By Alfa · Feb 7, 2005 ·
  1. Alfa

    Accounts of violence in Mexico sound like they come from the war zone in
    Iraq, not from Texas' border region.

    Armed men appear from nowhere and kidnap six prison workers, including
    three guards. The captives are blindfolded and handcuffed, then
    assassinated with gunshots to the head - the latest bloody episode in a
    reign of terror aimed at shaking the government.

    This scenario unfolded last week a short distance from Texas soil, in
    Matamoros, Mexico, in a chilling message to Mexican federal authorities
    from top drug lords.

    Mexican President Vincente Fox is being challenged in unprecedented ways
    due to his aggressiveness in jailing major traffickers and his moves to
    disrupt their control while in prison.

    The United States cannot see him fail, lest we want a narco-republic to
    take firm root south of the Rio Grande. Mr. Fox deserves all the practical
    and moral support one would expect from an ally against a common enemy.

    Mr. Fox's response to the massacre was a reassuring and necessary show of
    force: Declaring "the mother of all fights," he dispatched troops to secure
    the Matamoros prison and a second one near Mexico City.

    Troops and tanks are also patrolling the border town of Reynosa in response
    to epidemic violence there. Reynosa's mayor held a press conference in
    Texas last week in a pathetic attempt to pronounce his city safe for U.S.
    shoppers - mostly the tens of thousands of retirees who flood South Texas
    this time of year.

    In light of kidnappings of several Texans, U.S. consular officials have
    issued warnings about crossing into Mexico. As border life deteriorates for
    both countries, the United States can send a stronger signal - that Mr. Fox
    does not stand alone against the drug lords.

    The U.S. government has a history of offering logistical support to Mexican
    law enforcement, such as large numbers of FBI agents who helped investigate
    mass murders in Ciudad Juarez. A similar show of solidarity is called for
    now, as Mr. Fox engages a direct threat to rule of law in his country.

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