Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ten Years Of War In Mexico: The Bloody Decade




A taxi driver is assassinated in a shopping center in Culiacán. Photo: Rashide Frias, Cuartoscuro

By: Alejandro Páez Varela | Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat

On December 11, 2006, with the country turning the other way— the opponents of the president in a yell— a war was launched without ever having been consulted with by anyone.  It’s been a decade, recalls the author of this text, and “on the streets, the Mexican Army continues and there is a widespread feeling that it operates with impunity, a war of extermination.  Crimes continue and armed groups have diversified their income relying on impunity.  There is no effective state policy to compensate for damages to victims or to deter youths from armed groups.  The police have not been cleaned up and narco-politics seems to keep the reserves that it had before the start of the confrontation.  There aren’t major advances in the criminal justice system; torture, the UN says, is widespread; prisons are schools of criminals; money laundering operations continue to develop and now, all this time, a glimmer of light: the possibility that marijuana might at least be decriminalized.”

Mexicans, At The Cry Of War

Suddenly, as never before, the streets of many cities of our country lost a virginity that it had maintained since the 1910 Revolution: Mexican Army units were displaced but not to the barracks, not to any community in a tragedy by a hurricane or an earthquake.  They came with their weapons in front to stay there, in the corners, on the sidewalks, where cops were before.

It wasn’t a minor change for a majority who were used to seeing soldiers on television.  With them, from the night to the morning, bulletproof vests appeared, machine guns mounted in open vehicles, outlines of federal police.  And what seemed to be a temporary thing kept spreading for months, and then years.  Armored cars became common throughout the country while terms such as “executed”, “sicario”, “kidnapped”, “agitated”, “company”, or “decapitated” became part of the jargon of many in the media, of journalists and of the population in general.

In a few years, we added another term, which nobody knows whether it was coined in the press or in the streets, to that ominous language, but it clearly came from a new reality.  “Narcofosas” (Narco-graves), for example, which refers to clandestine cemeteries scattered throughout the territory; “autodefensas”, which refers to the efforts of the citizens to defend themselves against criminals that seized physical territories and of the income of its inhabitants.  Extortion was just a word until now, when it became a reality spreading throughout cities and in huge urban sprawls, such as the State of Mexico surrounding the capital.  And among all the words that became common, a jarring: “kitchen”, and all its derivations: the verb “to cook” or the subject “the cook”.  It refers to the massive disappearance of bodies in acids or burned in 200 liter drums.  Bodies from the war between cartels or simply just victims of violence.

The sun became clouded for cities that were synonymous with relaxation and fun, like Acapulco, Morelia, or Cuernavaca.  States with relative tranquility, such as San Luis Potosí or Guanajuato became restless lands.  Life became impossible in societies that were already permeated by the narco, such as Ciudad Juárez, Apatzingán, Tijuana, Chihuahua, Piedras Negras, Nuevo Laredo or Reynosa.

The pus of violence that came with the war spread throughout towns and villages, and at the dawn of this reality, names of new criminal gangs appeared and consolidated their presence at almost the same time that the federal government showed off the arrest of heads of drug trafficking groups.

The decapitated became common, as well as heads in coolers, mayors and journalists assassinated, police officers kidnapped and tortured.  Entire towns entered psychoses, from north to south, while the hidden powers were sharpening up their tools they used to control: they dared to dictate, through social networks, “curfews”.

And it all happened in the blink of an eye.


“The president doesn’t listen.” Photo: Cuartoscuro
If The Bugle With Its Bellicose Accent


Certainly, the war on drugs is not new and hasn’t lasted for a decade.  History attributes it to Richard Nixon, who declared drugs as “public enemy #1” in the United States in 1971.  Mexico, a production and transit territory for a century, joined the late 20th century under pressure from Washington, particularly over allegation of corruption and omission that came from the agencies, in the Executive and Congress.


