The troops have been deployed to Jalisco in the strongest show of military might ever seen in Mexico, according to a report today by Milenio.
One week after a criminal gang, believed to be the Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel, shot down a Mexican Air Force Cougar helicopter killing six soldiers, the Armed Forces are on the move.
From San José de Avila to Villa Purificación, the municipality where the attack on the helicopter took place, on the highways and on the approaches to towns in the region, usually under the control of the cartels, is an impressive display of military machinery.
French-made Panhard armoured vehicles carrying 12 soldiers are on patrol. Their 50-caliber guns will fire 1,000 rounds a minute.
But how strong is the vehicle’s armor, a soldier is asked. Strong enough to withstand the shot that took down the helicopter last Friday?
The soldier smiles and says, with typical military frugality, “Yes.”
Residents look at the show of force with astonishment, but they’re not displeased. In fact, they’re glad to see it, although none will appear in front of a camera to say so.
“The truth is, we feel more safe seeing the soldiers everywhere with those huge tanks,” says the woman at an Oxxo store.
“It’s like a movie,” says a woman to her husband while soldiers look over their truck at a checkpoint.
But the scene — armored vehicles, soldiers with bazookas on their shoulders and rocket-powered grenade launches ready to fire — is real enough.
It seems like the winds of war blow in Jalisco.