Jennifer Gonzalez
AFP
July 27, 2009

[efoods]Close to a black cross where Mexican drug cartels used to place the severed heads of their rivals, and near the site where the mutilated bodies of 12 police officers were found, a vendor has little success at his roadside stall selling “lucky” toy rabbits.

The wind-up rabbits wobbled and jumped around a small wood table the vendor had set up on the Four Roads route, on a road in this largely rural western Mexican state known as “Michoacan Bravo” — Wild Michoacan.

The state is home to La Familia Michoacana, a ruthless, pseudo Christian cult-like drug organization that made its appearance in dramatic fashion in 2006 when members rolled five decapitated heads onto a nightclub dance floor.

Violence has since been on the upswing, even after President Felipe Calderon deployed thousands of soldiers and federal police to this state — his home state — of 4.2 million residents.

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