A lot of grim Mexico news today. The headline quote comes from the sister of U.S. anti-kidnapping expert Felix Batista who was abducted by gunmen in December 2008 in the northern city of Saltillo and hasn’t been seen since. The U.S. State Department has issued a revised report showing that more U.S. citizens were murdered in Juarez in 2009 than any other Mexican city.
The Wall Street Journal reports on the people leaving Mexico’s murder capitol:
the city’s planning department estimates 116,000 homes are now abandoned. Measured against the average household size of the last census, the population who inhabited the empty homes alone could be as high as 400,000 p
That would mark one of Mexico's largest single exoduses in decades.
Just 2Â½ years ago, JuÃ¡rez was one of Mexico's engines of growth, a magnet of manufacturing with an easy entry point into the U.S. The North American Free Trade Agreement had helped to expand JuÃ¡rez into the base for assembly plants that accepted parts for everything from consumer electronics to plush toys, and shipped the finished products back to America tariff-free.
Since 2005, 10,600 businesses””roughly 40% of JuÃ¡rez's businesses””have closed their doors, according to the country's group representing local chambers of commerce.
Now Monterrey is seeing the drug cartels directly challenging the authority of law enforcement, per the NYT:
Armed men likely linked to drug gangs blocked highways with trucks and buses in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey on Friday in an apparent attempt to hamper army operations near the U.S. border.
Gunmen pulled truck and bus drivers out of their vehicles in the wealthy business city and used them to set up blockades on major four-lane highways, sometimes slashing tires to make it harder to tow them away, police and motorists said.
I’m frequently criticized for being overly apocolyptic in my writings about Mexico. Just call me Nate the Revelator I guess.