Bloody weekend in Puerto Rico leaves nearly 20 dead

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Wednesday November 28, 2012 – Puerto Ricans are counting their losses after the long Thanksgiving weekend turned into a bloody rampage that left almost a score of people dead.

The carnage was scattered throughout the island and largely resulted from automatic weapons fired from moving cars in attacks authorities describe as drug-related.

The majority of the killings nevertheless took place in the most densely populated districts of San Juan, Caguas, Carolina, Ponce and Bayamon.

Bayamon was the location of the recent murder of ex-world champion boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho, whose companion in the car riddled with machine-gun bullets, Alberto Yamil Mojica, had a record of drug offenses.

The main cause of the spike in Puerto Rican crime is said to be the increasing use of the Caribbean corridor for shipping cocaine to the United States.

American authorities’ pressure on the Mexican border has led drug traffickers to switch to the Caribbean and especially to Puerto Rico as an alternative route for transporting illegal drugs to the mainland.

Last year, the United Nations published a study of world homicides that said Puerto Rico had a rate of 30.5 violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, in stark contrast to the approximately five in the United States.

On Monday, El Nuevo Dia newspaper reported that since 1993 a total of 16,478 people have been killed in Puerto Rico, a sum equal to the populations of some of the island’s towns.

The latest murders raise to 858 the number of violent deaths so far in 2012, which is in line with predictions of less than the 1,136 murders recorded in 2011, the bloodiest year in Puerto Rico since 1940. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)