letters from Monterrey

Our friend and former colleague Federico sends us letters from his home town Monterrey in Mexico. We have his permission to publish some of his thoughts on the sad reality of what is happening in his country right now. So, a couple of day after Cinco de Mayo we forward you these words on the battles of Mexico of today:

Things in Monterrey, believe it or not, have calmed down a bit, but I'm guessing it's because of the grey/rainy days that we're having, even criminals don't feel like going out as much. It's been like that for the last 2 weeks and it shows. No more street blockades (which I haven't seen any personally, and it is now reported that the ones blocking the streets are the same ones that protested back in February of 2009 when the military entered the city, AND they're being paid by the drug fractions about 20USD per day for men, and school supplies for mothers and children that participate.)

It is sad, very sad that this happens, add to that many of these people have lost their jobs and it shows that we have an unhealthy society, where the government does not satisfy the needs.
Our capacity to be amazed at certain violent acts has ceased to exist. All over Mexico the drug wars have made almost every mexican oblivious to the killings, as long as they're killing each other and not innocent people, like what happened at my school, believe it or not, 2 PhD students were killed not long ago. They were caught in the line of fire between military forces and the bad guys in an altercation that took place near one of the entrances of the school. The altercation was at 1am right outside one of the entrances to the school, the military started shooting, the bad guys shot back, the city police came and rescued the bad guys (yes that is the kind of police that we have here). That is a typical story of our judicial system, it is so corrupt that the only people you can semi-trust are the military forces. (They are taking care of kidnapping cases now too, because many policemen have been found were cooperating or are heads of kidnapping gangs).

The city runs almost at top speed, but you do see less people at night, our habits have changed, no stopping at night at convenience stores, shopping for food only at daytime. People are changing their cars to less luxury brands, or not upgrading their cars but rather keeping the one they have, etc. Too much information coming in, or none at all. This is how we live now, not in fear, but cautious all the time, where Monterrey used to be one of the safest cities in Mexico it has become a quite bizarre city. Areas of the city where nothing happened are safe no more, the most random shit, and i say that with all it connotates, happens now in Mexico, and some of these drug gang leaders I swear could could be taken out of ANY horror/suspense/gore/torture movie, it is a war after all, don't want to go into details but you get the idea. (Scare tactics to keep the population at bay)

We are learning to deal with it, it is not all bad news. It is just a matter of time I believe before things get better, it'll probably take years, but we're getting there, at least that's what we're hopeful for.

This is the latest report from Monterrey, people are getting tired of this and it is changing the country I believe, people are more honest in their general day by day activities, in part because you don't know who you are dealing with and in part because people are trying to show each other they they are NOT the bad guys.

But life must go on and we mexicans are quite resilient, we will not give ourselves in to being controlled by a mafia, drug lord, kidnapping gang, extorsion or whatever type of activities that these drug wars have created as parallel criminal activities. We still laugh, we haven't lost our sense of humor, people do want to go out, see their friends etc, house parties have become quite common in lieu of going out late. Again it has made us more cautious of our surroundings, it's like living in Mexico City in the 90's hehe.

I am optimistic and never down, and I believe the people of Mexico are not only wanting Mexico to be better, but they are actually working to make it better! All the best! Big Hugs from "La Ciudad de las Montañas"

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