For the Global Thinker

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Durango's Killing Fields: The Grave in the Garden

Like the other grisly fosas, or narco-graves, uncovered in this northern desert city since last month — many of which were in middle-class backyards or near schools — the latest raised an unsettling question: How could residents and authorities not know something was terribly amiss at the house on Calle Petunias? "That's the incredible part," says Jorge Santiago, spokesman for Durango State Human Rights Commission.
Just as staggering is the number of bodies recovered so far in the Durango fosas: 218, a figure sure to rise with the newest discovery, and which surpasses the 183 exhumed since last month in the border state of Tamaulipas. Like the Tamaulipas corpses, many of those found in Durango are believed to be innocents as well as mafiosos. Either way, the sheer volume has human rights advocates looking at Mexico's bloody drug war, which in four years has produced almost 40,000 gangland murders, through a...
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Also here are two other remarkable stories that I read recently...

A Dangerous Journey For Mexican Bus Drivers
Carlos, a bus driver with 10 years of experience, said that in his travels through Tamaulipas, he has been witness to armed confrontations between police and traffickers, and in more than one occasion has seen bodies strewn or mutilated on the highways.
One time, he had to maneuver his bus to avoid running over two groups who were firing on each other right on the highway.
"I accelerated and dodged the bullets," Carlos said. "The passengers were scared. Some cried, others prayed."

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And one story from my own neighborhood...

An American Gun in Mexico

Late on the night of March 8, 2008, a Mexican military patrol in the northern city of Chihuahua responded to neighbors' complaints about armed men. The soldiers, part of Mexico's ongoing effort to curb narco-trafficking violence, were met with a fusillade of grenades and gunfire. In the end, six men whom officials described as members of a drug gang lay dead.
On the government side, five soldiers were injured and one, Capt. David Mendoza Gómez, was killed. Mexican authorities found a cache of ammunition, grenades and high-powered firearms—including a .50 caliber Barrett sniper rifle. An imposing weapon, nearly 60 inches long, the long-range semiautomatic rifle is popular among the world's militaries.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it traced the rifle to John Shipley, a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in El Paso, Texas.


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