The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

Mexico opens 2010 with one of its deadliest days

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico opened the new year with what could be its most dubious distinction yet in the 3-year-old battle against drug trafficking — 69 murders in one day.

The country resembled a grim, statistical dart board Saturday as law enforcement and media reported the deaths from various regions, including 26 in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, 13 in and around Mexico City and 10 in the northern city of Chihuahua.

More than 6,500 drug-related killings made 2009 the bloodiest year since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the cartels in late 2006 and deployed 45,000 soldiers to fight organized crime, according to death tallies by San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute.

Two weeks into 2010, gang bloodshed is becoming more grotesque as drug lords ramp up their attempts at intimidation. Last week a victim’s face was peeled from his skull and sewn onto a soccer ball. On Monday, prosecutors in Culiacan identified the remains of 41-year-old former police officer divided into two separate ice chests.

“You wonder how this will end, and it seems impossible,” said Daniel Vega, an architect in the northern city of Monterrey. “I doubt Mexico can override drug use, especially since demand for the drugs, as well as all the money and weapons, come from the United States.”

Using their so-called Narcobarometer, researchers at the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute track and analyze murders in Mexico, hoping to find ways to quell the violence. Their tally? More than 20,000 murders since 2001, more than half in the past two years.

“It does appear that the violence has grown exponentially, but it’s not clear that it’s necessarily a slippery downward slope from here,” institute director David Shirk said, noting that government operations — including a December raid that killed cartel boss Arturo Beltran Leyva — have hit seven of Mexico’s eight significant cartels.

Shirk said the remaining, mostly unscathed Sinaloa cartel headed by billionaire gnag boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman may now become dominant, reducing the deadly power struggles.

“If that happens, it’s quite possible that six months from now things will be much calmer,” Shirk said.

Though almost all of drug-violence victims are somehow involved with cartels, the impact is felt well beyond law enforcement and organized crime.

“I’m afraid to take to the streets every day because of the violence, and I no longer want to excel economically because it could make me an easy target for a kidnapping,” said Silvana Cervantes, a Monterrey nurse.

Tijuana resident Fernando Escobedo said he used to spend his evenings at a vibrant strip of clubs in the border city until a recent massacre at one of his hangouts.

“Now I prefer socializing at houses or parties, with family or lifetime friends,” he said.

As Mexico tries to develop both politically and economically, the killings jeopardize its international reputation, said Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs in Washington.

“The figures in Mexico are so scary that it has produced a subliminal sense that Mexico is a dangerous place and you’d better keep away,” he said.

Calderon said last week he would shift focus to job creation and reducing poverty and move the fight against drug cartels that dominated the first half of his presidency to No. 3.

Monterrey police officer Delfino Ramos, who grapples with the violence in his daily work, said economic issues are at the root of the problems.

“So much unemployment pushes people toward crime,” he said.


Associated Press writers Mariana Martinez in Tijuana and Mark Walsh in Monterrey contributed to this report.

  • rabiddog6708

    Just Say No…..that is what Ronnie Raygun’s Old Lady said to do.

  • niccolomachiavelli

    I thought Giuliani Associates had brought an end to crime in Mexico City just like he did in NYC. Didn’t America’s Mayor get that contract or what?

  • lamecherry

    This story obviously did not happen as I fully recall that Barack Obama visited Mexico and fixed everything in 2009. Mr. Obama was awarded a Peace Prize for all of this as the Norwegian leftists can not be wrong.

    There is peace in the world and I will have no more of these stories which can not be happening as the halo wearing Obama has his gold little Nobel Prize, has studied for two weeks the Flight 253 terror attack and decided to take a 30 day siesta before being reported back to, and he is sending Fort Hood troops to his Afghanistan War as the Nidal Hasan’s are not murdering Americans fast enough in America.

    There is peace in Mexico, peace in the world, so we can not have any more of these stories which obviously did not happen, as Obama has change to believe in with his non negro dialect as Harry Reid noted.

    Without satire, America should be quietly taking over the northern Mexican states and Americanizing them with schools, security, health care and investment to create stable buffer and a valuable trade zone to raise Mexicans to world status in valuable trade partners for American markets.

    That is what a Conservative would do, but then we have peace prize Obama having solved all this last year. Another Obama miracle gone up in smoke.

  • hypomaniac

    This is what it takes to get this issue in the news now– yet I didn’t see it anywhere else.

  • adamincalifornia

    What is sad about Mexico is how long the elites there have been able to maintain power by simply painting the Yanquis up north as culpable for all state failures.

    These atrocities are no exception, as Mexican overlords blame US drug consumption for the escalation in violence.

    Is there and escalation in consumption that brought this change about? Or is more about drug lords wanting to assert power over a state that has never cared much about its citizens in the first place? Mexico likes to export misery and expect their expats to send money home to sustain the poor so that the wealthy don’t have to provide social services or social mobility.

    When you have a system so corrupt and self indulgent, why wouldn’t a group of corrupt and self indulgent thugs want it all for themselves?

  • vbspurs

    If only President Calderon could have the sticktoedness of President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, who has successfully tackled what seemed impossible in his country a decade ago.

    The moral of the story — your leadership must be more than just ‘charismatic’. They must have values and believe that no fight for the safety of your country is worth losing.

    • snarcotic

      Columbia accomplished nothing. The drug operation just moved to greener pastures.

      The business is growing every year, and it can’t be stopped by brute force, impossible. Prohibition has never worked once in history, and never will.

      • vbspurs

        How sad it must be to think like you.

        Like St. Teresa d’Avila said to her postulants — “We don’t want saints here, just women with strong muscles to wash the floors”. Given your attitude, you would live in filth, because there is no conquering the return of dirt.

  • terit

    This is the fight America should be fighting. We have been losing the war on drugs for decades.