Since I last wrote about the escalating violence in Mexico, things have taken a turn for the worst. With 12 journalists murdered and another 8 disappearing so far this year, freedom of the Mexican press is being threatened in an enormous way. Cartels also hurled grenades at one of the most powerful broadcasting companies in Mexico, Televisa, . In fact, the UN sent a mission to Mexico to examine these threats to the freedom of the press, and the Inter-American Press Association is asking Mexico to make crimes against journalists a federal offense. Cartels are infiltrating newsrooms through extortion and threats of violence against journalists and their families. Last Friday in the city of Tampico, cartels and law enforcement officers had a shootout on the main boulevard of the city, the governor-elect canceled a planned trip to the city, and a prominent business leader was kidnapped. Tampico news agencies didn’t report a single one of those incidents. In fact, most of the news on the drug war in Mexico is being posted anonymously on El Blog del Narco, because it’s dangerous to put a byline on a drug war story in Mexico. Any journalist who covers the drug war is a target, and make no mistake: the cartels are fighting legalization harder than anyone in the DEA, ONDCP, CIA or FBI. And when you look at the big picture, it’s a stomach-churning blend of funny and terrifying: Both the cartels and the members of many of these agencies depend on prohibition to make profits and keep their jobs.
The Late Mayor of Santiago, Edelmiro Cavazos
Mexico has become as dangerous as other countries that are in war zones, such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Last Sunday the cartels kidnapped 38-year-old mayor Edelmiro Cavazos of Santiago, a suburb of the industrial city of Monterrey. His body was discovered on the side of a road Wednesday, bound, gagged and displaying signs of torture. Mexican officials believe that this mayor was disposed of because he refused to take bribes and did not respond to threats by the cartels. And guess who’s been arrested in connection with his death? SIX CITY POLICEMEN. The corruption of the drug war is bleeding into and compromising every institution in Mexico.
It’s common practice now for drug cartels to invade private parties and open fire on guests. This happens several times each week, especially in towns where cartels are struggling to control turf. Last Sunday, a group of gunmen in the industrial town of Torreón showed up to a party hall, blocked the exits and opened fire on the crowd. 17 partygoers were killed and another 18 were injured, and the party as of yet has not been linked to any organized crime or drug gangs. The cartels are now just slaying people to create a state of fear and terror. Anyone can be a target, and this is what Mexico’s drug war looks like now:
Slain partygoers at the site of the Torreón massacre. Photo courtesy of El Blog del Narco.
This was the tamest photo of the bunch, which can be found on El Blog del Narco (WARNING: EXTREME GRAPHIC CONTENT). I’d apologize for showing such a gory photo, but I’m not sorry. This is what’s happening every single day in Mexico. People need to see this. This is the price of a War on Drugs. And here is my message, loud and clear: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. How many need to die? How many cities must be compromised? What is it going to take before leaders of the Americas collectively end this needless violence with a stroke of the pen? Legalize drugs! That’s the answer, plain and simple. Take the cartels’ money and power, and they will not have a single reason left to slay journalists and politicians and innocent bystanders. Refuse to act, or worse, send in more soldiers and police in another “crackdown” effort, and the bodies will continue to pile up, the heads will continue to roll.