Mexico Meltdown Watch, Continued

Even the New York Times has noticed the violence in Nuevo Laredo, so the situation must be serious ["Texas Town Is Unnerved by Violence in Mexico"] To its credit, the paper describes American victims of the uncontrolled Mexican crime, including the search of William Slemaker for his stepdaughter Yvette Martinez; the young woman was evidently kidnapped several months ago when she and her friend Brenda Cisneros went to hear music at a club and never made it home. See the website of the victims' families at LaredosMissing.com as they continue to demand better police investigation concerning the loss of their loved ones.

Mexican authorities are unable to contain the escalating violence spilling out from the drug cartels' war, despite sending in federal forces. The "daily gunfights" are crushing local businesses in Nuevo Laredo, and journalists are terrified of reporting the details of cartel intramurals. A city councilman was assassinated August 5 by gunmen armed with AK-47s. This criminality is one of the symptoms of Mexico's decomposition into a failed state, unable to provide even the most basic level of law and order to an important city.

It was recently reported that the narco-violence has spread to Acapulco, the popular tourist destination. If el Presidente Fox could stop the noisy killing there, he certainly would. At the same time, he may not want to end the drug trade entirely since it is an important part of his country's economy.

[UT Latin American Studies professor Hector Dominguez Ruvalcaba] estimates that as much as 20 percent of Mexico’s economy depends on drug trafficking ["Border work shortage drives job seekers north"].

Mexicans take it all in stride, as the elevated levels of violence have become the new normal.

But Nuevo Laredo is also known as Narco Laredo.

Its inhabitants are now eerily accustomed to killing. One jingle on a popular local music station is the sound of machine-gun fire, with a voice saying cheerfully: "We'll be back in a bullet."

The Failed States Index in the journal Foreign Policy observes, "America is now threatened less by conquering states than we are by failing ones."