Mexican media mum on murderous mayhem

Two women are among the dead in a fierce gun battle that claimed five lives March 16 in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, just across the Mexican border from Hidalgo, Tex. Tamualipas state authorities said the women were among the combatants. The fire-fight came one day after Mexican federal police found more than five tons of marijuana, 370 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and a large weapons cache in underground bunkers in Reynosa—including 20 rifles, 10 bulletproof vests, a gas grenade, 20 uniforms, radios and tire spikes. March 11 also saw a three-hour gun battle in the streets of Reynosa, with rival narco-factions using automatic weapons and grenades. Authorities were absent for most of the shoot-out that left some three dozen gunmen and two bystanders dead—one just a teen. An exact death toll was elusive, as cartel gunmen collected their own dead during the battle.

While the shoot-outs became common knowledge through social media, mainstream news media have remained mum about it, apparently intimidated by the cartels—an perhaps by the Mexican government. “This has me very worried because this blackout is coming from both sides,” said Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, chair of the government department at the University of Texas at Brownsville. “Not only are we seeing organized crime shushing the media but now we are seeing the government at all levels put a lid on the media where you now have virtually no mainstream coverage of a battle of this magnitude.” (Valley Central, Brownsville, March 16; The Monitor, McAllen, March 15; The Monitor, March 11)