Security fears grow as Mexico prepares to host Pan Ams
Iván Ruiz watched from a friend’s living room last Saturday when local boxer Saúl (Canelo) Álvarez won the WBC super welterweight title.
It was the kind of fight the systems administrator used to watch at a local bar with friends, but these days the 26-year-old visits such places rarely due to fears of violence. Recent actions by warring drug cartels have involved attacks on bars and police stations and the hijacking of vehicles to block major thoroughfares. These acts of terror have become known as narcobloqueos.
“The violence is surprising,” Ruiz said. “You used to hear of dust-ups in bars and gang fights … but few people pulled out guns.”
Such sentiments are increasingly common in Guadalajara, which prepares to host the Pan American Games in October amid growing security concerns. More than 34,000 lives have been claimed by the violence since Mexico began to crack down on organized crime in December 2006.
The violence threatens to further complicate the organizing of a Games that has been plagued at times by petty politics, paltry public enthusiasm and an inability to leverage as a catalyst for urban renewal projects.