By Cherrelle Rand
In Veracruz, Mexico, onlookers watched as 35 bodies were dumped into the street of a major highway in broad daylight on Sept. 20. Two unidentified pickup trucks stopped traffic during rush hour before the corpses were unloaded as a spectacle. Despite efforts to increase security in the port town, 11 more bodies were discovered by police on Sept. 23.
When police examined the 35 bodies, they found there were 12 women and 23 men. All were tortured before being killed, most by suffocation.
The police attribute these deaths to drug cartels because of notes left on the bodies that read, “There is a new owner of the turf.” The Guardian reported that the notes were signed “GN,” a likely reference to the Sinaloa cartel.
Mexico’s violent drug war started when President Calderon launched a war against the organized crime of cartels in 2006. Since that year, more than 41,000 people have been killed, including tourists, government officials, citizens and soldiers. Calderon claims that it was not his campaign that threw Mexico into violence, but the rise of the cartels and the United States’ appetite for illegal drugs.
The scene in Veracruz was not unique for locals, who live in constant fear of the cartels. In June, 22 bodies, all male, were found on the side of the road in the nearby city of Morelia. There are reports of mass murder by cartels of those who have used the Internet to retaliate. Drug cartels, which have taken over towns and institutions across Mexico, use such displays of violence to warn enemies and others not to speak out against them.
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