...disregarding the questions of just how the cartels have become so well funded as to openly challenge national governments, this situation is becoming terminal with more alacrity than I had expected.
SANTIAGO, Mexico (AP) - Bladimiro Montalvo has one of the most dangerous jobs in this colonial town, and in all of Mexico. He's the mayor.
The soft-spoken 67-year-old teacher distributes school supplies, organizes a job fair and works on improving the library. He also tries to avoid ending up like his predecessor, who authorities say was kidnapped and shot to death last month by his own police officers, linked to the Zetas drug gang.
Three other small-town mayors in northeastern Mexico have been killed in the last month—the latest on Thursday—and at least seven have been killed in border states this year.
Mexican drug cartels have increasingly targeted such officials as they fight the government and each other, seeking control of drug markets and routes to the United States. They use isolated, lightly patrolled towns to hide and to stash kidnap victims, weapons and drugs. They must co-opt or eliminate authority figures like mayors to assert control over both residents and police.