Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Civil War in Mexico

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 |
















The Situation

The conflict sweeping the nation is expanding rapidly. Areas under the influence or control of drug cartels are increasing. The "drug war" is taking a very sinister turn.

The drug cartels are constantly on the offensive now and have been for much of 2010, threatening the fabric of society.

The government is unable to impose the rule of law within ever increasing areas of the country as organized criminal groups destabilize society through the terrorism of both deliberate attacks against state institutions and the random violence against civil society.

The perception to the rest of the world is that in these areas law enforcement is irrelevant and only the military is capable of imposing order and only temporarily at best.

The bodies of rival criminals, police and innocent civilians, many decapitated and dismembered, now appear in the streets on a daily basis in a campaign of intimidation of the population and a show of impunity.

The fear is so complete that many citizens in the affected areas no longer send their children to school. The feeling is that it is only a matter of time before the children are attacked en masse by criminals or fall victim to the crossfire of growing combat between government forces and attackers.

The political process is under attack as gubernatorial and local elections are disrupted by threats and assassinations of candidates or their family members. The authorities are unable to protect political parties or candidates and in some locations no one can be found to run for any office, except for the most corrupt.

Tourism, once a top revenue generator, is in danger of collapse as foreigners are attacked, robbed and murdered.

Take an educated guess. Are we speaking of Iraq, Afghanistan, the ungovernable tribal areas of Pakistan? Are we describing the failed states of Somalia and Yemen or the battlegrounds of Chechnya, Gaza or Lebanon?

No. We are describing our southern neighbor Mexico. The land of so many of our parents and immigrants. We are seeing a nightmare unfold that we can’t even imagine in our safe worlds of The U.S. and Canada.

Maybe it’s time to change the definitions of this conflict and its actors.

Should we stop speaking of organized crime and drug cartels and sicarios and begin speaking of terrorists and insurgents armies?

Many academics, policymakers and politicians will berate this view as an uneducated oversimplification but for the common people on our side of the border a line has been crossed this week. A line that to Mexican citizens may have been crossed a long time ago.

We know the truth. Mexico is in a state of civil war.
















The civil war

The expanding anarchy and mindless violence that Ciudad Juarez has suffered most acutely since the beginning of the Calderon presidency is now spreading in what looks like an unstoppable wave throughout Mexico.

The Mexican army reported 15 gunmen killed in the tourist city of Taxco, Guerrero, on Tuesday , June 15. Taxco is the site of the mine used by the Beltran Leyva Organization as a clandestine dumping ground for approximately 100 execution victims, mainly rival drug cartel criminals.

There were at least 13 other deaths on Tuesday including 7 executions in Chihuahua and Guerrero and 6 people killed including one soldier in an armed confrontation in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.

At last count a total of 89 people were killed on Monday in attacks perpetrated by organized crime groups including another political candidate, police, unarmed civilians and rival criminals making this day the bloodiest in Mexico since the beginning of President Calderon’s term.

The 89 deaths included 12 federal police agents were killed and 15 wounded when their convoy was ambushed in Zitacuaro, Michoacan. Three more federal policemen were killed and one wounded in the city of Chihuahua and 28 inmates were killed in a prison riot in Mazatlan, Sinaloa between opposing Zeta and Sinaloa cartel inmates. A political candidate was also executed in Sinaloa

Last Friday, June 11th, marked the previous bloodiest day in Mexico when 85 people were killed including the execution of 20 rival gang members whose bodies littered the streets of Ciudad Madero and 19 residents of a drug rehab center were executed in Ciudad Juarez.

Last week the victims of organized crime executions and confrontations reached 300.

Except for Tuesday’s incident in Taxco, the prison riot in Mazatlan and an attack on an army convoy in Guerrero on Friday, not one arrest of any organized crime gunman was reported.

Last week the arrest of one upper level Zeta cartel member resulted in a one day siege of Monterrey, Mexico’s 3rd largest metropolitan area and industrial capitol. In a scene symbolic of the impunity of organized crime, a news video shows a police vehicle retreating upon seeing a group of thugs taking over an intersection. (see video in Monterrey a battleground… 6/10/10)

We all know these numbers by now. The close to 30,000 deaths in the last 3 and a half years of the Calderon administration. The 5,121 already executed this year

These are not the numbers or scenes that describe a healthy, thriving society.

