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News Link • Drug War

A War of Anonymous Death



After four years of President Felipe Calderón's so-called war on Mexico's drug trafficking organizations, murder and impunity have become the order of the day. Since December 2006, more than 38,000 people have been killed, with no noticeable reduction in drug shipments across the border. Federal authorities have opened investigations into less than five percent of those homicides. Most of the people killed are assumed to be guilty of their own murders by the implied logic that surely they were up to no good if they ended up in a ditch, wrapped in a blanket, and shot through the head. No one investigates the murders and the dead appear on tabloid front pages not as people, or even victims of crimes, but simply as twisted bodies, nameless masses of death. Such execution headlines assault daily and the nation risks growing numb to the news of spectacular murder. But a name could change that.

Police got the call at 6:20 a.m. on March 28, 2011. They dove out to the scene and pulled seven dead bodies from a Honda sedan on Brisas de Tampico Street near the Cuernavaca-Mexico City highway. Bodies were stuffed in the front and back seats. Bodies were stuffed in the trunk. Their hands and feet were bound. Asphyxiated, the autopsies would conclude. The police reported finding a poster board sign in the car threatening the Mexican military and signed "CDG." (Later that night banners signed CDG, Cartel del Golfo, would appear in Cuernavaca denying responsibility for the killings.) The police did not release the exact words written on the poster board. But the intended message—whoever its authors were—was clear: death. Nameless death.


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