Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Streets of Monterrey

Monterrey, Nuevo Leon
"Cerro de la Silla"

It started Monday night (Feb. 9). Groups of young people, some with small children tagging along took over the main streets of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. The main thoroughfares of the city were completely stopped for over 3 hours. The police did little the first night. The second night they arrested one person. The third night there were a few arrests but they were immediately let go and showed up at another thoroughfare. They started early in the the day this morning - this is the fourth day.

The media says its the ZETAs organizing to confront abuses by the Mexican Army. One person was arrested, said to have lots of guns. They say that the protestors are being paid 200-500 pesos for taking part.

The U.S. newspapers haven't covered it yet. They are more concerned with the multiple multiple murders throughout the country. Today, a high official with the Monterrey police department was murdered. Yesterday, twenty one people were killed in a shoot out in the city of Chihuahua in northwest Mexico.

Since I was in Monterrey this week I chanced being caught in the fray. But I was lucky. The only night I was out, my friend suggested we take an alternate route when we saw that Constitution was backed up. Thank goodness I listened to her. We were home in no time. Other family members took almost 2 hours.

The police say they haven't taken an aggressive stance because there children are taking part in the blockades. As of yesterday afternoon, the only city official making public statements was the Director of Transportation.

There seems to be concern, but the rest of Mexico must think this is small stuff. There are so many executions and (literally) heads rolling around that this must seem like nothing. Road blockages have happened before, by teachers demanded (justly needed) raises, or protests about economic issues. This time its different, a road blockage that is sponsored and encouraged by a narco group is a loud statement that is going out to Monterrey and Nuevo Leon-- the Zetas have power. Its may be an unofficial power, but it is very present.

Mexico is not ready to produce an Elliot Ness. I wish it would. I used to go to Monterrey several times per year. I just can't do that anymore.

I have a special feeling for the city.  My first book,  Delirio: the Fantastic the Demonic and the Reel.  The Buried History of Nuevo Leon, is about Monterrey.

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