Rodolfo Torre slaying puts spotlight on peso, border security

A vehicle riddle with bullet holes, courtesy of a Los Zetas attack.

Rodolfo Torre and four aides were killed in Tamaulipas. (Photo: ELA)

The recent assassination of popular Mexican gubernatorial candidate Rodolfo Torre has proven once more that the northeast Mexican state of Tamaulipas is not only a flash point in Mexico’s drug war, but of great concern in the ongoing battle for U.S. border security. Reuters reports that Torre – an opposition candidate representing the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) – was slain along with four of his aides in the border town of Valle Hermoso. The responsible party of 16 hooded gunmen is believed to represent the notorious Los Zetas gang.

Rodolfo Torre’s killing has border security agents and investors worried

Mexico’s drug war has claimed more than 25,000 lives since 2006, when violent gun battles began spilling into the streets, but Rodolfo Torre’s death is allegedly the largest-scale example to date of a drug cartel attempting to influence Mexico’s politics. Tourists are reportedly avoiding Tamaulipas and foreign investors have bailed on the peso in large numbers. Reuters indicates that its recent position at 12.71 per $1 U.S. was .46 percent weaker. Televised images of Rodolfo Torre’s body in the media have done nothing to reverse this trend. In addition, local stocks remained flat as news out of the recent G-20 summit point toward an end to fiscal stimulus in the region.

Border security is influencing Mexico’s credit picture

According to the Wall Street Journal, Credit Suisse has had some positive things to say about Mexico’s financial condition. Particularly, Credit Suisse praised the nation’s “record or near-record low yields on government debt,” and pointed out that Mexico’s central bank is enjoying a level of inflation that rests within what experts consider to be a comfort zone. The inflation level has ranged from 2 to 4 percent of late. Furthermore, Credit Suisse believes that Mexico’s recovering growth is, “as good as it gets.”

On the down side, Mexico’s ongoing drug war violence has given creditors pause. “The violence problem seems to have worsened notably in 2010, with the number of drug-related killings making new highs, and with organized crime defying the state more openly than ever before,” added Credit Suisse. “We are not sure this is as bad as it gets on the security front, unfortunately.”

Washington is watching closely

The United States is no doubt taking notice of this. The death of Rodolfo Torre just a stone’s throw from American soil has the U.S. on alert. Border security against bold drug cartels is no small measure in American politics, from the president’s funding of additional forces to the ongoing immigration debates. While Los Zetas may not represent all illegal traffic that crosses the U.S. border, their actions do little to dissuade states like Arizona from abandoning their own bold stance against the dangers of illegal immigration.



Wall Street Journal


Rodolfo Torre campaign video (en Español):

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