Mexico: The Long War


May 21, 2010: Cartel violence directed against senior government officials continues, with more attacks directed at police commanders and administrators. The idea is an old one: kill the leaders. The cartels believe killing the commanders will frighten other experienced security personnel, who will then refuse to serve. The cartels have been attacking numerous city and state-level public officials as well. The goal there is to show armored SUVs and lots of bodyguards do not provide security. The recent disappearance of Diego Fernandez de Cevallos, the National Action Party's (PAN) 1994 presidential candidate may be an example. Mexican police believe he has been kidnapped, but they are not sure who did it.

May 19, 2010: The presidents of Mexico and the U.S. met in Washington DC to discuss mutual economic and security issues.

May 18, 2010: U.S. security agencies have noticed increasing cooperation between Mexican drug cartels and Colombia's Marxist drug army, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The big worry is that FARC guerrillas may show up in Mexico and then use Mexico as a base for launching attacks into the U.S.. If it sounds farfetched, consider this possible propaganda campaign, which simply follows current leftist FARC rhetoric: the actions would be reprisals for U.S. aid to the Colombian government. Such an attack would backfire (ask Osama Bin Laden) but it does not mean a radical group would not try it. The likely explanation for Mexican cartel-FARC cooperation is simply streamlining the drug business. The FARC still controls a lot of coca leaf-growing territory and has excellent connections to Peru's cocaine gangs.

May 13, 2010: Police arrested the former wife of Sinaloa drug cartel leader Joaquin Guzman. The arrest took place in Sinaloa state. Guzman is allegedly hiding out in the mountains along the border of Sinaloa and Chihuahua states. The mountainous tri-state area, where the border of Durango state meets the borders of Chihuahua and Sinaloa, is now referred to as Mexico's Golden Triangle. The name is filched from southeast Asia's opium-producing Golden Triangle, where the borders of Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar (Burma) meet. It's believed that Guzman has numerous policemen on his cartel payroll, as well as intelligence and counter-intelligence officers. The Sinaloa cartel also employs local tipsters throughout the tri-state region, who warn cartel gunmen of impending police and military operations. This web of corruption helps explain why his mountain hide-out has not been attacked.

President Felipe Calderon defended the Cartel War by saying that by 2006 drug cartel power had increased to the point that Mexico had to confront the criminal syndicates. Calderon told reporters that the gangs were destroying communities and the government had to act.  For example, cartel assassins murdered a mayoral candidate in Tamaulipas state. Jose Mario Guajardo was the PAN candidate for mayor in the town of Valle Hermoso. The state is holding elections in July.

May 11, 2010: The army reported its soldiers had captured a very large cartel weapons dump. The soldiers raided a ranch near the town of Higueras (Nuevo Leon state). The weapons cache had 130 automatic rifles as well as several machine guns and grenade launchers. The soldiers also seized 12 SUVs.

May 7, 2010: The U.S. Department of State extended its travel warning to U.S. citizens visiting Mexico. Some border crossings are being closed because of the growing violence on the Mexican side.

May 5, 2010: The government reported that approximately 23,000 people have been killed in the Cartel War since December 2006. Around 1,100 of the dead are police, soldiers, and public officials. Mexican officials also stated that they believe the fight will last six to eight years.

May 4, 2010: Gunmen attacked the Aristos Bar in Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua state). The gunmen took eight people from the building and executed them in the parking lot.

May 3, 2010: The government is again being accused of permitting the abuse of Central American migrants who enter Mexico. Many of the migrants are heading for the U.S.. Criminal gangs rob and kidnap the migrants and the Mexican government does very little to stop the crimes. Mexico has more severe laws against illegal immigrants, and enforces them more vigorously, than does the United States.

April 27, 2010: The Mexican government issued its own travel warning. The government warned Mexican citizens that if they travel to Arizona (in the U.S.) they may face harassment. The warning is really a political attack on Arizona's new illegal alien law.





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