However, it was Felipe Calderón Hinojosa who first put on a green suit.  During the next 10 years, Mexico would see terrible events as a result of the above, and there aren’t any indications that this, at times looking like a civil war, is ever going to end.  Organized crime, which we had become accustomed to operating silently, unleashed a counter-offensive and issued a challenge to the Mexican State.  The spectacular declaration of war of Calderón alerted criminals that operated openly and without great intelligence apparatuses for their company, also known with the authorities.

Perhaps Mexico is going through the longest civil war of the 21st century, sparked by what appears to be a tactical error.  The government miscalculated, it seems, the forces that it faces.  It miscalculated the reaction of those who tried to intimidate.  It miscalculated because, many experts say today, it looked for a political benefit in the war and not give an answer to crime.

Historically, the presence of drug trafficking groups generated some tension in states such as Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, Baja California, Sinaloa, Guerrero and Michoacán.  But since that December 11, 2006, the phenomenon of violence associated with these criminal gangs was spreading throughout almost the entire country.

10 years after Calderón started this war, violence continues.  And while we overcome from a tragedy, another one occurs, and we tremble because in a decade, there are many dead that have not been dug up.  And this is a reality, not a metaphor.  More than three years ago, 27,000 missing acknowledged and the federal government has stopped counting.

Mothers, fathers, entire families walk by foot in the fields in search for their missing; they open up the ground with their teeth, they dig.  The State can’t return their children; the justice system, inundated, doesn’t give them any hope.  The police, corrupt, are not encouragement to anyone and so these families look for a bone, a hair, whatever gives them peace.  Whatever tells them that their loved ones are dead and can at least aspire for inner peace.

Ten years have passed and Mexicans can’t explain how we got here.  Ten years in which it is impossible to even count how many tragedies.  Migrants shot; students who were swallowed up by the earth; kids assassinated for pyrrhic debts from their parents; youths abducted by criminals
who use them as sex slaves and for those that do well, return pregnant; men and women burned alive; a prison in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, with crematoriums to disappear entire families and tens of thousands that have fled their homes to be delivered to the hands of fate by the lack of a government that guarantees their safety.


A person wrapped in a blanket, among thousands. Photo: Rashide Frias, Cuartoscuro
A Tomb For Them Of Honor

Everything has a story behind it.  Such is the case of the war launched by President Calderón.

Since mid-2006, Mexico was in a political shock.  The country was basically divided into two: the supporters of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and those of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa.  Obrador, from the left, argued that there was fraud in the presidential elections and had taken the symbolic Paseo de la Reforma, in the heart of the Mexican capital itself.  Calderón, from the right, defended a victory that, according to official figures, was achieved with a difference of only .58% of votes.

That year was a tough and exhausting campaign.  President Vicente Fox Quesada stuck his hands in the election to support his party and Calderón, he would later accept something expressly prohibited by election laws.  López Obrador accused robbery and was ready to fight.  Calderón responded pragmatically to those who question his legitimacy, "haiga sido como haiga sido” (regardless of how it may have been), he said.  The phrase would make history.

In this environment, faced with the country, Calderón entered the Chamber of Deputies through a back door taken by the opposition and among shoving and shouts of “fraud”, he put on the presidential sash.  It was December 1, 2006.

In this atmosphere of political confrontation, his legitimacy questioned, 10 days after the embarrassing inauguration, Calderón Hinojosa announced, out of nowhere, the launching of the War on Drugs.

There is no public record that this war was planned well in advance.  It was not in campaign speeches.  There wasn’t any consultations with scholars of the phenomenon of drug trafficking or organized crime.  There isn’t information confirming intelligence meetings with the various parties involved in an action of this magnitude, such as the United Nations, the U.S. government and its intelligence agencies such as the DEA.  There isn’t any record that Calderón consulted with his counterparts in other countries in the region.

On December 11, 2006, Calderón announced an operation in Michoacán.  Federal police agents were taken to “contain” the bloodshed in the state, which suffered an outbreak of violence.  But members of the Mexican Army and the Mexican Navy also appeared, which until then, had not been specifically designed to take on tasks which had been constitutionally been responsible for the police.