James Fearon, in the journal Foreign Affairs march/april 2007, describes the term “civil war” as a war between organized groups within a single nation state.

This is an excellent description of Mexico today.

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33 Borderland Beat Comments:

Daryl said...

30000 dead! We have not lost that many in such a short space of time at war since Korea! And to think that American drug users are financing the "rebels" for the most part. Several years ago I read that Mexico was ripening for a revolution, but to think it would arise from this quarter is simply amazing. I wish the Mexican government and people success in their struggle against los narcos, but I fear worse times and greater loses lie ahead.

Buggs said...

Excellent observation and description of Mexico today! This leaves us to question, where will Mexico be tomorrow?

RC said...

Daryl is wrong to say the american drug dealers are financing the cartels.It is the drug users that provide the financing! Yes,that nice old lady down the street and that lawyer and judge and businessmen, teachers, friends etc. These are the people responsible for all the torture,mayhem and killings taking place and no one else!

J. Rojas said...

Here we go again. Let's put ALL blame elsewhere and take NO RESPONSIBILITY at HOME. Drug USERS share a VITAL role in this horrendous outcome, for SURE, OBVIOUSLY! However, REPEATEDLY, it has been reported on THIS very site that, the Mexican people have "Turned a blind eye" to the Cartel activity in their country as long as, Mexican daily lives were unaffected. "Who cares?" as long as it ONLY hurts Americans?" NOW that "The chickens have come HOME to roost" the entire country points its blaming finger outward. SO SADLY, Mexico will be DOOMED to failure AS LONG AS it ignores its own INTRINSIC, moral failure.

Duncan Stott said...

RC, yes, it is the drug users have provide the financial incentive for the gangs to get involved in this war. But it is America's policy of drug prohibition that forces users to get their supply from the criminal market. This Civil War is the offspring off the War on Drugs. The sooner prohibition stops, the sooner these executions stop.

Anonymous said...

Its time to send our CIA to Mexico with drone planes and drop bombs on the cartels. Then send in our troops to do what the Mexican military can't. Solve the problem. It's a matter of time before it spills over the border in Texas. We can already see whats going on in Arizona with the kidnappings. So we call it a war on drugs. I don't see the U.S. fighting any cartels. Just making arrest on our soil once the drugs are here. The drugs are going to keep coming because the problem is so out of controll and we are realying on a country that is politically corrupt to take care of the problem. Mexico will never take care of the problem unless the U.S. gets involved! It's TIME! Oh I forgot Obama is president. well I guess if it spills over its up to police and border patrol to protect us. Hope you all feel safe that are living along the rio grande.

Anonymous said...

Like Mexico, they lifted the ban of some drugs and they are in a great state now, aren't they.

Hector said...

Drug users are a scapegoats. The real problem is the failed economic policies of the Mexican government and a U.S. trade deals like NAFTA. A lot of people have no money or jobs, what else do they have when the gap between rich and poor is so wide? As long as its the fault of the users or the Cartels the politicians are provided cover from criticism. Calderon brought this bloody war on himself, and the U.S. shares equal blame for having such pig-headed drug policies that leave no room for negotiation.

Anonymous said...

Buggs, Mexico is going to succeed in this as he did in the past. It is a matter of time but it will happen. Mexico will be there for all of us that like to go there on vacation, enjoy their delicious food and talk to its wonderful people. Like its national anthem....Mexicano al grito de guerra...wait and see...

Anonymous said...

The only way to stop this is to (1.) secure our borders with troops on the ground, from
Port Isabell, TX to San Diego, CA., (2.) close the border. This violence we see in Mexico is because of the organized crime taking place in Mexico, these anarchist are taking over geographic regions of Mexico and establishing their own laws. They are essentially taking over Mexico. I have heard of Ranchers that have had to abandon their ranches/properties because of these derelect groups running amok. Unfortunately, Mexico does not provide its citizens with the right to bear arms, as we have here in the USA. The only people that have the guns in Mexico are the thugs and the government. Some might say they are one in the same due to the level of corruption that exist there. However, these groups of organized crime need to be stopped completely. Mexico always seems to be so proud of their soverignty and will not accept the help of the USA. Unfortunately their soverignty has been lost as Mexico has lost ground to these groups. Mexico in essence is a Failed State.

