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Mexico's mayors becoming casualties of drug wars; many towns without leaders

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Mexico's mayors becoming casualties of drug wars; many towns without leaders

By Anne-Marie O'Connor and William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, October 2, 2010


TANCITARO, MEXICO - Gustavo Sanchez worked hard in this Mexican farming town at one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. He was a mayor. Last weekend, Sanchez and a town councilman disappeared. Their bodies were found Monday, the skulls smashed open in the fifth killing of a mayor in the past six weeks.

According to supporters at city hall, Sanchez was honest and brave. Less than a year ago, the 36-year-old schoolteacher and martial-arts instructor agreed to lead this prosperous western community after the previous mayor abruptly quit, citing threats by drug traffickers, and took the entire town council with him.

Sanchez's short political career ended on the side of a muddy, lonely road, his handsome, mustached face unrecognizable. His mutilated colleague Rafael Equihua lay dead alongside him.

At least 11 mayors have been killed this year across Mexico, as a spooky sense of permanent siege takes hold in the many communities where rival mafias fight for control of local drug sales, marijuana and poppy fields, methamphetamine labs and billion-dollar smuggling routes to the United States.

In recent months, one mayor was killed by masked gunmen who stormed city hall. One was dragged out of his home and later executed, allegedly by renegade members of his own municipal police force. Another was shot in a restaurant by men wielding AK-47 assault rifles.

More than 100 mayors have been threatened, kidnapped, shot at or subjected to extortion in the past two years, according to Ramon Galindo Noriega, a senator and head of a congressional commission that supports municipal governments. The number is actually far higher, Galindo Noriega said, but many go unreported because of fears that a police investigation would only make matters worse.


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This is horrible.
We really need to get the National Guard down there to help; maybe the entire army.
What's going on in Mexico is far more of a direct threat to us than what's going on in Afghanistan.
 

Dezaad

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Mexico's mayors becoming casualties of drug wars; many towns without leaders

By Anne-Marie O'Connor and William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, October 2, 2010


TANCITARO, MEXICO - Gustavo Sanchez worked hard in this Mexican farming town at one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. He was a mayor. Last weekend, Sanchez and a town councilman disappeared. Their bodies were found Monday, the skulls smashed open in the fifth killing of a mayor in the past six weeks.

According to supporters at city hall, Sanchez was honest and brave. Less than a year ago, the 36-year-old schoolteacher and martial-arts instructor agreed to lead this prosperous western community after the previous mayor abruptly quit, citing threats by drug traffickers, and took the entire town council with him.

Sanchez's short political career ended on the side of a muddy, lonely road, his handsome, mustached face unrecognizable. His mutilated colleague Rafael Equihua lay dead alongside him.

At least 11 mayors have been killed this year across Mexico, as a spooky sense of permanent siege takes hold in the many communities where rival mafias fight for control of local drug sales, marijuana and poppy fields, methamphetamine labs and billion-dollar smuggling routes to the United States.

In recent months, one mayor was killed by masked gunmen who stormed city hall. One was dragged out of his home and later executed, allegedly by renegade members of his own municipal police force. Another was shot in a restaurant by men wielding AK-47 assault rifles.

More than 100 mayors have been threatened, kidnapped, shot at or subjected to extortion in the past two years, according to Ramon Galindo Noriega, a senator and head of a congressional commission that supports municipal governments. The number is actually far higher, Galindo Noriega said, but many go unreported because of fears that a police investigation would only make matters worse.


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This is horrible.
We really need to get the National Guard down there to help; maybe the entire army.
What's going on in Mexico is far more of a direct threat to us than what's going on in Afghanistan.
Fully agree about the threat. But what to do? Mexico won't let send any kind of troops over the border. Again I say, cut them off: legalize drugs, temporarily nationalize the trade, then privatize under heavy regulation when the time is opportune. We created the black market through prohibition, we can end it by its removal.
 

