violence of Past uncovered

2002 June - Millions of secret security files are released, shedding light on the torture and killing by security forces of hundreds of political activists in the 1960s and 1970s. President Fox says his government is not afraid to pursue prosecutions.

2002 July - Former President Luis Echeverria is questioned about massacres of student protesters in 1968, when he was interior minister, and in 1971 when he was president.


2002 September - Three army officers are charged with first-degree murder over the killings of 134 leftists in the 1970s.

2003- Oaxaca Cartel joins with the Tijuana Cartel.

March- arrest by Mexican police of Gulf cartel leader Osiel Cardenas leads Sinaloa cartel, under the leadership of Mexico's wealthiest and most wanted drug baron, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, to challenge the Gulf cartel's control of the Southwest Texas Drug Corridor.

2004 July - Investigator deems 1971 shooting of student protesters by government forces to have been genocide; judge refuses to order arrest of former President Luis Echeverria on charges that he ordered the attack.


-Genocide trial against former president Luis Echeverria is suspended.

 Drug Gangs in Prisons Murder Jailers.

2005 January - Six prison officers are murdered and top-security jails are put on high alert amid escalating tension between the authorities and drug gangs.

Jan-Aug- the Sinaloa and Gulf Cartels engage in their own battle killing 100 in Nuevo Laredo alone.


-violence increases as the cartels struggle to establish themselves in the state of Michoacan.

2005 April - Political furore as Mexico City mayor and presidential favourite Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is stripped of his immunity from prosecution by Congress in a land dispute. The government eventually abandons the prosecution.

The Murdered Women of Ciudad Juarez.

2006 February - A federal post of special prosecutor is created to tackle violent crime against women. Mexico had been criticised by the UN and rights groups over the unsolved murders of more than 300 women over 12 years in the border city of Ciudad Juarez.


-65 miners are killed in an explosion at a coal mine in Coahuila state. President Fox orders an investigation.

Left Wing Obrador Disputes Election Victory of Calderon.

2006 July - Conservative candidate Felipe Calderon is declared the winner of presidential elections with a razor-thin majority over his leftist rival, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who challenges the result with mass street protests. The Federal Electoral Tribunal confirms Mr Calderon's win in September.


2006 October - US President George W Bush signs legislation to build 1,125km (700 miles) of fencing along the US-Mexico border. Mexico condemns plans for the barrier, which is intended to curb illegal immigration.
In the fall,


-Los Zetas, corrupt military commandos and formerly the mercenary army of the Gulf Cartel, rise to acceptance as the Gulf Cartel's partners. Meanwhile, the Familia Michoacan, trained with the Zetas, forms its own cartel, turning to rivalry against the Zetas and the Baltran y Leyva cartels.

-the Michoacan cartel developes strong partnerships with the Sinaloa and Tijuana cartels, making the Michoacan one of the strongest in Mexico.

-Los Negros, the armed wing of the Sinaloa Cartel is formed to resist Los Zetas.


Surge in War on Drugs


2006 December - A new federal police force is created to tackle drugs cartels; thousands of troops are deployed in the western state of Michoacan as part of a major anti-drug trafficking drive.

-Mexican drug Cartels have become the major supppliers of cannabis, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine to the United States and in Mexico are beginning to control regions and municipalities by force and by intervention in state elections.

Dec 11 President-Elect Calderon intervenes directly in the drug war by sending 6,500 troops to Michoacan, directly west of Mexico City, this inaugurating Mexico's government militaty offensive on the cartels.

2007-January-  Pedro Diaz Parada, the head of the Oaxaca cartel of Oaxaca and Chiapas in southern Mexico, is arrested by Federal police a third time, having been arrested before, in 1985 and 1990.

-February - New law obliging authorities to take tougher action against domestic violence comes into effect.

-beginning of a long-running battle between the Juarez and Sinaloa Cartels for a major drug route leading into the US through the border town of Ciudad Juarez.

2007 July - A financial website says that Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim has overtaken Microsoft founder Bill Gates to become the world's richest person.

2008- Jan- March -El Chapo Guzman, chief of tthe Sinaloa Cartel launches an offensive to expel the Juarez Cartel from Ciudad Jarez. Between then and fall, 2010, 7,000 will die in Juarez and environs due to the drug war.

