72 immigrants murdered by cartels just south of U.S. border
Ruthless Zeta cartel henchmen are allegedly the perpetrators of murdering 72 migrants trying to find work inside the United States; sadly the immigrants fell 100 miles short of their goal and became the latest victims of the warring Mexican drug cartels.
There were 58 men and 14 women murdered by the Zetas. Somehow one migrant managed to live and was able to warn Mexican authorities after the vicious attack.
This incident appears to be the worst killing in the notorious cartel world and creates another perilous obstacle for migrants to consider as they make the long trek into America.
The Associated Press reported, “The Ecuadorean migrant staggered to the checkpoint on Tuesday, with a bullet wound in his neck. He told the marines he had just escaped from gunmen at a ranch in San Fernando, a town in the northern state of Tamaulipas about 100 miles from Brownsville, Texas.”
The migrant also told Mexican authorities the murderers identified themselves as Zetas, and said the other migrants were from Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador and Honduras.
At the gruesome scene authorities found 21 assault rifles, shotguns and detained a minor, who may have been a part of the Zeta cartel.
Authorities said the victims were most likely part of a ransom gone wrong scheme as warring cartels continue to expand their money making possibilities in Mexico. Recently these cartel gangs began to recruit migrants as foot soldiers to enter the U.S. with a passel of drugs in tow.
The National Human Rights Commission reported in a recent study that 1,600 migrants are being kidnapped in Mexico every month. However, the number is feared much higher as this report took statistics from September 2008 to February 2009.
The brutal violence along the U.S./Mexico has exploded this year when the Zetas broke with their ex-Gulf cartel employer emerging as the most violent cartel to date.
This is the third time Mexican officials have found mass graves. However, in the other to cases, authorities believe the victims were dumped at different times rather than just one mass killing spree.
In May of this year 55 bodies were found in an abandoned mine near Taxco, near a popular tourist spot in the outskirts of Mexico City.
As a result of this growing violence the U.S. Department of State has issued a stern travel warning to American citizens wanting to visit Mexico.
“U.S. citizens traveling to and living in Mexico are warned about the security situation in Mexico. The authorized departure of family members of U.S. government personnel from U.S. Consulates in the northern Mexico border cities of Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros remains in place. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for Mexico dated May 6, 2010 to note the extension of authorized departure and to update guidance on security conditions and crime. The situation in northern Mexico remains fluid; the location and timing of future armed engagements cannot be predicted. U.S. citizens are urged to exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout the region, particularly in those areas specifically mentioned in this Travel Warning,” the statement read.
The statement from the U.S. government does not come as good news for Mexico as they have seen a sharp decline in tourist dollars. Residents in Mexico believe the decline in visitors has fueled more crime.
Mexico’s brush with drugs is nothing new, online news website Politico posted a blog about the history of the drug violence and America’s attempt to assist Mexico in its ongoing drug cartel hostility. “President George W. Bush and Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon agreed, in 2007, to a three-year, $1.6-billion security cooperation program known as the Mérida Initiative. It was Washington’s biggest security agreement with Mexico, and created a framework through which both the U.S. and Mexican governments could show their commitment — through dollars and actions — to defeat the cartel threat,” the blog read.
Nevertheless, Mexican President Calderon has criticized American’s commitment to the war on drugs and challenged the U.S. to increase their spending under the Mérida Initiative. In fact a U.S. report shows that less than 20 percent of the Mérida Initiative $1.6 billion has been dispersed to assist Mexico in their fight against the drug cartels.
With the bodies piling up south of the border, America’s lack of interest in curtailing the drug cartels and bitter partisan politics in the U.S., it doesn’t appear Mexico will see any relief from the violence and brutality the cartels have levied against Mexican government and citizens. It appears a narco-state status is on the horizon for Mexico and unless a centralized government is able to root out the corruption and provide a viable economic job market America’s southern neighbor will provide more heartache and more violence.
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Mexico increases their drug war death toll to 28,000
In the past four years Mexico has lost more than 28,000 lives in Felipe Calderon’s war on drug. The new number adds approximately 3,000 murders to the drug cartel violence tally, according to the Mexican Center of Investigation and National Security (Cisen).
While the murder rate is closing in on the 30,000 mark, National Intelligence Chief Guillermo Valdes says the high number of deaths is a small victory in the war on drugs and the fact remains that cartels are losing many high -ranking members.
During an “anti-drug strategy” speech with President Calderon, Valdes spoke with other senior officials hoping to discover new methods that can break the stranglehold cartels have inside Mexico.
The meeting also produced one idea that many in America found shocking – the possibility of legalizing drugs as a way to curtail the violent industry. President Calderon said personally he was opposed to legalizing drugs, but indicated his administration was open to a debate on the topic.
“You have to analyze carefully the pros and cons and the key arguments on both sides,” Calderon explained.
Since the drug war began under President Calderon, the National Intelligence Chief, Valdes, said there was at least one major clash a day (963) between security forces and drug cartels. So far the Mexican police have confiscated about 85,000 weapons, 34,000 vehicles and more than $400 million in cash.
Even though these numbers are impressive, Valdes knows there is a lot of work left before the government can take control of the organized crime issue.
“With regard to the aim of establishing conditions for peace and recovering control of regions affected by organized crime, we have not achieved what we wanted. Violence is growing,” he states.
One new priority Valdes explained they would focus on was the money laundering problem. He admitted the government needed to ensure that local institutions (banks) did not give into the corruption that comes with the drug cartel money.
Currently the Mexican government does not have control of the local and state police forces, as many of these officials have been paid off by cartel members under the threat that they or their families will be killed if they do not comply with the cartel leaders.
And the corruption does not stop with the government, this past July, Federal Police arrested five employees of Pemex (Mexico’s main gasoline provider) who were working with the Los Zetas to steal petroleum products clandestinely in the State of Veracruz. Early reports estimate the cartels managed to skim approximately 45 percent of the production.
“It was obvious from the first moment that these criminal organizations were involved in a very lucrative enterprise with little risk,” said Samuel Villa, an analyst with the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, “Any other activity would have been more dangerous.”
One thing to keep in mind is the more threatened the cartel leaders feel the more desperate they react.
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