La Plaza

News from Latin America and the Caribbean

« Previous Post | La Plaza Home | Next Post »

Vigilantism? Searching for solutions to Mexico's deadly battle against drug trafficking

December 30, 2009 |  9:04 am

Three years. Fifteen thousand corpses. No end in sight.  

The war against drug cartels in Mexico launched by President Felipe Calderon has resulted in bloody battles, mutilated bodies and an ongoing display of force both by law enforcement and drug traffickers. The recent killing of drug lord Arturo Beltran Leyva in a raid by government commandos resulted only a few days later in the horrific revenge slayings of four members of a family.

Can vigilantism be the answer? In San Pedro Garza Garcia, Mayor Mauricio Fern√°ndez acknowledges the existence of so-called intelligence squads to help control organized crime.

In other cases, fear and lack of confidence in authorities have generated a kind of paralysis in some communities. Even calls for peace can be viewed as too dangerous.

Times staff writers Tracy Wilkinson and Ken Ellingwood report on what such conditions mean to ordinary people.

-- Efrain Hernandez Jr.