Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Drug violence becomes terrorist violence

At least seven people were killed in a grenade attack on an independence day crowd. NTX photo

On Aug. 30, an estimated 1 million people marched in solidarity in Mexico City against the wave of violence and kidnappings in the country.

Editorialists joined the call for the ineffective police and courts to do something. A series of high-profile arrests followed, and now it appears organized crime is fighting back.

In a highly symbolic act of violence, two fragmentation grenades were tossed into a crowd watching Independence Day celebrations in a square in Morelia on Monday, seven people died and more than 100 were injured.

A video on El Universal´s website captured the moment when one of the grenades exploded immediately after the governor of Michoacan delivered the traditional Cry of Freedom and three cheers of “Viva Mexico”. The message to President Felipe Calderon and other federal authorities from organized crime seems clear: We are the power and we will not be intimidated by law enforcement. The site of the attack is the president´s hometown.

Virtually every opinion column in today´s papers touched on the violence, which previously touched mainly the police and those involved in the drug trade. This was the first time civilians have been directly attacked in the drug war.

Several editorialists -- Ciro Gomez, Joaquin Lopez-Doriga, Hector Aguilar -- commented on the new higher level of violence and intimidation that this terrorist act represented.

The timing of the attack on Independence Day and the audacity of the attack on innocent people has shaken the nation.

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