Mexico’s Drug War Hits New Depths

17 May

This is crazy stuff even by the standards of Mexico’s out-of-control drug violence. In recent weeks, brawling drug gangs have taken over entire parts of Monterrey, the country’s wealthiest city,  previously a haven of calm. As the LA Times reports,

“drug gangs repeatedly blocked off city streets, snarling traffic and preventing police and soldiers from patrolling. Regular gun battles in and around Monterrey…  claimed 164 lives this year as of May 7, almost the same number as in the two previous years combined. The dead included two popular engineering students caught, apparently, in crossfire at the gates of their prestigious university.

On April 21, 50 gunmen overran the downtown Holiday Inn, a high-end hotel popular with business travelers, forced the receptionist to ID guests and yanked four men and a woman from their fifth-floor rooms.”

It’s bad enough when you have drug gangs shooting each other by the dozens in border towns and drug-growing areas. But when they can shut down traffic in the middle of a major city, or take over an entire upscale hotel long enough to find a few people they’re looking for, you’ve really lost control. This isn’t over-the-top crime, it’s a breakdown in state authority on the level of a full-fledged insurgency.

What’s interesting about Mexico, though, is that the government isn’t fighting a group dedicated to seizing state power or at least keeping the state out of its own fiefdom, as in Afghanistan or Congo. The drug gangs aren’t interested in taking over the government; they just want to be left alone to keep doing business. I’m not sure if that makes them a more or less difficult problem.

One Response to “Mexico’s Drug War Hits New Depths”

  1. Jeffery Lando May 17, 2010 at 6:38 pm #

    Must legalize.

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