Michael Webster
December 29, 2009
Mexico's civil war has killed more than 15,000
By Michael Webster

Mexico's unbelievable record breaking level of violent war deaths are piling up as casualties of Mexico's on going civil war continues. These killings in Mexico are reveled by no country even other countries with active war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands of people died in what the Mexican Government calls drug-related violence this year as Mexican Drug Cartels (MDC's) and trained enforcer gangs fought each other, the Mexican Army and Mexico's security forces.

Mexican border protesters earlier this year told this reporter that the MDC's claim they are dedicated to over throwing the current Calderon government and the government is hiding the true Mexican army death totals. Many Mexican troops have been killed by direct confrontations with MDC's paramilitary forces many more than the Calderon administration is willing to admit.

Hundreds of Mexicans this past year, blocked roads and bridges in Mexican cities bordering the United States from the Gulf of Mexico (Matamoros) to the Pacific Ocean (Tijuana) and protested by marching in the northern city of Monterrey in a series of demonstrations that police say are organized and funded by MDC's.

Mexican President Felipe CalderonPresident Felipe Calderon condemned those public protests against his army-backed drug war, saying they were cowardly acts orchestrated by the warring MDC's.

Recently there have been intense counter attacks by the Mexican Army against the MDC's forces, raising the intensity in the civil war against Mexico's organized resistant protesters.

According to the largest Mexican newspaper El Universal the death count so far this year alone is more than 5,000. Many believe that the war began when the Calderon administration launched a military campaign to combat spiraling drug violence in Mexico. Over 50, 000 troops and federal police were sent to cities in Mexico, many on the U.S Mexican border. Since than over 15,000 people in Mexico have died as a result of both the military's action and the MDC's.

The Mexican people are being used by the MDC's who are winning many of the people over to their cause by hiring and training Mexico's very poor young men to fight for them against the Mexican government forces and paying them up to $600.00 USD per week. This is a lot of money to pay the very poor and they are responding by the thousands.

The MDC's are reported to also be recruiting freedom fighters to train to fight for them from Central American countries of Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

Mexican officials say that the MDC's have training comps where these young men are being trained in modern war fare both in Mexico, Panama, Peru and Colombia. The MDC's are also reported to be providing food, medicines and cash to their families back home in small villages and towns throughout Mexico. The MDC's are paying people to attend marches and has handed out backpacks full of schoolbooks, pens and paper to poor families who joined the demonstrations, acting as a sort of Robin HoodRobin Hood, police said.

President Calderón labeled the MDC's as cowards and traitors to the nation those who use women and children as part of their strategy to bring about the withdrawal of the Army in its battle against organized crime.

The leader of the Mexican left-leaning PRD party, Jesus Ortega, describes as "grave" that in Mexico the number of extortions by organized crime has skyrocketed. "We are going toward a situation where practically no Mexican is not threatened by criminals in one form or another," he said. He criticizes the government as "arrogant" for thinking it alone can confront the problem of insecurity. He summarizes his thoughts, "The formulas of the left are an important part, but they are not enough. We need to join them with other proposals in order to make a policy of State to face up to crime."[SIC]

Police and government officials in Monterrey say Mexico's most violent drug gang, the Gulf cartel, and its feared armed wing, the Zetas, is behind the protests.

Despite warnings from rights groups about soldiers using excessive force in the drug fight, Calderon also has Washington's support for using the army, which has made historic drug seizures and is catching more gang leaders. More killings, running battles, shootings, protests and even rioting in Mexico are expected particularly along the U.S. Mexican border.

According to Time magazine Mexico is suffering from its worst violence in history and one of its hardest economic slumps. "We are very near a social crisis," Jose Narro, the director of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City, said recently. "The conditions are there."

The big fear now is that Mexico's rich drug cartels, responsible for the killings this decade, are lending their resources and firepower to emerging guerrilla groups. If so, their plan may be to sow bicentennial terror and turn Mexicans against President Felipe CalderÓn's drug-war offensive.

This past fall authorities say they seized an arsenal of large guns and grenades allegedly being sent from the Zetas, a vicious drug gang, to Jose Manuel HernandezHernandez, a purported leader of the rebel group called the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR). The EPR in recent years has claimed responsibility for attacks on Mexican oil infrastructure, including the bombing of six pipelines in 2007.

Political observers like Denise Maerker, a prominent columnist for the Mexico City daily El Universal, fear that provincial governments in places like Chiapas, where the weapons were found, are using 2010 fears as a pretext for cracking down on social activists. "They're drawing questionable links between advocates for the poor and armed groups," says Maerker, who adds there's little evidence that Hernandez is an EPR boss.