TacticalEvilDan

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This is horrible.
We really need to get the National Guard down there to help; maybe the entire army.
What's going on in Mexico is far more of a direct threat to us than what's going on in Afghanistan.
Yeah, because that way we could spend the next decade fighting a losing war in Mexico, until the Mexican people come to view us as imperialist invaders and all of our efforts come to naught.

I think maybe the Mexicans need to figure this one out on their own. If they want suggestions or strategic support, okay, but the last thing the United States needs is another Afghanistan.

We do not have the resources to fight THREE wars, much less two.
 
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These people are no doubt brave. I would never take on such a high profile job, knowing the risks it entails. I've also heard they cut off these dude's penis's, and shove them down their throats, who knows maybe their still alive when they do that :( omg, that's a man's worst nightmare come true.
 

1069

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These people are no doubt brave. I would never take on such a high profile job, knowing the risks it entails. I've also heard they cut off these dude's penis's, and shove them down their throats, who knows maybe their still alive when they do that :( omg, that's a man's worst nightmare come true.
Regular guys like Gustavo Sanchez are trying desperately to keep order and maintain the infrastructure in the country.
The vast majority of the citizenry supports them and shares their goals.
They just want to live their lives and raise their children in peace.
These beseiged city leaders can't trust their own municipal police forces or the Mexican army to help, because these organizations have been infiltrated and corrupted by the drug cartels.
If ever a country or culture deserved our military assistance, i think it's them.
We would not be battling the populace, as we are in Afghanistan: they share our goals, and want protection and freedom.
Mexico shares our culture, to a much greater extent than Afghanistan.
I'm not saying we shouldn't be in Afghanistan (not saying we should, either), but I do think our neighbor to the immediate South needs our help, while we have all of our forces tied up in a useless and pointless quagmire half a world away.
 

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Mexico's mayors becoming casualties of drug wars; many towns without leaders

By Anne-Marie O'Connor and William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, October 2, 2010


TANCITARO, MEXICO - Gustavo Sanchez worked hard in this Mexican farming town at one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. He was a mayor. Last weekend, Sanchez and a town councilman disappeared. Their bodies were found Monday, the skulls smashed open in the fifth killing of a mayor in the past six weeks.

According to supporters at city hall, Sanchez was honest and brave. Less than a year ago, the 36-year-old schoolteacher and martial-arts instructor agreed to lead this prosperous western community after the previous mayor abruptly quit, citing threats by drug traffickers, and took the entire town council with him.

Sanchez's short political career ended on the side of a muddy, lonely road, his handsome, mustached face unrecognizable. His mutilated colleague Rafael Equihua lay dead alongside him.

At least 11 mayors have been killed this year across Mexico, as a spooky sense of permanent siege takes hold in the many communities where rival mafias fight for control of local drug sales, marijuana and poppy fields, methamphetamine labs and billion-dollar smuggling routes to the United States.

In recent months, one mayor was killed by masked gunmen who stormed city hall. One was dragged out of his home and later executed, allegedly by renegade members of his own municipal police force. Another was shot in a restaurant by men wielding AK-47 assault rifles.

More than 100 mayors have been threatened, kidnapped, shot at or subjected to extortion in the past two years, according to Ramon Galindo Noriega, a senator and head of a congressional commission that supports municipal governments. The number is actually far higher, Galindo Noriega said, but many go unreported because of fears that a police investigation would only make matters worse.


Read Full Article

This is horrible.
We really need to get the National Guard down there to help; maybe the entire army.
What's going on in Mexico is far more of a direct threat to us than what's going on in Afghanistan.
The answer isn't to send down the National Guard. The answer is to legalize recreational drugs here in the U.S.

The reason why the mayors and other public officials get killed by the drug cartels is because it's the drug cartels who are the only ones making any money. We live in a world of global trade and, let's face, Mexico doesn't have much to trade on the global market legally except for cheap labor to the U.S. and Canada. But that's no way to make a living. Which is why there's such a large number of people who work for drug cartels.

