Dramatic bouts of violence and mayhem in two parts of Mexico this week have gone at the very least 12 dead and a large number of businesses torched, dramatizing the power of crime gangs to wreak havoc and shatter the semblance of normality almost any place in the country unexpectedly.
On Friday, a huge selection of Mexican troops were dispatched to the northern border city of Ciudad Jurez in a bid to bolster security after a number of apparently random gang attacks anywhere on Thursday and early Friday that left at the very least 11 dead including a favorite radio personality and three of his co-workers, and two inmates shot in a prison riot. Assailants armed with guns and Molotov cocktails targeted convenience stores, gasoline stations, a pizza shop and vehicles.
The killings just over the Rio Grande from El Paso came days after roaming bands of criminals a huge selection of miles away south set fire to a large number of shops, buses and cars, and threw up roadblocks on major arteries across a broad swath of the states of Jalisco and Guanajuato. On the list of sites attacked there have been some two dozen outlets of Oxxo, a nationwide fast-food, convenience-store chain. Authorities reported one fatality.
The dramatic incidents in distinct places were apparently unrelated: Officials said the bloody prison riot in Jurez sparked the rampage there in acts of retaliation, while authorities blamed the chaos in Jalisco and Guanajuato on cartel leaders outraged about plans to arrest them.
The episodes underscored the power of Mexicos multibillion-dollar criminal underground outfitted with high-powered arms and flush with cash from drug trafficking, extortion rings, migrant smuggling along with other rackets to generate turmoil.
Even many Mexicans familiar with rampant lawlessness were stunned as of this weeks anarchic images from Jurez and outside Guadalajara, Mexicos second most populous city, in Jalisco state.
The Mexican state has been overrun and may no more protect its citizens, tweeted Adrin Lpez, director of the newspaper Noroeste.
The deaths of the civilians in Jurez seemed especially shocking to numerous in a nation where folks are familiar with gangland assassinations of rival mobsters, politicians, journalists among others whose work or activism puts them in the crosshairs of criminals.
A widely shared belief in Mexico albeit among questionable validity is that folks can remain relatively safe should they start their business while preventing the criminal element. In his regular Friday morning news conference, President Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador categorized the attacks on people not associated with criminality being an event unusual.
That is a thing that hadnt presented itself before and hopefully wont be repeated, since they attacked the civilian population, innocents, as some sort of retaliation, Lpez Obrador told reporters Friday. It wasnt only a clash between two groups, however they started to shoot at civilians. … This is the most lamentable section of this.
Actually, the murders of innocents have always been a byproduct of Mexicos decades-long drug conflict. Many have already been collateral victims killed, for example, in gang massacres targeting rivals in bars, restaurants, homes along with other locales.
Sowing terror via the deliberate targeting of civilians with spectacular outbursts of firepower in addition has been area of the texture of Mexicos tumultuous recent history.
Random acts of violence create chaos and create fear and invite one to gain a tactical advantage on the authorities as well as your rivals, said Alejandro Hope, a Mexican security analyst.
Most notorious, perhaps, was the 2008 grenade attack on a crowd gathered in a primary plaza to celebrate Mexican Independence Day in the central city of Morelia. At the very least eight were killed and much more than 100 wounded in another of the defining assaults by traffickers in the first days of Mexicos so-called War on Drugs.
Jurez, using its strategic location along an integral cross-border smuggling corridor, is definitely a hub of mob mayhem, a location where gangsters strung slain rivals bodies from bridges or dumped their beheaded corpses in vacant lots. The so-called party massacre in 2010 left 14 dead at a higher school birthday gathering in Jurez.
The systemic failure to create murderers to justice in a country where most killings go unsolved only increases the incentive for criminals to focus on civilians, Hope added.
In the event that you follow random people in the streets, you need to turn into a priority target for authorities, Hope said. But that will not happen. It sends a note [to criminals] that is an excellent tactic.
The most recent attacks have intensified an overriding sense of insecurity for most in places such as for example western Guanajuato state, where rival gangs battle for control of drug-trafficking routes and black-market gasoline, while extorting local businesses.
Theres no government here: Here the narcos will be the government, said Rogelio Cornejo Daz, 54, who runs a fruit and vegetable stand in Celaya, among the cities hard hit in the rolling attacks late Tuesday and early Wednesday in Guanajuato state. If the president thinks all is okay and tranquil, he should come here sometime along with his wife and children to see for himself.
Violence has ebbed somewhat in Jurez within the last decade, but Thursdays events demonstrated the enduring power of criminal mafias both sophisticated, trans-national cartels and lower-level street and prison gangs.
The difficulty in the border city began Thursday afternoon in a dispute between rival gangs at circumstances prison, Ricardo Meja, Mexicos deputy security minister, told reporters at the presidents daily news conference.
Battling one another, Meja said, were groups referred to as Los Chapos apparently from the Sinaloa Cartel formerly headed by Joaqun El Chapo Guzmn, now imprisoned forever in the usa and an area prison band referred to as Los Mexicles.
A riot left two prisoners dead and at the very least 20 injured, Mejia said. It had been unclear what caused the dispute. But authorities said Mexicles members beyond your prison went on a rampage, killing at the very least nine people.
The victims included the four staffers of Mega Radio shot dead in the parking large amount of a Caesars Pizza outlet. It had been unclear if Aln Gonzlez, the announcer, and his three colleagues were random victims or were targeted in another of the worlds most dangerous countries for journalists. Also on the list of dead were two women who apparently succumbed to smoke inhalation following the Rapiditos Bip Bop convenience store (portion of the Oxxo chain) was attacked with a Molotov cocktail.
Mara del Refugio Ramrez, 54, was a longtime employee, and Saira Janet de Santiago Castro, 18, was trying to get employment at the store, in accordance with media reports.
Neighborhood residents erected a shrine beyond your store Friday.
Another man in Jurez was reported shot dead in his truck on Thursday, while another victim, also male, was fatally shot on the road, authorities said.
The youngest victim was a 12-year-old who was simply shot at a Circle K store, officials said. He died Friday after doctors were not able to regenerate him.
Most shops and offices in the border city were closed Friday as much feared a repeat of the violence. Police and army vehicles patrolled the streets.
The dramatic events of recent days sparked a renewed round of criticism of President Lpez Obradors controversial security strategy.
In seeking election, Lpez Obrador promised to have a more holistic method of fighting crime. He vowed to reject the militarized strategy of his predecessors and boost social programs for teenagers susceptible to joining gangs.
But Mexicos homicide rate has dipped only slightly since Lpez Obrador took office in December 2018, and there’s little proof a diminution of the energy of organized crime gangs.
Were in a high-violence equilibrium that has been self-sustaining and that government policy does very little to improve, said Hope, the security analyst.
Special correspondents Cecilia Snchez in Mexico City and Gabriela Minjres in Ciudad Jurez contributed to the report.