From that day, President Calderón would make several appearances dressed in military uniform.  He would boost the career of its main operator, Genaro García Luna, and his project of a super federal police.    He would also increase the budget for the armed forces, which involved one of the most questionable events in the recent history of the country, and with greater economic, political, and social cost.

The war would take its course even though after the first several thousand dead, dozens of opinion leaders from all sectors would ask the then president to review his strategy.

“President Calderón doesn’t listen,” many said, even within his party.

His apparent deafness of the problem, however, had a very high cost for Mexicans, who to this day, continue to pay, even with their own blood.


Ten years without progress. Photo: Cuartoscuro
At The Resounding Roar Of The Cannon

Almost 10 years later, it isn’t difficult to summarize the War on Drugs in Mexico as a failure.  Insecurity has spread throughout the country, according to official figures.  Consumption not only rose when Calderón was in power, but also with Enrique Peña Nieto.  The figures of kidnappings, homicide, and extortion increased.  The number of grieving families and the so-called “collateral victims”, a term used for civilians killed in armed actions, grew.  The areas for growing poppy increased, and in the United States, the main consumer of drugs produced or passed through Mexico, deaths from heroin became an epidemic in this decade.

When you get to the first decade of the conflict, with nearly 200,000 dead, tens of thousands missing and hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, human rights violations have put Mexico in the eyes of the world.  The armed forces are accused of summary executions and forced disappearances; local police, are accused of being on the payroll of criminal groups.  In almost any great tragedy, in the great massacres of Veracruz to Sinaloa and from Chihuahua to Guerrero, there is at least one security force involved.  In other words: the justification for launching this war, which was to submit criminals and give strength to the State, has collapsed.

On the streets, the army remains, ten years later, and there is widespread feeling that it operates with impunity, a war of extermination.  Crimes continue and armed groups have diversified their income relying on impunity.  There is no effective state policy to compensate for damages to victims or to deter youths from armed groups.  The police have not been cleaned up and narco-politics seems to keep the reserves that it had before the start of the confrontation.  There aren’t major advances in the criminal justice system; torture, the UN says, is widespread; prisons are schools of criminals; money laundering operations continue to develop and now, all this time, a glimmer of light: the possibility that marijuana might at least be decriminalized.  A decade later, Mexico is worse than before and the authors of this error called the War on Drugs have not been held accountable.

This December 11, 2016, on the date marked by history as the first decade of war in Mexico, there is much to regret and nothing to celebrate.  Drug trafficking groups adjust themselves—comfortably– to their new reality, while citizens, as usual, pay the piper.

Source: Sin Embargo

67 comments:

  1. Whoa , excellent overview
    Absolutely obscene

    Muchas Gracias Valor y APV

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  2. it's only getting worse, bro

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    Replies
    1. Nieto only kills school teachers

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    2. 3:44 arturo beltran leyva was no school teacher, and epn was not "presidente burro" de todos los mexicans...but el barbas got his hairy ass done, y encuerado for icing of blood and money for the papers and videos and fotos on the news...la chapa was nowhere there...

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  3. Three chopped up bodies found inside SUV in Jacona, Michoacán. The three heads were on the hood of the vehicle with narco message from "La Nueva Familia," directed at "Metro," "El Tiro" and "Marcos Medicina," preumably CJNG. About half hour from this finding reported on BB MB last month: Michoacán: 6 decapitated-dismembered bodies discovered in Jalisco taxi

    http://www.noventagrados.com.mx/seguridad/michoacan-con-narcomensaje-dejan-a-tres-descuartizados-en-vehiculo-en-jacona.htm

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    1. 11:05 Way to go, josie, soon you'll qualify to post larger longer reports, maybe even daily...

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  4. Viva Calderon, he stood up to the Cartels n walked in to the sunset!!

