Twin massacres in northern Mexico last weekend have sparked sharp debate over the future direction of Mexico's narco war. If the record death tolls in recent incidents induce some drastic measures now proposed, civil liberties could take the next hit in the United States' violence-stricken neighbor.
In memory of eight killed and 41 injured when a nightclub complex was attacked in the northern Mexico city of Torreon, Mayor Eduardo Olmos appealed to clubs to close their doors this coming weekend. He urges the city's citizens not to go out at night except for urgent business. Torreon's recent victims were mostly between 19 and 23 years of age.
Torreon sustained bloodshed again this week on Monday. A shoot-out between the Mexican Army and Federal Police against suspected drug cartel gunmen killed seven suspects. Five injuries were reported, but officials reportedly rescued two kidnap victims from the criminal group. The armed showdown provoked public panic at a nearby shopping center within hearing range of the conflict.
This week Mexico City erupted in a frenzy of finger-pointing, recrimination and accusations of corruption among politicians after last weekend's massacre of 16 people, mainly teenagers, at a party in Ciudad Juarez.
Congresswoman Antonieta Perez Reyes of Ciudad Juarez, a member of President President Felipe Calderon's National Action Party (PAN), said a curfew in the border city of Juarez needed serious consideration. While many shootings in Ciudad Juarez have occurred in broad daylight and in heavily-transited places, Perez did not indicate if a curfew should apply round-the-clock.
Striking a similar tone, PAN Senator Guillermo Tamborel proposed a "state of exception" for Ciudad Juarez, providing no specifics other than to say that drugs should not be legalized or the death penalty enacted.
Other drastic measures took a proactive tact. Mexico's Chamber of Deputies, after a sometimes heated debate this week, passed a resolution to make Ciudad Juarez a national priority. The legislators backed a new policy of crime prevention intended to "reconstruct the social fabric and increase the efficiency of governments."
President Calderon who is touring Japan pledged his administration will unveil a new comprehensive crime-fighting campaign soon. The Calderon administration had announced a comprehensive anti-crime strategy in March 2007 which, among other things, promised a focus on combating Mexico's growing problem of drug addiction.
Now, nearly three years later, drug-related violence continues unabated. Actually, last month saw a record-breaking monthly toll, nearly 1,000 narco-executions.
Source: Frontera NorteSur, based on information from: Norte/El Universal. El Sur/Agencia Reforma. Proceso/Apro. La Jornada/Notimex. El Siglo de Torreon. Televisa. Arrobajuarez.com. Diario de Juare. Lapolaka.com.