This is what often happens in Mexico:
1) The Mexican government gets financial aid from the U.S. government to train Mexican anti-drug soldiers.
2) The Mexican government uses that money to train and equip Mexican anti-drug soldiers.
3) The anti-drug forces fight against the cartels.
4) Some of the cartel gangsters get killed and a lot of the anti-drug forces get killed, threatened, or corrupted by pay-offs from the cartels.
5) Members of the anti-drug forces realize they can make more money using their training and equipment for the cartel than they do from the Mexican government or the financial aid from the U.S. government.
6) Those anti-drug soldiers decide to steal their equipment and use it to take over an existing cartel's territory to earn money for themselves.
7) Those anti-drug soldiers now make their own territory as their own cartel.
8) See 1).

The problem in Mexico isn't one of crime. It is one of economy. Mexico is a nation of poverty and the only export it has of any worth is as a source of recreational drugs to the U.S. But it doesn't matter whether or not the Mexican government legalizes recreational drugs. As long as the United States hungers for recreational drugs, the cartels of Mexico will try to feed it, and those cartels will kill each other for the ability to feed it. This is because American dollars are what feeds the Mexican drug cartels.

So there's only two ways the drug violence in Mexico will come to an end:

1) The formation of a North American Union which is a superstate with Canada, the United States, and Mexico as it's constituents and with an integrated economy and standard of living. What this means is that because tax revenue from the United States and Canada with pour into Mexico to develop it (much like how tax revenue from New York City pours into the rest of New York state for development, or how tax revenue from California and New York are poured into Oklahoma and Nebraska), there will be less of a need to rely on the drug trade for money as they can instead rely on tax revenues from the U.S. However, this means less wealth for Americans, so there's going to be a lot of Americans and American politicians who will have a problem with this.

2) Legalize all recreational drugs in the U.S. Take the revenue of drugs out of the hand of criminal organizations and put it into the hands of legal manufacturers and distributors. Tax it. Tax it on a high ****ing rate. After all, cocaine has a 1,000% profit margin. Tax it. Then cut taxes on other things to spur business growth and consumer demand. Doingg that will dry up the money going into Mexico's cartels the day it gets passed. Then Mexico will have to find other, less violent ways of engaging in international trade. It will force them to adapt to the changing markets. They will. They'll get tax revenues out of it. They'll become a civilized country.

Those are the only ways as I see it that we'll be able to realistically end the drug violence in North America.
 

Gray_Fox_86

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The answer isn't to send down the National Guard. The answer is to legalize recreational drugs here in the U.S.

The reason why the mayors and other public officials get killed by the drug cartels is because it's the drug cartels who are the only ones making any money. We live in a world of global trade and, let's face, Mexico doesn't have much to trade on the global market legally except for cheap labor to the U.S. and Canada. But that's no way to make a living. Which is why there's such a large number of people who work for drug cartels.

This is what often happens in Mexico:
1) The Mexican government gets financial aid from the U.S. government to train Mexican anti-drug soldiers.
2) The Mexican government uses that money to train and equip Mexican anti-drug soldiers.
3) The anti-drug forces fight against the cartels.
4) Some of the cartel gangsters get killed and a lot of the anti-drug forces get killed, threatened, or corrupted by pay-offs from the cartels.
5) Members of the anti-drug forces realize they can make more money using their training and equipment for the cartel than they do from the Mexican government or the financial aid from the U.S. government.
6) Those anti-drug soldiers decide to steal their equipment and use it to take over an existing cartel's territory to earn money for themselves.
7) Those anti-drug soldiers now make their own territory as their own cartel.
8) See 1).

The problem in Mexico isn't one of crime. It is one of economy. Mexico is a nation of poverty and the only export it has of any worth is as a source of recreational drugs to the U.S. But it doesn't matter whether or not the Mexican government legalizes recreational drugs. As long as the United States hungers for recreational drugs, the cartels of Mexico will try to feed it, and those cartels will kill each other for the ability to feed it. This is because American dollars are what feeds the Mexican drug cartels.

