Consequences of the violence against Mexican businessmen

MÉXICO CITY — According to Gerardo Gutiérrez Candiani, president of the Employers Confederation of the Mexican Republic (COPARMEX in Spanish), “violence is the main negative impact on investments and job creation; this is simply as undeniable as trying to block the sun with your finger. In states like Chihuahua and Tamaulipas the exodus of people and businesses has been significant … much more than 50%.”

Candiani also confirmed that businessmen have been assassinated in Comarca Lagunera (Torreón, Coahuila; Gómez Palacio and Lerdo, Durango), where micro, small and medium businesses are exposed to extortion and blackmail by organized crime forcing them to close.

The case of agriculture in Michoacán

Various agricultural products reach supermarkets overpriced as much as 50% with respect to the last harvesting season due to extortions demanded for every loaded truck with those products that leaves for different parts of the country, most of all to the border. Early December, 2010 Apatzingán Valley Producers reported that some 500 tons of limes harvested in the Tierra Caliente region of Michoacán were not shipped due to confrontations between federal forces and groups of thugs that resulted in blocked roads and public alarm.

According to an article in the Christian Science Monitor, lime producing families pay up to 800 pesos to organized crime for each shipment that leaves for México City. The cartels also exercise their power limiting the hectares to be planted. These factors make agricultural products like limes and avocados reach the consumer at increasingly higher prices.

The COPARMEX state director, Miguel Ángel Gallardo López, asserts “he doesn’t know if private enterprise is fleeing to the US and if it is, it is only the people with the economic wherewithal to safeguard the physical safety of their families.”

“We don’t have specifics about Morelia or Michoacán, but we do know that is the situation with a group of businessmen who do succeed in (surviving) and most of them remain at their work and businesses; evidently taking the precautions and preventive measures that are the only options we have left.”

Documented assassinations

April 24, 2011 Coahuila

Carlos Ignacio Valdés Berlanga, 61, businessman, stockholder Grupo Lala. Assassinated in his residence in Torreón; cousin of Mario Valdés Berlanga (president of Regional Cattlemen’s Union of La Laguna). Mario Valdés Berlanga asked the authorities to increase police presence in Comarca against organized crime.

November 18, 2010 Quintana Roo

Luis Adolfo Arévalo Peña, 69, his, son, Enrique Arévalo, 35, and wife, Paula Cortés Gutiérrez, 65, proprietors of El Taco Loco restaurant in Chetumal were assassinated with a bullet to the head with a 9mm weapon.

July 2010 Chihuahua

Otto Stegue Muñoz, proprietor of a soft drink company Elite and former owner of Coca-Cola of Meoqui lost one of his bodyguards killed during a kidnap attempt and one of his sons escaped from an attempt in 2007.

June 10, 2010 Veracruz

Fouad Hakim Santiesteban and wife Irene Méndez Hernández Palacios a trainer for an American- football team, Zorros Dorados, were killed during an attempted kidnapping in Xalapa. According to El Universal he was the son of businessman Alfredo Hakim Aburto, close friend of Governor Fidel Herrera. His family is the owner of gyms, an events hall, construction companies and subdivisions. COPARMEX has asked for an investigation of this double homicide.

August 20, 2010  México City

Óscar Javier Paredes Echegaray, 45, hotel businessman was assassinated in a bar in Colonia Roma. The kidnapping gang La Flor supposedly kidnapped his son, Javier Paredes, in 2008; after paying the ransom his son was set free. He was also a witness in an on-going case against this kidnapping gang that is also accused in the Martí case (murder of 14 year old Fernando Martí Haik).

March 25, 2010 Chihuahua

Joan Sarroca Punsola, owner of parking lots, a businessman of Spanish origin, living in Chihuahua since 1982, died during an attack on his business by three assailants.

July 3, 2009 México City

Yolanda Ceballos Coppel, a family member of the Coppel business family, founder of the Cambio Océano Foundation. Jesús Ceballos Coppel has been an investment advisor and general manager of Pepsi Cola bottling plants in several northern cities and advisor to Jugos del Valle, Pepsi-Gemex, IMSS (Mexican Social Security Institute), Nacional Financiera (National Development Banking Institution) and Afore XXI (Mexican Pension Fund Manager). Enrique Coppel Kelly is also the owner of hotels in Mazatlán and Los Cabos. She was killed in a botched kidnapping attempt. Her killer, identified as El Iván shot her before killing himself as he was cornered by agents from the Anti-Kidnapping Team of the PGJDF (Attorney General of Justice of the Federal District).

January 14, 2009 Baja California

Rafael Fimbres Hernández, 52, Tijuana businessman owner of a chain of hardware stores. His family owns a chain of supermarkets Calimax. He was killed as he travelled in a luxury vehicle on Mérida Avenue in Colonia Lomas Hipódromo.

December 17, 2008 Oaxaco

Manuel Rodríguez Díaz, Spanish businessman, proprietor of a building materials distributor, released after six months in captivity by his kidnappers (beginning June 3); in 1998 he was held for three months by kidnappers.

June 3, 2008 Oaxaca

Claudio Conti Bonetti, restaurant owner of Da Claudio, El Bananas, Art Café and hotel Vista Hermosa, lived in Mexico since 1982. He was kidnapped and killed by a gang affiliated with the Zetas in Zicaleta, Puerto Escondido.

April 25, 2007 Nuevo León

Jaime Antonio Casanova González, a buyer and seller of used machinery was assassinated in the San Carlos restaurant in Monterrey a frequent gathering place for local politicians and businessmen.

August 25, 2006 Chihuahua

Roberto Calvo Fuentes, Spaniard, founder of Mueblería Central in several Chihuahua cities died of a bullet to the head. After being kidnapped on August 4 his family reported it on August 8, but was unable to arrange the ransom. He had lived in Mexico for more than 30 years.

July 11, 2006 Guerrero

Oswaldo Moreno Garduño, 29, owner of bars, Pica Piedra, Fansi, Rodeo Mezcala, and several billiards. After making a $250,000 peso deposit he was killed in Acapulco; he had been kidnapped before.

May 6, 2006 Guerrero

Emilio Urquiza Martínez, a gasoline businessman, his body was found in El Calvario barrio of Altamirano City; he had been killed two days before by bullets to his face.

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