"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Horizontal Departure

Mexico is still mired in a pitched battle with powerful and well-financed drug cartels. For now, the war seems to be shifting east, back to Tamaulipas, only this time it's a battle between Los Zetas and The Gulf Cartel with The Sinaloa Cartel conspicuous in its absence. 

The entire situation is ever changing, what was fact yesterday may not be so today. What does seem certain is that La Gente del Chapo are settling in as overlords of the Northern Chihuahua plazas.  The violence while still high is on a downward trend from it's sickening peak in 2010. 

However, the killings in Juarez still continue, seemingly with little rhyme or reason.  While at first glance the violence seems completely random, that is not the case. It's harder to get a grasp on what is really happening across the border, the players keep changing. This holds true especially for La Linea, which has been gutted and is now a mere shadow of its former self.

Yet, they are still dangerous, the continuing violence in the city of Juarez, could be rear guard action as they fight for survival. It could also be a sign that La Linea is punishing  anyone with even remote ties to the Sinaloa Cartel. Chapo may have taken control, but there is still much unfinished business at the Pass.

While the front lines in Chihuahua seem to have stabilized, in the east there's some strange shit going down. Los Zetas, who find themselves engaged in a death struggle with their former bosses, seem to have gone ape shit kill crazy.

Spurred on by rumors that hundreds of young men were being recruited by the Gulf Cartel, they responded in their typically brutal fashion. The rumor was that these men would be traveling north by bus along the coastal highway.  For Los Zetas that meant stopping buses, abducting all male passengers and killing them.

Mexico is rife with rumors, the true motive for the bus abductions remains unclear. Mexican prosecutors have suggested the gang may be forcefully recruiting people to work for it. However, history tells us that forced recruitment is a failed tactic, used only as a last resort. To a casual observer it doesn't seem that The Gulf Cartel has Los Zetas back on their heels. 

The discoveries of the mass graves sparked sporadic protests by citizens, and galvanized public opinion against them. However, in territory controlled by Los Zetas it's best not to protest too vigorously. Of the main cartels, they are the most brutal, they uphold their reputation through unspeakably depraved acts. In the failed state that Mexico is rapidly becoming, fear rules the land. Los Zetas have got fear down to a science, as the drug war in Mexico drags on the cartel's hired killers get better at what they do best: killing.  

It's plain to see that there are some serious fucking problems south of the border. The Mexican government says more than 34,600 have been killed in the four years since President Felipe Calderón took office, with the toll for 2010, 15,237, the heaviest yet.  Alejandro Poire, the government spokesman for security issues, insisted "the government is in control of Tamaulipas." however, the families of the 193 victims would beg to differ. Poire, who has to be the worst spin doctor ever, went on to say  "The government has sent more federal police to the state and is aggressively investigating the mass killings and working to prevent more deaths." That sound you just heard was either a sigh of relief from the people of Tamaulipas or the thunder of feet as they made a run for the border. 

It's hard to find a town or village in Mexico that's not somehow touched or controlled by the drug traffickers. Since President Felipe Calderon began using the army to contain the violence four years ago, the killings have escalated. Some areas like El Valle de Juarez have been laid to waste, the macabre has become the norm.  

Mexico has never been particularly adept at bringing criminals to justice, and the drug war has made things worse. While ordinary Mexicans live with the outright fear of becoming the next body in the street, they are as much to blame as anybody else. Fatalistic passivity will only get you a prolonged ass fucking. 

Mexicans have long turned their heads away from the corruption that is now at the heart of the present troubles. Following the assassination of JFK,  Malcolm X was asked for his thoughts, he replied "The chickens have come home to roost." Mexico's long legacy of corrupt government officials and law enforcement officers has come home to roost, and it's the chickens that are getting fucked. 

You can't pick your relatives and in most cases your neighbors, we are stuck with Mexico and nothing will ever change that.  The only logical solution left would be to force change on Mexico.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Chance City Chronicles

Steins Townsite

David Ristovski a 32 yr. old California man was traveling on I-10 near the Arizona-New Mexico state line when his vehicle ran out of gas. He informed a family member by cell phone of his predicament and then vanished into thin air and has not been seen since. Ristovski, a native of Bosnia who was taking medication for some mental health issues, abandoned his car and walked into New Mexico. Trackers lost his trail north the railroad tracks, near Steins Pass several miles west of Lordsburg. Why Ristovski chose to head into the wilderness, rather than follow the highway back towards Road Forks or the Steins ghost town is a mystery.  As of this day he still has not been found, although there have been some false sightings, including one at a sandwich shop in Silver City.  Mr. Ristovski may have had a tenuous grasp on reality and the godforsaken badlands of the Bootheel are not very forgiving of those who suffer from errors in judgment.  It's easy to forget as we whisk along the interstate, just how small the margin that separates us from real honest to god wilderness is. Regardless of the situation, the best advice to give greenhorn travelers is don't stray far from the roadbed.
It's official Martin Heinrich, first term U.S. Rep. has announced that he is a candidate for incumbent Jeff Bingaman's U.S. Senate seat. Bingaman who won re-election to a fifth term with 70% of the vote in 2006 is retiring from public office after 30 years in the U.S. Senate. Heinrich is a shoe-in for the Democratic nod as he's opposed only by a couple of fringe candidates. Although the names of some big guns have been mentioned, former Albuquerque mayor and perpetual candidate, Martin Chavez and Diane Denish, who shamefully lost the gubernatorial race to Susanna Martinez in 2010, have had their names tossed around. However, New Mexico Democrats, while corrupt and sleazy (with the exception of Sen. Bingaman) didn't just fall off the pumpkin truck from Wagon Mound. The New Mexicrats will take great pains to avoid an inter-party bloodbath, even if that means locking Martin Chavez in a u-store unit until after the elections.  The ever unlikeable, former U.S. Representative Heather Wilson, is leading a mangy pack of Republican candidates that includes, Businessmen Bill English and Greg Sowards, neither is a viable threat to Wilson. Let us not forget the walking cologne fog that is Lt. Gov. John Sanchez. He is taking his chances seriously, even if no one else is.  As for myself, I'm not running for office, but I am pissed off that former New Mexico governor, Gary Johnson has chosen to squander this perfect opportunity to return to public office. Sure he's running for President, but his true calling is in the Senate. Gary Johnson, known for his odd ways and for thinking outside the box, is simply the best  governor this state has ever had. Johnson was an effective governor because he ran the state the same way he ran his company, keeping an eye on the bottom line and profit margin.  He put his foot down, and kept the politico bandidos in check with an amazing 750 vetos and some good old New Mexico common sense.  Gary Johnson, a man who if I'm not mistaken, has never lost an election, would ride roughshod over Wilson or Heinrich. Gary, I'm begging you, puff puff give but don't puff puff pass up this chance to take out Heather Wilson, once and for all. New Mexico needs you Gary, like the desert needs the rain. This is what the fine folks at Publius, a New Mexico centric political blog who call themselves  "A Voice of Reason in the Wilderness of Enchantment" have to say about the former governor: "Deep down, people want to be led.  They want to be told what to do and what to think.  People are sheep.  They won’t go for this Gary Johnson.  He wants to legalize drugs. Bongs in the White House?  Oh, I don’t think so."  As for bongs in the White House, either Bill Clinton or George W. already took that honor. I don't want Gary Johnson in the White House either, but I do want him in Washington D.C., Gary Johnson for U.S. Senate!