Latin America: Mexico Drug War Update

by Bernd Debusmann, Jr.

Mexican drug trafficking organizations make billions each year trafficking illegal drugs into the United States, profiting enormously from the prohibitionist drug policies of the US government. Since Mexican president Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 and called the armed forces into the fight against the so-called cartels, prohibition-related violence has killed over 12,000 people, with a death toll of over 5,000 so far in 2009. The increasing militarization of the drug war and the arrest of several high-profile drug traffickers have failed to stem the flow of drugs -- or the violence -- whatsoever. The Merida initiative, which provides $1.4 billion over three years for the US to assist the Mexican government with training, equipment and intelligence, has so far failed to make a difference. Here are a few of the latest developments in Mexico's drug war:

Wednesday, November 11

In Tijuana, several policemen were the victims of an assassination attempt after gunmen opened fire on them outside a hotel. A TV cameraman from TV Azteca who was at the scene to cover the event was detained and beaten with a rifle by a policeman, even after having identified himself.

Thursday, November 12

Business groups in Ciudad Juarez publicly called on the United Nations to send peacekeepers to quell the violence in the city. The groups, which represent various assembly plants, retailers, and others businesses, said they plan to submit a request to the Mexican government and to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission. Daniel Murguia, president of the Ciudad Juarez chapter of the National Chamber of Commerce, Services and Tourism, was quoted as saying that "We have seen the UN peacekeepers enter other countries that have a lot fewer problems than we have." Ciudad Juarez has had 1,986 homicides through mid-October. Antonio Mazziteli, regional chief of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, quickly dismissed the idea, saying that he believed that the situation in Mexico did not warrant peacekeepers, as they have not been requested by the government.

Sunday, November 15

In Managua, Nicaragua, police seized a large cache of weapons thought to belong to the Sinaloa Cartel. The weapons -- which included 58 assault rifles, 2 mortars, 10 grenades, and 30 sticks of TNT -- were seized after a car chase and shootout with suspected cartel members, who managed to escape. Police are now searching for a Mexican national who is thought to be the group's leader and who has rented a house in Managua for at least the last month. Mexican cartels are known to have a strong presence throughout Central America, which is an important route for drugs coming from South America on their way to the US border.

In Ciudad Juarez, at least 15 people were killed in violence across the city. Among them were a seven-year old child and his parents from El Paso who were killed after being attacked by several gunmen. In a separate incident, a university professor was killed after his car was ambushed. His wife was left wounded. In another incident, soldiers killed a suspected cartel gunman while wounding and capturing another. In Sinaloa, a high-ranking public security official was shot 38 times and killed. At least 6 other people were killed in drug-related violence in other parts of Mexico, including an army officer who was attacked while driving on the Guadalajara-Colima highway.

Additionally, 11 teenagers were wounded in Durango after gunmen opened fire inside a crowded bar. According to some reports, the gunmen had been chasing after rivals that sought refuge in the bar.

Tuesday, November 17

In Chihuahua, three men were killed after gunmen attacked a baseball game in which they were playing. Seven people were killed in various incidents across Ciudad Juarez, and three were killed in Sinaloa. Additionally, two men confessed to having been involved in at least 45 homicides committed in the Ciudad Juarez area.

Body count for the week of November 4th-November 10th: 196
Body Count for Last Week: 97
Total Body Count for the Year: 6,580

Read the last Mexico Drug War Update here.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Jean Boyd's picture

Worst Events in Mexico

I read the Drug Policy Chronicle every week. It is so difficult to read Mexico Drug War Update. This war can not end fast enough. 5000 people dead just this year, related to the Drug trade. I wonder how many more are injured or dead that we do not hear about. This is all happening just because of U.S. drug policy and prohibition. If the United Nations does not do something to aid Mexico then I know that there is no longer a United Nations. U.S. is so responsible for war everywhere. I am really disgusted at this.

You really think the UN will stand up...

to the US?

Hell, do you think anybody will? If the answer to that was yes, you would see at least one country that would say no the completely irrational policy of declaring people criminals for wanting to get high.

Fortunately, with the federal government spending like there's no tomorrow and spending increasing every year despite the fact the government doesn't actually have the money to do this, it's only a matter of time until the US federal government no longer can intimidate foreign governments into doing their bidding.

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