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    1. he stood up against one cartel

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    2. Walked into the sunset ? More like ran like a girl extremely scared to to the US . There's a reason why he doesn't live in Mexico .

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    3. Fecal comes back to mehico all the time, he was at the birthday party of "el jefe" Diego fernandez de ceballos, along with fox, epn and pri, pan, prd, pvem, "dignitaries" and mexican superbishop protector of the mexican pederasta priests, cardinal nolberto rivera who asked "God" to bless all present, name by name...

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    4. 5:29 all former presidents leave mexico. the exception has been fox tho.

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    5. Coming to mexico for secret "visitas of estado" is no problem, --former ex presidents have the right by law to empecherados, 400 with full blown kneepads for their security for life.

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  5. EPN the epitome of corruption.

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  6. Thanks Valor. As 7:43 AM said, it's an excellent overview.
    However, the last paragraph seems redundant, as it is almost word for word the same as the first paragraph.....

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    1. Ive noticed a lot of mexican reporting does that.

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    2. The first paragraph was supposed to be in bold, kind of like an intro for the article. It's updated now. Thanks for the heads up.

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  7. OOOOOOH http://www.lorealdeguerrero.org/hallan-a-cuatro-hombres-decapitados-en-iguala-les-dejan-narco-manta/

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  8. God bless the mother land and all its beautiful hard working proud ppl!

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  9. We live in USA. We are from Chile many years ago. The Mexicans and central Americans coming here are very honest hard working family and religious people. Most abhor these drug traffickers. We must remember the DTO's are not heros, they are criminals and murderers. We should not praise them. Praise the people who work for an honest living and their taxes.

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    1. I agree with you. I will try to praise the majoriy of good honest gente, and, completely ignore those few families that put all that dope into my community. Thank God I had decent parents.

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    2. I totally agree.Great overall view of the last decade?We need to question;What did get done [very little besides splintering].Mexico could have taken a tip from Rudy Guiliano former Mayor of New York City that cleaned crime up considerably but it's too late now.His idea is 'the broken window concept'.When you don't fix the broken windows soon all are broken.In other words take care of the small crimes 1st and the big 1's will disappear and it worked.In Mexico it's so out of hand where do you start?BTW isn't he some kind of a consultant in DF?

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    3. In chile and in argentina, the juntas has drug traffickers working for them and the military were the death caravans and DINA the torturers and murderers, remember?
      --Well, in mexico is all the same story, the junta priista and their military have all the power, and the narcos work for them.

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  10. Valor.. El proceso has article regarding RCQ joining w BLO & CNJG against Chapo & Mayo CDS?? Any insight on this?

    Indio

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  11. Where were the tough questions for Nieto concerning All the missing and deceased during the summit with Canadian leader and Obama? They seemed more concerned about giving the monarch butterflies a few more hectares than addressing the deaths of thousands. Scared of Trump as well. What about the 2 last governors of Tamaulipas wanted for laundering millions of cartel money? Good friends of Nieto? One even showed up to vote a few weeks ago with cameras rolling? Do his friend's and former governors get a free ride? Such hypocracy by Obama it appears to me. Did Obama even ask for Mexico to turn them over to us? Or...if your the president of Mexico's friend and wanted in usa No problema? Tony M.

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    1. That's why Pri lost

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    2. Your right. But..is Cabeza de Vaca any better? When he ran Reynosa the Z and Cdg ran the show for sure. The press was bought and paid for and always wrote things against him

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    3. At the three amigos conference:
      --Peña nieto warned against "pooulism"
      --Obamanos said "I am a populist"
      --the son of Mike jagger, minister Trudeau said: mo' moo to mehico, for steak and shake..." I wonder if Mr Trudeau is friends with any of the rolling stones...

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    4. Canada is ruled by the brits? Who rules the usa?

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  12. I want to say welcome to my Mexican, central American and South American people, the bloodshed needs to stop and decriminalization needs to start happening. These folks should start seeking Political Asylum and there are many of us who will welcome them here in America. I did not realize the President of Mexico lives here in the US, this is Government corruption at its finest.

