Amid Storm of Violence, Mexicans Find Unlikely Refuge

Crime-ridden Mexico City is now looking pretty good
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2011 10:56 AM CDT
Mexican Drug War: Amid Storm of Violence, Mexicans Find Unlikely Refuge in Mexico City\
Mexicans gather at the Monument of the Revolution before the lights are switched off to observe an hour of darkness for the global "Earth Hour" campaign, in Mexico City, Saturday, March 26, 2011.   (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

As the bloody stain of drug violence seeps into Mexico's border towns and resort areas alike, Mexicans are taking refuge in a place that would have been unthinkable even five short years ago: Mexico City. The capital city, long known as a place where cops could be bought and petty crooks ran rampant, is now a veritable safe haven in comparison to the drug war raging outside. "We haven't had heads cut off. We don't have blockades. We don't have shooting in the streets," says an anti-crime group advocate. "We have some robberies."

"There's some sort of an agreement, not an explicit agreement, that Mexico City is a neutral place," says a national security expert. For now, at least. The LA Times notes that many major cartel figures live and work in Mexico City and are reluctant to wage war in their back yard; on top of that, they're wary of setting off the federal police and military on their home turf, and the sprawling city of 20 million would be near-impossible to dominate. But a spate of so-called isolated incidents on Mexico City's periphery show dark clouds may loom on the capital's horizon. (More Mexico City stories.)

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