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Mexico Week in Review - July 31, 2010

When you separate the absolute rumor and the absolute truth, this has been an eventful and tragic week in Mexico.

Friday, the American Consulate in Ciudad Juarez was closed indefinitely because of what was called a credible bomb threat. This follows the car bomb in Juarez Thursday that killed 4 people.

"We're not taking any chances, especially since we know cartel gangs are increasingly desperate and frustrated," said a senior U.S. law enforcment official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "You cannot be too careful on questions of security."

Earlier this week, the Mexican military raided the "safe house" of Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel was raided. Coronel was killed during the raid when he attempted to fire back at the hoard of three helicopters and 200 paratroopers.

No doubt that eliminating "The King of Ice" responsible for much of the methamphetamine distributed by the Sinaloa Cartel is a "victory" for Calderón. However, the patterns of violence will almost certainly ramp up as the cartel factions both in and outside of the Sinaloa jostle for position. Coincidentally, and tragically,

15 bodies were found near Guadalajara where Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel have continued their bloody battle for control and pre-eminence in the state of Tamaulipas.

The situation in Mexico is sad for the citizens who live in fear. This is an internal challenge for the Calderón government. However it is made worse by misinformation and purposeful rumor mongeroing. Last weekend, the rumor that Los Zetas had taken over two ranches near Laerdo was quickly debunked, yet even after a week, in some dark corners of the Internet, the sources of that rumor persist in believing that there is a media coverup. I didn't post the earlier article on this subject until Wednesday, mostly because of time pressures created by my real job, but also because I had hoped that the rumor would die down. As others did, I checked my sources and satisfied myself that my sources were a lot more credible than "Internet journalists."

It was never my intent to write so often about the violence in Mexico. But over time, and because of physical location, it became important to offer some personal opinions and insight into how the situation can be seen so close to the border. Some have suggested that rumors that spread last weekend were "misinformation." I don't quite understand the purpose of this misdirection (if that is what it was). Do the Zetas really need to plant false stories when their actions are so visible? Other than driving traffic to their web sites, there would be little to gain for the so-called Internet journalists to spread false stories.

Objectively, it can be concluded with the spread and frequency of violence South of the Border, that Mexico faces an internal war that rivals the Prohibition time violence that ripped through American cities among the various "families" of the Mafia. Blame anyone you wish, but the ability of the cartels to take over and control large parts of the Mexican countryside is an internal problem of Mexico. It has and will continue to spill over the border and affect Texas and other border states.

Border security and immigration policy are the two critical issues for U.S. citizens. The posturing and law suits all distract from the real issues. What must happen for the border to be secured?

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