Mexican shootout occurs near Texas border

On Saturday, Nov. 30, 14 members of a presumed cartel assault force were killed by Mexican security forces in Villa Union, a town about 35 miles southwest of the border city of Eagle Pass, Texas.

The following day, seven more gang members were killed, causing the death toll to rise to 21. The Coahuila state government said that lawmen were still chasing remnants of the cartel force that had attacked the City Hall of Villa Union.

The armed group stormed the town with 3,000 residents in a fleet of trucks, attacking local government offices. Abandoned trucks in the streets were marked “C.D.N.,” indicating the presence of the cartel of the northeast.

Videos posted on social media showed burned out vehicles and Villa Union’s City Hall riddled with bullets. Sounds of rapid gunfire along with frantic people warning others to stay indoors could be heard.

The incident occurred amid growing tensions between Mexico and the U.S. In a radio interview with Bill O’Reilly on Nov. 25, United States President Donald Trump expanded on his intentions to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations, which has put the Mexican government on the defense.

In response, Mexcian President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stated that he does not want a “political confrontation” with the American government.

“I don’t want to argue today nor tomorrow,” Obrador stated at a press conference. “I will just say: cooperation yes, interventionism no.”

After authorities revealed suspicions that Mexican drug cartel hit men were responsible for the shooting deaths of nine Americans earlier this month, Trump tweeted, “this is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth.”

However, many Mexican politicians have countered this assessment. Ricardo Monreal, Mexico’s Senate President, tweeted about rising fears that American forces could pursue targets independently, which would violate Mexico’s sovereignty.

Monreal wrote that any sort of agreement between the two nations would give the United States government the power to “use legal and institutional means that would permit it to act unilaterally in our territory with the justification of pursuing those groups.”

Students at Guilford expressed their perspectives on the issue.

“I think that it is a shame that when Mexico makes national news it is something related to cartels and violence,” stated Enrique Gudino, a senior at Guilford. “This is something that absolutely needs to be dealt with in order to change the world’s perspective on such a beautiful country.”

I believe that an educational reform should be implemented in the country to provide more quality schooling, keeping young people from joining cartels and developing a more skilled labor force to boost the middle class,” he added.