Please don't get me wrong I want Mexico to succeed. I know for a fact that there are more good people in Mexico than bad, it is those bad apples/mansanas that are destroying their very own culture. These anarchist need to be dealt with.

Anonymous said...

The lack of concern for all human beings is what fuels this. Lack of respect, dignity and accountability. It's all good until it hits home. For so long nobody cared about how the young children who barely had enough to eat would support their needs once they grew up, and had to get a job to help their low income family, thus leading those in true desperation to join organizations like these because they would be able to provide for themselves and their family. You think, that these kids who grow up in a culture with lack of appreciation, love, and concern from others for their well being will turn out to be great caring, members of society? HOW? nobody cares! Instead, you have pedophiles visiting Mexico to satisfy their horrendous deviation, taking advantage of those little kids selling chicles and stuff on the streets, what is the only thing that will make these kids feel like they have some power to overcome the violation of their childhood? VIOLENCE, because in their minds this earns them respect. And so these cartels and followers are a product of the people who visit Mexico and their lack of respect for human life.

I am sure, if Mexico were IRAK, there would be US intervention to stop this nonsense within 30 days tops, but since there is no financial gain if this were to happen, then the US looks for weapons of mass destruction in a country where coincidentally there is a large supply of crude to take as a reward for liberating these people from a crazy leader.
I wish I were a super hero-Kafeina

Anonymous said...

Most commenters are missing the point here. This is entirely the product of America's war on drugs which sits uncomfortably next to America's huge appetite for drugs. You can only quell the demand for drugs by education and addressing the underlying causes for use, not through probihition.
If marijuana were legalised in the first instance (with more harmful drugs later on) then a HUGE portion of the funding for the cartels would be removed immediately.
This is prohibition at its' very worst.

Anonymous said...

A very simple rule applies here, where there is a demand there is an offer. Why are we in irak ? Oil. !!! Difference here is they are ilegal drugs and the us won't even get involved ( at least that we know of ). As for these idiots fighting amongst themselves i'm almost certain the problem goes back to the lack of politics of the last two presidents which decided not to continue negotiating the territories and setting the rules with the drug lords. Now the ones ruling the pacific want a piece of the gulf. And so on. I hope for the best and for a continue succes on this fight. Just remember that during prohibition most of the raw material crossed from Mexico. "illegally" and families that smuggle alcohol have evolved into drug trafic.

CLOAzul said...

Oh yeah, lets intervene in yet another country and use the same methodology that has been so successful in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam. Some people would rather donate blood and treasure to another prohibition scenario than question the 2nd amendment interpretation that gun ownership is such a sacred individual right that it transfers to the sale of guns and enables unscrupulous US dealers to profit by supplying guns into Mexico. The US provides the demand for the product, and provides the weapons for the gangs to battle over turf. One answer to drug demand is to either buy USA grown cannabis, which is far superior to the Mexican bulk imports, or legalize it outright. But, either route takes jobs away from Mexicans, and only exacerbates the economic and political problems that Mexico faces. Jefferson suggested that the country be bathed in the blood of patriots every 20 years, that may be a bit often. Mexico first revolted from Spain in 1810, and the first" official battle" of the Mexican revolution took place in 1910. The timing is good, on November 20, 2010, perhaps the Mexican citizens will shout "basta ya" and take their country back from the crooked politicians and greedy drug lords. Where are the Francisco I. MAderos, Toribio Ortegas, Alvaro Obregones and yes, el general Pancho Villa now that Mexico needss them?

Keltoi said...

These simple solutions are for simpletons. Taking cowboy-style, knee-jerk reactions will make a lot of flash and dash but would make this situation much worse even in the short-run, let alone the long. Can't let the yahoo cowboys run wild shutting down the US-Mexico border. That would crash the economies of both Mexico & and what's left of the US economy.

This situation is even more complex and difficult to solve than oil disaster en El Golfo. The US media have downplayed it so much that it makes one wonder what's going on behind the scenes. I hope the military and intelligence agencies of both countries are working on ameliorating this nightmare (for BOTH countries) because it can't be "solved" in the foreseeable future. The efforts made to date on the US side have been incredibly weak under both Bush and Obama.

Anonymous said...

