Saturday, August 18, 2018

Kidnapping Charges by the State Against Six Persons Sketch Last Hours 
In the Lives of Meibi Oyuki, 18,  and Cesar Estupiñan, 25
Praderas de los Oasis Massacre of 13 Youths

Diario de Juárez today reports details included in the charges leveled by the State of Chihuahua against six persons alleged to have been involved in the Praderas de los Oasis massacre on August 2.

Among the allegations:  at approximately 7 p.m. on August 2 the six persons named in the indictment, accompanied by an unidentified person, arrived at the residence (a picadero) where the murders were to take place.  Meibi was taken from that residence to a another residence, In Southeast Juarez, where she was held until August 3, when César Amador Estupiñán arrived.  Both were then taken to another residence, where they were "physically tortured" (atormentados) until they died.  On August 4 Estupiñan's mother was taken by one of his friends to his car.  The driver's door was open and the trunk contained the two bodies.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Will the House Flip This Year?  Two Models:  One Flips the House, the Other Does Not

Two sophisticated models have been created to predict what is likely to happen in each of the 435 congressional districts this year.  One is and the other is from FiveThirtyEight.   

One model predicts the House will very probably flip; the other predicts it will stay Republican unless public opinion shifts further to the Democrats between now and the elections .  The methodologies used in the models are different.

The FiveThirtyEight model, created by Nate Silber, emphasizes the fluidity of the electorate, with extensive polling data in each district.'s model emphasizes the stubborn resistance of the electoral system to changing public opinion because gerrymandering and the power of incumbency lock in 79% of the House seats even though at a national level voters clearly favor the Democratic Party to lead the House. It does not rely on current polling data in each district.

Nate Silber, of FiveThirtyEight, as of this morning, estimates there is a 74.6% chance--this was about what his prediction favoring Hillary was two years ago--the House will flip to the D side this year.  The model will be updated daily, with a podcast discussing the dynamics of critical races. 

FairVote, using the generic congressional party preference poll (GCPPP) as the driver of change, 
suggests the Democrats will take over only if the GCPPP ticks up to 54.8% in favor of the Democratic Party.  Right now it is sitting at about 53.9%, which, according to the model, will give Republicans a five-vote majority.  The FairVote model allows the viewer to fiddle with the numbers for each of the 435 seats, or to change the value of the generic preference poll.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Ten Murders So Far This Monday in Juárez

The bloodbath continues La Polaka (click here) reports five persons were murdered shortly after midnight last night in Col. Hermengildo Galeana (in Northwest Juarez), at what was described as a clandestine nocturnal gathering behind a fenced off area.within a residential property.  La Polaka (click here) later reported the men killed had been drinking.  Another man shot there died in the hospital.  Diario (click here) later reported a seventh man, shot in the head, died as well.

Diario (click here) reports a man was taken by two armed men from his home in Bellavista and executed on the sidewalk outside.  The report suggests the man was thought to be a neighborhood drug dealer.  Three other men in the house at the time were not bothered.

In another Diario report (click here) two men were killed while driving Chevy Malibu in Col. Rancho Anapra, just across the line from Sunland Park, NM, early this morning. One man was found dead behind the steering while while the other died just outside the vehicle.  An earlier report from La Polaka (click here)  said the men were found in the trunk of the car.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Charlie Crowder, R.I.P.

Charlie Crowder was a genius.  He had algorithms in his head for strategy that were simply different from those of anyone else.  No matter what the subject, when trying to think a move or two ahead, Charlie's solution was inevitably better than mine, more comprehensive, bolder.  But his genius also included finding creative ways to implement his plan, an instinct for where the obstacles would be, and a plan for solving these, and an arsenal of contacts that might help him overcome.  So his genius was multi-dimensional.  He was also enormously fun to be with, his jolly disposition contagious as he rattled out one funny story after another, a twinkle in his eyes, often making fun of himself but never forgetting to include you in the conversation.

Charlie had a knack for making friends in very high and often not-so-high places.  He knew every Mexican President from Lopez Mateos in the early 1960s on and he could prove to skeptics that he could get help when needed.  Like another accomplished genius, Cesar Chavez, Charlie had an uncanny ability to make you feel it was a privilege, not a chore, to do a favor for him.  As with Cesar Chavez, it was in great part the feeling of participating in a tiny way in the creation of a vision--something larger than yourself and worth doing—that motivated you to throw your own grain of sand into the mix.

Charlies' greatest accomplishment was his vision for the US-Mexico border, a vision that in part has been realized in the project at Santa Teresa.  Way back in the 1960s he envisioned binational border communities working together symbiotically, both sides benefiting and growing closer together.  He had the stuff to put this vision to work, trading federal land in Arizona for 29,000 acres of desert on the US-Mexico border near Sunland Park.  He had a water claim, of 110,000 acre-feet in the Mesilla Bolson, backed, at the time, by the New Mexico state engineer, the legendary Steve Reynolds.  Reynolds understood that Charlie's claim to this water, under the Mendenhall doctrine, would also, ingeniously, protect New Mexico against Texas' desire to pump water in New Mexico for El Paso.  So he backed it.

