A high-ranking Mexican drug-cartel operative extradited to the United States claimed in a recent court filing that he was actually trafficking tons of cocaine on behalf of the American federal government, prompting a media frenzy in Latin America but almost no coverage in the U.S. press.
The April 24 Washington Post reported an update of the findings of Mexican mass graves, revealing a shocking level of butchery employed by the killers. The body count has climbed to 177 (and is expected to rise) recovered from graves found near ranches close to San Fernando in Mexico’s northern state of Tamaulipas. Most of the civilian victims were abducted from passenger busses, and authorities say that few bullet casings and little evidence have been recovered that would indicate the victims died from gunshot wounds. The cause of death for most was blunt force trauma to the head.
On Tuesday, Cuba announced that José Ramón Machado, 80, would fill the second highest position in the Communist Party, putting him in line to possibly succeed President Raul Castro. The New York Times notes that the announcement was significant as it was the first time since 1959 that “someone other than the Castro brothers” was selected to fill such a prominent position.
The grim litany of gang murders, tortures, and outright butchery by drug cartel members in Mexico has rendered the region near the international border almost untenable, and the latest discovery of 145 bodies in mass graves near San Fernando has precipitated a crisis in the logistics of dealing with death. The Houston Chronicle reported on Friday that the Mexican morgues were overwhelmed, and 70 of the bodies had been moved to Mexico City on Thursday.
Four and one-half years of violent conflict between drug cartels and the government have brought unimaginable bloodshed to the people of Mexico, and now one of that nation’s most highly placed law enforcement officials is predicting that it may be as much as four more years before the violence will begin to subside.