Mexico: Drug Lords Treated as Rebels


March 12, 2007: The Mexican government said that it will continue its military and police-led crackdown on drug gangs. Mexican government leaders and security personnel have received numerous death threats from drug lords and narcotic traffickers. The Mexican authorities take this as a sign that the large-scale anti-drug and anti-crime action is hurting the drug gangs. Newly elected president Calderon decided to treat the problem posed by drug cartels as if it were a small-scale rebellion. In fact, the drug cartels had carved out "no go" areas in western Mexico much smaller, but in some ways not too dissimilar, from some of the rebel "duchies" in Colombia. Cartel money also purchased protection in several large cities, such as Tijuana. Acapulco is in some ways analogous to a battlefield as rival gangs have battled among themselves and with the police. Calderon also boosted military pay, which was a popular move. Low pay has made bribes too attractive for many in the security services.

March 9, 2007: Residents of Columbus, New Mexico, marked the 91st anniversary of Pancho Villa's raid. Eighteen Americans died in that operation, along with some 75 Villistas. A detachment of the US 13th Cavalry was stationed outside Columbus, and responded to the attack.

March 8, 2007: Mexican authorities reported that "armed gunmen" invaded a cemetery near Veracruz and stole the body of a recently deceased "hitman." This rather bizarre incident may have involved two things: drug gang rivalries and an attempt to "destroy evidence." The dead "hitman" had been identified as a "Zeta", one of the elite gang members who operate as enforcers and "commandos" for the Gulf drug cartel.

March 6, 2007: Following a Mexican supreme court decision, the Mexican military will allow troops testing HIV-positive to re-enlist in the military service. Some 300 Mexican service personnel had been dismissed from the military for testing HIV-positive.




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