Oct 18, 2012

Violent Mexico border state is snapshot of nation

Associated Press, R. Olga Rodriguez. October 18, 2012.

ROGRESO, Mexico (AP) — Every Sunday, some 100 people gather for pick-up baseball games in a dusty open field marked only by a dirt mound and rusted bleachers. It's the event of the week for this small northern Mexico town of 800 people where there is just one gas station and no supermarket, bank or high school.

Despite the crowd, nobody is willing to admit they were there the afternoon of Oct. 7 or saw the shootout just outside the ball field in the heart of Coahuila state. Mexican marines gunned down Heriberto Lazcano, a founder and top leader of the Zetas drug cartel and the biggest kingpin netted so far in President Felipe Calderon's six-year assault on organized crime.

Days later, no one would even admit to playing in the game. "We don't like sports," said one teenager waiting for his school bus last week when an Associated Press reporter asked him and his friends if they had played that Sunday. The players in the weekly games are largely in their teens.

Some townspeople do say they heard the explosions from grenades that Lazcano reportedly tossed as he ran for his life, but insist that they were home at the time and that they thought it was fireworks.

The reluctance to speak isn't surprising. Read more. 

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