Tim Padgett with Dolly Mascarenas reported in Time that either way, the drug cartels have already shown they're willing to use high-profile national celebrations as a stage for narco-terror. Last year, during Independence Day festivities in drug-infested Michoacan state, narcos killed seven people with fragmentation-grenade blasts. Mexicans were rattled again in September when bombs went off at three Mexico City banks and another at a car dealership. No one was injured, but to many chilangos, or capital residents, the explosions seemed a warning of things to come.

Aside from inflated drug and guerrilla violence, another specter is unrest resulting from Mexico's deflated economy. Given its enormous reliance on the U.S. market — and on remittances from Mexican workers there, which have declined sharply this year — the global recession has hit Mexico especially hard. Its GDP, in fact, will contract more than 5% in 2009, exacerbating unemployment as well as Mexico's chronic poverty. A report this year by the Colegio de Mexico, one of the country's top universities, warned, "A national social explosion is knocking at the door." Said top Roman Catholic Bishop Gustavo Rodriguez, "We cannot separate the economic crisis from the violence and criminal crisis that we live day by day."

View this article on Time.com

The State Department said police forces in Mexican border communities "suffer from lack of funds and training, and the judicial system is weak, overworked and inefficient."

"I worry that the inability of local law enforcement to come to grips with rising drug warfare, kidnappings and random street violence will have a chilling effect on the cross-border exchange, tourism and commerce so vital to the region's prosperity," Traffickers are armed with AK-47 assault rifles, grenade launchers and bazookas. They're carrying other weapons, wearing vests and using police jargon. Within a minute or two, someone is shoving a hood over the victim's head and dragging him into a vehicle. His car is left on the side of the road — often outgunning and intimidating border police, sheriff depts., and Mexican security forces.

The Mexican and U.S. Governments are in denial. The dictionary definition of civil war indicates that a civil war is a military conflict which arises from a desire for usually radical change in society as a result of either cultural, social, religious, political or economic disputes due to diametrically opposed and uncompromising ideas about the leadership, administration and management of the population and territory it occupies, and which it is resolved through use of weapons. This would seem to describe the current situation in Mexico today as the Mexican government wages war against the powerful Mexican drug cartels.

The US Department of Defense considers Mexico one of the two governments in the world most likely to suffer a "rapid and sudden collapse" that could require military intervention. A section on "weak and failing countries," of a report released this year by the US Joint Forces Command says that narcotraffic and organized crime could generate a chaotic scene and the army would be obligated to respond for reasons of national security. At the end of 2008, the US government declared the Mexican drug cartels to be the greatest threat to its territory.

According to the U.S. Joint Forces Command there is one dynamic in the literature of weak and failing states that has received relatively little attention, namely the phenomenon of "rapid collapse." For the most part, weak and failing states represent chronic, long-term problems that allow for management over sustained periods.

The collapse of a state usually comes as a surprise, has a rapid onset, and poses acute problems. The collapse of Yugoslavia into a chaotic tangle of warring nationalities in 1990 suggests how suddenly and catastrophically state collapse can happen — in this case, a state which had hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics at Sarajevo, and which then quickly became the epicenter of the ensuing civil war.

In terms of worst-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world is Mexico a large and important country bordering the United States and could be facing a rapid and sudden collapse.

The Mexican possibility of a failed state may seem less likely to many, but the

Government, its politicians, police, and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and pressure by criminal gangs and wealthy Mexican drug cartels. How that internal conflict of which many experts believe is actually a civil war turns out over the next several months will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state and therefore the U.S. Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone.

Mexico poses a real threat to the national security interests of the Western

Hemisphere. In particular, the growing assault by the warring Mexican drug cartels and their many gangs of thugs on the Mexican government over the past several years reminds one that an unstable Mexico represents a homeland security problem of immense proportions to the United States.

U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) is one of DoD's nine combatant commands and has several key roles in transforming the U.S. military's capabilities.

Headquartered in Norfolk, Va., the command oversees a force of more than 1.16 million dedicated men and women, spanning USJFCOM's service component commands and subordinate activities. The command is comprised of active and reserve personnel from each branch of the armed forces, civil servants and contract employees.

© Michael Webster

 

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Michael Webster

Michael Webster's Syndicated Investigative Reports are read worldwide, in 100 or more U.S. outlets and in at least 136 countries and territories. He publishes articles in association with global news agencies and media information services with more than 350 news affiliates in 136 countries... (more)

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