Alfredo Corchado has an excellent story in the Dallas Morning News from Nuevo Laredo. (Link in title of post.) As always, his reporting is top notch.
What's most interesting about the article to me is once again, the role perception plays in this whole drug war. The people of Nuevo Laredo, and other parts of Mexico, increasingly see the cartels as in control of government, or as "virtual parallel governments," as Corchado describes it.
I've found this to be true in various parts of Mexico, from Sinaloa to Michoacan to Chipas to my own neighborhood in Mexico City, where local PRIistas took advantage of local proprietors whenever they had the opportunity.
Of course, they weren't armed, vicious thugs calling themselves Zetas and running into town beheading people. But once again, I think perception is the biggest problem. When there is no clear law and order, when the authorities can't be trusted to keep order and peace let alone leave the public alone, you get a sense that everything is falling apart and in the words of one US official I talked to a while back about Tamaulipas, that there is "no law."
Anyway, read the Corchado piece. It's solid stuff.