the Mexican Drug War

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I don't know if you've heard of this, but I find it weird that I haven't seen any coverage on english news sites (or very little).

The other day a grenade exploded in the middle of a "Plaza" in Mexico, and about 100 people were injured and 8 confirmed dead. It was a celebration of the Mexican Revolution day, a rest day and usually very quiet and used as an excuse to party.

This was the incident that pretty confirmed for everyone: "Yep, this is all out war between Drug cartels and Mexican Government, and government is definitely losing".

It was a horrible idea by President Felipe Calderón to declare all out war against mexican drug cartels like the Zetas and all those dudes. Specially since some sources say the president is protecting a rival cartel.

Just to let you know the magnitude of this... Yesterday, these people were executed in various states, in drug-related crimes (vengeance, fights between cartels and so on):
8 in Chihuahua
4 in Sinaloa
2 in Quintana Roo
1 in Durango.

All in one day. And it's been like that for MONTHS. From December 2006 to today, sept 2008, there have been 5, 938 deaths between military, police, drug cartel gang members and innocent people. That's more American soldiers than have died in the war on Irak.

I don't know the names of the cartels but the most famous ones are the Zetas, which were originally an elite squad of mexican military members who were sent to Israel to be trained in SAS / Seal style urban warfare, and then they turned rogue against the government (I suppose they weren't paid enough, or psychological profile was completely wrong for that training). They even had the courage(?) to run radio ads and billboards that basically said "We're recruiting more military personnel!". That was kinda funny and sad.

So you have these sort of super soldiers that know how the govt works running things now, in many states. Police turning up dead, grenades and bazookas and bombs attacking the Police command stations directly in the middle of cities, businessmen with their heads cut off as warnings for the government (Usually the businessmen were related to some cartel, but recently there's more and more innocents involved).

Some cartels are apparently killing the people who pirate things and taking over the business, so piracy benefits them directly. Also, alcohol consumption is controlled by them in the border states (Tijuana and whatever borders the USA), and any sort of night business now needs to pay "Protection". Strip clubs, night clubs, even bars and 24/7 restaurants.

Things have changed in society too. More paranoia, and simple things like road rage can now lead to an encounter with guns. Used to be you could get into fist fights at a club and that's all that would happen, now you might piss off the wrong guy and he'll call his gang and you're dead.

edit: Another thing is now you REALLY can't trust police. The cartels have been confirmed to have duplicated everything about the police, down to the vehicles and uniforms. So you might get flagged down by a police vehicle that turns out to be a gang member.

So this is a really bad time to visit Mexico. I'm honestly afraid to go out at night these days. We went from a pretty safe country to becoming something worse than Colombia at the height of the drug wars, except we have many Pablo Escobars.

It was a stupid, stupid idea of the Mexican president to try a mexican version of the "War on Drugs" (At which I think the USA has failed spectacularly, but that's another thread).

These conflicts are going on on the mentioned states mainly, so if you visit somewhere off to the south(Oaxaca and so on) or the traditional mexican resorts like Cancun, you should be Ok. But I wouldn't visit Durango or Ciudad Juarez, or Sinaloa or any border state for night entertainment.

I wouldn't be surprised if they're already moving into the US...

Holy crap, Mex. That is scary stuff.

Wow, Mex. That is terrible, even with all the problems in my country we don't have that kind of thing.

Sorry to hear this.

We're too wrapped up in our horse race to pay attention to our friggin next door neighbors ... Sorry to hear that it has gotten that bad. Unfortunately our country has a lot to do with the way things are going in your country and for the life of me can't figure out why it hasn't gotten more coverage. You'd think that it would be in our best interest to really help Mexico become more stable and prosperous but somehow our focus is on the other side of the world.

PissedYeti wrote:
We're too wrapped up in our horse race to pay attention to our friggin next door neighbors ... Sorry to hear that it has gotten that bad. Unfortunately our country has a lot to do with the way things are going in your country and for the life of me can't figure out why it hasn't gotten more coverage. You'd think that it would be in our best interest to really help Mexico become more stable and prosperous but somehow our focus is on the other side of the world.

Yeah, there's lots of tidbits in the mexican news that really should send warnings to the US, with all the "terrorism" talk I'm surprised no one pays more attention to this.

