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Civil War And Vigilantism Gripping Mexico

Written by Michael Webster

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michael.jpgJanuary 19, 2009
By Michael Webster: Syndicated Investigative Reporter

A full scale civil war is underway in Mexico. The Mexican President Felipe Calderon and the powerful drug cartels that operate unmolested throughout Mexico are locked in a battle over control of the country. With tens of thousands of the Mexican army fully deployed and often fighting Zetas' (ex-Mexican army Special Forces trained in the U.S.) who is now working for the cartels.

The Mexican government has not been able to curtail the on going gruesome and erupting new violence and confrontations between the two warring parties throughout Mexico. This relentless fighting with casualties on both sides is in truth and scope a civil war. Mexico try's to hide that fact and the United States is apparently in total denial.
To date some 7,000 Mexicans have died in this war - all attributable to the government versus the rich and powerful Mexican Drug Cartels war.

During 2008 Mexico's violent deaths broke historic records raising the death toll to 5,630 execution murders, beating out last years all time record.

In 2008, more people lost their lives in Mexico do to violence then were lost in the war torn countries of Iraq and Afghanistan combined. 

Were it not for the fact that the cartels are also frequently at war with one another, they might have won the war by now and would be in complete control of Mexico.

Execution-style murders, beheadings, dismemberings and kidnappings are common now in every state in Mexico on a daily basis. Gun battles are frequent events in Mexico City and in Mexican towns all along the border. On Jan. 5, the body of Jose Ivan Vasquez Lopez, 43, was found in a trash drum with his head cut off. On Jan. 7, the body of Ricardo Arturo Alvarado Contreras, 45, was found dead in a vacant lot with his hands chopped off. Mexican border town officials have crossed into the U.S. seeking asylum, fearing for their lives.
Now a third factor is reported to be getting into Mexico's civil war as the Mexican border towns are void of tourist. Mexican citizens are getting feed up with not having any business and that is making it very difficult to survive and make ends meet said Jose Lopez a shop keeper in what had normally been a busy typical Mexican border town and we the people are done with the fear and the bloody killings on our streets.

A group calling itself the Juárez Citizens Command is threatening to strike back against lawlessness that has gripped the city for a long time they say that they are striking back by killing one criminal a day until order and piece is restored. A potential rise in vigilante justice in Juárez is expected by some experts to spread throughout Mexico and would raise the steaks and escalate an already dangerous and bloody civil war.

The city's police and the Mexican army together have not been able to stop the plague of killings, beheadings, or the extortion targeted business owners, teachers, medical professionals, or the carjackings, kidnappings, robberies and other crime. Last year, more than 1,600 people were slain in Juárez alone.

"Better the death of a bad person, than that bad person continue contaminating our region," the group, named Comando Ciudadano por Juárez, or CCJ in Spanish, stated in a news release spread on the Internet.

"There is a call for the public to remain calm," said Andres Andreu, a Juárez representative in the Chihuahua state congress.

"In anger, this could start an uncontrollable wave of unjust deaths," Andreu said in a statement condemning vigilantism and urging authorities to do more to stop the violence. "Movements of this nature are directed more by a sense of vengeance than of justice."

The El Paso times reported that Howard Campbell, an anthropology


Professor at the University of Texas at El Paso stated: "What (vigilantism) says is people do not think the government can fix the violence, you have to remember, there is the whole history -- the killing of the women and the drug killings. The common person feels there is no one to protect them."

The environment exists for the creation for a group such as the CCJ, Campbell said. If the CCJ is real, Howard said, it could be reminiscent of Los Pepes, assassins who in the early 1990s targeted relatives and associates of drug lord Pablo Escobar in Colombia.

It was rumored that Los Pepes might have had links to rival drug traffickers or government special forces, including those in the United States.

Lynchings, mob beatings and other forms of vigilante justice are not unheard of in Mexico and other parts of Latin America, often because of lack of trust in government and law enforcement authorities.

Not long ago an enraged mob swarmed three federal police officers in the Mexico City suburb of San Juan Ixtayopan, and beat them nearly lifeless then doused them with gasoline and then burned two of them alive while thousands watched live on national television.

Dramatic as it was, the cop killings were not an isolated incident. Vigilantism has taken root in Latin America over the past decade, lending credence to the notion that the region is in the throes of a civil war. From Venezuela and Guatemala to Bolivia and Peru, angry crowds are increasingly taking the law into their own hands, meting out physical punishment for crimes real and imagined. Vigilantes often "lynch" common criminals who, in their view, have escaped justice. More recently they've started attacking public officials suspected of malfeasance. A mob in the Peruvian town of Ilave beat their mayor after accusing him of embezzlement, then dragged him into a public square and left him to die. "Lynching has grown totally out of control," says  Mark Ungar, an expert on Latin American police reform at the Woodrow Wilson International School for Scholars in Washington. "It's spreading in the sense that vigilantes are going after criminals, officials, even governments--and once it starts it's hard to stop."

Mexican civil war is also spilling over into the U.S. Reports of incursions into the U.S. by heavily armed men in Mexican army uniforms (and often driving U.S.-made Humvees) now occurs on a regular basis. Sometimes the "soldiers" are cartel men, probably ex-Mexican army; sometimes they are real Mexican army. In many cases, their purpose is to escort and protect a drug run into the U.S. and back off any lightly armed local sheriff or Border Patrol agent in the way.

The evidence is clear Mexico is in a civil war and this civil war is happening in America's back yard in a neighboring country of a population of well over 100 million people. A 2000 mile open border and with corrupt officials operating on both sides of the Rio Grande River. There are estimates that the Mexican cartels produce, smuggle and sell some $300 billion worth of drugs into the U.S. annually. These drugs are poisoning our children and violently killing citizens on both sides of the U.S. Mexican border.

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