2008- April General  Sergio Aponte, in charge of anti-drug operations in Baja California, alleges that the cartels are assisted by police corruption, bribery and intimidation.

April 26- a pitched battle between the Sinaloa and Tijuana drug cartels in Tijuana, Baja Califirnia leaves 17 dead. Gang wars in boirder towns are now threatenign border towns on the American side.

-Tijuana cartel, once powerful, is in decline due to arrests of much of its leadership and is entering a partnership with the Gulf Cartel. 

May, 2008 -former Sinaloa boss Guzman ally Arturo Beltran escapes police ambush outside Acapulco and sunsequently escapes arrest due corrupt police working for the narcotrafficantes.

-the Beltran Leyva cartel leaves it alliance with the Sinaloa cartel to join Las Zetas.

August 2008- 12 decapitated bodies bearing dragon tattoos found in Yucatan. The heads are never found. 

-September, drug cartel grenade attacks leave 8 dead in Morelia.


-Drug-related violence rises sharply in 2008 and 2009

2009- March- Calderon calls 5,000 more federal troops into Ciudad Juarez.

-the US Department of Homeland Security considers the us of National Guard troops to protect US border towns. Texas and Arizona call for National Guard protection.

-July 11- the Familia Michoacan attacks serveral police stations in Morela in an attempt to free one of their members, Rueda Medina.

-July 14- The Familia Michoacan cartel, which operates a parallel government in the state of Michoacan, tortures and kills 12 police agents, leaving their bodies along road sides. 

-Oct 22- the US launches Project Coronado, seizing tons of weapons and drugs and arresting 303 individuals working for the Michoacan Cartel inside the United States.

-December- Arturo Beltran, head of Beltran Leyva cartel surrounded and killed by a team of Government Navy commandos, chosen presumably for its lack of corruption.

2010- February 1- prisoners hired as gunmen are let out of prison in a secret deal between the warden and a cartel, proceeding to kill 10 in a bar in Coahuila.

February- the Michoacana Familia Cartel joins the Gulf Cartel against the Beltran Leyva and Los Zetas cartels in a war in the border region of Tamaulipas.

-Antonio Eziquiel Cardenas of the Gulf cartel is in charge of drug trafficking and financial operations in Matamoros and the Matamoros-Brownsville, Texas, drug corridor.

-government launnches a social investment program in Ciudad Juarez and the border region to fight the problem of drug trafficking.

-the Gulf Cartel and the Los Zetas Cartel have a falling out and engage in gun battles across the state of Tamaulipas, wreaking havic in the state's NE border towns.

March- three people connected with US consulate in Ciudad Juaraz are murdered, prompting President Calderon to demand cull US cooperation and partnership in the war on drugs in the border region.

May- Sinaloa Cartel alleged to have infiltrated the Mexican army and government in a bid to wipe out the other cartels.

May- allegations surface that elements of the police and military are in the pay of the Sinaloa cartel. The low arrest rate for Sinaloa members may be evidence of protection from within the government.


June 11- 19 are murdered at a Ciudad Juarez drug rehabilitation centre.


July 30- Ignacio Coronal Villareal, one of the Sinialoa cartel bosses, is killed in a shootout with Mexican military at his home in Guadalajara. Four other Sinaloa bosses remain.

-45,000 government troops are engaged in the war on drugs.

August- President Obama signs a law investing $600 million in border security to stop the flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico.

-Edgar Valdez, lord of Beltran Leyva cartel arrested.

-Beltran Leyva cartel splits into warring factions.

Aug, 25- 27 migrants found murdered by Los Zetas cartel in Timaulipas near NE border.

September 30- 18 Acapulco tourists disappear, later found in mass grave.

Oct. 15- Gunmen attack a party in Ciudad Juarez killing seven.
  
Oct 23- 13 massacred at birthday party in Ciudad Juarez in wa between Sinaloa and Juarez cartels.

Nov. 24- Beltran Leyva cartel dismantled with arrest of gang boss Carlos Montemayor.

2011- Jan. 8- 15 decapitated bodies and heads turn up in supermarket plaza in Acapulco with Chaco Gizman's calling card.
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