Dec 7, 2011

Collateral Damage: Military restores order, but not confidence, to embattled Mexican border town

AP/Washington Post: "Schoolchildren once again chatter and scamper across the town plaza where drug gang gunmen last year torched the police station and left the remains of a dismembered man. By night, townsfolk play volleyball across the plaza from the station, whose charred stone facade has been repaired. The plants are trimmed and streets that once echoed with gunbattles are quiet and clean. Ciudad Mier again is starting to look like it deserves its tourism promotion as a “magical town.”

But most businesses are shuttered and there aren’t many cars on the streets, which are often patrolled by Army trucks. The mayor estimates that about a third of Mier’s 8,000 people have not returned. Most are still terrified by nine months of gang battles, killings and disappearances that caused them to flee a year ago. “When we live through an experience in the flesh, people keep that image,” said Mayor Alberto Gonzalez Pena. “And sometimes it’s difficult to erase.”" read more

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