Wednesday, March 17, 2010

When Murder Matters in Mexico

When does murder matter in Mexico? When it touches America. Last weekend's killing in Juarez of Lesley Enriquez, who worked at the U.S. Consulate, her husband, Arthur Redelfs, a corrections officer in El Paso, and Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, whose wife also worked at the consulate, brought murder too close to home for many Americans.

In the resort city of Acapulco, 17 people were murdered last Saturday including six police officers. The strife continues throughout Mexico as more than 50,000 Mexican army troops fight the major drug cartels for control of Mexico's future.

Juarez is just across the border from El Paso, Texas. Although El Paso has one of the lowest homicide rates of any big city in the U.S., there were only 13 murders in 2009, Juarez is one of the most deadly cities in the world.

Beto O'Rourke, an member of the El Paso city council, told the Houston Chronicle the killings might finally bring necessary attention to the violence.

“It's tragic and incredibly sad,” he said. “But the brutality and tragedy we saw this weekend are nothing new. What is new is that the killings involved people who work at the consulate, which is the symbol of American power and prestige.”

The volume and brutality of the murders in Mexico might be shocking to most residents of the U.S., but murder is no longer shocking in Juarez or just about any other city in Mexico. This past weekend alone, 28 people were killed in Juarez. Over the past two years, more than 4,000 people have been killed in Juarez's violent drug war. There have been 18,000 drug related murders throughout Mexico since President Felipe Calderon began his all out war against drug cartels.

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