Pubdate: Thu, 24 May 2007
Source: Corpus Christi Caller-Times (TX)
Copyright: 2007 Corpus Christi Caller-Times


When a convoy of SUVs and vehicles carrying more than 50 gunmen
descended on the small Mexican mining town of Cananea in northwestern
Mexico last week, it must have seemed like something out of a
post-apocalyptic "Road Warrior" movie in which law and order vanish.

But this was no fictional film; it was a brazen attack by a small army
of drug cartel thugs who invaded the town of about 30,000, and killed
five police officers and two residents. A posse of soldiers and police
subsequently pursued the gunmen into the surrounding desert mountain
country and killed 16, making the Cananea incident the bloodiest
conflict of the law and order campaign being waged by Mexican
President Felipe Calderon on the drug armies.

The cartels are fighting back, targeting federal agents and police
officers, in kidnappings and assassinations. On Tuesday, residents of
Monterrey, which has been considered one of the safest of Mexican
cities, woke up to the sight of Army vehicles with machine gun
turrets, patrolling the streets, this in the wake of the murder of a
top police commander on Monday.

What Mexico is experiencing is nothing less than an armed insurgency
by an army of criminals who are fighting to retain their chokehold on
the country's civil and police authority, as well as waging a bloody
competition for profitable drug routes into the United States.
Hundreds of police in Mexico have been sacked because of their alleged
ties to the drug rings, a reflection of the corruption that the crime
organizations have wrought.

Americans and the United States must support Calderon in a campaign
that neither he, nor the United States, can afford to lose.
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