There's Little Mystery to This Mass Grave: Mexico's Drug War Is Killing Children

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There's Little Mystery to This Mass Grave: Mexico's Drug War Is Killing Children

Young people are now targeted by the very people sworn to protect them. If this isn’t the ultimate duplicity of abusive law enforcement, what is?

Parents of dead or missing students pray in front of an altar in Ayotzinapa, in Mexico's Guerrero state, on Monday. (Photo: AFP-JIJI)

Many countries prohibit deploying their military for domestic law enforcement: it’s a recipe for violent authoritarian abuse.

But the Obama administration’s prohibitionist drug war is funding and encouraging abuse and brutal, corrupt, mass-grave-level murders throughout Mexico and Central America – enough that even drug-war apologists admit that the appalling increase in human-rights abuses are a result of sending the military and police into communities in the name of anti-trafficking.

In just nine years, the drug war waged by the US and Mexico has created a climate of violence that has claimed more than 100,000 lives throughout the country, many young people – including two horrific massacres and a mass disappearance in the last six months connected to law enforcement nominally tasked with battling the spread of drugs.

An ambush on 26 September, begun by uniformed local police and finished off by an armed commando, left six young people dead and 43 students missing, nearly half of whom were last seen in police custody. Others are battling for their lives in local hospitals (where the possibility of a new attack is considered so high that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ordered precautionary measures for the wounded and the missing). This week, 28 semi-burned bodies were discovered in a mass grave, which authorities say could be the bodies of the missing students. Politicians allied with cartels are blamed for the atrocity.

Read the full article at The Guardian.

Laura Carlsen

Laura Carlsen

Laura Carlsen (lcarlsen(at) is director of the Americas Policy Program ( in Mexico City, where she has been an analyst and writer for two decades. She is also a Foreign Policy In Focus columnist.

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