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Mexico's President Calderón labeled Mexican drug cartels as cowards

by Michael Webster: Syndicated Investigative Rep Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009 at 2:07 PM
mvwsr@aol.com 949 494-7121

Hundreds of Mexicans, some woman carrying small children, blocked roads and bridges in Mexican cities bordering the United States from the Gulf of Mexico (Matamoros) to the Pacific Ocean (Tijuana) and protested by marching in the northern city of Monterrey in a series of demonstrations that police say are organized and funded by Mexican drug cartels.



By Michael Webster: Syndicated Investigative Reporter. Feb 21, 2009 at 1:30 PM PST.

 

Mexico — Mexican President Felipe Calderon condemned this week's street protests against his army-backed drug war, saying they were cowardly acts orchestrated by drug traffickers.



Mexican President Felipe Calderón with a Mexican army brigade.

In commemoration of the Day of the Army, President Calderón labeled as cowards and traitors to the nation those who use women and children as part of their strategy to bring about the withdrawal of the Army in its battle against organized crime

Hundreds of Mexicans, some woman carrying small children, blocked roads and bridges in Mexican cities bordering the United States from the Gulf of Mexico (Matamoros) to the Pacific Ocean (Tijuana) and protested by marching in the northern city of Monterrey in a series of demonstrations that police say are organized and funded by Mexican drug cartels.

Police use a water cannon to disperse protesters in the northern industrial city of Monterrey, Mexico, where hundreds of protesters in Monterrey and others in several border cities demanded that the Mexican army leave their cities. Officials say that the protests are organized by Mexican drug cartels that they say are trying to disrupt the government's anti-drug crackdown. (AP Photo) - AP

 

The protests, being held nation wide and in Mexican cities near the U.S. Border, put new pressure on President Calderon to continue to try and defeat the Mexican Drug Cartels (MDC’s). In 2007, Calderon’s administration launched a military campaign to combat spiraling drug violence in his country. Thousands of people died in drug-related violence last year as MDC’s and their gangs fought each other, the Mexican Army and Mexico’s security forces.

Protesters taunt riot police (AP Photo) The day after these demonstrations Juárez police chief Roberto Orduña Cruz resigned after the Juárez Mexican drug cartel killed six city police officers and threatened to kill more unless he left the force.



Juarez Police Chief and Public Safety Secretary Roberto Orduna Cruz, left, resigned on Friday during a news conference with Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz. At right is Juarez city official Guillermo Dowell. (Photo courtesy of Juarez city government)

“Those who see ... their criminal structure weakened have tried to provoke the army's retreat,” Calderon told soldiers at an army base in Monterrey.

“True to form as cowards, they have even used women and children for their wretched goals,” he said on Mexico's national military day.

Aides said Calderon chose to celebrate Thursday's event in Monterrey, rather than the capital, as a response to the demonstrations, where many marchers held up colored cloths to hide their faces.

 

Last week an alert went out to law enforcement officers across the United States issued by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence, Analysis and FBI.

 

The alert warned that the US Customs and Border Protection Offices located at the US-Mexican Border crossings located in El Paso, Big Bend, and Edinburgh, Texas has closed due to violence across the border in Mexico. Protesters clashing with Mexican Police have escalated at the border crossings which has involved gunfire and explosions. Intelligence has reported that the protests may have been staged by the Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) to mask criminal activities along the US - Mexican border.

Additional information reported that the Mexican border officials have also closed their side of the border.

Mexico's drug war is affecting business throughout the country, tourist are no longer shopping in the Mexican border cities and tourism in general is down even in popular hot spots like Cancun. The violence is turning away investors who Mexico needs for business and has concerned and alarmed the Obama administration. The United States, has pledged .4 billion worth of drug-fighting equipment and training to Mexico and Central America and has delivered less than a 1/3rd. According to news reports the Obama administration is taking another hard look at that pledge.

At the same commemoration of the Day of the Army, President Calderón labeled the MDC’s as cowards and traitors to the nation those who use women and children as part of their strategy to bring about the withdrawal of the Army in its battle against organized crime.

“True to their status as cowards they have even used women and children for small minded purposes, their acts are treason”, said Calderón recently from the capital city of Nuevo Leon, where there have been six protest demonstrations against the army.

He added “Let no one make a mistake, let no one confuse the sides, the enemies of the country and of all Mexicans are those who assail its institutions, who harass, threaten and extort society, who poison its sons and who betray the country.”

Calderón, who praised the army’s task, asserted that organized crime is condemned to defeat because the Armed Forces and an entire nation are on the side of the Mexicans.

To all who pretend to be above the law, said Calderón, we say that our Armed Forces “are not intimidated nor will they ever desist because they are composed of Mexicans fully committed to the defense of our dear Mexico.”

Police and government officials in Monterrey say Mexico's most violent drug gang, the Gulf cartel, and its feared armed wing, the Zetas, is behind the protests.

The cartel is paying people to attend marches and has handed out backpacks full of schoolbooks, pens and paper to poor families who joined the demonstrations, police say.

The northern states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, home to Monterrey and the border cities of Nuevo Laredo and Reynosa, are the trafficking routes into Texas for the Gulf Cartel.

Calderon has sent more than 45,000 troops and federal police across Mexico to fight drug gangs since late 2006, a move widely supported by many Mexicans angry with years of inaction and deep corruption in the country's police forces.

Despite warnings from rights groups about soldiers using excessive force in the drug fight, Calderon also has Washington's support for using the army, which has made historic drug seizures and is catching more gang leaders. More protests and even rioting in Mexico is expected particularly along the U.S. Mexican border.

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