One woman’s return to Mexico, transformation into a vigilante
Nestora Salgado, a 41-year-old mother of three, may not seem like the sort of person who could spark a popular revolt against criminals plaguing her hometown of Guerrero, Mexico.
But there she was, taking control of a police car and shouting from a megaphone, “Leave your fear at home! Come out!”
And what has become of her after rallying thousands to drive out the region’s gangs?
Today, Salgado sits in a Mexican penitentiary, far from her home and her people, accused of kidnapping and guilty, certainly, of having run afoul of a clash of cultures, politics and generations-old clan rivalries.
Learn how Salgado went from hometown visitor to vigilante leader in reporter Tracy Wilkinson’s latest Column One.
Photos: Tracy Wilkinson / Los Angeles Times
Deported to Mexico, a father may lose his sons: His three boys are back in North Carolina, where foster parents want to adopt them. Social workers have expressed concern about reuniting them with their father.
The North Carolina social workers have expressed concern about living conditions in Mexico, among them Felipe’s rural home, with a concrete floor and no running water, shared with an uncle and four other family members. They also note that Felipe has neglected to try to obtain a temporary visa to return to the U.S.
Photo: Felipe and Marie Montes hold one of their three boys; their youngest was born after Felipe was deported to Mexico.
Rammed-earth eco-house built into a seaside cliff: Mexican architects Alejandro D’Acosta and Claudia Turrent continue their experiments in sustainable living with their recently completed earthen home built into a cliff in Ensenada.
In the top photo, D’Acosta stands at a doorway below the kitchen. The experimental walls are composed of carrizo (reeds) mixed with dirt, lime and juice from nopal cactuses. “The carrizo helps the wall to breathe as well as hold it together,” the architect said. “Most of our work imitates the human body. It acts like the hair on your arm. It helps keep you cool as well as keeps you warm.”
Photos credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times
Bilingual classes try to push Latinos toward college: Four high schools in Southern California are offering math and science courses using online curriculum from Mexico to get more Latino students to meet requirements to go to college.
Photo: Cesar Fuentes, a math instructor at Sylmar High School, teaches Algebra I to Spanish-speaking students using Project SOL (Secondary Online Learning), a collaboration between the Mexican government and the UC system. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times
An exquisite Mexico beach, cursed by plastic: Sea currents act like a conveyor belt, depositing trash on a remote stretch of sand in an ecologically rich region of coral reef and mangrove forests. Locals can only pick up the pieces, bit by bit.
Photo: Most of the refuse is plastic; many fragments are too small or faded to identify. Credit: Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times
The Cancun Underwater Museum. View more photos at the gallery.
Photo credit: Jason deCaires Taylor
The second part of Richard Marosi’s four-part series “Inside the Cartel” is up. Channeling a nonstop river of cocaine onto trucks bound for the East took a vast labyrinth of workers in L.A. Even Lupita, a no-nonsense psychic with a short fuse, played a role.
The “Inside the Cartel” series gives a detailed picture of how the cartel moves drugs into Southern California and across the United States.
Photo: A sidewalk shrine glows in front of Guadalupe “Lupita” Villalobos’ house in Compton, Calif. The psychic offered guidance on drug shipments to Gabriel Dieblas Roman, a Sinaloa cartel cocaine smuggler who sometimes left her a $2,000 tip for a $20 reading. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times
Kenneth E. Melson, the acting director of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, will resign, agency sources say. His exit would be among the biggest repercussions of an operation that allowed the sale of weapons to suspected agents of Mexican drug cartels.
A little more information on the operation here. 1,700 guns were trafficked as part of the ATF’s surveillance program.
Photo: Melson, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in 2009. Credit: Eric Gay / Associated Press
"We weren’t giving guns to people who were hunting bears. We were giving guns to people who were killing people." — Peter Forcelli, group supervisor at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix. He’s talking about Fast and Furious, the controversial surveillance program in which 1,700 high-powered firearms flowed to Mexican drug cartels. Agents testified that many of the guns ended up in the U.S., Kim Murphy reports.
A kindergarten teacher in Mexico led her class in a singalong during a shootout that occurred outside the school. Daniel Hernandez reports:
In the video, the frightened but determined voice of a schoolteacher is heard as she attempts to maintain calm among a group of kindergartners lying on the floor before her, asking them to join her in a singalong as gunfire shatters the air outside.
A Mexico law decriminalizes entering Mexico without papers and entitles the undocumented to education and health services. It also promises a big overhaul of the scandal-plagued immigration agency.
Photo: In this picture made available by the office of the public security secretary of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, migrants from Latin America and Asia are seen in an X-ray image packed into a truck as they were being smuggled through Mexico on their way to the United States. Credit: Chiapas Public Security Secretary
To poet Javier Sicilia, his son’s March slaying is a sign of Mexico’s failure to safeguard its people amid what he considers an ill-conceived war on drug gangs. It has also launched him on a crusade.
Photo: Sicilia, wearing a T-shirt with an image of his late son, speaks at a Mexico City rally this month. Credit: Henry Romero / Reuters
Craft beer makers in Mexico are up against two giant firms that dominate the market. But they persevere, even if bars and restaurants are unwilling to stock their brews.
Photo: Production of Cosaco beer is a drop in the bucket compared with that of U.S. microbreweries. Credit: Dominic Bracco / For The Times