Mexico car bomb: 'Colombianization' of Mexico nearly complete
Last week's Mexico car bomb in the border town of Cuidad Juarez killed three. It is the first known use of a car bomb against authorities and marks a troubling new level of violence in the country's brutal drug war.
For years drug experts, security officials, and political analysts have questioned the “Colombianization” of Mexico.Skip to next paragraph
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Mexico had already overtaken Colombia in terms of kidnappings. The public has long gotten accustomed to a censored press, threats to politicians, and grisly violence that includes decapitation and bodies hanging from highway overpasses. Now, it appears, Mexico has moved even closer to the kind of violence that plagued the South American nation in its darkest days.
A well-orchestrated car bomb exploded in Ciudad Juarez late Thursday, across from El Paso, Texas, killing at least three and sparking panic among the Mexican population. It is the first known use of a car bomb against authorities and the local population, and marks a troubling new level of violence as traffickers seeking to control the drug trade battle one another and Mexican authorities.
“We were already living with fear, but the kind of fear you have when living in a city that has a volcano or earthquake [risk], the kind of fear that is in the back of your mind,” says Jessica Peña, a sociology professor at the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez. “But this is an extreme situation. I think this will change people's fears to the worst.… This is something we thought just happened in societies like Iran or Iraq.”
Authorities try to play down the attack
Mexico's attorney general, Arturo Chavez, tried to downplay the event during a press conference Friday, assuring reporters that there is “no evidence anywhere in the country of narcoterrorism.”
The bomb was apparently set off by a cellphone in a trap designed by Mexican drug gangs. Ciudad Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz said at a press conference that drug gangs dressed a wounded man as a police officer and left him on the street. The perpetrators then called emergency services to lure federal police to the scene. As first responders approached, the bomb exploded. Among those killed was a doctor who rushed to treat the man. A cameraman was among the injured.