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PRESIDENT CALDERÓN SAYS TO THE GRIM REAPER:

'WE'RE WINNING TODAY THERE WERE 79 PEOPLE KILLED,

AND YESTERDAY THERE WERE ONLY 78!'

SIGN WITH THE NUMBER 79 SAYS 'TAMAULIPAS',

A MEXICAN STATE RIDDLED WITH VIOLENCE

[La Jornada, Mexico]

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El Universal, Mexico

Mexicans Must Face the Truth: We are at War

 

"We need to resort to international humanitarian law, as we are observing the execution of war prisoners, armed aggression against members of the Red Cross and a growing number of collateral casualties. What we are experiencing are the horrors of war."

 

By Jorge Luis Sierra*

 

Translated By Florizul Acosta-Perez

 

February 23, 2011

 

Mexico - El Universal - Original Article (Spanish)

The guns, drugs and money keep on flowing: Julian Zapata Espinoza, also known as 'Piolin' of the Los Zetas cartel, arrested in connection with the killing of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata last week, Feb. 23.

 

PBS NEWS HOUR: Once Peaceful Monterrey Becoming 'City of Massacres', Feb. 23, 00:03:30RealVideo

The greatly elevated levels of violence in Mexico force us to analyze the fight against narco-traffickers not simply as the application of government force, but the expression of an armed conflict occurring within our national territory that has resulted in the deaths of over 34,000 people and has displaced 230,000 individuals in the last four and a half years.

 

If we look at the violence in Mexico in light of international humanitarian law, Mexico has two huge concurrent domestic armed conflicts: the first is the confrontation between federal forces and organized crime groups; and the second is the confrontation of the cartels among themselves.

 

The consequences are devastating for the population wherever armed hostilities occur. According to Norwegian Refugee Council estimates, the armed conflict in Mexico has resulted in the forced displacement of 230,000 people, half of them refugees in the U.S. and the other half internally displaced in Mexico.

 

That existence of displaced persons is further demonstration that violence in Mexico is approaching the level of a war, as described by the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its associated protocols.

 

The first criterion of an armed conflict under international humanitarian law is that the country in question achieves a minimum threshold of armed hostilities involving military rather than police forces. Mexico has surpassed this threshold of intensity and fulfills this first criterion of an armed conflict.

 

Another criterion is the number of casualties. International regulations distinguish armed conflict from lesser forms of violence like rioting or banditry, because the first are characterized by casualties that exceed 1,000 combat deaths per year. In Mexico, we have had more than 34,000 in four years, placing our country in a state of large-scale armed conflict.

 

Other criteria of international humanitarian law relate to the existence of conflicting parties which have adopted a name, have organized armed forces, operate under a command structure and have the ability to carry out military operations.

 

In responding to the government offensive, based primarily on the implementation of armed force, the drug traffickers were forced to militarize their ranks with the integration of deserters and acquire enough light weaponry to cope with combined forces of the Mexican Army and Navy. The seizures of weapons capable of penetrating the body armor of Army soldiers or destroy military ground vehicles and aircraft corroborate that view.

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Nearly a million Mexicans are directly involved in these armed conflicts. Most of the 265,000 members of the armed forces, more than 11,000 federal police officers and about 470,000 people involved with organized crime participate in the armed hostilities, not counting the thousands of state and municipal police who collude with drug traffickers.

 

These figures give us an idea of the dimensions of the problem. We are confronting conflicts of a magnitude similar to those in Guatemala and El Salvador during the 1980s, and we need to resort to international humanitarian law, as we are observing the execution of war prisoners, armed aggression against members of the Red Cross and a growing number of collateral casualties. What we are experiencing are the horrors of war.

 

jlsierra@hotmail.com

 

*Jorge Luis Sierra is a specialist in defense and armed forces issues

 

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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US March 1, 12:08am]