Mexican bloodshed sparks emergency meeting

By buseman · Jun 29, 2010 ·
  1. buseman
    Mexican president Felipe Calderon has called an emergency cabinet meeting after drug-related violence exploded in Mexico this month.

    The death tolls this month are setting new records, with up to 90 dead in a single day.

    An estimated 25,000 people have died since Mr Caldeon declared war on the drug cartels over three years ago.

    Mr Calderon recently issued a 5,000-word defence of his strategy and gave a televised address in an attempt to address the spiralling violence.

    He has also blamed drug gangs that control much of the country's north for the shooting of a candidate in state elections for governor.

    He says he acknowledges the growing public frustration with the war against the drug cartels which is taking place close to borders with the United States.

    I say this is a fight of all Mexicans because criminals don't discriminate, they hurt all of society. That is why your participation is vital, because this is everyone's fight, Mr Calderon said in a TV address.

    For this reason, the information that you can give us is key in helping us advance in this fight.

    He has also tried to reassure Mexicans that security forces have a long-term plan to control the violence.

    This is a fight that will take time. It will be costly and unfortunately will cost human lives, like those of courageous police, soldiers and marines who have sacrificed themselves for the well-being of all Mexicans, he said.

    Spike in violence

    The New York Times Mexico bureau chief Marc Lacey says nobody really knows why violence has been spiking recently.

    Every attack, every murder that happens there's a different reason behind that, he said.

    But what is very clear is that the drug cartels in Mexico still exercise a great deal of power, they're clearly not afraid of the authorities and some of the attacks that they've carried out in recent weeks have just been horrific.

    The latest high-profile victim is 40-year-old Sergio Vega, a performer known as El Shaka who was shot as he drove to a concert in his red Cadillac.

    Mexico's government claims the worst of the violence is probably over, but Mr Lacey says the US government expects more bloodshed as the drug cartels come under increasing pressure.

    We continue to be surprised by the numbers and we continue to be shocked by the latest mass killing and then a few months down the line something even worse occurs, he said.

    I've been to some of the scenes and I have to tell you that is far worse than hearing about 20 people killed in one place. Actually seeing it, I can tell [you is] far more horrifying.

    Freelance journalist in Mexico Malcolm Beith says the Mexican people are growing increasingly frustrated as their security is put in jeopardy.

    Over the last six months we've seen much more large-scale killings and there were a couple in that span of 90 - there was a killing of I think 19 in Juarez and we're seeing more just blatant massacres, he said.

    Mr Beith says he does not think Mr Calderon can win the war against drugs.

    There's no clear goal, it's very much one of these wars without a clear mission, he said.

    The government has locked up more than 20,000 alleged drug suspects, but ... every time you extradite or arrest someone, someone else steps in the place.

    There's no sign that drug consumption has declined in the United States, there's no sign that drug production has really declined in Mexico.

    June 29, 2010

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