Mexico: Bringing The War To The Capital


March 1, 2008: Police believe that the major bombing that took place on February 15 was an assassination attempt. The likely target: a Mexico City police commander in the Public Security Ministry. It was believed that the bombing was a "retaliation" for police drug raids. So far, no one will hazard a public guess as to who ordered the assassination attempt, though both the Gulf and Sinaloa cartels have been hit hard by police drug busts and arrests over the last six months. Both cartels are believed to maintain a "significant presence" in Mexico City (ie, have smugglers and gunmen in the Mexico City area). There is no evidence connecting the bombing to the EPR guerrilla group. The police have a woman in custody who was part of the operation.

February 29, 2008: The "virtual border fence" (using technology like cameras, remotely piloted aircraft motion sensors, etc) is way behind schedule. The Department of Homeland Security may not be able to deploy the devices until 2011. Originally portions of the "tech wall" were to have been in place sometime this year. One of the problems discovered is something the military has faced – software integration of incoming data. The military is way ahead of the rest of the government in that field (with the exception of NSA and possibly the FBI and CIA). The "we're behind schedule" report came a week after Congress approved the project.

February 27, 2008: The legislature passed a major judicial reform law, which guarantees public trials. It also emphasizes the "presumption of innocence." President Felipe Calderon had made this a key part of his own government reform program. The change moves Mexico from an inquisitorial system to an adversarial judicial system (like that in the US). The new legislation also requires warrants for searches. This is a controversial requirement as far as the Mexican police are concerned. A new group judges will be created to process warrant requests.

A group of gunmen murdered two men in the Mexican border town of Palomas. The murders took place within sight of the US border (Columbus, New Mexico). This looks like old news and it is, but it is also an indication that judicial and police procedure have changed a lot in the last decade. Two men were sentenced to 26 years in prison for their roles in the 1997 "Acteal massacre" in Chiapas state, where 45 people were killed. Several other men were convicted last October of participating in the slayings. The attackers were part of a pro-PRI group that was battling a pro-Zapatista Indian organization.

February 21, 2008: The US government approved installation of an experimental "virtual fence" along the US-Mexican border.

February 15, 2008: A bomb exploded in a Mexico City police parking lot in the city's Zona Rosa area. One of the people delivering bomb was killed in the blast. Several hundred police officers immediately responded to the explosion and blocked roads and traffic in the area.

February 10, 2008: Drug gangs appear to be moving people and operations to the Mexico City area. The January 22 arrests of 22 men working for a drug gang was a major indicator. The men were probably in the pay of the Sinaloa cartel. Crime families have a long history in Mexico City. Police and governmental corruption made it an easy place to do business. Mexico City citizens are worried that their town will become like "Bogota" (like the capital of Colombia) if gangs start shooting it out with the police in the streets. The fact the Colombian capital is mentioned illustrates the fear of a "Colombianization" of Mexico. Gangs and political guerrillas in Colombia teamed up to wage a very dirty war against the government. The people were caught in the crossfire.




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