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October 14, 2008
Nearly 80 killed in Tijuana drug wars

Crosses commemorate victims of violence — some left unidentified — in Mexico.

On Sunday, seven were killed and three wounded in Tijuana, Mexico — the latest in a chain of deaths from drug-related violence. In the past two weeks, nearly 80 people have been killed in the city — a sign that the drug war is growing.

Many of the victims were members of the Arellano Felix cartel, which dominated the drug scene in Tijuana during the 1990s. Now, rival gangs are competing for control of the city — leaving a trail dead bodies.

Tijuana was once known as a tourist destination for its cheap alcohol and black market for prescription medication. Earlier this month, President Felipe Calderon deployed 20,000 troops in Tijuana, but Mexicans feel no more secure.

Kinsee Morlan, a writer for alternative news Web site “San Diego Citybeat,” is a Tijuana resident living near the site of the latest killings. She writes about the climate of fear surrounding Tijuana in her blog, “Stairs to Nowhere.”

The dead of Tijuana

Violence. Violence. Violence. And more violence in the city where I’ve chosen to live.

And the media reports aren’t nearly as frightening as the reports coming from neighbors and friends.  I don’t think I even want to go into those, but let’s just say I’m officially afraid for the first time. Last night, I got home from Las Vegas at around 11 p.m. and I drove by what I had always considered one of the happiest places in Tijuana, a seafood restaurant called Negrolandia.  The road was blocked off and federal police with their Hummers and machine guns were surrounding the area.  I still have no idea what went down, but I’m sure it was more violence, maybe a few more deaths.  When I pulled up in front of my house, I kept thinking, “What if a cartel caravan drives by, or what if the police chase the cartel up my street?”

All the murders so far seem to be obviously drug related. The dead are reportedly victims of a power struggle between different factions.  I’ve been told it’s the cartel from Sinaoloa trying to take over the drug trade in TJ since the Arellano Felix Cartel has been weakened due to arrests of top members.  I have no idea if this is really what’s happening, as I’m partly going off what I’ve heard and partly relying on what little I’ve allowed myself to read (if I get too caught up in reading about the violence, my ability to sleep at night will vanish).

Truth is, I don’t want to know too much about the cartel, and after this post, I don’t think I want to write about it at all.

So what can I say?  I’m not going to put my tail between my legs and leave just yet.  I’ll stick it out and hope that the violence mellows before my family comes to celebrate Thanksgiving in Ensenada. What else can I do?

See the original post.

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Photo courtesy of Flickr user pies cansados under a Creative Commons license.

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1 comment


I was a teen in the 50’s and lived in Tijuana,attended school there;it must have been a “golden age” then,for that beleaguered city..I feel sorry for decent citizens there,as they see tourism vanish,etcetcetc alas

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