Pubdate: Fri, 20 Aug 2010
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Jose de Cordoba


MEXICO CITY-President Felipe Calderon said Thursday he would redouble
efforts to defeat Mexico's drug lords, after the kidnapping and
killing of a mayor sent shock waves through the country, prompting
business and political leaders in Monterrey, Mexico's wealthiest city,
to demand more troops and police.

In Santiago, a tourist town less than 20 miles from Mexico's
industrial powerhouse of Monterrey, hundreds of residents mourned
Edelmiro Cavazos, whose body, bound, gagged, and showing signs of
torture, was found Wednesday by the side of the road.

The 38-year-old mayor had been kidnapped Sunday and taken away by 15
men wearing uniforms of a now-defunct Mexican police agency driving in
a convoy of SUVs.

"Not only are we wounded by this, but we are indignant," said Mr.
Calderon at a meeting with congressional leaders. "The death of
Edelmiro is one more reason to fight drug trafficking by every means

Showing anger at the government's inability to curb violence, some
mourners shouted for Rodrigo Medina, governor of Nuevo Leon, the state
where Monterrey is located, to resign when he appeared in the town

A Mexican official said Mr. Cavazos appears to have been murdered
because he refused to cooperate with gangs of drug traffickers
operating in the area. He said the Mexican government plans to send
more troops and federal police to the area. Ten people, most, if not
all of them local police officers have been detained and are under
investigation for the killing. "It's a very delicate situation," the
official said. "It seems this mayor refused to accept blackmail or
bribes from the groups that are operating there."

Santiago, a weekend getaway for Monterrey's elite, was named in 2006
to a national list of "Magic Towns" because of its colonial charms.
But in recent times, Santiago has been caught in a crossfire of
violence between drug cartels fighting for control of lucrative routes
to the U.S. as well as growing local drug markets. A dozen Santiago
police officers have been killed so far this year.

Mr. Cavazos's assassination is the latest sign that the drug cartels,
as they ratchet up their internecine struggle for territorial control,
are training their sights on Mexico's political establishment. In
June, gunmen ambushed and killed the leading gubernatorial candidate
in next-door Tamaulipas state. A month earlier, a mayoral candidate in
a Tamaulipas town was also killed. Since Mr. Calderon sent out some
50,000 federal troops in 2006 to take the place of often-corrupt
police in the fight against drug cartels, about 28,000 people, most of
them members of rival cartels, have died in the violence.

In recent weeks, Mr. Calderon has been reaching out to other political
parties to garner support for his security policies. Speaking to
congressional leaders Thursday, Mr. Calderon said he would seek more
financial resources for the anticrime campaign.

He said reform of the country's legal code was urgently needed to win
the struggle against organized-crime groups that not only deal drugs
but also have branched out into extortion, migrant trafficking,
kidnapping and other crimes. Mr. Calderon also criticized the
inability of state, local and federal forces to work together in
combating organized crime.

"Delinquents now have more protection than victims or witnesses,
policemen and prosecutors," he said.Mr. Calderon also made clear he
would keep Mexico's soldiers patrolling the streets and highways until
the drug lords have been defeated. But political support for Mr.
Calderon's efforts might prove elusive.

The congressional leaders of Mexico's main opposition party, the
Institutional Revolutionary Party, boycotted the meeting with Mr.
Calderon because they said they had received the invitation to attend
too late. 
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