Violence grows across Mexico

Violence—generally held to be drug-related—is spreading across Mexico at an alarming pace. The Pacific resort of Acapulco, in the conflicted southern state of Guerrero, has seen some 30 killings this year—many in the disco and restaurant zone frequented by tourists. The incidents have included grenade attacks on police stations and the killing of several officers, although no tourists have been injured. More than 100 federal police agents have been stationed in the city to combat crime and disrupt the drug gangs’ turf wars. (Hartford Courant, Sept. 25)

On Sept. 11, seven people were killed and 19 others arrested in a new wave of violence affecting several regions of the country—including Acapulco, where a police agent was shot dead. Other victims included three guards of a prison near Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. In neighboring Tamaulipas, a police agent and a gunman died in a shootout in the state capital of Ciudad Victoria. Another officer was injured and 19 suspects were detained after the skirmish. In the city of Buenavista Tomatlan, Michoacan, a drug smuggler was killed during a shooting with police. (Xinhua, Sept. 12)

July 31 saw a particularly grisly incident in the Guerrero coastal town of San Jeronimo de Juarez, where former soldier went on a murderous rampage that left 10 people dead. Oscar Flores, 35, killed his wife and nephew with a knife before commandeering an assault rifle from a police officer for an apparently random shooting spree on the town’s streets. Municipal police shot Flores in the abdomen on the town’s central square before machete-wielding residents overwhelmed the officers and finished him off. (San Diego Union-Tribune, Aug. 1)

See our last posts on Guerrero and border crisis.

  1. Acapulco violence overstated
    The article Violence Grows Across Mexico has overstated the case, especially the link to the drug wars.

    Here in GRO, for example, it may be true that thirty killings have taken place, but I would be cautious as to how many would be clearly drug related.

    The highest profile killing, that of a former government official, could have been retribution by peasant guerrillas.

    The scariest local event was the attacks on local police stations on the eve of the governor’s election; again, this is attributed to leftist guerrillas (although some folks around here suspect PRI intimidation).

    The greatest single number of killings was due to one deranged individual in his village, and was not drug related.

    Some of the killings were viligante uprisings against local criminals (e.g., passengers on a bus from Zihuantanejo beat a robber to death after the robber had shot one of the passengers).

    One of the most difficult ongoing cause of murders is a local serial killer of prostitutes; again not drug related.

    The greatest danger for U.S. tourists in Acapulco remains traffic accidents. During this year at least two, that I know of, have died crossing the street: a retired priest from Pennsylvania and a college coed from Indiana.