Monday, April 02, 2007

Drug war turns Mexico border city into ghost town

It's sad that an entire city has been ruined by drug war fighting.

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico, April 2 (Reuters) - With heavily armed Mexican soldiers patrolling Nuevo Laredo's graffitied, rubbish-strewn streets, Mario Cepeda is having a tough time convincing anyone to take his horse-drawn city tour.

Once an easygoing Mexican border town thronging with U.S. tourists, Nuevo Laredo is becoming a ghost town because of a brutal, three-year-old turf war between rival drug cartels that has driven residents and businesses across the Rio Grande to the safety and prosperity of its Texan sister city, Laredo.

"Business is no good, nobody comes any more," said Cepeda in broken English as he waited in vain for passengers on Nuevo Laredo's main avenue, a few steps from the U.S.-Mexico border footbridge.

Almost 200 people were murdered in often gruesome, daylight shootings in Nuevo Laredo last year in a war between drug gangs from Mexico's western Sinaloa state and the local Gulf cartel that that killed around 2,000 people nationwide in 2006.

Reuters AlertNet - FEATURE-Drug war turns Mexico border city into ghost town


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