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What's behind a week of high-profile cartel violence in Mexico

Cartels unleashed mayhem in four Mexican states last week, burning cars, blocking roads and killing at least a dozen people.

The most recent scenes of violence happened Friday in Baja California, where masked cartel gunmen hijacked cars and buses, set them ablaze and blocked roadways around the state, including in the border cities of Tijuana and Mexicali. And social media messages purportedly published by the Jalisco New Generation cartel declared a curfew, telling people to stay home or risk attack.

The U.S. Consulate in Tijuana issued a shelter-in-place alert, which was lifted on Sunday after the violence seemed to have calmed.

Hear Kendal Blust explain Mexico’s violent week with host Lauren Gilger on The Show


The fiery scenes mirrored similar chaos earlier in Jalisco, Guanajuato and Ciudad Juarez, where 11 people were killed.

But on Monday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador downplayed the significance of the week’s events.

During his daily press conference, he asked people to be calm, saying that the country is stable, and that the purpose of the attacks is to sow fear.

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Kendal Blust was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2018 to 2023.