Friday, August 26, 2011

Monterrey casino attack: An analysis

Now we have a new tragedy in Mexico: The attack on a Monterrey casino on Thursday afternoon that has claimed at least 61 lives. What can we ascertain so far?
  • The 8-9 armed attackers were brazen enough to drive up to the Casino Royale on San Jeronimo Avenue in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, in four vehicles (a grey sedan, a white Mini Cooper, a grey Equinox and a black Chevrolet S10) -- practically blocking an entrance from the road -- and get out from their cars, torch the casino with gasoline, reenter their vehicles and make their getaway as smoke began clouding a security camera. It took them about two minutes to burn down the casino.
  • The dead include 35 women and 8 men. "There were a series of cadavers that could not be identified," El Universal reported. Ten people have been wounded.
  • The authorities, including Nuevo Leon Gov. Rodrigo Medina de la Cruz, consider the attack as a strike by organized crime, although they did not want to specify which criminal group was suspected.
  • President Felipe Calderon called the perpetrators "true terrorists" and also blamed the US illegal-drug market for causing such strife in Mexico and Latin America in general.
  • There is a disturbing trend of violence directed against the many casinos of Monterrey, which are reportedly linked to a turf war between two drug cartels: The Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas. In fact, the Casino Royale was one of four gambling houses attacked by an armed group on May 25, and weapons were reportedly found inside on Thursday.
  • The Casino Royale should not have been open in the first place. Mayor Fernando Lorrazabal had ordered a municipal closure of 12 casinos, including the Royale, in May. Enrique Hernandez Navarro of the CYMSA (Conexiones y Mangueras S.A. de C.V.) Corporation, which owns the Royale, had lobbied to keep it open -- and gotten the OK from a magistrate.

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