Thousands of acres of ancient forests have been destroyed in Mexico by criminals. Officials know it's going on but "have made only two minor arrests."
7/6/11, "Now Mexican Drug Cartels Are Shooting Villagers For Timber," Business Insider, Grace Wyler
As Mexico's powerful drug cartels diversify operations beyond the illegal drug trade, the organized crime syndicates have found another lucrative line of work: The large scale theft of
- Mexico's natural resources.
The Washington Post reports today that illegal loggers, guarded by gunmen with automatic weapons have strong-armed their way into the ancient forests in Mexico's western mountains.
In Cheran, a timber-rich village in Mexico's Michaocan state, locals told the WaPo that the criminals have cut down thousands of acres of old-growth forests, shooting villagers who oppose them and kidnapping men from indigenous communities.
While illegal logging has long been a problem in Mexico, security experts say the trade now appears to be controlled by the cartels, who either coordinate the logging or provide security and then take a cut.
Mexican officials have acknowledged that organized crime is likely responsible for many timber thefts in Michoacan, but they have made
- only two minor arrests."...
"Mexico also provides a rather less flattering lesson for the world than the government delegation at the Cancún talks is keen to publicise.
- It is just too embarrassing, and not just for the hosts,
- but for the UN as well.
When Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 he promised to be the greenest ever Mexican president. And one of the ways he set out to prove his commitment was by planting trees. Lots of trees. He started with a pine,
- planted with his own bare hands alongside his young son and a speech
announcing that there would be 250m more where that came from before the season was out. By the end of the year the government was claiming that it had not only met the target, but would be repeating the effort in 2008. It was a feat that led the United Nations Environment Programme to heap praise and prizes on Calderon.The problem was that by that time the original presidential tree, tendered with reverential care throughout the year, was one of the few left standing.
The vast majority were dying or already dead. After months ignoring exposés in the local media, the official auditor came out with a report in March 2009 that
Worse, the massive reforestation effort had taken funds away from supporting the community-based management schemes.Though it never fully accepted the farce into which the massive reforestation programme had fallen, Calderon's government did appoint a new head of the national forestry commission who reassigned resources back to what works. Small communities looking after their own trees collectively."...
Illegal logging in Mexico, ap