Mexico: Stay Out

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October 23,2008: It's not quite "stay out",  but the latest State Department warnings about travel in Mexico are pretty stiff. For example: "The situation in northern Mexico remains fluid; the location and timing of future armed engagements cannot be predicted…While most of the crime victims are Mexican citizens, the uncertain security situation poses risks for U.S. citizens as well."

October 21, 2008: Government officials reported 21 prisoners died in a prison riot in Reynosa (Tamaulipas state). A fight between two inmate groups started the riot. Twelve other prisoners were injured. The fighting may be gang related.

October 19, 2008: The government put the death toll in the Cartel War for the first two weeks of October 2008 at "almost 400" (387 according to one unofficial count). Since January 2008 almost 3800 people have been killed in Cartel War-related violence. Most of the deaths have occurred in northern Mexico, which is the major drug war battlefield.

October 18, 2008: The US Congress has authorized over $400 million in support funds to help Mexico combat drug gangs and achieve security goals. So far no money has been spent. Mexico and the US must sign a "bilateral letter of agreement" in order for the US funds to be disbursed. The US State Department indicated that the letter of agreement will be signed "shortly," and the Merida Initiative "package" would be implemented soon. Spill-over violence in the U.S., from Mexico's Cartel War is occurring. Some of these groups (ie, gangs) not only engage in crime and violence not only in Mexico and along the border, but they come across and kidnap, murder and carry out assassinations. These groups do not respect the border. To make matters worse, Venezuela and Bolivia are not cooperating in the fight against narcotics traffickers.

October 16, 2008: Six people were found shot dead in Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua state). According to police, the people had been lined up against a wall and were murdered "execution style" in a hail of more than one hundred bullets. Ciudad Juarez is across the border from El Paso, Texas.

Federal security officials arrested a police officer and a member of the Sinaloa drug cartel for involvement in the murder of 24 people on September 12, 2008 near Mexico City. The police officer was the police commander in the town of Huixquilucan. Allegedly, the police commander helped kidnap the victims and then turned them over to the cartel member for execution.

October 12, 2008: The government said two men launched a grenade attack on the US consulate in the city of Monterrey. There were no injuries. The attack, however, is one designed to get the attention of the US government and possibly appeal to anti-US sentiment in Mexico.

October 10, 2008: Mexico City experienced two very bloody days with over two-dozen people dying in violent incidents. The death toll included two federal security officers and a journalist. In Chihuahua City (Chihuahua state) 11 people were killed when four gunmen broke into a bar and opened fire on the customers. Seven other people were wounded. A journalist was also killed in that incident.

 

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