Down Mexico way
It's not the old Gene Autry movie, but things are getting crazy in Mexico: first the cartels and now journalists getting killed. It's enough to make any conversation with a Mexican friend turn into a long one.
Down in Michoacán, Mexico, they are talking about the cartels and the war that goes on and on, as a Mexican friend mentioned on the phone. This is from Kelin Dillon:
Throughout a 48-hour period at the beginning of the week of Feb. 14, organized crime groups and cartels operating out of Mexico's Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range in the Michoacán region executed 27 murders in typically violent narco-style, demonstrating the clear weaponry strength of the region's criminal organizations and affecting the area's important international avocado trade.
Tierra Caliente, Michoacán's dry valley region, has been plagued by a high concentration of narcotraffickers for several years, with cartels harnessing artillery vehicles, explosive drones, military-grade assault weapons, grenades, rockets and the same type of anti-personnel mines used by Colombian guerrillas to wage attacks on Michoacán authorities, civilians and rival crime groups alike.
Recently documented violence has occurred by the notoriously bloody Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), which has made repeated efforts to expand its sphere of influence outside of Jalisco and throughout Mexico, against Michoacán's native United Cartels group and the Mexican Army present in the area. Considering Michoacán's shared borders with Jalisco and close proximity to the birthplace of CJNG leader Nemesio "El Mencho" Oseguera, the territory has become a specific target of CJNG annexation tactics.
Though violence may have soared in the past week, the Michoacán region has faced repeated attacks across the beginning of 2022; on Feb. 12, a civilian truck that rolled over a landmine resulted in the death of one and the severe injury of another; on Jan. 31, soldiers from the Mexican military experienced the same fate, with terrorists setting off a mine that blew up their vehicle and injuring four passengers; and on Jan. 11, drones rained explosives over nearby military camps, with the clear goal of hurting Mexican troops and their equipment.
Yes, this is happening a few hours from Mexico City, not your movie channel about "narcos." And the war never ends — a popular refrain.
It's also been a tough time for journalists. A few days ago, another journalist was killed:
Mexico's president must be held to his promise to combat impunity for murders of journalists, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said as it called for a swift and transparent investigation into the murder of a local news website editor in the southern state of Oaxaca that brings the number of journalists killed in Mexico since the start of 2022 to five — a record in such a short period.
I'm not sure what the Mexican president can do to stop the killing of journalists. Most people south of the border think the cartels are the ones behind the shootings. They allegedly kill journalists to intimidate them from reporting about criminal activities.
Mexico is going through a tough time, as several friends keep telling me. Everything is sort of falling apart, like a perfect storm. It does not help that President López-Obrador is about as divisive as they come, or that the opposition has zero credibility because of the past corruption. More and more Mexican friends tell me that they just don't know whom to believe or even vote for.
Honestly, I have never seen Mexico this angry or polarized before. It's a bit frightening.
PS: You can my podcasts (Canto Talk).