So there's only two ways the drug violence in Mexico will come to an end:

1) The formation of a North American Union which is a superstate with Canada, the United States, and Mexico as it's constituents and with an integrated economy and standard of living. What this means is that because tax revenue from the United States and Canada with pour into Mexico to develop it (much like how tax revenue from New York City pours into the rest of New York state for development, or how tax revenue from California and New York are poured into Oklahoma and Nebraska), there will be less of a need to rely on the drug trade for money as they can instead rely on tax revenues from the U.S. However, this means less wealth for Americans, so there's going to be a lot of Americans and American politicians who will have a problem with this.

2) Legalize all recreational drugs in the U.S. Take the revenue of drugs out of the hand of criminal organizations and put it into the hands of legal manufacturers and distributors. Tax it. Tax it on a high ****ing rate. After all, cocaine has a 1,000% profit margin. Tax it. Then cut taxes on other things to spur business growth and consumer demand. Doingg that will dry up the money going into Mexico's cartels the day it gets passed. Then Mexico will have to find other, less violent ways of engaging in international trade. It will force them to adapt to the changing markets. They will. They'll get tax revenues out of it. They'll become a civilized country.

Those are the only ways as I see it that we'll be able to realistically end the drug violence in North America.
Mexico has nothing to offer the US or the world? What about oil? And what about the beautiful beaches that are all over Mexico?

I agree that the problem in Mexico is the economy, but you were so close and yet so far away. What is wrong in Mexico is that the country is a hard country to live in and many people have given up on becoming hard workers to try and rise above poverty because they know it is useless. So that in itself leads to a culture of corruption by common people who would otherwise not be criminals. Anyways, many of the wannabe rich only way of becoming rich is by selling drugs. Why? If their neighbor to the north wasn't the largest consumer of illegal drugs than maybe the people would not turn to drug trafficking and selling. But because of the US and people's greed they turn to drugs for making money and lots of it. What the Mexican's need is for all the corruption to be ended and the only way of doing that is by legalizing drugs here. That way perhaps the people can become legitimate workers when the business smart people start working for legitimate money and not illegal money since their 3000% return of what they spent on a kilo is not 3000 anymore.
 

samsmart

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Mexico has nothing to offer the US or the world? What about oil? And what about the beautiful beaches that are all over Mexico?
I'm gonna be honest, I don't know much about Mexico's oil industry.

As for tourism, yeah, Mexico has a great tourism industry - if it was safer from violence of the drug cartels and from kidnapping gangs.

I agree that the problem in Mexico is the economy, but you were so close and yet so far away. What is wrong in Mexico is that the country is a hard country to live in and many people have given up on becoming hard workers to try and rise above poverty because they know it is useless. So that in itself leads to a culture of corruption by common people who would otherwise not be criminals. Anyways, many of the wannabe rich only way of becoming rich is by selling drugs. Why? If their neighbor to the north wasn't the largest consumer of illegal drugs than maybe the people would not turn to drug trafficking and selling. But because of the US and people's greed they turn to drugs for making money and lots of it. What the Mexican's need is for all the corruption to be ended and the only way of doing that is by legalizing drugs here. That way perhaps the people can become legitimate workers when the business smart people start working for legitimate money and not illegal money since their 3000% return of what they spent on a kilo is not 3000 anymore.
I absolutely agree with you on all this.
 

Mason66

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Yeah, because that way we could spend the next decade fighting a losing war in Mexico, until the Mexican people come to view us as imperialist invaders and all of our efforts come to naught.

I think maybe the Mexicans need to figure this one out on their own. If they want suggestions or strategic support, okay, but the last thing the United States needs is another Afghanistan.

We do not have the resources to fight THREE wars, much less two.
I can assure you that the Mexican people, especially the ones in the affected areas, would welcome the US Army coming in. Ther Mexican Army and police are seen as corrupt and ineffectual, but the US Army is seen as a strong force that wouldn't take crap from anybody.

I am right in the middle of it, as a matter of fact I just had to pay 1 million pesos to keep them away from me, so I am getting out to a different city. Sinaloa is not the place to be. Too many waring factions that work against each other.

The US Army would be a welcome addition to the effort here.
 
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