December 13, 2009:
The government announced that it will begin implementing a new series of social programs in Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua state) that will help the police and army battle narcotics cartels. If it sounds a bit like a classic Counter-insurgency (COIN) political and social warfare (where social and economic programs integrate with security operations), well, it is. One of the programs will be directed at impoverished Juarez teenagers. The narcotics gangs throw around money and have bought support in several neighborhoods. Some of the kids eventually move up and join the gang. The government intends to attack this recruitment process. There will likely be a clean business program of some sort, too, since the narcotics cartels have infiltrated many legitimate businesses in Juarez as well as other border cities. Over 2300 murders have been committed in drug war violence in Juarez during 2009.
December 10, 2009: Mexican and US government sources have both reported that several private security companies (as least one based in Texas) have begun providing bodyguard and counter-kidnap services to Mexicans in Mexico and Americans who work in Mexico. The companies are also providing security training services for Mexican personal security personnel. Very wealthy Mexicans have always employed bodyguards, but because of the violence, upper middle-class and middle-class Mexicans fear for their security. Corporations fear for their employees safety. When the Red Brigades and other violent Marxist groups ran roughshod in Italy in the 1970s, the private guard business expanded. Corporations would send personnel to special schools in Italy to learn threat avoidance (ie, spotting a potential ambush) and receive training in techniques like evasive driving. It looks like that's what is happening in Mexico.
December 7,2009: A recent study by a US think tank analyzing Mexico drug cartel operations argues that unlike an Al Qaeda terrorist organization or classic political rebel group, the cartel's paramilitary gangs do not want to topple the government. The gangs' objective is to weaken local, state, and federal government so that they continue their criminal activities unmolested. That's right. Nevertheless, the way the gangs pursue their operations produces many insurgent-type security and political problems. The gangs also make common cause with corrupt politicians who seek political power; the corrupt politicos then work for the gang, as sources of influence, information, and even co-opting government security services.
December 5, 2009: A gun battle between Mexican military personnel and cartel gunmen broke out in the town of Nuevo Progreso (Tamaulipas state, on the border, south of Weslaco, Texas). Nuevo Progreso is a town that depends on tourism. A Texas newspaper report said several hundred Americans were attending a festival in the town. The firefight erupted at 2 pm in the afternoon. A Mexican report said the firefight erupted after a vehicle entered the town from the south, opened fire on an unspecified target, then crashed.
December 4, 2009: A firefight in the city of Monterrey between police and cartel gunmen left 14 people dead. A civilian was killed in the crossfire. 11 drug gunmen were killed. An official statement said the fight lasted 45 minutes, which means if was a major battle. In another incident in Monterrey, a van driven by cartel gunmen smashed into the door of a local jail. The gunmen opened fire and killed two policemen. The gangsters then freed 23 inmates, 16 of them former cops arrested for corruption.
November 30, 2009: The blood continues to flow in Chihuahua state. Police reported 17 people were murdered in cartel-related violence over the weekend of November 28-29. ten or the murders took place in Ciudad Juarez
November 24, 2009: The U.S. government reported an American citizen died of gunshot wounds she received while visiting Matamoros (Tamaulipas states, across the border from Brownsville, Texas). A subsequent report suggested that the bullet may have been fired by a Mexican soldier participating in a counter-drug operation in the neighborhood. The U.S. citizen (a woman) was inside a home visiting a friend.