Like, the other day I read it was confirmed that the Zetas had acquired SAM7 missiles(ground to air I think). It's the kind of stuff you would expect from Afghanistan or Irak, not Mexico =P

edit: There's lots of other tidbits I forget, but lots of interesting stuff... Like they're also becoming the main channel for illegal weapons from Europe to the US.

The past 18 months there were 1,400 grenades that were confiscated from a few cartel drug busts, but they say it didn't make a dent in their supply. Also confiscated: 10,700 guns, 10,760 assault rifles, 2 million rounds for these, and so on. It hasn't made a difference in the level of violence, and any drug you want is even easier to get now.

Yes, I heard about the grenade attack in-depth on NPR the day it happened. And the Zetas have been covered in the WaPo and New Yorker, if I remember correctly, as well as other sources (again, NPR). Along with the killings of border town leaders and police in both Mexico and US, the long-term serial sex killings of women in border areas, DEA agents betrayed and killed with their Mexican counterparts, even Mexican border patrols skirmishing with US NG troops on temporary duty.

It's bad. It reminds me of Colombia; but at least now, cities like Medellin are recovering. Hopefully Mexico won't have to go through a civil war to solve this.

I'll try to dig up the links to think tank articles I've been reading recently regarding weapon trade and south American drug distributors, their rapidly becoming second to only the ex soviet bloc nations. A lot of countries set up metal working infrastructure that just getting forced into weapon manufacturing.

This, among myriad other reasons, is why I don't date escorts in Mexico.

hehe! Tell me something I already know. Hate to say it but we need to park an army on the border and shoot any jerk that comes into our country illegally. There have been incursions into the US by Mexican army dudes and even the gangs dress as Mexican army guys kill people in the US.

Also my company flew me out to El Paso and I was thinking of sneaking over the border to Juarez to pick up a bottle of the good stuff and the people there told me that I would not even make it 1/2 across the street once I crossed the border. So sadly I decided not to go.

We need to help out or contain the violence in Mexico. Also mex if your ever a refugee in the US, I will see if I can help you get citizenship and you crash at my place as long as you don't try to make out with my wife.

Rule number one of TF2 is PROTECT THE MEDICS!

This, among myriad other reasons, is why I don't date escorts in Mexico.

+10 points for reference

Paleocon wrote:
This, among myriad other reasons, is why I don't date escorts in Mexico.

But think of the pick-up lines. "Hey, baby, civilization as we know it is falling apart. Wanna send off society the right way?"

It's our War on Drugs that makes the drug trade profitable; that's how these guys have the bankroll to fight your government to a standstill.

Mr. Market will always win, in the end.

Malor wrote:
Mr. Market will always win, in the end.

Not with Mr. Paulson on the job. You'll see. He's gonna show you.

Mex wrote:

I don't know if you've heard of this, but I find it weird that I haven't seen any coverage on english news sites (or very little).

I've been reading these things in The Economist for some time. I was wondering when it would become a P&C topic.

It's so weird to read about this on GWJs. But it's the combination of reading it in english and having Mex expose it to you guys first hand (he's done a superb job of describing how surreal the situation has become) that I've become momentarily re-sensibilized to the whole situation: We've really lost control of this country.

Pharacon wrote:
...we need to park an army on the border and shoot any jerk that comes into our country illegally. There have been incursions into the US by Mexican army dudes and even the gangs dress as Mexican army guys kill people in the US.

I figured that borders between countries have always been high in crime and violence, but I wasn't aware of this.

Here in Arizona we've definitely seen some violence between the drug cartels. The usual bodies in the desert thing or a rival dealer getting taken out.

What is scary is that we not only feed the war as drug consumers, but also as weapons providers. This explains why Mexican Customs is so harsh with Americans who accidentally bring weapons or ammo across the border.

Here's a story from the AZRep:

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articl...

Federal agents swooped down on a north Phoenix gun store Tuesday in the biggest weapons bust in years, highlighting Arizona's major role as an arms conduit to violent drug cartels in Mexico.

Authorities said the store was a source for at least 650 high-powered weapons, including 250 AK-47 automatic weapons, smuggled to drug cartels for use in the escalating Mexican drug war. That war left 2,500 dead last year, and Arizona weapons were used to assassinate police and battle army squads near the border, authorities said.

I also hear there are full blown military style training camps along the U.S. border that the cartels use to train their militias.

