[h1]Mexico fires 3,200 police officers for incompetence, corruption after latest political assassination[/h1]
Mexico fired 3,200 police officers for incompetence or corruption Monday, a day after another border town mayor was assassinated - the second in two weeks.
Another 1,020 federal officers face discipline because they failed a test that aims to identify who might take a drug lord's bribe.
The dramatic firing of 10% of Mexico's cops came as the three-year-old border drug war escalated to bloody new levels of violence.
Hidalgo Mayor Marco Antonio Leal Garcia was shot dead Sunday in his car, reportedly by former elite military commandos now working for the cartels. His 4-year-old daughter was gravely wounded.
Hidalgo is a rural town is located in the border state of Tamaulipas, which has become a new flashpoint in the increasingly horrific war between the Gulf and Zetas cartels.
It was there that 72 migrants were found slaughtered by Zetas gunmen last week - the worst massacre in the drug war that began in late 2006.
On Saturday, the morgue where those bodies were taken was bombed.
"This cowardly crime and the reprehensible violent acts that occurred recently in this state strengthen the commitment of the Mexican government to continue fighting the criminal gangs that seek to intimidate the families of Tamaulipas," Mexican President Felipe Calderón said in a statement.
Edelmiro Cavazos, mayor of the wealthy tourist town of Santiago, was kidnapped Aug. 15 and found three days later, handcuffed, blindfolded and shot.
Five police officers - including one assigned to be his bodyguard - were arrested in that assassination.
The Mexican government appears to be losing the war against the cartels, who are also fighting with each other over the $25 billion-a-year cocaine smuggling business.
The gangsters aim to terrorize their rivals and the populace by carrying out their executions with operatic violence: genitals are removed and stuffed into mouths, headless bodies are hung from bridges and in one especially gruesome case, a man's face was ripped off and stitched onto a football.
The cartel gunmen often target politicians in an attempt to cow the government and deter citizens from running for office.
The front-running candidate for the Tamaulipas governorship was gunned down in June and a candidate for mayor in the nearby town of Valle Hermoso was killed in May.
The Mexican government estimates a staggering 23,000 people have been killed in the last three years.
By Helen Kennedy
August 30th 2010
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Mexico fires 3,200 police officers for incompetence, corruption after latest politica