Thursday, July 31, 2008

Devastating and tragic

The blog is quickly reaching the impressive amount of 100.000 visitors and its 627th posting.
Maybe a good moment to express what an intense pleasure it is to every day share with many people.

And fortunately there are things to share.
Many times the daily experiences bring an excellent subject to write about.

Let’s take yesterday for example.
The Fuso Szulc loaded with supplies got off the main road and drove on this terrible dirt road west to the Pacific Ocean.
A barren landscape of cactuses and dry bushes under a blue sky while a strong wind blew.

Somewhere out there, driving at a very low speed, suddenly an open military Hummer approached.
Loaded with heavily armed soldiers.

Open military Hummer

Behind that Hummer were white pick-up trucks full of what are called “Federales”.

Mexican Federal Police

A branch of the Police feared for their ruthlessness, toughness and dealing with the heaviest forms of crime.
The first Hummer and several white pick up trucks passed and stopped behind the Fuso Szulc.
The rest of the convoy, more pick-up trucks with Federales and another Hummer with soldiers stayed in front.
They all stopped.
The men came out and surrounded the Fuso Szulc in a wide circle.
Having their M-16’s pointed to the arrested traveler.

M-16 gun

One man was in civilian clothes.
Looked like a philosopher or something with his intellectual face and the aristocratic mustache.
Like the others, he was surprised to see a vehicle like the Fuso Szulc driven by a single caballero.
A new plot of drug smugglers to transport white powder?

The man with the nice mustache was formal but friendly.
Asking questions about what was the destination and why going there.
In the end he ordered to search the Fuso Szulc.
Surrounded by over 40 heavily armed men, some wearing ski masks even, an order hard to oppose.
Imagine saying: “Sorry, you can’t do that…”.
It would be a nice joke, because it would have been followed by:
“Just kidding”.
But from the first moment the motorcade of fighters of drugs came into sight, an inner voice was yelling: “This time NO JOKES, please”.

Humour is a nice way to make people feel relax and easy but it is no joke to know this cannot be applied to everybody and every situation.

Two Federales searched the Fuso Szulc and they did a thorough job.
It took them an hour to look into every closet, box and niche.
Of course supervised by the owner because we don not want things to disappear during a search nor little bags with white powder planted and found.

Eventually freedom was returned and the journey could continue.

Some hours earlier while enjoying a last cup of coffee with a chocolate chip cookie the local La Paz newspaper was read.
Many stories about the ongoing drug war.
That is even becoming dominant in this part of Mexico.
Pictures of criminals with the drugs they seized from them.
Pictures of assassinated people due to drug related gang warfare dumped in front of the police station.
Politicians complaining that things are getting out of hand.
It is like a civil war.
But the opposing parties are unusual.
On the one hand is the Government and on the other hand the drug gangs.

The fact though is that this Mexican drug war is going on because there is a market for these drugs.
Mexico is only a transit country.
The drugs come from the south and go to the north.
This trafficking is highly profitable and the people behind it become so mighty that they overpower the Government and its military and police.

To be stopped and searched by a motorcade of drug trade fighters with their ski masks and heavy weapons makes a good story for the blog.
But the truth is that a serious war is going on here that is devastating and tragic.


To learn more about the feared Mexican Federales, click on:



Anonymous said...

Wow! and My, oh My! What a frightening experience your encounter with the Mexican war on drugs must have been. I am happy that you were not detained any longer than you were. Healthy living was in your favor.
I have followed from the beginning and continue to enjoy your daily posts and beautiful pictures.

Anonymous said...

love your posts michel. yours is the only blog i read!

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harvestmoon said...

This is where having a gaggle of children comes in so handy. I can't count the times I've been stopped by the military (not yet the PFP) and had the car searched. They always have a smile and a joke and an apology for me and whichever kid I have with me at the time.

We have never had a frightening encounter with the PFP or the military, but we have 4 kids and I speak fluent Spanish.

Now, the Pemex workers are a very different story. :)