Here are some excerpts from Stratfor’s weekly “Mexico Security Memos”, perhaps the best window (in America) to the events in our southern neighbor. Mexico’s internal security situation continues to deteriorate, another “Decline of the State” in progress (as described by Martin van Creveld in Rise and Decline of the State). These are just a sample, but they are all like this, to a greater or lesser degree.
The situation is far gone when gangs hit police chiefs and Army colonels with impunity. This has serious implications for America, and our mainstream media have not covered this story adequately, imo.
21 May 2007: Mexico: A Deteriorating Security Situation
About 150 state police officers in Mexico’s northern Nuevo Leon state went on strike May 21, demanding higher salaries and more resources to fight organized crime, which has claimed the lives of six state police officers in the past four days. Given that drug cartels have increasingly targeted police, army and government personnel in response to a federal campaign to combat organized crime — and are showing no signs of stopping — the security situation in Mexico likely will continue deteriorating.
11 March 2008: Organized Crime in Mexico
Organized crime in Mexico centers on drug trafficking into the United States and the control of the most lucrative trade routes. As long as the drug trade thrives, organized crime in Mexico will continue.
11 May 2007: Mexican Drug Cartels: Targeting the Military
Suspected drug cartel enforcers killed two state police officers May 11 as the officers patrolled the town of Villahermosa in Mexico’s Tabasco state. The attack occurred two days after a Mexican sailor was gunned down in the Pacific resort town of Ixtapa. Although attacks against police officers and their chiefs are becoming quite common in Mexico — a response to President Felipe Calderon’s efforts to crack down on the country’s drug syndicates — the cartels now are upping the stakes by targeting the Mexican military.
26 August 2007: A Slow End to the Cease-Fire
Less than a week after the abduction and killing of two federal law enforcement agents in Nuevo Leon state, two Transit Department employees and a police officer were abducted Aug. 20 in the Monterrey suburb of Santa Catarina. The employees were found several days later barely alive and apparently tortured and beaten. Authorities have yet to confirm finding the police officer.
Later in the week, a mechanic was kidnapped in Ciudad Guadalupe and a car salesman was abducted in San Nicolas de los Garza, both in Nuevo Leon state. The mechanic has yet to be found while the car salesmen’s body was discovered several days later. He had been shot to death. Law enforcement agents were the victims of targeted killings in the states of Aguascalientes and Sinaloa, where six police officers were shot to death Aug. 26.
26 November 2007: Family Violence
At least 11 homicides associated with organized crime were reported across Mexico on Nov. 23, so far one of the deadliest days in the country this month.
Sinaloa state authorities reported one particularly brutal hit – even by Mexican drug-cartel standards – in which a former federal agent was shot to death after gunmen entered his home in the town of Los Mochis. In the process, they also killed his wife and three daughters, ages 13, 12 and five.
24 March 2008: A Tumultuous Good Friday
The 23 drug-related homicides in Mexico that occurred March 21 made Good Friday one of the deadliest days so far this year in the country’s continuing drug war. The killings were widespread across Mexico.
… During the last several weeks, the normally violent tourist cities of Cancun and Acapulco had seen relatively little violence. Drug gangs have been maintaining a low profile in the cities ever since the Mexican government ordered several hundred troops to the cities to ensure the safety of foreign visitors during the spring break season. So far, the move has cut the average number of homicides by more than half in the two cities. No violence affecting foreign tourists – who have brought Acapulco to nearly 100 percent capacity this season – has been reported.
21 April 2008: Deteriorating Security in Tijuana
While violence was widespread throughout Mexico this week, the city of Tijuana stood out due to its deteriorating security situation, which has included a kidnapping wave that appears increasingly out of control. Extortion-related kidnappings are estimated at more than two per day in the city; many are not reported to the authorities. A series of kidnappings of doctors and medical workers led the city’s health care providers to go on strike April 18, demanding greater protection from the authorities.
Civilian and military officials in the city held an emergency meeting this week, during which they confirmed there has been a rise in kidnappings in Tijuana, though they elected to not change the current anti-crime strategy. In general, the government offered a grim outlook on the security situation this past week; the state attorney general said publicly that more crime is expected, and that the government cannot contain or prevent it.
The statement, which did little to calm the city’s fears, represents an accurate assessment of the situation.
Update: “Mexico army ops allow crime surge in border city“, Reuters (21 April 2008) – “Mexican troops are failing to provide basic security in the violent border city of Ciudad Juarez, residents say, testing support for President Felipe Calderon’s army-led assault on drug gangs.”
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Other articles about Mexico
- Is Mexico unraveling? (28 April 2008) — summary of Stratfor’s warnings about Mexico.
- “High Stakes South of the Border” (13 May 2008)
- “Mexico: On the Road to a Failed State?“, George Friedman, Stratfor (13 May 2008)
- “Mexico: Examining Cartel War Violence Through a Protective Intelligence Lens“, Stratfor (14 May 2008)
- “Crime and Punishment in Mexico: The big picture beyond drug cartel violence“, posted at Grits for Breakfast (18 May 2008)