In what has already been a long and bloody year of drug-related shootouts, kidnappings, decapitations and other heinous crimes, Monday’s attack marked the first time drug gangs specifically targeted civilians — an estimated crowd of 30,000 people out to celebrate the Mexican equivalent of the Fourth of July.
According to the newspaper El Universal, the dead include: Martha Quintera Brambila, 40; Elisa Guerrero Garcia, 76; Gloria Alvarez Bautista, 32; Alfredo Sanchez Torres, 53; Maria del Pilar Mendoza, 30; Juan Antonio Rio Pescador, 50; Leticia Tapia Guerrero, 48; and a 65-year-old victim who has not yet been identified. Among the wounded are seven children.
There are no words strong enough to condemn the dumb, mean-spirited, attackers — who place US-derived drug profits and territorial conquest above the lives of their neighbors and countrymen.
There are no words strong enough to condemn the ignorance of “recreational” drug users in the United States, who paid for the fragmentation grenades that painted Morelia’s plaza — which I have crossed on more than one lazy, Sunday afternoon — blood red.
There are no words strong enough to condemn the US gun manufacturers, and the south-of-the-border-bound gun-runners with whom they are complicit, for feeding the fire that is burning Mexico’s already scorched social fabric to little more than ash.
There are no words strong enough to condemn the Bush administration for sending millions of dollars to the Mexican government to fight this drug war. Every man, woman and child in this country knows that the aid money is converted into weapons, that those weapons are stolen from military armories and local and federal police stations and used to commit more crimes in which more people die.
Our thoughts are with the families of the victims, those fighting for their lives in hospitals, and the doctors who are surely going beyond the call of duty to keep the death toll from rising.
John Sevigny is a photographer and writer who was born in Miami and lives and works in Mexico. He is a former correspondant for the Associated Press, and for EFE News, the official information agency of the Spanish government. He has published photographs and articles in the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News, the Dallas Morning News, and many other newspapers and magazines. As a fine art photographer, he has participated in solo and group exhibitions in Florida, California, Louisiana, New York, Minnesota and Illinois in the United States, and in Monterrey, Saltillo, and Zacatecas in Mexico. This post originally appeared on his blog, Gone City.
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