To all drug addicts...You are paying too much!!! If these cartels can raise armies that rival Mexico's military, then you are paying too much for that ounce of coke or that joint. Demand a discount!!

Anonymous said...

O.K. playing devil's advocate, if drugs were legalized the cartels would go out of business so to speak. Please. They will just branch out into other illegal activities. These individuals are violent criminals and legalizing drugs will not result in them becoming productive legitimate members of society. Reports are that cartels make as much or more money from extortion, kidnapping, and human trafficking as they do by selling drugs.

Anonymous said...

I wish the solution was simple. seems to me there is three issues needing aggressive attention. 1) reduce and control the use of drugs in the US. 2) clamp the border closed tight. This will require separate entry into the US for goods and people. the flow of documented people is not the problem. 3) Mexican Government and Mexican people have to unite to identify and shut down the cartels.

there is ample blame on both sides of the border. Governments can be effective, but it is the people who have to make the decision to control the problem, and neither population has made that commitment.

lynda said...

why doesnt obama have a web page that way we can expess our comments there and know that he will be readn them... does he even read all this does he get on this web page to see and know whats goin on cuz if he does i cant tell...we need to fix this problem we have children here to take care of as well as our self cum on Mr.president do somethimg about this!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't see anyone seriously trying to put a stop to this, if they were, marshall law would be implemented and the death penalty enacted on top level sicarios. Instraed what we see is not to encouraging - 16 years jail time for someone (El Hummer) responsible for hundreds of deaths and he gets a slap on the wrist?

Anonymous said...

Using the word "execution" confers an unwarranted legitimacy on what is more properly called 'murder'. There was no legal trial, no judge or jury. These are not executions. They are execution-style murders, at most.

Anonymous said...

I know a guy in Rhode Island who has a pot farm, and its legal. This is starting to happen all over the states, so I dont think pot use will be much of an excuse anymore. Now coca is another story, but its up to the Mexican government to
"GOVERN" their own land and population. Why doesnt
the Mexican Government enforce their northern borders like they do their Southern? HMMMMM?

Anonymous said...

Mexico is full of Savages! El Salvadorians are even worst! both worthless POS...

Anonymous said...

The ruthless mexicans, as well as the Salvadorians, the Guatemalens, the Chileans, The Argentinians, the Hondurans - Whats the common demoninator? ALL TRAINED BY U.S. MILITARY FORCES - Well, guess what, soon it'll be your turn. I think you all should be more worried about NORTHCOM in the U.S. instead of whats going on down here. This here in Mexico is a lost cause. U.S had a war on drugs for over 30 years. Most advanced nation couldnt do anything about it. Still cant. We are into year 4 with plenty more to go.

piernas negra said...

ya'll is some simple minded fools to blame the crime and corruption in Mexico, on the USA...since the days of the Aztecs the strong violent men have ran over the more peaceful people, this is just a new version, kidnapping, rape, murder, robbery,and extortion have nothing to do with drug users in the USA, but they are a major activity of a lot of the criminals in Mexico, shaking down the taco stand or the shosehine guy or the chiclets guy, is not the fault of the USA, i agree they make a lot of money transporting drugs, but it is not the only business, when you have a dis-armed defenseless population they will always fall victim to the armed criminal, whether it is Aztecs with clubs or culeros con pistoles, that combined with an largely untrained , low paid , no benefits police force, sets the stage....plus governors and other "elected"officials who take bribes from big time criminals and are only concerned about robbing the people as much as possible.... in Mexico you pay a mordida for about any activity, it may be a small amount , or a lot, that is the way it works, you get a ticket, pay your way out of it, you need a permit? buy it, a cop see's your dog shit on the street ,you gonna pay him...you park your car on the street, a street guy offers to watch your car, you don't give him 10 pesos, the next time he sees your car , he is gonna bust your window out...it is easy for all you people who know nothing about Mexico to blame the USA, but you are wrong...blame the endemic corruption of the Mexican system, and the unarmed population,the desperation of a lot of the people there ... then maybe you can start to understand...to put it into proper context a lot of officials have little choice , when offered plata o plomo , either take the money ,or see your family killed, who do you complain to , the police? they may be paid off as well...do you start to see how pot heads in the USA have less and less to do with it now...when guns are denied the common man only outlaws have guns, and soon even the honest police are overcome...go live there and you will see, it will slowly sink in, the least reason is the drug business, it is just a symptom not the cause

Anonymous said...