Ultimately, Charlie’s vision was so stunning, historic in scope, and just downright attractive, that ambitious rivals couldn’t resist wanting to saw off pieces of his vision for themselves, for money or, perhaps just as important, to step into the middle of the photograph, leaving Charlie to one side.  Politicians, some of them still revered in New Mexico, listened to some of these rivals, none of whom, despite promises, delivered much to further the vision.  The delays these moves caused ended up fragmenting the project and there it stands today, a border crossing with limited appeal, a source of political conflict, unfinished, precarious, worthy of pursuing but unworthy of its original intent.

At his best the algorithms in Charlie’s head, when acted on, changed reality dramatically, leaving observers trying to sort out what had happened.  At one critical moment, when actors on the other side were dragging their heels in completing a road to Santa Teresa, Charlie simply rented equipment, crossed the border, and built the road himself, leaving observers on both sides astonished at this boldness, wondering how this unauthorized US incursion into Mexico territory, 50 miles from where Pancho Villa crossed over, had gone apparently unnoticed at the highest levels of the Mexican government.  But it got the job done.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

More Arrests:  Details Emerge in the Massacre of Youths at Praderas de los Oasis
Appears to be a Shakespearean, Tragic Tale:  About a Pair of Star-Crossed Lovers, A Possible Betrayal, And the Revenge of a Father

Sources:  Borderland Beat (click here), Diario de Juárez (click here, and El Tiempo (click here)
Photographs from Borderland  Beat website 

Updated August 14

On May 28 the body of Jonathan Rene Hernandez Perez, alias "El Titis," was found, dismembered, in a garbage bag in the tony neighborhood of Manuel Gomez Morin.  His father, 45-year old Rene Hernandez C, alias "El Rene,"  was, according to one version of the story, a member of  the Asesinos Artistas gang associated with the Sinaloa Cartel. Jonathan himself was a relatively small operator, selling heroin and meth on the local market, apparently under the cone of the Asesinos Artistas gang.  El René had, according to Diario (click here), been released from prison in Chihuahua in December of last year after serving a 13-year sentence for homicide.
In the days following the murder of his son, "El Rene" learned, or believed, that Cesar Armando Estupiñan, leader of the Artistas Asesinos, (and, according to one version, a former business partner--they owned a string of barbershops--with El Rene) had ordered the assassination.  The Artistas Asesinos, as well as the Mexicles, are associated with the Sinaloa cartel.  The Mexicles and the Nuevos Aztecas have been deadly enemies in the larger rivalry between the Juarez cartel and the Sinaloa cartel, both competing for control of local and transnational drug trafficking in Juarez.

According to one version, when El Rene learned about the circumstances of his son's death, he went to the rival Nuevo Azteca gang and enlisted with them.

A few days ago "El Rene," learned that there would be a gathering of people at the picadero in the Praderas de los Oasis neighborhood.  Some of those to be attending the party, he believed, had been involved in his son's murder.  They were members of the Mexicles and Artistas Asesinos, his former associates.
Meibi Oyuku and Cesar Estupiñan, Encajuelados
According to his confession, when he learned of this "El Rene" began to plan revenge. 

There were two persons "El Rene" was particularly interested in getting to the party:  The first was Cesar Amador Estupiñan, who, he believed, had ordered the assassination of his son.  The second was a young woman by the  name of Meibi Oyuki.  Meibi had been the girlfriend of his son.  But El Rene had learned that she had cheated on his son, and was now having an affair with none other than Cesar Armando Estupinan, his son's killer and, according to one version, his former business associate.

El Rene and his Son Jonathan and Meibi and Jonathan, in Happier Days

But El Rene's hatred of Meibi may have run deeper than this.  According to this version El Rene learned that she had betrayed his son, informing Estupiñan that Jonathan had sold drugs he had stolen from members of the Artistas Asesinos.  This information led to Johathan's murder.

There is, however, a different version of the story.  In this account (click here), Jonathan accidentally found some meth among some furniture he was moving from the home of a relative of Meibi, belonging to the Artistas Asesinos.  He sold it to a man (nicknamed "el Nan") who later informed a high-ranking member of the Artistas Asesinos, who then ordered Johathan's execution, presumably for stealing drugs from fellow gang members.  In this account Meibi apparently did not betray Jonathan.  It is possible, however that El René thought she had betrayed his son or was motivated to kill her simply for having forsaken Jonathan for Estupiñan.

El Rene enlisted the help of Rosa Evelyn V.A. to infiltrate the organization of the party at the picadero.  Rosa knew Meibi Oyuki, called her, and got her to go to the party.  When Meibi arrived at the party, according to one account, Rosy called El Rene to let him know she was there.  El Rene then went to the picadero with other members of his hit squad.  According to the account in Borderland Beat (click here), El Rene used Meibi "as bait," calling Estupinan.  It is not clear whether he actually went to the picadero, or whether she agreed to meet him shortly.  When El Rene arrived at the picadero Rosa apparently let him in with his hit squad.  They tied up all of those in attendance, including Meibi, tortured them, and then strangled each one.

Several persons were arrested yesterday in connection with the massacre, including Rosa Evelyn V.A.   The massacre occurred on August 2, the evening of Jonathan's birthday.

From Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet:

Two households, both alike in dignity
(In fair Verona, where we lay our scene),
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life