Mexico: Drug Gangs Fight Back


April 3, 2007: A video has appeared on YouTube that supposedly shows the beheading of a drug cartel thug. The Mexican authorities cannot confirm its authenticity. One theory is that the video was put on the Web by a rival cartel. The video is supposed to urge people to kill "a Zeta" (the hit men for the Gulf drug cartel).

March 31, 2007: The Mexican government continues to make the point that its war on drugs is also a war on corruption. Mexican corruption affects almost every level of government. Money generated by the illegal drug trade has made it very easy for the big "cartels" to buy off police and judges. The cartels carved out "safe zones" for themselves. Police corruptions and the "safe zones" are two of the big reasons President Felipe Calderon decided to treat the drug war as an "insurgency" in Mexico. The problem will not be solved, however, by military means alone, though Calderon's offensive has caught the drug lords by surprise. Local and state police don't inspire a lot of trust in Mexico; the Mexican Army is far more respected by the people. Calderon has begun a process that, in order to be successful, will include judicial and police reform. Several Mexican commentators believe the next Mexican president will also have to have Calderon's degree of commitment, because it will take a decade or more to make the reforms stick. Many are also wondering if the drug cartels will turn to terrorism. If Calderon can operate on an insurgency model, the drug cartels may as well.

March 27, 2007: The Mexican government reported that two bodies were found behind a television station in Veracruz. The bodies were wrapped in plastic. The government said that the murders were "drug gang related."

March 23, 2007: The Mexican government has decided to continue to control domestic corn prices. Corn prices are rising around the world, in part due to increased demand in the US. Corn is used in the production of ethanol. The current Mexican government "cap" on corn prices ends on April 30, but President Felipe Calderon said that cap will be extended. Corn is used to make the Mexican food stable, the tortilla. Rising corn prices literally beggar Mexico's poor. It also usually leads to trouble in Mexico's poor southern states, which have large Indian populations.


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