Mexico’s Failure to Stem Violence Strains Relationship With U.S. by José de Córdoba and Jessica Donati – Wall Street Journal
Last week, hundreds of gunmen from the Sinaloa cartel overpowered military forces in fighting that killed at least a dozen people, blocked the airport and major roads, and terrorized the city of Culiacán for hours until the Mexican government capitulated and freed the son of legendary drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán.
The stunning display of violence shows that drug cartels here are as strong as ever nearly 15 years after the Mexican government set about to challenge them head on, often with U.S. assistance. The government has arrested or killed many cartel leaders, weakening many crime groups and fragmenting others.
But the cost has been high. Since 2006, more than 250,000 people have been killed, according to Mexican government figures, most in the bitter internecine war between cartels for control of drug routes and territory. At least 40,000 more have been disappeared, many buried in clandestine graves, some dissolved in acid. From 2007 to 2019 the homicide rate has roughly tripled to 29 per 100,000 people.
Worse, last week’s events could further embolden the gangs to respond to threats by security forces with widespread violence and terror, cow Mexico’s stunned security forces and strain vital intelligence cooperation with the U.S., according to analysts, former and current U.S. officials and former Mexican security officials…