Friday, September 23, 2011

violent delights have violent ends

“Are you coming back – now?”

I have heard the refrain several times before from friends and relatives.  Usually following revelations of new drug gang atrocities -- or another of my crocodile stories.

So, I am waiting for the email and telephone calls.  Today’s headline was: “Another 11 bodies found in Mexico port.”

The port is Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico.  Two days before, 35 bodies were dumped there.

And the details surrounding the corpses are terrible.  There is no silk purse hiding in this sow’s ear.

Bound.  Tortured.  Seminude.  From everything I have heard, no decapitations were involved.  Apparently, for the executioners, the quality of mercy is not strained.

The scenario should sound familiar to those of you who know your history from the American Roaring 20s.  This is the type of mayhem one gang would commit against another gang over territory rights to the manufacture and distribution of alcohol.

And that is what is happening in Mexico.  President Calderon’s war on drugs is a lost cause.  But it has done one thing.  It has turned drug lords against one another.

The word is that the recently-departed in Veracruz were members of The Zetas, a gang made up of former Mexican Army special forces.  They have been accused of targeting and killing non-political civilians.

Hiding behind the guise of the morally-enraged patriot, a leader of a rival drug gang, who was already in a turf battle with The Zetas, is reportedly behind the killings.  It was a twofer. For civic pride and more criminal control.

So, am I going home because two local gangs are doing their best to re-enact Romeo and Juliet -- without the lovers and the snappy prose?  Nope.

But I do wish someone would realize that it is next to insane to continue trying to enforce a prohibition policy.  It didn’t work in the 20s; and it is not working now.


Kim G said...

Supposedly the gangs are now going after social media users who report on their activities, now that they've largely succeeded in cowing local media.

Go to Google news and search for "Mexico social media."

All that said, I've come to the conclusion that people in the U.S. have absolutely no idea how large Mexico is. Most of them seem to think it's about the size of Vermont.

When friends here ask if I'm nervous about the gang activity there, I ask them if brutal violence in Detroit would keep them from going to Chicago. The usual answer is no. I then point out that most of the "goings-on" are farther from Mexico City (my normal haunt) than is Chicago from Detroit.

In your case, Veracruz is a two-day drive.  LOL


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where we're starting to worry about Canadian thugs in Toronto.

Steve Cotton said...

Oddly enough, I am planning on making that drive before long.  Great ancient sites over that way.

al lanier said...

I agree that decriminalization is a grand idea but with the religious fervor and backward thinking gripping the US nowadays the chance of that are zero. I've often heard that under previous administrations in Mexico, Fox and Zedillo in particular, the federal government had a tacit live-and-let-live arrangement with the drug cartels that effectively kept the peace, and all that Calderón has accomplished is stir a hornets' nest. 

So I don't know what the answer is.


Felipe Zapata said...

I just ignore that stuff. I recommend that approach.

Felipe Zapata said...

Lots of Americans cannot even tell you where Mexico is.  This has been repeatedly demonstrated.

jennifer rose said...

That's the best approach. Even in prosperous, safe times, the Old Country hyenas would ask stupid questions like "Haven't you had enough of Mexico?" and "Aren't you homesick yet?" Not answering will shut them just as effectively as a honest, straightforward answer. 

blog said...

Being over here some 100 miles or so from the bodies scene, I can say life seems safer here generally than in the U.S. We do see more military these days.

As to the wasted effort and stirring up a hornets nest, I agree; it is time to cut the line and let those bottom fish go back to their murky existence.

Rushappraisals said...

I totally agree that the massive US market for drug is the current problem and legalization would over time end the demand, but then what? What exactly will these highly trained murderers and kidnappers do? That may worry me more than the current cartel versus cartel gang war that's going on now. Are they going to put down their AK's and start growing bananas, become civic leaders and run for office, you guys are well educated, what happened after prohibition, Are the Mexican people better off with the devil they know, versus the devil they don't know? And we're a bit higher profile being gringo, than your typical mexican hard working family, are we the next best target? Just wondering.

Steve Cotton said...

Nope. They will do what organized crime in The States. Look for the next illegal activity with an artificially-inflated market. Gambling and prostitution. Or something else.

There will always be criminals. But there will not be the money available that there is in the drug trade (or was in the alcohol business). At least, my tax dollars will not be wasted on this enterprise. (There I was going just fine. Being pragmatic. Then, I have to throw in that nutty utopian line. Government will finds plenty of ways to waste my tax dollars.)

Steve Cotton said...

I feel no fear. I am merely saddened at the waste of life and money that has gone into this unwinnable war on drugs.

Steve Cotton said...

I get a lot of the same questions. As if I had decided to live on the moon with only two tanks of oxygen.

Steve Cotton said...

Surprisingly, nor do a lot of them want to know.

Steve Cotton said...

I do. But it is still worth a post. It brought me back to one of my favorite subjects.

Steve Cotton said...

The answer is for us to enjoy living our lives in Mexico.

Curtiselowe said...

Yep.  The Pentagon is already 'staging' Predator drones from bases in "other" Asian and African countries.  Meaning NOT only in Iraq & Afghanistan.

Steve Cotton said...

But we have already been there with the Clinton-era cruise missiles. And the government is clever enough to waste even more money within its own borders.

debra said...

No honor among thieves! Fearful Americans do get tiresome and so sorry it hurts the tourist economy. I find myself leaning more toward legalization.
On another note (pardon the pun). Looks like you are getting ready for a move, happy for you, not back to the US.  What you think of Lake Chapala area. I discounted the area years ago, because it seemed overrun with gringos just like me.  Visited Mazatlan, loved it but toooooo HOT for me! This Floridian is trying to get cooler (currently working in Tucson haha). The draw for MZT was the shrimp/ocean and the YWAM base, where I want to volunteer. After a Jan 2011 medical trip to Ajijic, I discovered a huge YWAM base nearby. Perfect location! Water and cool and cultural opportunities nearby, but I never visited a place in Mexico that I didn't like (living??).  If you have thoughts on the area, please share here or  Thanks

Steve Cotton said...

No concrete plans on moving on this end.  I have never been to Lake Chapala.  I almost stopped on my last trip back from the highlands.  But I was on a roll.