Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mexico drug violence mars spring break fun

ACAPULCO, Mexico – On the surface, the beach town here is idyllic.
Crystal blue waters. Song birds with bright yellow wings darting from tree to tree.
And then there are the American college students.
They’re tanning, tossing Frisbees and in some cases stumbling along the strip here with Corona beers in hand.
VIDEO: Killings dampen spring break fun in Acapulco
But what seems like paradise has been invaded by the harsh reality of drug cartel violence that has spilled from Mexico’s underworld to the nation’s streets.
Just this past weekend, nearly 50 people were killed nationwide in apparent drug-gang violence – 13 people were killed in and around Acapulco, with four victims found beheaded. Three people with ties to the U.S. Consulate were killed Saturday in Ciudad Juarez, a city along the Texas border more than 1,000 miles from here. The victims – who were chased down in broad daylight while returning home from a child’s birthday party – are believed to have been mistakenly targeted by drug cartel hit men.
Drug violence is endemic in Mexico. The casualty numbers sound like those from a conventional war. Fifty uniformed police officers murdered in just three days; 2,009 people killed since the beginning of the year. And many of the assassinations carry a brutal cartel trademark: beheading.

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