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Mexico: Mass grave toll climbs; government defends itself



The number of bodies pulled from two sets of clandestine graves -- one in the border state of Tamaulipas and the other in Durango state to the southwest -- is climbing toward 300 as violence in Mexico takes an often mind-numbing toll.

In a meeting with the media -- in which questions were not allowed -- federal Atty. Gen. Marisela Morales on Tuesday upped the toll around the Tamaulipas city of San Fernando to 183. Separately, officials in Durango said the corpses there total 96 as of Wednesday.

The Times reported earlier this week that many of the Tamaulipas-area victims were passengers pulled from buses and slaughtered in the last couple of months. Many of the Durango bodies are older and none have been identified, officials say. While the San Fernando graves are in a fairly remote zone, the Durango burials are in the state's capital of the same name. 

The horrific discovery of the mass graves has renewed pressure on the government of President Felipe Calderon, who has been blasted by the public and in the media for failing to stem bloodshed in the ongoing war with drug cartels. Morales, who is new to the job, was joined by Alejandro Poire, the government's main spokesman on security issues, and the two sought to deflect criticisms. Poire asserted that Tamaulipas "is under the control of the Mexican state," a response to the widely held perception that authorities have lost out to vicious drug cartels in the area.  

(You can read the statements from Morales and Poire and see a video of the officials delivering them -- all in Spanish -- on this government website.)

Later Wednesday, Poire went before the media for the second time in two days and this time answered questions. He said the "great majority" of the suspected killers in the Tamaulipas case have been arrested, and that a purge of local authorities was necessary to restore the public trust, complaining that local officials had failed to inform federal officials of the kidnappings and killings. (See comments -- in Spanish -- here.)

Meanwhile, civic groups led by Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, whose son was killed last month, called for another round of large street demonstrations starting next week to protest the violence.

-- Tracy Wilkinson in Mexico City

Photo: A worker takes a body from the morgue in the Tamaulipas city of Matamoros, Mexico, earlier in April. Credit: Associated Press


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It amazes me how ignorant my fellow Americans are about Mexico..... Remember Mexico's Drug problem is caused by the American's need for DRUGS in vast quatities. You may want to ask yourselves why do we need to intoxicate ourselves so much? Why do we feel empty and disconnected all the time? Why are our families disintegrating? Why are we obsessed with Guns and violence?

Sure Mexico has a corruption problem...but it is petty compared to what we have with our wall street ciorruption and how willing we are to send 100 of thousands of our young to war for OIL and kill and displace millions. Remember Mexico has never dropped napalm bombs on women and children villagers...we have in the defense of Freedom!

How many American citizens have recently been murdered in Mexico?
zero-one-two- three -four...
Now how many Americans have been murdered recently in the U.S.
one hundred- two hunderd- three hundred...
lemmings, the piped piper, the government the church there all the same!

Now how many citizens were murdered in Iraq during the war...
ten thousand, twenty thousand, thirty thousand...
one hundred thousand, two hundred thousand...
this duplicity and ethnocentricity is sickening!

Is Mexico beyond the purview of the U.N ? Or is the U.N too busy in trying to topple Qaddafi to take note of what is going on in Mexico ?

Hillary's State Department has broadened its travel warning for Mexico, advising citizens to avoid certain areas and don't drive at night.

This new alert, urges US citizens to defer nonessential travel in regions where drug-related violence has surged, including the border state of Tamaulipas and the central state of Michoacan + nonessential travel in parts of eight other states.

This is a slap in the face to Mexico and extremely rude - and will cost Mexico a billion or more in tourist revenue. There is some very bad blood going on between Mexico City and Washington. What Washington gives with one hand - they take away with the other. This is Obama Administration diplomacy. It is a disgrace.

It may be true that Tamaulipas is somewhat up for grabs at this very moment. This is why they call it the WAR on drugs. However, the state of Michoacan is the safest state in Mexico. It is under martial law and there are police and army everywhere, with drones patrolling the skies.

Mexico is a failed state. The drug cartels, the army, the police, the courts and the government are all one. Sad, but true...

Mexico is a joke. There is no government rule.
It's almost like Mexico mimics the U.S. with "officials" who go by the same titles that we assign our elected officials, but it's all a make believe game.

Anything these elected officials say is a lie, because if they truly were on the offensive they would be next on the hitlist...and they know it.

Yeah sure you've already arrested the suspected killers, how is that possible if you haven't even identified the victims?

Why is cannabis illegal, prohibitionists? Aren't you forgetting what it's competition alcohol does to our society?

Hoepfully Mexican society will not slide back into comfortable accomodation with the narcos. If they do that, they will never have the sexurity they need to build a first world economy. Mexico needs to let go of its ridiculous sense of indignity for 150 year old transgressions.

so basically mexijxco had its own 9/11, self-inflicted by its own particularly brutal brand of criminals...
Nice culture ya got down there mejixcans....

The sheep can run away all they want from "dulce" narxico, the wolves will follow close behind them....

There's "work" to be done in your own damn failed peasant state

WOW! I can't believe the Mexican Government isn't blaming the U.S. for the "slaughter" of these people, with demand is so high for drugs here in the U.S. the "vicious drug cartels" know no one in the Mexican Government (including President Calderon) could do anything about it. So why not blame the U.S., it won't help but it could take the heat off the President, and hey while he's at it, he should sue U.S. Government to compensate the victims family's........

That society is so unbelievably corrupt. It infuriates me when people run from that hellhole and then want to transform California into a mirror image of Mexico culturally speaking. Such a desire is a sign of mental illness.

WOW! I'm surprised their not blaming this on U.S., but I imagine they'll get around to it sooner or latter.....

We might consider closing the border until the Mexican government gets its house in order.

I wish people here in the US understood that a lot of the little town in Mexico are now under control of drug cartels. Its bedlam in some parts, they go into houses, and they take the girls away and kill the males. These people in theses graves are mostly workers going north who didnt want to join the drug gangs and are killed for not wanting to lead that type of life


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About the Reporters
Ken Ellingwood
Daniel Hernandez
Efrain Hernandez Jr.
Chris Kraul
Richard Marosi
Tracy Wilkinson