Wednesday, November 29, 2006
From washingtonpost.com: In the past year, the number of spectacularly gruesome killings and the intensity of civil unrest in Mexico have spiked to such alarming levels that even Mexicans who were once hardened by years of violence are shocked.
In flash points across the country, criminals, political groups and the frustrated poor have challenged the authority of institutions, intimidating local officials and spreading fear with little or no worry of legal consequences.
The bulk of the violence is the result of a barbaric, five-year war between Mexican drug cartels -- which are now approaching the strength and size of the notorious Colombian cartels of the 1980s. Drug killings have nearly doubled in the past year; in a single incident this month, six police officers were fatally shot in the troubled state of Michoacan.
But other factors are also contributing to the unrest, including clashes between the rapidly growing class of "micro-dealers," the lower-level street dealers who control neighborhood distribution and feed Mexico's growing ranks of drug consumers.
"We have a huge problem, a problem that exists throughout the country; it's difficult, complicated, dynamic," said Juan Heriberto Salinas Alt?s, a retired army general who serves as Guerrero state's public security director. "It's something we've never seen before." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]