Mexico fired 3,200 police officers
for incompetence or corruption.
Another 1,020 federal officers face
discipline because they failed a test that aims to identify who might take a
drug lord’s bribe.
The dramatic firing of 10 per cent of
Mexico’s cops came as the three-year-old border drug war escalated to bloody
new levels of violence.
Hidalgo Mayor Marco Antonio Leal
Garcia was shot dead over the weekend in his car, reportedly by former elite
military commandos now working for the cartels. His 4-year-old daughter was
Hidalgo is a rural town is located
in the border state of Tamaulipas, which has become a new flashpoint in the
increasingly horrific war between the Gulf and Zetas cartels.
It was there that 72 migrants were
found slaughtered by Zetas gunmen last week – the worst massacre in the drug
war that began in late 2006.
“This cowardly crime and the
reprehensible violent acts that occurred recently in this state strengthen the
commitment of the Mexican government to continue fighting the criminal gangs
that seek to intimidate the families of Tamaulipas,” Mexican President
Felipe Calderón said in a statement.
Edelmiro Cavazos, mayor of the
wealthy tourist town of Santiago, was kidnapped 15 August and found three days
later, handcuffed, blindfolded and shot.
Five police officers – including
one assigned to be his bodyguard – were arrested in that assassination.
The Mexican government appears to
be losing the war against the cartels, which are also fighting with each other
over the $25 billion-a-year cocaine smuggling business.
The gangsters aim to terrorize
their rivals and the populace by carrying out their executions with operatic
violence: genitals are removed and stuffed into mouths, headless bodies are hung
from bridges and in one especially gruesome case, a man’s face was ripped off
and stitched onto a football.