Drug War Refugees

Residents of Ciudad Mier Flee for their Lives

Credit: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t

Residents in Mexican border cities including Ciudad Mier and Nuevo Guerrero have been living unde siege-like conditions for the past year. They are living without electricity, water. Their gas stations have been incinerated in a scorched earth campaign to take over the area as a prime drug smuggling route. One resident of Ciudad Mier, said cartel members have threatened to dynamite her town of 6,000 inhabitants, which neighbors Roma, Texas.  With the death of Gulf Cartel capo Tony Tormenta in Matamoros last week, the bloody fighting over territory with the Zeta cartel has escalated  to the point that Ciudad Mier residents started fleeing their town last Friday to take refuge in the neighboring city of Miguel Aleman.

After Cárdenas’ slaying last Friday, members of Los Zetas, the drug cartel controlling Mier, were yelling in the streets that they were going to kill everybody who remained in the town, sparking the exodus, according to the McAllen Monitor.

A resident of Ciudad Mier, who has U.S. citizenship and has taken refuge in Roma, Texas, sent a message out over Twitter yesterday for donations for the refugees who number about 300. I spoke with her this morning and she said they are asking for bottled water, powdered milk and formula, adult and baby diapers, wipes and non perishable food and clothes. The woman, who was near tears, told me that residents can’t go to their ranches or work because cartel members have taken over her city.

A resident of Ciudad Mier in the Monitor article described his city as a ghost town: “The authorities do not go there. There are no soldiers there. There is nobody,” the former Mier resident said. “The mayor is not there anymore, there is no police, no traffic authority — nobody. It’s a ghost town. All the businesses are closed. If you want an aspirin, you have to travel to Miguel Alemán, and by bus, because if you drive they take away your car.”

Apparently, the governor of Tamaulipas, Eugenio Hernandez Flores, is aware of the situation (Gee, Really!) and sent some supplies on Monday to Miguel Aleman. Ciudad Mier residents are not sure how long they’ll be refugees, however, and help from the government is sporadic at best, which is why they are asking for help. The Monitor story has some contact information in Miguel Aleman for donations through Mexico’s social services agency, the DIF. Anyhow, anyone who has experienced Mexican bureacracy knows that it’s usually better to steer clear of it. The woman in Roma says she has been joined by some refugees who have dual nationality, including the city secretary of Ciudad Mier. They are willing to drive the donations over to Miguel Aleman for the refugees if anyone in Texas is interested in donating, their email address is [email protected]

The Drug War is reaching new lows in its barbarity and deaths of ordinary Mexican citizens. What’s clear is that Mexico will never be the same again. When will this madness stop?

Melissa del Bosque is a staff writer and a 2015-16 Lannan Fellow at The Investigative Fund.

Published at 5:29 pm CST
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