Northern Mexico was the scene of the latest outbreak of drug cartel violence when authorities found 49 beheaded bodies on a highway near Monterrey on Sunday.
The corpses had been mutilated and their hands and feet had been removed.
Law enforcement officials say that the latest massacre is the work of the brutal Zetas cartel, which is currently engaged in a gang war with its rivals, the Gulf and the Sinaloa cartels.
Reuters reports that in spite of the fact that Mexican President Felipe Calderon made it a priority to smash the cartels when he was elected in 2006, the violence has only intensified. Fifty thousand Mexicans have lost their lives to cartel violence in only six years.
The latest outbreak of violence is viewed by political observers as the final nail in the coffin for Calderon’s National Action Party, which is being challenged by Institutional Revolutionary Party member Enrique Pena Nieto, in the upcoming presidential election. The Calderon party has chosen candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota to run against Nieto.
Mexico’s presidential election is on July 1.
Officials in the United States worry that drug cartel violence will spill over into the southern border states. Some officials say that already 300 Americans have lost their lives to cartel violence, in addition to Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ICE Agent Jaime Zapata.
The two agents were killed with guns the U.S. government sent to Mexican drug cartels in its infamous Fast and Furious operation, during which agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) used illegal straw purchasers to buy guns from firearms dealers in the southern border states and smuggle them across the border to the cartels.
Although the operation often has been erroneously referred to as a sting operation gone bad, not a single cartel member was brought to justice as a result of Fast and Furious. In addition, ATF whistleblower agents have stated from the beginning that the operation was never intended to be a sting but a scheme by which the Obama Administration would artificially produce gun statistics that would then be used to justify an attempt to pass strict gun control laws.
Observers have wondered how many of the Fast and Furious firearms are being used in the current outbreak of drug cartel violence in Mexico. Over 2,500 guns were sent by the United States to the cartels, and to date only a tiny fraction of the weapons have been recovered.
So far nothing has been done to bring any of the perpetrators in the U.S. government to justice, neither has the Mexican government had any success in reining in the violence of the cartels.
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