Thursday, February 08, 2007

Mexico City: Calderón's war continues but he's not getting much help

President Felipe Calderón continues his war against the big drug cartels but I fear that the people of Mexico, influenced by columnists, pundits, politicians, businessmen and radio and TV personalities, are bailing out on him already.

Yesterday in Acapulco, an office of the Ministerio Público (local prosecutor's office) was attacked by heavily armed, masked paramilitaries who left a death toll behind of 7. They also left a pointed message for the government.

Murdered in the attack were 4 police officers, an agent for the Ministerio Público and 2 secretaries. The message left inside the building read,
We don't give a shit about the government and this is proof of that.
In spite of, or perhaps, because of the government's actions against the drug cartels, violence may actually have increased. This increase was predicted by the federal government and it did so quite publicly. The government predicted an upsurge of violence in response to the extradition to the US of 14 wanted criminals, including the heads of two of the big drug cartels. Calderón's people announced that, in addition to those extraditions, there were a lot more to come, including the ex-governor of Quintana Roo, Mario Villanueva; i.e., more violence to come.

The reaction to the violence in the Mexican news has been disappointing. Instead of lauding the government's efforts, underlining the fact that the violence demonstrates that the government is accomplishing something, encouraging support amongst the people for the government's efforts or, at least just keeping their mouths shut, the airways and print media have been filled with weeping, whining and hand wringing. To wit:

This altogether regrettable and useless column by the otherwise respected Francisco Cárdenas Cruz in El Universal is a good case in point. We'll call him FCC. His opinion piece is entitled,
"Drugs and organized crime overwhelm the State
More violence, in spite of operations"
Well, no shit, Sherlock. While the criminal gangs are allowed to operate in an atmosphere of relative freedom from harrassment by the State, violence against the State will be minimal. Mostly from people stepping in front of speeding bullets and the like. When the State takes strong actions against those gangs, there will be a backlash.

But FCC doesn't mention this. What he does is lay out a litany of the State's "failure" of its anti-cartel actions. He does compile a nice, concise, little list of violent acts (read: murder) committed against police, army, government officials, businessmen etc: Acapulco, Uruapan, Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo, Tijuana, Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Culiacán, Morelia, Cancún, Villahermosa and Acayucan as well as other incidents in the states of Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Sinaloa, Michoacan and Baja California. Thanks, FCC, nice list.

FCC lampoons the Secretaries of public security, the army, the navy, the federal Attorney General and Calderón as being unready to confront the cartels. He calls the government "inefficient" for allowing the violence. I guess he expected the government to round up 50,000 or so drug cartel operatives at every level from capo to hit man to chemist to mule, spread out through the cities, valleys, deserts and mountains of 742,485 square miles of territory, in just 30 days or less.

Since that did not happen, according to FCC, Felipe Calderón's anti-cartel campaign is a failure after, uh, 2.5 months.

Now, FCC has been a famous journalist, columnist, opinion stater and pundit for 45 years. In other words, he has been a funtioning and contributing part of Mexican society for 45 years. That would be the same Mexican society that allowed the creation of the big drug cartels in the first place. That would be your Mexican society, Sr. Francisco Cárdenas Cruz; yours and your buddies' and your family's and your political party's. This unholy disaster is your fault.

You and yours spent 45 years creating it and now you whine that President Calderón hasn't cleaned up your smelly, pudrid pile in less than 3 months. And you wring your hands and warn, ominously,
The risk is that they (the cartel gunmen) will raise their sights on others besides just police chiefs.
The risk is, FCC, that they'll be shooting the wrong people.

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