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February 2009
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Mexican protests – real or staged? – does it matter?

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Hundreds of Mexicans blocked roads and bridges into the United States on Tuesday in a protest of army operations against drug gangs that officials said was organized by drug traffickers.
About 300 protesters, some with handkerchiefs tied over their faces, carried signs saying “Army Get Out!” in front of the town hall in the northern city of Monterrey, 130 miles (209 km) from the Texas border. It was the largest in a series of anti-army protests this week.

Interestingly, Natividad Gonzalez, governor of Nuevo Leon state, claims that the Gulf cartel and The Zetas paid the people to protest. And Reuters claimed to find a woman who refused to be named who said her neighbor had been paid to come.

“Rising levels of unemployment in Mexico make it much easier for Mexican drug traffickers to recruit youths to engage in demonstrations like this, for relatively low pay,” U.S.-based security consultancy Stratfor said in a report.

Think about that. The drug traffickers can already buy or intimidate police and government officials. Now, they can hire the people (and not just to work in the drug trade). This is a cartel public works project! Yep. The Zetas are providing a jobs stimulus package!
What’s left for the government of Mexico? How much more drug war victory can they afford before they become irrelevant?
Meanwhile, Calderon remains stubbornly oblivious.

Calderon said on Monday the rampant violence shows the drug cartels are desperate

But I dare say the people are smarter than he is. And while it’s possible that some protesters are getting a paycheck, I’d bet that some of them were there because they’re tired of the violence and don’t see it as Calderon’s road to victory. They’ve been around long enough to know that there has always been drug trafficking, but it’s the drug war that fuels the drug war violence.

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