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Spillover violence

29 September 2009

Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa is trying to spin the appalling body count in the “War on Drugs [the United States and Canada insist can only be controlled over Mexican’s dead bodies]” as evidence the “policy is working”.  Asked about that body count, Espinosa is quoted in her “exclusive interview” with the Associated Press as saying:

…  the “great, majority, immense majority” of victims are drug pushers or gangsters and foot soldiers linked to cartels.

“This is a very ugly statistic,” she said, “but a good percentage of those killed never have their bodies claimed, their families never go and get them … That is a very clear indicator that these people were involved in drug trafficking.”

I’m not sure I follow the logic of that. It may be a clear indicator that poor rural people don’t always read the crime pages of out of town newspapers, or gangsters need to call their mothers more often, or any number of things.  I just hope that a high body count isn’t going to be used as a measure of success for police actions (as it was — or is — in Colombia, leading to some … er… interesting ways to supplement income).  But, it is likely to go higher.

In Tijuana, Maggie Drake has been writing about the local police chief’s “shoot to kill” order… and the fortieth police shooting THIS YEAR in that municipio.  Tijuana is in the unhappy situation of sitting next to the user emporium (and gun supplier) of southern California, but the spillover in violence from the user community is coming from either further afield.

In Canada, increasing violence in their own drug trade is being blamed on Mexican “success”.  As a result of the military/police actions against the various gangster organizations that handle distribution, British Colombian cocaine dealers are feeling the pinch:

Supply lines were drying up, recalled B.C.-based RCMP Superintendent Pat Fogarty, because the cartels were too busy fighting the Mexican military.

It was translating into rip offs, or people who could not pay back what they owed — a dicey situation among gangsters that often results in bloodshed.

“This is where the tentacles of the disruption in Mexico bled over into Canada, in terms of violence,” said Supt. Fogarty, in charge of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit in B.C. He has more than 20 years’ experience battling organized crime.

Police in British Columbia say the Lower Mainland has seen a spike in gang-related violence this year over last, and most of it is gun warfare.

If the violence was kept in British Colombia, it wouldn’t be a problem, but Canadian gangsters have been showing up here lately.  This week, two Canadians were killed in a shootout that had some Canadians more upset with the local paper publishing photos of the corpses than with the fact that two more of their guys are down here in the Puerto Vallarta morgue.  Hope their familes reclaim their bodies.

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