[Guest post by DRJ]
StrategyPage notes that violence in Mexico is now worse than in Iraq. I agree with Glenn Reynolds that this is bad news for Mexico and its neighbors. Sadly, it’s also bad news for its neighbor’s anti-kidnapping experts, one of whom has been abducted in Mexico:
“A U.S. anti-kidnapping expert was abducted by gunmen in northern Mexico last week, a sign of just how bold this nation’s kidnapping gangs have become.
U.S. security consultant Felix Batista was in Saltillo in Coahuila state to offer advice on how to confront abductions for ransom when he was snatched by unknown assailants on Dec. 10, said Charlie LeBlanc, the president of the Houston, Texas-based security firm ASI Global LLC., where Batista is a consultant.
LeBlanc said Batista had his own security business and that “he was in Mexico for business that wasn’t associated with our company.” Batista’s work involved crisis management consulting, LeBlanc said. “Part of that could be or may involve negotiations with kidnappers.” ASI Global’s Web site advertises “kidnap and ransom response” and says the company has worked for major insurance companies.”
You know things are bad when real life starts imitating the movies:
“Kidnapping has become a rising problem in Mexico, but attacks on U.S. anti-crime consultants have largely been the stuff of movies. The seizure seems to echo the plot of a 2004 movie, “Man on Fire,” in which Denzel Washington played a U.S. security consultant who takes on Mexican kidnappers and is abducted himself.
A series of high-profile kidnappings in which the victims were later found dead has sparked outrage in Mexico. In the past year, the bodies of daughter of the country’s former sports commissioner and the son of a prominent businessman have been found.”
Out-of-control kidnapping is one reason some Mexican leaders now support reinstatement of the death penalty where a hostage is killed.
UPDATE — The violence continues: Four separate and possibly coordinated attacks killed 4 police officers in Juarez Sunday night. Many more officers have been intimated into quitting:
“Dozens of Ciudad Juárez police have been killed this year in attacks blamed on drug gangs trying to consolidate territory. Many officers have quit out of fear for their lives, often after their names have appeared on hit lists left in public.
Another such list naming 26 officers was found early Monday at a dog racing track, Torres said. It was found above the bodies of four civilian men gunned down at the track – one of them wearing a Santa Claus hat. A fifth man who survived was left bound and gagged next to the bodies.”
This report says more than 5,300 people have been killed in Mexico this year, more than twice as many as last year.