Friday, March 27, 2009

Mexico's drug war

In December of 2006, Mexico's new President Felipe Calderón declared war on the drug cartels, reversing earlier government passiveness. Since then, the government has made some gains, but at a heavy price - gun battles, assasinations, kidnappings, fights between rival cartels, and reprisals have resulted in over 9,500 deaths since December 2006 - over 5,300 killed last year alone. President Barack Obama recently announced extra agents were being deployed to the border and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads to Mexico today to pursue a broad diplomatic agenda - overshadowed now by spiraling drug violence and fears of greater cross-border spillover. Officials on both sides of the border are committed to stopping the violence, and stemming the flow of drugs heading north and guns and cash heading south.

Seized ammunition is shown during a presentation of suspected members of the Pacifico drug cartel in Mexico city's airport on March 12, 2009. (REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez)

Baja California state police stand guard at a captured marijuana greenhouse in the basement of a ranch in Tecate, Mexico on March 12, 2009. (REUTERS/Jorge Duenes)

A police officer walks on packages of cocaine in Buenaventura, Colombia's main seaport on the Pacific coast, Monday, March 23, 2009. Colombian police had seized 3.5 tons of cocaine in a container of vegetable grease bound for Mexico. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Yaneth Deyinara Garcia (center) and Sigifrido Najera (2nd from left), members of the drug Organization "Cardenas Guillen", are presented to the press at the headquarters of the Defense Secretary in Mexico City on March 20, 2009. (LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images)

Army soldiers guard a police station in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, March 16, 2009. As retired and active-duty soldiers largely took over security in the violence-wracked city of 1.3 million, a retired Army officer took over as head of police Monday, whose previous law enforcement chief resigned earlier, after receiving threats. (AP Photo)

Federal police officers sit aboard an aircraft while flying to the border city Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, Monday, March 2, 2009. The deployment is part of a troop increase of 5,000 men planned for this city which has been hit hard by organized crime related violence. (AP Photo/Miguel Tovar)

A member of the Army watches the incineration of fourteen tons of drugs in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on December 2, 2008. (J. Guadalupe PEREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Police officers drive past a burning police vehicle in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009. Earlier, gunmen opened fire and hurled grenades at the patrol car in the Pacific resort town of Zihuatanejo, killing four officers. (AP Photo/Felipe Salinas)

Federal police patrol the border city of Ciudad Juarez March 2, 2009. Hundreds of heavily armed soldiers and convoys of federal police patrolled Ciudad Juarez on Monday amid a massive troop build up to try to restore order in Mexico's most violent city. (REUTERS/Tomas Bravo)

A federal policeman stands guard during an operation at a nightclub in downtown Ciudad Juarez March 7, 2009. Across the border from El Paso, Texas, Ciudad Juarez recently received hundreds of heavily armed federal forces to take over anti-drug efforts from police tainted by corruption and links to drug traffickers. Picture taken March 7. (REUTERS/Tomas Bravo)

Soldiers patrol near the town of Miguel Aleman, on Mexico's northeastern border with U.S., Thursday, March 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)

Shoes used for smuggling marijuana are displayed in the Drug Museum at the headquarters of the Mexican Ministry of Defense in Mexico City March 9, 2009. High precision rifles, a diamond and gold encrusted mobile phone, clandestine laboratories for drug processing and many more items that once belonged to drug traffickers are displayed in this private museum used by the military to show the soldiers the lifestyle of the Mexican drug lords. (REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez)

Texas Armoring Corp. President and CEO Trent Kimball examines a bullet proof windshield after it was shot at their facility in San Antonio, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009. Due to increased drug-cartel violence in northern Mexico, American companies say they're seeing increases in the number of cars they're asked to outfit with armor plating, bulletproof glass and defensive gadgets like push-button smoke screens and electrified door handles. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

With a .50-caliber rifle in the foreground, the U.S. House National Security and Foreign Affairs subcommittee holds a hearing on U.S.-Mexico border violence, Thursday, March 12, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Soldiers escort drug kingpin Hector Huerta Rios at the air force base in Salinas Victoria, on the outskirts of Monterrey, northern Mexico March 24, 2009. Soldiers on Tuesday captured Huerta Rios of the Beltran Leyva cartel who is accused of the killing of a police chief in this industrial city. Huerta Rios was seized along with five persons, weapons and money at his car dealership. (REUTERS/Tomas Bravo)

1 comment: