Mexico drug war: the new killing fields
The first of a three-part investigation, Rory Carroll
guardian.co.uk, Friday 3 September 2010 15.54 BST
“Mexico’s agony is ritually explained as a turf war between drug cartels. Group A versus Group B versus Group C. A savage conflict, but the mayhem, according to authorities, is a sign of cartels’ desperation. Slowly but surely the state is prevailing thanks to brave soldiers and police. “My government is absolutely determined to continue fighting against criminality without quarter until we put a stop to this common enemy and obtain the Mexico we want,” President Felipe Calderón, who declared war against cartels in 2006, said in recent newspaper advertisements.
Juárez valley suggests otherwise. It is proof of profound failure, says Gustavo de la Rosa, the state human rights commissioner. “It is abandoned, a land without law.” One reason, he says, is a lack of political will. “There are few votes there so politicians ignore it. The place has gone back to the 1880s.”
In fact the state is present in the form of the army, which has cameras and checkpoints with sandbags on the only road in and out. The soldiers’ presence, however, prompts the question: why did they watch thousands of residents flee – convoys of furniture-packed trucks – and do nothing. “What’s the point of them?” says José Sereseres, 84, a lone soul in a cowboy hat on the main street of Caseta village.”
See the desolation for yourself.