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    1. Decriminalization works. They did it here in Canada, Eh! Your laws in USA are childish. Mo Thind, Calgary.

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    2. What government, US or Mexico

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    3. And the drugs still flow,no difference.

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    4. There are millions of people in prison in the USA. Many for possession of drugs. Billions in taxpayer money spent on this incarceration nonsense. They come out as hardened criminals. Unwise.

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    5. Private investing in private corporations like corporate corrections of Amerikkka, where poolice retirement funds, savings and pensions are part of the investment, is part of the problem, the need to prduce dividends for the investors forces the people's revolutionary government of the US to look the other way while they keep fabricating "criminals for all" by any means necessary, to socialize Malcolm X's message:
      "for the poor, by the poor, for the establishment"

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    6. There are mexican drug traffickers in prison too, because drugs are bad, and drug traffickers too, except if they have all the money in the world, laundered and redistributed safely to different bank accounts and investments, overseas of course, then they are the bee's wax and treated like great estadistas, or like their great putas at least...

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    7. And it seems like the professional money launderers never receive any severe punishment. Curtis A. Olson, Arizona.

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  13. Right on 4:51
    If I did the math I have probably spent a third of my life in Mexico. Most of my amazing best friends are Mexicans , the most honest hardworking tenacious people I know and the fact that they have to live with this hurts me on a personal level not just a socialogically level. Breaks my heart to see the deterioration of the country at large and the degradation of families that have tried their absolute best . At least in the old days everyone wasn't using drugs other than a little mota now and then. All the new hard drugs are creating an insanity and fueling the hideousness of the violence, IMO.

    Down with EPN ! , oh , yeah right , Calderon's wife might be running for president in 2018, orale ........
    VIva La Raza / Revolucion

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    1. Un gringo agrees with you. There is a lot of corrupt us businesses make money off the drugs

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    2. 3:40 name names, at least 10, don't worry about proving anything, just throw the shit, some will stick somewhere to somebody, we'll try to debunk...

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  14. If luis donaldo colosio was alive and be the president of mexico. Then things in mexico would change all that.

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    1. And that was the reason he was murdered so things DIDN'T change.The next honest Presidente should not tell [like the bad guys don't]what he plans to do and when he gets in just DO it.

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  15. It has actually been 13 years. Once Osiel got arrested in 2003 the Sinaloas made their move for Tamaulipas with the help of the Federal government. They were too weak and the Zetas stomped them hard.

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  16. Exageration to the fullest, I live in mexico and the usa I feel far safer in mexico random mass killing in the usa is no joke too many people get killed in the usa by crazy and or drug addicts last year LA county alone had 980 murders more that 3 a day too many people in the usa with itchy trigger fingers take it from a guy who lives on both sides

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    Replies
    1. There is a lot of crime in USA. That's true. Not the country most people think it is.

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    2. You are talking about LA. That is just about Mexico by population. I live in Mexico also and it is much safer in almost all the USA. If not, why are all the houses here built like fortresses to keep people from getting into them. The police are also another big factor in Mexico. They are on the take and they will fleece you whenever they can. You can drive anywhere into the mountains in the USA with no fear. It is a lot more dangerous to go deeper into the mountains here in Mexico.

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    3. Another thing here in Mexico there the police are like grasshoppers there are so many of them. You see truck carrying soldiers around all areas in Mexico. You do not see that in the USA. When we go to El Paso they do not have the tall walls and razor wire and broken glass on top, and we see very few police cars. Never trucks full of Federal Police and soldiers driving around.

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    4. Wait it's going to start happening in Mexico with all the rampant hard drugs around then some civilian's going to think he's superman or some cartel guy high gets outta hand with the assault rifles.

