William Booth, Washington Post, December 4, 2008
The death squads of the drug cartels are killing in spectacularly gruesome ways, using the violence as a language to deliver a message to society.
Increasingly, bodies show unmistakable signs of torture. Videos of executions are posted on the Internet, as taunts, as warnings. Corpses are dumped on playgrounds, with neatly printed notes beside them. And very often, the heads have been removed.
When someone rolled five heads onto the dance floor in a cantina in Michoacan state two years ago, even the most hardened Mexicans were shocked. Now ritual mutilations are routine. In the border city of Tijuana, 37 people were slain over the weekend, including four children. Nine of the adults were decapitated, including three police officers whose badges were stuffed in their mouths.
As competing drug cartels and their fragmented cells fight the police, the Mexican army and one another for control of billion-dollar smuggling corridors into the U.S. drug market, the violence unleashed by President Felipe Calderón’s war against the traffickers grows more sensational.
An estimated 4,500 people have been killed in drug-related violence since 2007, when Calderón flooded the border and other drug hot zones with 20,000 Mexican troops and thousands of federal agents. November was the bloodiest month so far, with at least 700 killings, according to tallies kept by Mexican newspapers. Some victims had no connection to the drug trade, police say.
Twisted version of ‘shock and awe’
Experts say the cartels and their enforcers are attempting their own twisted version of “shock and awe,” broadcasting via traditional media, rumor mill and the Internet a willingness to fight to the end. Authorities also say the cartels are killing so graphically in order to sap public confidence in the government, perhaps hoping Calderón will allow the cartels to return to business as usual, when the smuggling organizations operated with the tacit support of corrupt officials.
Violence grows more grotesque
As the war drags on, the violence grows bolder and more grotesque. Last week in Juarez, the corpses of seven men, each shot multiple times, strangled and tortured, were lined up against a garden hedge at a primary school. The killers left poster-size signs. Soon after the bodies were discovered, the local police frequency was commandeered and songs in praise of cartels were broadcast on police radios.
In Tijuana last month, a man was executed inside a church. Bystanders, including children, have been killed in daylight gun battles. Five journalists have been assassinated this year, while the hotel where federal police stay in Ciudad Juarez has been assaulted by passing gunmen.
Law enforcement officials in Mexico and the United States say the spasm of violence is born of overlapping struggles. The cartels, and the cells within them, are fighting each other, dealing with traitors inside the organization and competitors outside, which in many cases may include crooked cops who work for the cartels. The traffickers are also fighting the police and military.
Messages left on dead bodies
The cartel killers communicate to one another and to society not only by murder but also message. In October, eight bodies were dumped facedown in an empty lot near a day-care center in Tijuana. Their hands were tied and a message read: “Here are your people.”
State prosecutors in the western state of Michoacan, where the small drug cartel La Familia is based, discovered a head in an ice chest in the port city of Lazaro Cardenas. Tape covered the eyes and an attached message read: “From the Gulf Cartel.” Two weeks ago, someone left funeral wreaths along the streets in the northern city of Hermosillo. State police say six of the wreaths included hand-lettered posters signed by the Gulf drug cartel. One of the signs read: “This is a message for the entire state police force, if you mess with us we are going to kill you and your entire family.”
(Posted on December 4, 2008)
Rahm Emanuel, the new white house chief of staff, has called for the elimination of any border patrol and a deconstruction of any fence put up to on our southern border. We can expect the drug cartels to accept his invitation and set up home in a neighborhood near you.
Posted by Tim at 5:21 PM on December 4
Don’t worry. Karl Rove assures me that these Mexicans are naturally conservative and some day will make good Republicans…
Posted by Paul at 5:31 PM on December 4
“Mexican Cartels Send Messages of Death”
Yep, intelligent people will draw the appropriate conclusions concerning Mexico, the rest will vacation there.
Posted by Bobby at 5:55 PM on December 4
Zimbabwe needs some diversity! This would be a wonderful opportunity to have about 500 Mexican criminals dumped into Mugabe’s lap. Then we’d find out which group could out “Third World” each other.
Posted by at 7:07 PM on December 4
Lou Dobbs had a report on this very subject tonight, with guests who have investigated the situation, writing an article on it which appears in Newsweek Magazine.
Both reporters sounded super negative about the situation, even projecting a feeling of hopelessness about the chances for reversing the crime and chaos.
Both also pointed out what we already know, which is that almost all the police and military are on cartel payroll.
Drug crime is the only crime that brings in so much wealth it’s necessary for the drug kingpins to start banks in order to have someplace to put their money, after various methods of money laundering.
With criminal organizations that have enough cash flow to pay standing armies and who have so many in the government and police on their payroll right now, it’s just a matter of time before Calderon’s government is going to be taken over by some sort of coup, rigged to look like one that involves politics rather than drug influence.
Dobbs asked why the US side was spared these thousands of killings and violence, and it was alleged that it was not in the interests of the cartels to pursue that kind of violence in the US right now, but neither reporter made any remarks about drug money influencing politicians and businesses on the US side, which has been reported numerous times by others in the recent past.
From all the information contributed to the situation so far, it appears as if the crime and violence will only increase.
If the neo-cons like unilateral attacks against nations that are endangering our national security or intend to do just that so much, and the importation of drugs is causing us definite national security problems, I’m wondering why the US has never taken over Mexico and installed a true democracy there instead of doing the same thing to countries who couldn’t harm us if they wanted to nor did they represent a threat to our national security as Mexico has for the last several years.
Posted by Ranger at 8:25 PM on December 4
I think I might answer your question. If the United States invaded and bombed Mexico, trying to install a “democratic” regime there, do you realize how many Mexicans would migrate north? Perhaps some 20-30 million. I know, it’s paradoxical, but the United States is the only country to have engaged n war, where the people of the opposing country flock to, after the shooting is over. Vietnam, Iraq, Somalia and Haiti are examples of this.
The USA tried to capture Pancho Villa, after he led border raids in 1916, without success. This left Mexicans resenting the USA- but they still kept migrating here.
Besides, the USA doesn’t want to cut off a cheap labor supply. There are lawns to be cut, dishes to be washed, beds to be made, especially among among Hollywood liberals. Do you think they’d hire Puerto Ricans to do the jobs done by Mexicans?
On a sidebar, do American tourists still go to Tijuana for those legendary donkey shows?
Posted by Soprano Fan at 11:22 PM on December 4
When can we expect some of the bailout money to be funneled to mexico to be given to corrupt govt officials spending it on whores and villa’s ? Seems like the first cash infusion that we sent them wasnt enough to pay anyone off. With the money that was already sent a secure border fence could have been constructed all along the border. Im not saying that we would use american workers that so desperatly need jobs across america but it would be a nice jesture to use a few of them and fill the other postions with illegals that now find themselves in financial stress because of our economy.
Posted by at 1:18 AM on December 5
Let’s see…when Bush took office some of his comments about Mexicans were:
“They are only coming for jobs.” (And education, medication and all the perks they can get).
“If they can cross the Davis Mountains, we want ‘em.” (WE? Do you have a mouse in your pocket, Mr. President)”
“Family Values don’t stop at the Rio Grande (The US does)!
I’m sure others can think of many more idiotic statements by the pro-illegal president.
Posted by June at 9:04 AM on December 5