ON ONE side of a low hill in the middle of Monterrey, Mexico’s biggest industrial city, lies Independencia, a district so run down that donkeys still carry heavy goods to the top. On the other side is San Pedro Garza García, one of Latin America’s most affluent neighbourhoods and home to some of its biggest companies.

In the past four years, the yawning social divide between them has been bridged by violence. First, the sound of gun battles between drug gangs fighting in Independencia carried over the hill to the mansions of San Pedro. Then the killings began in San Pedro itself. In a place once considered by its residents to be safer than Texas, just a few hours’ drive away, murders, carjackings and extortion became everyday occurrences. Some rich families fled to Texas—and were branded as “cowards” by Lorenzo Zambrano, the boss of Cemex, a cement-maker which is one of Monterrey’s (and Mexico’s) biggest firms.

In this section

The new face of Mexican policing

Farmers v Amerindians

Beside the point


The trauma eventually brought about a more constructive reaction. “Society was passive, permissive and in some cases even complacent,” says Maurico Doehner, a manager at Cemex whose landscaped headquarters lies in the heart of San Pedro. “There was a broken link between the authorities and the ordinary citizens, and we had to overcome that.”

via Security in Mexico: The new face of Mexican policing | The Economist.