Jo Tuckman
The Guardian
July 4, 2010

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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A week of bloodshed in the run-up to important Mexican regional elections culminated overnight in a savage gunfight between rival drug gangs in which at least 21 people were killed a few miles from the US border.

Police arrested nine people, six with gunshot wounds, after the predawn gun battle left dead bodies strewn across a rugged rural area known as a smuggling route. Shootouts between the different drug cartels are common, but the firepower on display was particularly large.

The violence provided an inauspicious backdrop to Sunday’s elections in which almost half of Mexico’s 31 states are voting for mayors, local deputies and governors. The campaigns have been marred by drug-trafficking violence, alleged paramilitary violence and espionage, as well as an ominous sense of a democracy on the edge. Around 27,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since 2007.

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