Saturday, November 6, 2010

Matamoros - Policing Up the Brass, Waiting For the Next Move

The running battle between narco forces and Mexican military troops that erupted yesterday in Matamoros has tapered off today. But it isn't quite completely over yet, since we should expect retaliation from the narcos for the death of Gulf Cartel leader 'Tony Tormenta.'

The WaPo has a story about it, but the local Matamoros newspaper has ... nothing. They pointedly ignore the whole event, other than for a brief notice of the murder of one of their reporters who was caught in the crossfire. That creepy silence tells you how thoroughly the narcos have intimidated local authorities all along the border.

Given that, it is not so strange that the only on-scene reporting of yesterday's street fighting came from a local citizen with a hand-held camera and a YouTube channel. This guy just walked around the streets of Matamoros, following the sounds of gunfire, trying to get a view of what was happening. At the end of the clip, he gets close enough to see a convoy of SUVs moving around, at which point he prudently ducks behind a parked car and takes cover. The video style is terrible, but what really impresses me is the almost constant firefight that was going on during the six-minute video. Six minutes out of an entire day of off-and-on fighting between pretty evenly matched sides.

It cannot be said too often that the situation on the Mexican-U.S. border has escalated way past crime and become warfare.

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