- Title: MEXICO: Governor Rodrigo Medina mourns slain Mayor Edelmiro Cavazos
- Date: 19th August 2010
- Summary: SANTIAGO, NUEVO LEON, MEXICO (FILE) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) POLICE VEHICLE OUTSIDE HOME OF CAVAZOS VARIOUS OF AUTHORITIES INSIDE HOME OF CAVAZOS
- Embargoed: 3rd September 2010 00:48
- Location: Mexico
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement
- Reuters ID: LVAEP1AIV7VF1LWHVUVOUG4B43QG
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Security forces found the body of a slain mayor on Wednesday (August 18) near Mexico's richest city, days after he was abducted by hitmen in the latest attack on a public official from increasingly bold drug cartels.
President Felipe Calderon, who has staked his presidency on a faltering drug war, condemned the "cowardly assassination" of Edelmiro Cavazos, the mayor of a town on the outskirts of Monterrey, an industrial center with close U.S. business ties.
"The murder of Edelmiro is an outrage and forces us to redouble our efforts to fight these cowardly criminals,"
Calderon wrote in a Twitter update.
Cavazos, a 38-year-old, U.S.-educated mayor from Calderon's conservative National Action Party, was found dumped on a rural road early on Wednesday outside his town of Santiago. He was blindfolded and his hands were tied.
Heavily armed soldiers swarmed the crime scene while frightened residents of the popular colonial tourist town stayed indoors, leaving normally busy streets deserted.
The attorney general in the border state of Nuevo Leon, which includes Santiago and Monterrey, which is 140 miles (230 km) from Texas, confirmed the body discovered was Cavazos' and said drug cartels were behind the killing.
Nuevo Leon Governor Rodrigo Medina urged Calderon to send more troops to Monterrey and surrounding areas, echoing a plea published on Wednesday from Mexican business groups in a full-page statement in local newspapers.
"Additionally, today the government secretary Francisco Blake will be in Nuevo Leon to whom I will personally repeat the request from the people and government of Nuevo Leon for the urgent strengthening of personnel and resources for the military and police which is very urgent," Medina said.
Medina said this week that Cavazos, who took office last year, was probably targeted for his efforts to clean up Santiago's corrupt police force, part of a nationwide effort to curb endemic police graft.
"As governor, I will not lessen any efforts to find and punish those responsible. We are going to demonstrate as a people, once more, that we are stronger and without a doubt, we will come out ahead," Medina said.
He added: "Rest in peace Edelmiro Cavazos Leal."
Santiago, a popular weekend getaway for Monterrey residents, has also become a staging post for drug gangs smuggling narcotics north into the United States.
More than 28,000 people, mainly drug traffickers and police, have been killed in Mexico's drug war since December 2006, intensifying worries in Washington about the stability of the United States' oil-producing neighbor.
Interior Minister Francisco Blake was due in Monterrey later in the day to discuss the killing with local leaders.
The death of Cavazos, a father of three who was taken from his home on Sunday night, is the first attack on a public official by suspected cartels in Nuevo Leon, a manufacturing hub once seen as a model for other developing nations.
Drug violence has surged in Monterrey, where per capita income is double Mexico's average, since a dispute between the powerful Gulf cartel and the Zetas, a brutal spinoff group, turned into all-out war since the start of this year.
That turf war is also terrorizing the neighboring state of Tamaulipas, where drug hitmen killed a candidate for governor in June, the highest level political killing in Mexico in 16 years.
Violence in Nuevo Leon is still well below the dramatic levels of border cities like Ciudad Juarez, but the violence in Monterrey is a challenge for Calderon as foreign companies begin to question the safety of doing business in Latin America's second-largest economy.
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