EL UNIVERSAL (MEXICO)

Drug Cartels Battle Over Mexico’s Top University Campus

Open battles between major drug outfits are behind a series of recent killings at the National Autonomous University Of Mexico.

At the National Autonomous University of Mexico
At the National Autonomous University of Mexico
Giacomo Tognini

MEXICO CITY — On February 23rd, two people were shot dead on the historic campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in the heart of the country's capital. According to Mexico City-based newspaper El Universal, the long-running drug war has reached the streets of the capital as three cartels battle for control of the drug trade in the area surrounding the country's most prestigious university.

Cartels began moving in for access to the student population and for the campus' lack of police officers and checkpoints. The Tláhuac cartel, born in the eastern Mexico City neighborhood of the same name, had long dominated the drug trade at UNAM, operating more than 20 dealers in the area. But that reign came to an end in January after the death and capture of two key cartel leaders, Felipe de Jesús Pérez Luna El Ojos and Uriel Isaac El Cochi.

The group's demise led to a violent turf war with two new arrivals: the Tepito cartel from the eponymous barrio in the capital's north, and the Los Rodolfos cartel from Xochimilco in the south. That war is bringing shootouts to the streets of the UNAM campus, founded in 1950 and recognized as architectural patrimony by UNESCO.

Los Rodolfos, led by Rodolfo Rodríguez Morales La Gorda, was once a Tláhuac ally before seizing on its downfall to move into UNAM for itself. The group took control of key drug trafficking routes into the area, allowing it to earn up to $11,000 a week. The temporary alliance with the Tepito cartel was broken in January when Tepito operatives began selling drugs in the Los Rodolfos-controlled area near the department of Philosophy and Letters.

He is not your friend.

Armed clashes began at the end of January leading to the February 23rd double homicide, which sent a signal that the two cartels are escalating their fight over control of the trade in marijuana, cocaine, crystal meth, and LSD on the UNAM campus.

The university has rejected calls to hire armed guards to protect students on campus. "We will never consider armed vigilance as a solution to this problem," UNAM rector Enrique Graue told El Universal. "Instead we will opt for improving our campaign of peaceful dissuasion and vigilance."

The university newspaper Gaceta de la UNAM is part of that strategy. One week after the deadly shooting, the paper ran a stark warning on its front page imploring students to report known drug traffickers. In block letters plastered over a black silhouette, the headline declared "he is not your friend, he is a drug trafficker."

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Society

A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.


Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?


The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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