Mexico: Drug-Related Violence in Tijuana

Violence between Mexican authorities and members of powerful drug cartels has been erupting all across the country leaving scores dead and a society that often feels helpless. The Mexican government has attempted to curb this escalation in violence by dispatching federal police and soldiers to the areas most affected. Police, the drug cartels and innocent victims are on the front lines of this battlefield. Even popular Mexican musicians are being caught up in the fray. Some Mexican bloggers are saddened by this brutal violence, and are often left wondering how to deal with its effects. Franc Contreras, a correspondent for Al-Jazeera posts his report on his personal blog Mexico Monitor.

On January 17, the violence continued in Tijuana, located near the U.S.-Mexico border, where 6 kidnapped victims and 1 suspect were killed. The blog Zacatekas [es] posts two videos from Mexican television with dramatic footage of the shoot-outs. The video also shows how children had to be evacuated. This violence was preceded by other incidents earlier in the week where several policemen were shot dead. Some news reports indicate that the members of the drug cartel were using rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns.

Daniel Hernandez, a writer living in Mexico City, writes on his blog Intersections about the out-of-control violence in the country, but how it is affecting the border town especially hard.

Narco violence is climaxing in Mexico, in nearly every region of the country and across just about every demographic, children and popular musicians included. An addiction epidemic is also becoming evident. The news is grim, day after day. El Universal reported Saturday that in the previous 24 hours 15 more people had been killed in narco-related violence in five states. And this morning, the Tijuana daily Frontera is reporting briefly that the delegational police chief in La Mesa was kidnapped on Saturday night.

Rafa Saavedra of Cross Fader Network [es] and a resident of Tijuana published his answers to a questionnaire sent to him by El Universal newspaper for use in a story. His answers were not published in the daily, but Saavedra provides his thoughts on the violence.

Por una parte, es devastador porque este hecho nos toca de alguna forma a todos. Hasta quienes somos unos malditos optimistas y creemos en el esfuerzo de las autoridades, vimos live and direct como nuestro sueño de seguridad corría aprisa, asustado, con las manos en la cabeza, tapándose los oídos, sin saber ni tener idea de lo que está pasando. Justo como esos niños que vimos como loop en la televisión. Creo, el tiempo pondrá las cosas en su justa dimensión, que estamos ante otro parteaguas en la historia reciente de Tijuana.

On one hand, it is devastating because this event affects all of us in one way or another. Even those of us who are damned optimists and believe in the effort of the authorities, are watching all of this live and direct. We see how our dream of security is running hurriedly, scared, with our hands on our heads, covering our ears, and without having any idea what is happening. Just as those children that we saw over and over on television. I think that with time things will be put in its fair perspective and that we are facing a watershed in the recent memory of Tijuana.

Hernandez continues about the effects of the violence on the region.

Sucks for Tijuana, a city trying to enjoy its cultural and culinary renaissance. Now it seems my ancestral tierra is being defeated in spirit by a wild and bloody narco war — between the government and the cartels, between the cartels themselves — that claims many more victims than it does any readable successes or setbacks.

Finally, the blogger at Borderlandia is not very optimistic about the state of affairs in Mexico in regards to the narco-violence and writes, “The country is falling apart, little by little. the cities are sinking. The institutional leftovers are burning out.”

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