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2012-05-24

Tens of thousands march against violence in Mexico

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Tens of thousands of people marched in Mexico’s second most populous city on May 23, angry at the inability of authorities to end a crime wave blamed on the country’s powerful drug cartels.

Students, community leaders and local citizens marched in Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco, demanding that state officials come up with a clear strategy to halt the rising wave of crime in the region.

Ten students have been murdered over the past few months, said Marco Antonio Cortés, head of the University of Guadalajara and one of the protest organizers. In an interview with Radio Formula, Cortés blamed the students’ deaths on organized crime.

The state crime wave includes the discovery of 18 headless bodies two weeks ago, as well as the abduction of 12 people in towns near Guadalajara.

Jalisco, on Mexico’s Pacific coast, has traditionally been territory where the Sinaloa drug cartel of Joaquín “Chapo” (Shorty) Guzmán has been active.

The cartel was one of the most powerful criminal syndicates in the 1990s, but there has been no information about Guzmán, Mexico’s most wanted fugitive, for months.

Cortés demanded that authorities “take the necessary measures to clear up the crimes against members of the university community and other crimes.”

More than 50,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderón launched an all-out war against the nation’s drug gangs upon taking office in December 2006, according to Mexican figures.

[AFP (Mexico), 23/05/2012; Vanguardia.com (Mexico), 23/05/2012]

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