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Latin America: Mexico Drug War Update

by Bernd Debusmann, Jr.

Mexican drug trafficking organizations make billions each year smuggling 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 19,000 people, with a death toll of nearly 8,000 in 2009 and over 2,000 so far in 2010. 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:

Saturday, April 3

In Tamaulipas, at least 17 people were killed in several incidents in the cities of Reynosa and Tampico. In Reynosa, five gunmen were killed after a gun battle with the army. Another gunman was killed several hours later after shooting at an army patrol in a nearby part of the city. In Tampico, a shootout between rival groups of suspected drug traffickers in a night club left five men and two women dead. Tamaulipas has seen a drastic increase in violence in the last few weeks at the Zetas Organization battles their former employers, the Gulf Cartel.

In Sinaloa, at least nine people were killed in Navolato, Culiacan, Guasave and Mazatlan. One of the dead was a 19-year old prison inmate who was killed in his cell, where he was serving a sentence for murder. At least five young men were killed in drug-related violence in Guerrero, three in Mexico City, and three in Tijuana. In Chihuahua, police found three men shot dead execution style near the town of La Junta. In Ciudad Juarez, five young men were shot dead and the decapitated head of a woman was discovered. Additionally, three people were murdered in Michoacán, and gunmen stormed a house and killed a man in Durango.

In Torreon, Coahuila, gunmen shot six men dead in the Moderna neighborhood. A seventh man was seriously wounded and remains in intensive care. The men were discovered dead after police received reports of bodies lying in the street.

Sunday, April 4

In Reynosa, Tamaulipas, armed men stormed a prison and freed 13 inmates. This is the second major jailbreak in the state of Tamaulipas in less than two weeks. Three prisoners were also killed in the incident, although the circumstances are unclear. At least 31 prison guards and employees were detained for questioning. According to the Tamaulipas state government, the gunmen arrived in a ten-vehicle convoy and exchanged fire with the guards before freeing the prisoners.

Monday, April 5

In Monterrey, Nuevo Leon 105 police officers were fired for misconduct. The charges against the officers included extortion, robbery, and mistreating civilians. Several were also fired for disobeying superiors. The firings are part of a new "zero-tolerance" policy being instituted in Nuevo Leon, where local police are widely thought to be corrupt and, in many cases, in league with drug trafficking organizations.

In Nuevo Laredo two children were killed and five of their relatives were wounded after the vehicle in which they were traveling came under fire during a gun battle between gunmen and soldiers. At least two gunmen were also killed in the incident.

Tuesday, April 6

The Mexican newspaper Proceso published an extremely rare interview with one of Mexico's most notorious drug lords. In the interview, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, one of the heads of the Sinaloa Cartel, said that Mexico's drug war was bound to fail. Notably, Zambada told his interviewer, Mexican journalist Julio Scherer, that the capture of high-ranking cartel bosses would have little long term effect. "For all the bosses jailed, dead, or extradited, their replacements are already there," he said. He added that "at the end of the day we will all know that nothing has changed."

Wednesday, April 7

In the state of Nayarit, police discovered the bodies of 12 people who had been murdered. At least eight of the victims were partially burned. The eight burned bodies were discovered in the bed of a pickup truck, and the other four were found nearby. Police also discovered at least 10 abandoned vehicles with weapons inside. The bodies were found near the town of Xalisco, which is well known to Mexican and US law enforcement as being a center for the production of black tar heroin.

In the town of Frontera Comalapa, on the Guatemalan-Mexican border, an innocent bystander was killed during a firefight between gunmen and federal police after the gunmen attacked a building owned by the federal government.

Total Body Count for the Week: 275

Total Body Count for the Year: 2,721

Total Body Count for 2009: 7,724

Total Body Count since Calderon took office: 19,032

Read the last Mexico Drug War Update here.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Just Legalize the Weed Damnit!

Dave Borden (Stop the Drug War) will not support the MERP Model. Yet this is the only thing -- allowing self cultivation -- that could ever end this senseless violence. Dave is not alone. The heads of DPA, MPP and NORML will also not touch MERP with a "10 foot pole." Could it be that there support for "growing our own" -- something us hippies always insisted on -- is no REALLY in their game plan. Could it be they are being co-opted by greedsters like Soros, Lewis and Sperling who may be plotting to control the market for their own profits?

Please go to the website and absorb all the articles and videos concerning MERP. Sign the petition and tell your Congreesmen to end this stupid War on Marijuana.

Of course NORML, MPP and many other groups will probably be out of business after Marijuana becomes completely legal: like brewing beer. But at least they could say the achieved their objective.

Here is a link to my latest video where I spoke with John Sinclair at the 39th Annual Hash Bash in Ann Arbor. A few mistatements but the main message is clear: Re-Legalize Self Cultivation by Adult Americans. It is not that complicated:

Open Letter to Secretary of State Clinton

Dear Honorable Secretary Clinton,

Conditions in Mexico prevent me from travelling there, a people and a country that I love. Please consider alternatives to policies that have led up to this situation. Is how we got here the way we should move forward? Forward must be towards less violence. Forward must be learning from our past mistakes of prohibition.

Sure I could fly into Mexico and jump over the ugly boarder violence and get to some beach down south where the cartels aren't felt as much. But could I Iive it up like before? Could I just party away? The pain in my heart for Mexico is a wound. It hurts when I laugh.

Please consider changing policies to reflect the growing clarity that legalizing all drugs brings to our current situation.
Thank you,
Carmen L. Brown

They catch them

Someone told me Claudia Canales from Pearland, Texas is working with USA Agents to setup drug lords and stop them. Is this true? Will it help make our borders safe because I read there are hundreds of them?

the real face of government

Mexicans always lived horrorized because in the neighbour country the death penalty exists. But what is the death penalty along or among arbitrary executions where innocent people die? Who has set up this scenary, it's ominous, it's ridiculous. The judiciary power? The government itself? God? Satan? Whoever did that shouldn't deserve to be in control. People, thinking people, people with feelings should be in control. People who gives the other a warrant of life, who can guarantee the security of the others in a peaceful habitat. We don't want an ugly demon in the presidential chair or in command of the army. Self defense justifies the use of weapons. Those deaths indicate that something is acting desperatly in self defense. and that reaction is stupid, is childish. Someone or something that has found no other rational way to behave and to sustain has defied th public opinion who doesn't even know who he is or what is that thing... They have fear and react with submission.
Politicians are representatives of our interests but they haven't represented that, the will of the good people. Government has finally shown his real face as a tirany, a masked face...

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