Like a sudden ghastly flare from a fire thought extinguished, a new massacre is reported this week from the border city of Juárez, once the epicenter of Mexico's bloody wars for control of the narco trade.
Ten people were killed as two gunmen attacked a home in the suburb of Loma Blanca on September 22, where young people had gathered to celebrate a baseball victory.
A seven-year-old girl, her mother, three teenage boys and five adult men are among the dead. The Chihuahua state prosecutor's office is investigating whether the massacre might be related to the kidnapping of five men from Loma Blanca's baseball field two months ago.
Loma Blanca is also where federal police killed a Sinaloa Cartel capo, Gabino Salas Valenciano, in August. Days later, on September 2, Mexican federal police in Nayarit state detained the alleged Juárez Cartel leader Alberto Carrillo Fuentes AKA "Ugly Betty" -- brother of the late, legendary kingpin Amado Carrillo Fuentes AKA "Lord of the Skies" and his successor Vicente Carrillo Fuentes.
The struggle of the Sinaloa Cartel to seize control of the strategic entry point from the hometown Juárez Cartel made the city the world's murder capital for much of the past decade, with 3,000 people killed in 2010 alone. That year saw another horrific massacre of local youth -- the killing of 15 in an attack on a birthday party in the working class barrio of Villas de Salvarcar.
The homicide rate in Juárez has dramatically fallen over the past three years, but many attribute this to a “peace of the graveyard” -- the war was over because the Sinaloa Cartel won.
The Loma Blanca massacre is especially ominous coming on the heels of Mexican government gains against high-level Sinaloa and Juárez cartel figures. Typically, kingpins getting shot sets off a new scramble for control -- with a bloody adjusting of accounts in which innocent family and community members pay with their lives.