Laying blame is not solving the problem.and this is not like vietnam, or iraq. what happens in mexico directly affects us. this is one war we need to be involved in.

Dhalgren said...

While the death toll is similar to a war, it is incorrect to refer to this as a civil war. This is a drug war. And what's keeping it at such a high, sustained level is Mexican corruption, plus drug revenue and guns streaming in from the USA. This is a drug war.

Anonymous said...

When they let us get our pot from Canada, the violence in Mexico wasn't near as bad, or the pot for that matter!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Mexico should be broken up into several smaller countries. This way each area could take care of itself instead of being ruled by corrupt centralize government.

Anonymous said...

El padrastro de Felopio Calderon (usurpador) se llama George w. bushi y es el responsable de todo esto. El puso a Caldron el enano faldero de presidente en mexico, y acordaron darle en la torre a todos los mexicanos para asegurarse el petroleo, y todo el dinero publico.

Anonymous said...

If the United States were to send troops to México or launch airstrikes, the Americans would soon be treated to the spectacle of witnessing war and occupation on their own soil. And their local police would ba dead or in hiding.

Anonymous said...

USA citizens are scrutinize to the last penny when they have to pay tax, and drug dealers that they sell illegal drugs can get away not reporting billions of dollars (cash dealings)to us treasury then it makes me think that the USA banks that moves money in big sums are guilty and have to be prosecute and and put them away. In my view that's the first place to stop the traffic of drug traffic.

Anonymous said...

EL ENEMIGO VERDADERO ESTA DANDO ESCUSAS PARA QUE AIGA MATANSAS ENTRE UNOS Y OTROS.QUE SCERA DE LA JENTE QUE SCE SUSTIENE DE LA GANANCIAS DE CARTELS,EN ESCE ENTONSCES LA LEY SE INFLARA CON LA MENTIRA DEL PIENSAMIENTO QUE ASCE LO BUENO.ESO ES MENTIRAS POR LA RAZON QUE LA MISMA LEY TIENE MAS QUE CULPA POR DEMACIADAS COSAS QUE LE PASAN ALA HUMANIDAD,LA MISMA LEY CAUSA INIQUIDA CAUSANDO REBELDES.LA LEY ENREALIDAD NO CARGA JUSTICIA PORQUE CARGA EL PECADO DE LA MISMA INJUSTICA QUE AH PUESTO EN LA SOCIEDAD.TODO ESTO ESTA EN LAS REVELASIONES.LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS NO ESTA GOVERNADO POR ESTADOS UNIDOS SO MUCHO MENOS MEXICO POR MEXICO.POR ESE ENTONSES ALAS LEYES LE IMPORTA MENOS LO QUE ENREALIDAD SUCEDA ENTRE NOS.MAS MATANSAS ENTRE NOS MAS EL ENEMIGO SE APODERA Y MAS MATANSA Y MAS FALSAS LEYES MAS INJUSTISIA Y MAS NOS ENSCLAVAN.ESCLAVOS ATRAPADOS EN LAS CARCELES.MAL TRADOS POR LA LEY.SI ENREALIDAD LE IMPORTARAMOS ALA LEY,LA LEY FUERA MAS COMO LA LEY DE DIOS.AUN MUCHOS DE LOS MISMOS QUE TRABAJAN ENFORSANDO LA LEY IGUALMENTE SON ESCLAVOS,TITERES QUE ESTANSIENDO MOVIDOS POR OTROS CONTINENTES Y NO POR EL CONTINENTE DE AMERICA....ES TIEMPO DE MIRAR QUE ES EN REALIDAD LO QUE ESTA OCURIENDO.MAS NOS ENCARCELAN MAS NOS ENSCLAVAN Y MAS NOS CONTROLAN MAS NOS MATAMOS Y MENOS AY PARA SUSTENERNOS LOS UNOS ALOS OTROS COMO HERMANOS QUE SOMOS EN DIOS.LA LEY DE DIOS ESTA AQUI.PERO SE TIENE QUE ACER AL 100%.COMO UNA OLA QUE UNDIRA EL PECADO Y DE EL BROTARAN IMENSAS PLANTAS HERMOSAS.COMO UN PARAISO..

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