Could this be the beginning of a second Mexican revolution?
A few weeks ago, the people of Ascension, Chihuahua, fed up with the two-sided squeeze of narco-gangs and crooked cops, took matters into their own hands and killed a couple of alleged kidnappers while keeping the police at bay:
Hundreds of angry residents beat two of the detainees, teenagers, and blocked police from rescuing the suspects, who were later pronounced dead...
In a stand-off that lasted throughout the day, residents prevented two federal police helicopters from landing and blockaded roads to prevent military reinforcements from arriving. Armed with picks, shovels and machetes, enraged residents shouted at corrupt soldiers and police to leave. Some locals accused government security forces of colluding with criminal organizations.
Now the people of Ascension have kicked out the police altogether, saying they'd rather do their own policing:
On Thursday, September 22, the Mexican press reported on an event that could show a little of the future that awaits many cities overwhelmed by the violence generated by president Felipe Calderón’s drug war. Residents of the town of Ascensión, Chihuahua decided they had enough with the lack of governmental response to the security problems that they have been facing for several months, along with the constant threat of the military and the impunity it enjoys. The residents organized themselves and decided that from now on their security would depend on themselves.
The town of Ascensión, Chihuahua, based in the municipality of the same name and located 192 kilometers south east of Ciudad Juárez, has been hit by a wave of kidnappings in the last few months. Last week, the last one ended with the death of two kidnappers at the hands of the people. Before the kidnapping of a 17 year old, the residents overtook the agressors and managed to free the young man while making a citizen’s arrest of five of the eight alledged kidnappers. Three of the kidnappers were later arrested by military personnel. However, the other two became the target of the residents’ helplessness with the constant threat that they face. The two kidnappers died in the custody of the Federal Police, as they were prevented from receiving medical attention after the people tried to lynch them.
The Mexican military, deployed to police the countryside by president Calderón, have been accused of rape, murder, and general pillage, while the Mexican "surge" in the drug war has neither decreased the drug demand in the U.S. nor made an appreciable dent in its supply, but has left tens of thousands of corpses in its wake and politically destabilized several cities and provinces. People have hurled grenades into city hall in Matamoros and the country—not just the border area anymore—seems to be swimming in bullets.
Check this passage from this magnificent bit of reporting by Michael Smith of Bloomberg earlier this year about narco money-laundering:
These criminal empires have no choice but to use the global banking system to finance their businesses, Mexican Senator Felipe Gonzalez says.
“With so much cash, the only way to move this money is through the banks,” says Gonzalez, who represents a central Mexican state and chairs the senate public safety committee.
Gonzalez, a member of Calderon’s National Action Party, carries a .38 revolver for personal protection.
“I know this won’t stop the narcos when they come through that door with machine guns,” he says, pointing to the entrance to his office. “But at least I’ll take one with me.”
That's a senator talking. Imagine Jim McDermott talking like that at his desk.
In case anyone was still wondering, this drug war shit is not working. We still have casual users, we still have addicts, we still have narco-terrorism, and lots of innocent people are getting their heads blown off (and beaten off and sawed off) in the process.
It has to stop.
(Part two of The Mystery of the Tainted Cocaine is coming soon. Stay tuned.)