Since Mexican President Filipe Calderon declared war on drugs in Mexico in 2006, 18,000 men, women, and children have died violent deaths related to the drug trade. This is the equivalent of six World Trade Center attacks.
Just recently, the United States announced that it would further help the Mexican government by embedding intelligence operatives in Mexican anti drug task forces. This would further reduce the incidence of intelligence sell outs to the Cartels.
In response to this announcement, the cartels killed two American civilians (one who worked at the American Consulate) just missing their baby when they attacked the family car on March 13th, 2010. Video shows a Mexican Police Officer calming the baby while the bodies of it's parents were still in their car. In a separate car attack on the same day, the cartels killed a Mexican citizen who worked at the American Consulate and injured his two children. This all happened after the victims left a child's birthday party in Juarez.
The people who were attacked are classified as a "soft target" – unarmed and away from the consulate walls and other protected areas. Ambush on soft targets is a favorite tactic of the cartels.
This is not the first attack on consulates. Three other attacks have been made with grenades and gunfire aimed at actual consulate buildings. But, it is the first attack on consulate personnel. These attacks were blatant acts of terrorism. The same terrorism that the Mexican authorities have been subjected to for years.
The cartels have dropped the gauntlet. They will not stand for United States involvement because our operators are less susceptible to the terror tactics that cartels used against Mexican politicians, police and their families. They also feel safe from us because Mexico is against US troops being deployed on their soil.
The cartels have used torture, bribery, beheadings, kidnapping, and public murder of those against them. The huge gangs also have gun battles among themselves. One example is a running conflict that eventually involved police and soldiers, in Tijuana Mexico. At one point the gun battle raged next to a grammar school until the police and soldiers were able to put an end to it. Six kidnap victims were found executed and one kidnapper was killed. The other two suspects were city policemen. Public officials have found their children kidnapped and left murdered in the trunk of a car. Gang members used machine guns to kill a rival kingpin in a supermarket parking lot. A hard story for a country where the ownership of guns is illegal.
One of the hardest hit cities for cartel / gang activity is a sprawling city on the Texas / Mexico border. It is called Ciudad Juarez on the Mexican side and El Paso on the United States side. Despite the deployment of Mexican soldiers in Juarez, fire fights still erupt and killings in the street are frequent – often for no apparent reason other than to terrorize the population and to show that the police and soldiers do not scare the cartels away. Juarez is where the American consulate employees were killed.
The State Department has declared a travel warning for US citizens in the Mexican states of Coahuila, Chihuahua, and Durango along the Mexican / US border. Non essential State Department personnel have been ordered back to the United States.
The city fathers of El Paso are rightly worried that more than dope will cross the border into their town. They do not want to face this alone. Other border towns have shown the same concern. This problem stretches form the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico along the Mexican border.
What does this all mean to the United States? It means that the problem isn't just Mexico's. It has been our problem for over 40 years without a solution. We are unable to keep people from buying drugs. Drugs that fund the cartels with money to buy soldiers and engage in acts of terrorism. We have also not been able to stop the flow of guns from the United States to Mexico. On its side, Mexico has not been able to stem the flow of cocaine, heroin and marijuana from Mexico to the United States.
Users in the United States fund violent street gangs in the United States and brutal cartels in Mexico. As long as this continues, the US and Mexico will be at war within themselves.