by the Prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the
government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be
enforced. - Albert Einstein
As Congress debates border funding and as governors demand more assistance, the Associated Press has investigated what taxpayers spend securing the U.S.-Mexico border.
Using White House budgets, reports obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests and congressional transcripts, the AP has tallied it up: $90 billion in 10 years.
For taxpayers footing this bill, the returns have been mixed: fewer illegal immigrants, but little impact on the terrorism issue, and certainly no stoppage of the drug supply. +
Mexican and Central American drug gangs have gotten pretty big in the past several years, and for while it was common to find homemade jungle submarines. But now it appears that drug cartels have begun building tanks by armoring trucks with steel plating and big fucking guns.
Thank you, prohibition.
Hundreds of Mexicans began a weeklong caravan on Saturday to protest the country’s bloody drug war, led by a crusading poet whose son was murdered by suspected cartel hitmen. +
A Mexican student who became the police chief of a lawless border town has admitted she will live in fear for the rest of her life after fleeing to the US following threats from drug traffickers. +
A kindergarten teacher in Mexico led her class in a singalong during a shootout that occurred outside the school. Daniel Hernandez reports:
In the video, the frightened but determined voice of a schoolteacher is heard as she attempts to maintain calm among a group of kindergartners lying on the floor before her, asking them to join her in a singalong as gunfire shatters the air outside.
(Source: Los Angeles Times)
A spokesman for Guatemala’s police described what they found on Sunday morning: “One whole body, 26 bodies without heads, and 23 heads.” This is the worst single incident of violence since the country’s 36-year civil war ended in 1996, and is seen by many in the country as a symbolic act of political terror, while the nation prepares for presidential elections. Messages at the scene written on a wall in the victims’ blood (various reports say they were scrawled with a severed leg) make clear who is responsible: Los Zetas, a paramilitary Mexican drug gang that in recent years has expanded throughout Central America and operates with particular impunity and freedom within Guatemala. The organization has long recruited from the ranks of kaibiles, the elite special forces division of the Guatemalan army trained in jungle warfare who carried out massacres of indigenous peasants during the civil war. The brutality evidenced in this massacre, even the killing techniques, brings to mind the worst of the death squad attacks in the 1980s. The leader of the armed group that carried out this massacre is reported to have identified himself to the workers as “kaibil.”
Mexico’s most violent city, Ciudad Juarez, where more than 9,000 people have died in a horrifying drug war since 2008, is renaming itself Heroica Ciudad Juarez, or Heroic City of Juarez.
Without even a hint of irony, the Chihuahua state Congress, which legislates for Ciudad Juarez, has voted in the name change to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the border city’s role in the downfall of a Mexican dictator and the revolution it fueled.
At least 177 corpses have been recovered in the last few weeks, most of them passengers snatched from interstate buses, tortured and slaughtered. Women were raped before being killed, and some victims were burned alive, according to accounts from survivors who eventually overcame their fears and came forward.
The motives behind the bus kidnappings remain unclear. Gangs may seize the passengers hoping to extort money from them, to forcibly recruit them or because they are searching for rivals.
The killings have galvanized an unusual if belated consensus, even among conservative commentators and politicians, that parts of Mexico have indeed been lost to criminal gangs such as the Zetas and the Gulf cartel that control (and are battling each other to dominate) the northeast. What does it mean, they ask, when the federal government cannot keep the nation’s highways safe from brazen predators?
Even worse is the near-certainty that the police who are meant to be protectors have been involved. Among the more than 50 people arrested in connection with the latest killings are 17 local police officers accused of providing protection to the cartel gunmen believed responsible.