Authorities said the store was a source for at least 650 high-powered weapons, including 250 AK-47 automatic weapons, smuggled to drug cartels for use in the escalating Mexican drug war. That war left 2,500 dead last year, and Arizona weapons were used to assassinate police and battle army squads near the border, authorities said.

That report is sorta misleading. That number of AK-47 automatic rifles means the gun dealership is illegally trading in them. Its not like legit US gun shops are sponsoring cartel hit squads, its peusdo legal weapon dealerships that locate themselves in the US because their less likely to be robbed then if they were in Mexico.


I figured that borders between countries have always been high in crime and violence, but I wasn't aware of this.

I believe he's referencing a recent instance when a troop of (I believe) 8 Mexican Army soldiers got into US territory, came across an ICE agent, pointed their guns at him until he identified himself, then went back across the border.

It wasn't clear if they were squeezing through the actual border fence, if they were in an area that had no discernable markings, or if they were disoriented or strayed from their path. It was a pretty odd occurrence, not a signal that the Mexican Army has its sights set on a massive border incursion.
(although, the angle with the possibility that they were drug traffickers intrigues me).

My mother's family is from Morelia. I visit as often as I can, because the city really is a treasure (for its architecture, its people, and the surrounding towns) and I really love the place and my family. It's really f*cking sad that this happened in Michoacan, which is one of the poorer states in the Mexican union. This would have been an "appropriate" course of action in some highly politicized captial area (like the D.F.), not a relatively calm place like Morelia -- I suppose that was the point of the action, however.
I'm just so impossibly dismayed and angry that these people used poor Mexican revelers to prove some BS macho point.

It's tragedies like these that really make me hate the war on drugs. I've known about the hits on prominent officials, the endemic corruption of the police system, and the far-reaching problem of drug lords, but I think this is the first time that they've acted against the public in such a violent manner.

This has also been covered in Time magazine at great length last month. Worth reading.

What hasn't been mentioned here yet:

Sinaloa is the sweltering cradle of Mexico's $25 billion--a--year drug-trafficking industry, the birthplace of most major Mexican druglords, and many Culichis, as Culiacán residents are known, seem to take perverse pride in it. "This is a tough people who conquered the desert," says Elmer Mendoza, a popular Culiacán crime novelist. "Unfortunately, they admire people, like the narcos, who go in search of extremes." The state's patron saint, with his own downtown Culiacán chapel, is a 19th century bandit hero, Jesús Malverde. The local hit parade consists of narcocorridos, ballads in praise of druglords; fashion is set by narcos--including orange ostrich-skin cowboy boots (only an armed gangster could get away with wearing them) and gold jewelry in the shape of cuernos de chivo; and the Humaya cemetery is a garish shrine to countless young Sinaloa men cut down by cartel bullets. César Jacobo, a songwriter for the narcocorrido group Cartel de Sinaloa, has had numerous friends perish that way. "They still figure it's best to live large for a few years," he says, "than to live poor for life."

But the phenomenon is hardly confined to the poor. "Too many affluent Culichis," says Javier Valdez, a columnist for the muckraking newspaper Rio Doce, "complain about the narco problem during the day and then go to bed with it at night." Many are happy to launder the cartels' millions--which account for an economic boom in Culiacán, replete with new Hummer dealerships, and casinos and nightclubs where women sport diamond-encrusted fingernails. Laundering sustains a network of drug-tainted businesses--from cattle ranches to currency-exchange houses to motels--that the feds are finally probing and in some cases have shut down.

I wonder what effect the proposed drug legalization from a couple of years ago would have had on all this. I assume the cartels would have been against it?

You know you've really arrived when you're sporting orange ostrich-skin boots and diamond-encrusted fingernails.

Okay, so 37 years since Nixon said "War on Drugs," and about 25 years since the U.S. really started to crank up its actions in Colombia, we've now got a more or less failed state in Colombia, a teetering, formerly stable, state in Mexico, and really cheap drugs for sale in the United States. I won't add Afghanistan to the list since as far as I can tell it's chicken-or-egg whether heroin killed Afghanistan or Afghanistan was so messed up from the Soviets that it became a great place to grow poppies.

It really seems like the U.S. ought to try a different approach, not that that's going to happen anytime soon with all the attention focused on the economy and Iraq.

Spaz wrote:

I figured that borders between countries have always been high in crime and violence, but I wasn't aware of this.

