Mexico: The Border War and Its Costs

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November23, 2006: The border wars, between rival drug gangs, has not only caused a business slowdown all along the border, but news of the situation has hurt tourism. Foreign visitors have declined five percent so far this year, compared to last year. It's not just the gunfire, scary looking criminals and rumors about all this, it's also the government response. Lots more police and soldiers on patrol, some carrying automatic weapons. For tourists, this is reassuring and scary at the same time. And the drop in tourist traffic has cost the Mexican economy some $200 million so far this year. The gang wars in northern Mexico have killed over 600 so far this year. The murder rate in many border towns is 2-3 times what it is in New York City, and kidnapping is a growing criminal activity.

November 22, 2006: Unidentified attackers killed a Mexican crime reporter outside of the city of Veracruz. The reporter was working on a story about corrupt local leaders. This is the third reporter slain in Mexico in the last month.

November 21, 2006: The APPO (Peoples Popular Assembly of Oaxaca) protest camp outside of Oaxaca was torn down overnight. The attack followed a series of protests in the city's central business district.

In the U.S. state of New Mexico, the Army National Guard opened a new "forward operations base" to help secure the US-Mexican border. The base is located outside of Deming, New Mexico. Both air and ground forces will use the base.

November 20, 2006: In what may be an attempt to form a permanent "shadow government," the PRD's Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador "swore himself in" as president of Mexico. Lopez Obrador declared that he was "Mexico's legitimate president." The self-swearing in took place in Mexico City before a large crowd of PRD supporters. Lopez Obrador called the Mexican presidential election "fraudulent." Mexico observers say Lopez Obrador may be planning to run for president in 2012 and running a "shadow government" will insure continual media interest.

 

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