The War Next Door
Every single day, atrocities take place just south of our border in Mexico that are nearly unimaginable in the United States. The results of drug-related violence in our most populous neighbor are truly horrific: just this week, 49 mutilated and decapitated bodies were found in a city just 80 miles from the United States. In May alone, the Christian Science Monitor reports that 23 bodies have been found “either strewn or hanging off bridges and underpasses” in Nuevo Laredo, just across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas.
Americans may not realize the extraordinary level of violence in our most populous neighbor, but we should all be aware of it. Since 2006, 47,000 people have died in violence connected to Mexico’s out-of-control drug cartels.
Americans have a deep interest in helping the government of Mexico establish safety for all its citizens. We owe it to the people of Mexico to do everything we can to help their government defeat the drug cartels.
Below is a list compiled by Stratfor (available here) of drug-related violence in Mexico during the first week of May. It doesn’t even include this week’s discovery of 49 more victims—but consider these recent events and ask yourself what we would be demanding of our government if this was happening here in the United States.
• Gunmen killed three people sitting at an outdoor candy stand in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state.
• Authorities discovered the body of a police officer in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco state, who was likely killed the previous day.
• Gunmen hiding in a motel in Estacion Bamoa, near Guasave, Sinaloa state, engaged a military convoy in a firefight that lasted two hours and left 15 gunmen and two soldiers dead.
• Five gunmen and one federal police officer died in Sain Alto, Zacatecas state, after a car chase.
• The Mexican navy arrested Luis Alberto “El Casanova” Perez Casanova in Xalapa, Veracruz state. Perez allegedly served as Los Zetas’ security chief in Xalapa.
• Authorities found two photojournalists for local media outlet Notiver in black bags in a river in Boca del Rio, Veracruz state. The journalists were reported missing April 27.
• A newspaper vendor was shot dead on a street in Chihuahua, Chihuahua state.
• Nine individuals were hung from a bridge in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas state. Along with the bodies, a narcomanta was displayed denouncing individuals coming to Nuevo Laredo “to heat up the plaza” and singling out Gulf cartel leaders such as Metro-4 and Juan Mejia “R1” Gonzalez.
• Authorities discovered 14 headless bodies stored in a van in front of the Association of Customs Agents building in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas state, along with a narcomanta signed “El Chapo.” The message demanded that the Mayor of Nuevo Laredo recognize the presence of the Sinaloa Federation in the city. The same day, authorities discovered 14 severed heads in three coolers in front of the city hall.
• Several gunfights in the Iztapalapa neighborhood of Mexico City left six dead and four wounded.
• Gunmen opened fire on a police patrol in San Nicolas de los Garza, Nuevo Leon state, killing one police officer and wounding another.
• A firefight between two groups left eight gunmen dead in Jerez de Garcia Salinas, Zacatecas state.
• At least two gunmen in a vehicle shot and killed a strip club bouncer in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, in front of the club.
• Gunmen traveling in a vehicle shot a man walking home in the Azcapotzalco neighborhood of Mexico City.
• Federal police detained alleged La Linea leader Javier “El Dientes de Ajo” Hernandez Marquez in Chihuahua state. According to authorities, Hernandez assumed the leadership of the group after the arrest of La Linea’s previous leader 10 days before.
• Authorities discovered three dead men along a highway in Atoyac de Alvarez, Guerrero state.
• Federal police announced the arrest of 12 La Barredora members in Acapulco, Guerrero state.
• Authorities discovered the bodies of two executed men in the La Draga neighborhood of Mexico City.
• Gunmen shot and killed an individual inside his vehicle in Cajeme, Sonora state.
• Mexican authorities announced the arrest of Maria “La Tosca” Jimenez, the leader of a Los Zetas cell of sicarios (assassins), along with eight other people in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state. Jimenez was arrested with three male sicarios the week before.
Much of this violence constitutes nothing less than terrorism, publicly displayed to inspire fear in the Mexican people and government authorities who are fighting to re-establish security. And with some of these massacres taking place just a few miles from southern Texas, it’s a problem we shouldn’t take lightly.