I believe he's referencing a recent instance when a troop of (I believe) 8 Mexican Army soldiers got into US territory, came across an ICE agent, pointed their guns at him until he identified himself, then went back across the border.

It wasn't clear if they were squeezing through the actual border fence, if they were in an area that had no discernable markings, or if they were disoriented or strayed from their path. It was a pretty odd occurrence, not a signal that the Mexican Army has its sights set on a massive border incursion.
(although, the angle with the possibility that they were drug traffickers intrigues me).

one of the articles that i read on this stated that mexican troops have GPS so there should be no reason why they were on U.S. soil. Also its been recorded/reported to have happen 41 times from Oct 2007 to Aug 2008. Being from Texas, we hear a lot about what's going on in Mexico but its a shame that its escalating to where the government authorities are outgunned.

I won't add Afghanistan to the list since as far as I can tell it's chicken-or-egg whether heroin killed Afghanistan or Afghanistan was so messed up from the Soviets that it became a great place to grow poppies.

Believe it or not, Soviets mostly tried to build schools, hospitals, and granaries until they pulled out.

Yeah, schools where they taught people to grow poppies. :O

While I can understand some of you might be reacting to this with a, "seal the border!," I can't help but see a little irony here.

A bunch of Saudis hijack planes and kill thousands of US citizens, and we attack Afghanistan and Iraq in a war that's lasted longer than WWII and cost hojillions of dollars. Yet if Pharacon's correct, we've been INVADED by the MEXICAN ARMY and US CITIZENS have been killed as an ACT OF WAR, the correct response is to... get tougher on immigration?

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:
I won't add Afghanistan to the list since as far as I can tell it's chicken-or-egg whether heroin killed Afghanistan or Afghanistan was so messed up from the Soviets that it became a great place to grow poppies.

Believe it or not, Soviets mostly tried to build schools, hospitals, and granaries until they pulled out.

God bless our benevolent Soviet overlords! Here's the first responsive quote I found on the Internets:

The Soviet invasion had a devastating effect on the Afghan people. Because the rural population fed and housed the mujahidin, the Soviets tried to eliminate or remove civilian populations from the countryside where resistance was based. Soviet bombing destroyed entire villages, crops and irrigation, leaving millions of people dead, homeless or starving. Land mines maimed unsuspecting Afghans, especially children who mistook them to be toys. Refugee camps around Peshawar, Pakistan sprang up and quickly became overcrowded, unsanitary and insufficiently supplied. In addition, many internal refugees fled from their region.

The source appears to be a high school research project, complete with hand-drawn map! http://nhs.needham.k12.ma.us/cur/bak...

There were constuction and industrialization efforts, and then there was warfare. Soviet's brutality in such was undeniable.

However, much of what is seen every day in Afghanistan since 2001 could be viewed as extermination campaign too. It is viewed as such by some circles. When a Russian jet pounds a village from where a Stinger was launched at a Hind, or an American AC-130 pounds a village from where a Kornet or an RPG was launched at an army truck, the net result provides an equal amount of fodder for the propaganda on either side.

LobsterMobster wrote:
Yet if Pharacon's correct, we've been INVADED by the MEXICAN ARMY and US CITIZENS have been killed as an ACT OF WAR, the correct response is to... get tougher on immigration?

wouldn't be the first we've invaded you, GRINGO!!! (J/K).

Hobbes2099 wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:
Yet if Pharacon's correct, we've been INVADED by the MEXICAN ARMY and US CITIZENS have been killed as an ACT OF WAR, the correct response is to... get tougher on immigration?

wouldn't be the first we've invaded you, GRINGO!!! (J/K).

*resists 'your momma' joke*

The body count is at twenty seven this week alone in Tijuana.

Hobbes2099 wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:
Yet if Pharacon's correct, we've been INVADED by the MEXICAN ARMY and US CITIZENS have been killed as an ACT OF WAR, the correct response is to... get tougher on immigration?

wouldn't be the first we've invaded you, GRINGO!!! (J/K).

But we kicked your ass so hard your leg fell off.

IMAGE(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h285/SentryatHeart/santanna2.jpg)

There's a reason the terrorists hit New York. No one is stupid enough to attack the US from the south. Army or no army, they'd get their asses kicked. And it'd be more than just their legs falling off.

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