Sunday, August 31, 2008

What is going on in Mexico ?

Unlike conventional wars between nations, the "drugs war" in Mexico seems to have attracted relatively little international coverage. However the level of violence that has caused around 2,700 deaths this year alone is really extraordinary.

Some the tactics adopted by the drugs gangs are beginning to resemble the Iraqi insurgency with such horrors as mass beheadings. In fact the level of kidnapping is apparently now worse than Iraq.

My knowledge of Mexico is very limited although I did once hop accross the border during a visit with a friend to California. This was in 2002 and we took a bus from San Diego to Tijuana. Perhaps as two naive Brits we were blissfully unaware of all that was going on. Tijuana was certainly a bit dubious but during the daylight hours we visited seemed no worse than a number of other places where local traders try to sell their wares to tourists. We were aware there was a seedier side to the place but apart from a few tourist shops and an internet cafe that doubled as a dentist we didn't go in anywhere. Satisfied with a brief but presumably unrepresentative glimpse of Mexico we got the bus back, waiting several hours to cross the US border with security apparently being higher than normal on what was the 6-month anniversary of September 11th, 2001.

I don't know if we were just lucky or if things really have got a lot worse in 6 years.

Here is a side of Tijuana I didn't see on my brief visit.

Recent goings on in Mexico really seem dreadful and ordinary people have to live their lives in the midst of this. Even from a cold-blooded criminal perspective the level of violence seems utterly bewildering and I am struggling to understand what is going on there. Understandably it seems ordinary Mexicans are desperate for this to stop.

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