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    5. Mexico's always been that way even before the drug war and in relatively before safe spots like La Paz broken glass on top of cement walls and bars on the windows maybe because they can't afford alarm systems.In Canada I haven't seen many homes with bars on the windows only in the east sides of some city neighbourhoods that aren't so good.Yeah what is that about east sides of any town or city always the bad end of town.Why is that?

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    6. That's another question I have 6:42 since you live in Mexico:Why is it north of the border the safe places are rural and in Mexico the opposite?Is it because criminals can control the towns or hide out in the rurals.Years ago when I was travelling by bus all over Venezuela I was told not to go into rural Columbia.Same thing.

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    7. 6:46 All that police and soldiers in mexico are watching "the bounty" for epn and his bosses, foreign investors just waiting for mexico to finish imploding to come and make a killing

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    8. There is fort bliss base in El Pasojo, just in case.
      there are run down neighborhoods there too, hell, I lived in a garage there and slept and covered myself in cardboard for a time whIle the coyote prepared another load of pollos.

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    9. 7:49

      Because the government does not protect these areas, and because of the corruption. So far away from the heart of government and out of mind. In the USA if those things went down in the USA it would be squashed in a minute if they were attacking innocents for no reason.

      The Narco's hide and work in these areas where they grow and harvest their crops. Whether it be Marijuana or poppies. They do not want outsiders anywhere near their business. In the USA you can report a grow without repercussions. In Mexico you pay with your life and sometimes the whole pueblo pays. They is no protection or real law in moist of Mexico. Big cities and rural are the same. But it is easier to get away with murder and control in small pueblos where the government does nothing.

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    10. 7:43 if you wake up and pay attention, you'll see that the night starts earlier on the east, which helps criminal activity, drug trafficking and communism, like in the far East with Russia and China and further from God far east the US and east of canada, all full of criminals...

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  17. It might be time for a renewed Mexican Revolution for the good people of Mexico to take back their country once again.

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  18. Well if they are religious just let them in then........

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, you people that hate God are the greatest. Greatest cowards.

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    2. The thing is, many sick evil animals, use religion to cover up their dirty deeds. That is the fucking problem with religions some might use it to stay on the "right path", or to "change their lifes". Other animals just use it as they see fit, they use it for their own purposes, or to simply "wash off their sins".

      Many 'ppl' are supposedly religious but at the same time they can ... Murder, betray, kidnapp, steal, sell poison, destroy, etc. Etc. How is that for "religiousness".? Even the vatican itself has been used by italian snakes to launder money.

      Who do I trust ! ! ? ..

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  19. Why no articles about the real war going on Sinaloa right now. Since the Badirajuato was invaded there has been 106 murders in the Guzman vs Quintero&company conflict. Sinaloa is looking like 2008 all over again. I got my money on Quintero EL NARCO DE NARCOS

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  20. 10 years of snitchaloas tamauligays tetaz michoajotos. We need villa n Zapata back!!!

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    1. You're clearly a no brainer.

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  21. Mexico is at war because the corrupt government of nieto would not finish what Felipe started. Felipe had guts tackle the problem. Tamps. Is better. The PRI should never have lost the election in Tamps. But they never try to bring Law and order

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    1. 3:37-And I will bet that's why PRI lost.They need to change their ways [and the status quo]or they will be permantly out.They still DON'T get it.The people have spoken in their votes.

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    2. 7:23 Citizens votes in mx as in many other countries do NOT count. That is just another ILLUSION they make you believe, the ones at the top decide who becomes "presidente" or not. Are your eyes open? ..

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  22. I hardly read Borderland Beat ever anymore, and have not commented in several years due to the censorship here, and the fact that the site has overwhelmingly supported the so called' drug war'. It was nice to find this commentary online though....

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    1. 3:37 you learned well back in the day, but maybe you quit without even ever learning to make clear what you talking about, to whom...
      what is the time of the comment that impressed you as nice?

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  23. all I can see that Mexico is getting more Militars on the street and not a Municipal Police , is like war zone there and is not getting any better so I don't know ,,, Chivis any answer ?

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