I called my mom last night to ask her about the Mexican military raid in Matamoros, which is less than an hour from my hometown. Friday might've been the bloodiest day in Matamoros history: 150 marines, 3 choppers, and 17 other military vehicles descended on the town to apprehend a reputed drug lord. And they say they killed the guy; what they decline to say (officially) is that as many as 100 other people are also dead, including a journalist who was caught in the crossfire and shot maybe 20 times. It's hard to know the death toll for sure because the gangs drag away their dead before media blackouts are lifted.
Imagine being a citizen stuck in the city:
Many residents spent late Friday afternoon crouched in bathrooms or crowded into windowless offices, listening to gunfire and at times peeking out to see what was going on.
They reported catching glimpses of guns carried by either members of the Mexican navy or cartel “soldiers” in their own military garb.
For about two hours, lights were out in downtown areas, where some of the heaviest shooting occurred. There was no communication; nothing worked, not cell phones, radio or Nextel.
City buses were used to blockade streets. Gunfire streamed down from hovering military helicopters. as reported by Lynn Brezosky & Dudley Althaus
The same article reports that the violence set off aftershocks in nearby Reynosa, Mexico, which is only 15 minutes from my hometown: In Reynosa...city officials used Twitter on Saturday morning to warn residents of random shootings there and that gangsters were blocking streets and highways.
Although my mom was not directly affected, she reports that smoke from the battles could be seen on the American side of the border. Another relative reports that high-speed car chases have become commonplace past our old neighborhood. They are living within spitting range of a war zone.
The border wall between Mexico and Texas, laughably called "Operation Hold-the-Line," cannot keep undocumented immigrants out. How can it possibly keep a war from spilling over?