Chinese Mining Companies Are Fueling Supporting In Mexico; Mexico’s government appears willfully blind....

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="343"]mexico iron mine A confiscated iron ore mine near the port of Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico, which has been targeted by Mexican cartels.[/caption]

Miguel thought that the iron mine he owned in Michoacán would end up costing him his life.

In the last few years, virtually anything that generates money in this western state of Mexico has ended up being extorted by the Knights Templar cartel.

The region’s profitable mines were first to be targeted. Yet, in the end, Miguel, who asked to be identified by a single name, said his mine is what saved him.

A mustachioed, sturdy man in his early 40s, with a typical ranchero look and dusty blue jeans, Miguel has dedicated his whole career to extracting metal ore. The Templars were content to extort him at every level of his business, just as they do with farmers, restaurant owners, and shopkeepers of every kind.

In 2010, the cartel kidnapped him. After five days in captivity, Miguel was freed. “They let me go because they wanted me to keep working, so I could keep paying them,” he told VICE News.

There are similar testimonies in at least five other Mexican states. In Michoacán, where the cartels La Familia and The Knights Templar have reinforced their grip on most industries in the last 12 years, the miners claim that Asian, often Chinese, companies also pay fees to the cartels.

Little is known about the extortion of Asian business interests by Mexican drug gangs, but Miguel’s calculations suggest the Knights Templar could be taking millions of dollars a month from foreign companies at Michoacán's key seaport city, Lázaro Cárdenas. The issue has never surfaced to the political mainstream in Mexico and remains totally shrouded, even though President Enrique Peña Nieto has taken strides in his first years in office to further open trade with China.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="497"]how chinese mining companies sustain organized crime in mexico article body image 1403718966 Miguel's iron ore mine in Tepalcatepec.[/caption]

Authorities would not speak with VICE News on the record to confirm Miguel’s story and others like his.

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