Mexicans Say U.S. Drug Crackdown Feeds Violence

Washington, DC, United States (AHN) – A Mexican law enforcement agency is blaming recent violence along the border in large part to a U.S. crackdown on drug traffickers, prompting skepticism from American government agencies.

Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Security (Secretaría de Seguridad Pública) reported that in the past six months the value of cocaine in Mexico has escalated from $431 million to $811 million because fewer of the illegal shipments are making their way into the United States since Barack Obama assumed the presidency.

Obama administration anti-drug efforts have included sending an additional 400 Department of Homeland Security agents to the border, which included specialists from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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7,724 Slain in Mexico in 2009

MEXICO CITY – Last year was the deadliest in Mexico in the past decade, with 7,724 people killed in violent incidents attributed to organized crime, Mexico City daily El Universal said on Friday.

That total translates into an average of more than 21 homicides a day.

The newspaper, which has been keeping a daily tally of the number of deaths from Mexico’s drug war, said there have been 16,205 organized crime-related killings in Mexico since President Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa took office in December 2006.

Chihuahua was far and away the most violent state in Mexico last year, with 3,250 murders, followed by Sinaloa (930), Durango (734), Guerrero (672), Baja California (444), Michoacan and Sonora, according to El Universal.

Mexican authorities do not provide homicide figures stemming from the cartels’ battles with each other and the security forces.

The Mexican government has deployed more than 40,000 soldiers and 20,000 federal police nationwide to combat the drug cartels and other organized criminal outfits in the country’s most violence-ridden states.

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‘Revenge killings’ rattle Mexico

Source

Armed men have killed family members of a Mexican special forces marine involved in a military raid last week that ended in the death of a powerful drug leader.

The attack at the family’s home in Quintin Arauz on Tuesday took place just hours after the military honored the officer, Melquisedet Angulo Cordova, as a national hero.

He died in the same raid that killed Marcos Arturo Beltran Leyva, a cartel head in Cuernavaca.

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Fear of violence after killing of drug lord in Mexico

As Mexican and US officials have hailed the killing of top drug lord (Marcos) Arturo Beltrán Leyva, many are fearing further violence in the struggle to replace him.

Arturo Beltran Leyva, nicknamed the “boss of bosses,” was killed in a shoot-out with the navy south of Mexico City late on Wednesday, along with six cartel members.

The killing gave a boost to President Felipe Calderon‘s controversial three-year military clampdown on drug gangs, which has been accompanied by a spike in violence, leaving some 15,000 dead.

Calderon called the navy raid in which the drug lord was killed “an important achievement for the government and people of Mexico.”

However many have warned that the high-profile killing could provoke further turf wars.
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Major Political Reforms Proposed in Mexico

In the most dramatic proposal for political reform in decades, Mexican President Felipe Calderón announced yesterday a 10-point plan aimed at revamping Mexico’s political system. Among the many reforms, the proposal would allow independent candidates to run for office and relax term-limit rules for legislators, allowing lawmakers and mayors to hold office for up to 12 years.

The legislation would also reduce the number of seats in the chamber of deputies by 20 percent to 400 seats, and reduce the number of senators from 128 to 96. Calderón also included a provision that would require, for the first time, a runoff election in presidential races in which no candidate obtains more than 50 percent of total votes cast. If passed, the reforms would dramatically alter Mexican politics. According to Calderón, “the idea is to give citizens more power, to give them the capacity to shape public life and to strengthen our democracy.”

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Mexicans in drug war city call on army to leave

Ciudad Juarez (Mexico): Thousands of people dressed in white demanded soldiers leave Mexico’s most violent city on Sunday, accusing troops of provoking a surge in drug-war killings and running protection rackets.

Around 5,000 people marched through Ciudad Juarez on the US border, many with white balloons and holding signs saying “leave Juarez, soldiers and federal police.” It was a rare protest in a city where most people are too frightened to speak out, and a show of the depth of anger at the army’s failure to stop drug murders.

Gruesome drug killings have surged in Ciudad Juarez since President Felipe Calderon sent in 10,000 troops and federal police to crush warring cartels in March, according to police and media tallies.

After being received as heroes, the army has lost public support as the city’s death tally from cartel violence has risen to 2,400 so far this year, compared with 1,600 in all of 2008.

Murders have reached a dozen a day and bullet-ridden vehicles and bleeding bodies on busy streets are commonplace. Businesses that fail to pay protection money to corrupt police and cartels have been set on fire or their owners kidnapped, tortured and killed.

“We are tired of living in hell. Things have only worsened since the army arrived,” said a 53-year-old businessman at the march, who declined to give his name.

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Let’s Eliminate Welfare for Terrorists

Of all the factors on the table in the current Afghan strategic review, the War on Drugs and its unintended consequences should be front and center. Our 95-year effort to create a Drug Free America by enforcing world-wide prohibition has twisted our foreign policy out of shape all over the globe and the nightmare in Afghanistan is just the latest manifestation.

It seems to be an open secret that President Hamid Karzai‘s brother is a player in the heroin trade, and the whole administration in Kabul is said to be riddled with corruption. Unfortunately, the replacement of Karzai, even if that proved possible, would not change the fundamental dynamic. Nearly a tenth of the population relies on the illegal opium industry for their daily bread. Corruption will be the norm as long as the American people are willing to invest limitless resources manning an arbitrary barricade between the sellers and buyers.

Unfortunately narco-corruption, like narcotics themselves, can penetrate any border and there is growing evidence that this cancer has metastasized into every nook and cranny of the known world. Consider, for example, this headline from London: “Corrupt officers exist throughout the UK police service.”

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