Drug related violence has doubled in this border city since Mexico's President Vicente Fox sent in federal troops (Federales) in June of last year. 181 people died in Nuevo Laredo in 2005 and the death toll so far this year is 31 and climbing.
The only difference that people can see is that before the Federales arrived, the gangsters were parading around in convoys of 4 or 5 SUV's while openly brandishing their weapons. Today, they keep their weapons out of sight until they actually start the killing. Killing which they are doing at an accelerated rate since the Federales arrived.
It would appear from the picture above that the Federales might be outgunned just a bit. Their antiquated Winchesters and Mausers are no match for AK 47's, M 16's and AR 15's and their horses cannot keep up with Grand Cherokees. The killing has accelerated once the narcotraficantes got a good look at their opposition sent by the federal government. Fox might have been better served to have continued threatening to send in the Federales. A bluff would have served him better than the call. You gotta know when to hold'em, know when to fold'em, know when to walk away and know when to run.
The local police force needs 275 officers to replace those fired since the Federales arrived. There are 34 new recruits being trained at the police academy. These people aren't completely stupid. Last week a guy got shot and wounded. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment. The shooters just walked into the hospital's emergency room and finished the job right in front of the victim's horrified family.
A few months ago, Nuevo Laredo swore in a new chief of police to replace the freshly shot one. The new guy was shot dead before nightfall. A couple of weeks ago an armed gang walked into a newspaper office and shot the place full of holes. The editor vowed to spend more time reporting on the pork belly futures market and less time on drug violence.
As an aside, to give you folks up there an idea of what "rule of law" means down here, the governor of the state of Puebla, one of the largest and and most, ahem, cosmopolitan states in Mexico, has himself in some hot water. A reporter who lives in Cancun wrote some news reports and then later a book about the sexual proclivities of a Puebla fatcat named Kamel Nacif.
Now, Nacif makes bluejeans, among other things. Those "other things" were of interest to the country's anti-narcotics people who were tapping his phone lines. One call he made was to his buddy the guvnor. The guvnor, one Mario Marin, who carries around some baggage of his own, promised to help poor Sr. Nacif. Marin found a local judge to issue an arrest warrant against the reporter, Lydia Cacho, who had pretty well documented that fatcat Nacif was a member-in-good-standing of a nation-wide ring of pedophiles.
The governor then sent Puebla state policemen to Cancun, which is in Quintana Roo state, to arrest Ms. Cacho and bring her back to Puebla where she spent some 3 days in jail until her lawyers could find her and get her released. She was released because both the arrest warrant and the arrest itself were illegal as the judge, the governor and the fatcat full well knew.
The taped conversation was delivered anonymously to a local news outlet from whence it made its way onto national television and radio. The judge has already been relieved of his duties and Governor Marin is under intense fire to resign or be thrown out of office. Governor Marin appeared on TV Azteca this week to refute the charges. He told the interviewing reporter that "the voice on the tape is not mine." The reporter said that TV Azteca would send the tape to forensic experts to determine its authenticity. Marin blinked a couple of times and then said, "Well, if it does turn out to be my voice, I will have another statement to issue at that time." Hilarious.
TAGS: Nuevo Laredo, narcotraficants, border violence, rule of law