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Panic inside a Mexican soccer stadium
August 22, 2011 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Panic inside a Mexican soccer stadium. In live footage that could be seen all over Mexico and some other parts of the world, audiences who were peacefully enjoying a soccer match between Torreón's "Santos" and Morelia's "Monarcas" watched as the sound of gunshots made players run out of the field and into the cover of their locker rooms, while spectators crouched in their seats and later, panicked, ran toward the exits. (SLYT, comments in spanish, but images are self explanatory.)

The gunshots were later found to be caused by a group of people in SUVs who failed to stop at a roadblock set up by Torreón Police, close to the west (left side of the video) entrance of the Santos Modelo Stadium. In their escape, the armed people in the SUVs fired upon the policemen, causing damage to thier vehicles and to the west side of the stadium. The gunshots could be heard inside the stadium, and in a city that has been in fear of "narco" violence for months (years?) now, the uncertainty of where the gunshots were coming from caused everyone, from spectators to stadium workers and soccer players, to fear for their lives.

Thankfully, only one policemen was hurt (gunshot to the arm) and no one running for the exits was trampled on.
posted by CrazyLemonade (71 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Forgot to add: this happened on saturday.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 9:56 AM on August 22, 2011


God that's crazy. And two shootings outside the Raiders-49ers game last night too.

Fucking August.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:01 AM on August 22, 2011


That's terrible, but what exactly is the point of this post?
posted by monospace at 10:10 AM on August 22, 2011


Man, I weep for Mexico. I have relatives there, and they do not recommend that I go to visit.
posted by Gilbert at 10:12 AM on August 22, 2011


That's terrible, but what exactly is the point of this post?

U.S. drug policy has created a failed state on our southern border with huge implications for national security and the region at large, not to mention the poor souls who have to dodge bullets at a soccer game?
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:14 AM on August 22, 2011 [23 favorites]


It's always delightful to see how a soccer game brings the flags out. Such national pride! Such solidarity!

WAVE 'EM HIGH!
posted by griphus at 10:19 AM on August 22, 2011


I encourage people to watch the video before posting in the thread.

Far from being a commentary on the ongoing drug war, the images of fear and panic, caught on video, inside a soccer stadium seem to me appropriate enough for a Metafilter post.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 10:20 AM on August 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Knowing how important Soccer is for Mexico, I wonder if this is might be a sort of a last straw. This is akin, to things being so bad in this country people can't go enjoy a lazy peaceful afternoon of baseball.

And U.S. Drug policy needs to change or Mexico will be forever fucked. I was there last year and things were so bad it was widely known politicians and towns were paying off Narco's with protection money NOT to fuck with their towns. Mexico would and could, and I think will eventually need to legalize the drug trade somehow, but until the demand from the major consumer of its product, the U.S. follows suit, little will change there and this wild West violence will continue.

It's sad. I love that country.
posted by Skygazer at 10:23 AM on August 22, 2011


That video was scary as heck.
posted by bq at 10:26 AM on August 22, 2011


Clearly America's youth need to put down their pipes and learn to dribble with their feet.
posted by phaedon at 10:26 AM on August 22, 2011


Any time a gun goes off in Mexico that's your cue to blame the Americans.
posted by phaedon at 10:30 AM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is so appalling. People have to run for their lives carrying their kids because of these asshole narcos. When I lived in Guadalajara back in 1998 anytime a black SUV with tints would go by people would say, 'Narcotraficante'. Situation is about 100 times worse now.
posted by moneyjane at 10:31 AM on August 22, 2011


I like how that one lady decided she was going to take her drink with her when she fled across the pitch. I guess concessions are egregiously overpriced in Mexican venues as well.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:31 AM on August 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


[few noise comments removed - please feel free to go to MetaTalk but an important part of flagging is moving on, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 10:33 AM on August 22, 2011


I was actually going to post this on sunday, but decided against it because I'm fed up with the fact that the only type of news that are posted about Mexico these days seem to be narco news.
posted by Omon Ra at 10:43 AM on August 22, 2011


I saw this playing on Fox Deportes while eating at a Mexican restaurant last night. Just watching the (muted) video and reading Spanish closed commentary was very confusing... I had to go look up the news commentary for the scenes to make sense.

This is a sad situation in a lot of ways, and I can't really see a good way out for Mexico.
posted by RyanAdams at 10:50 AM on August 22, 2011


What I found surprising was how fast both teams knew or decided to leave the pitch. Without hesitation, they both ran for the locker rooms at the first sounds of gunshots. They must have been taught that through experience.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:56 AM on August 22, 2011


Any time a gun goes off in Mexico that's your cue to blame the Americans.

I blame a "Drug War," that is a massive failure. So much suffering and evil extends from it. And not just from the "Narcos," but the legitimate industries that feed off of it and continue to propagate it.
posted by Skygazer at 10:59 AM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Watched with the sound off. Looks to me generally like the folks took it pretty well. While it there are lots of people running around, there are more just sitting in their seats, waiting for the excitement to die down. Of course, towards the end, there is the obligatory shot of a woman crying.

I am not trying to trivialize this, but I expected much worse, and it would have been if it were more crowded. Glad to see that wasn't the tragedy it might have become.

@phaedon, I don't think people are knee jerk reacting, "Blame America First"ers. They are taking the opportunity to point out that narco-violence in Mexico has a direct link to US drug policies. This wasn't just some dudes robbing a bank and shooting off guns. It was narcos, and part of the ongoing state of war in Mexico.

Mexico is in a no-win situation, and will be until one of two conditions are met: the flow of drug money is reduced dramatically, or drugs and drug money can be managed legally. The former is not likely to happen. The same situation existed in the U.S. under Prohibition.
posted by Xoebe at 11:00 AM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow. The commentary from the sportscasters was really something- they just narrated what was going on, deploring what was happening to their country in a way that I won't even pretend those are allergies making me tear up. The video is scary, but the commentary is heartbreaking.

Porfirio Díaz didn't know the half of it, did he? Pobre México...
posted by ambrosia at 11:01 AM on August 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Am I right that the stadium was not at full capacity? If that's true, maybe that's a silver lining in this because that was pure pandemonium, and it could've ended with people getting trampled and killed, but thankfully everyone seems to be running with some elbow room around them.
posted by scunning at 11:01 AM on August 22, 2011


What I found surprising was how fast both teams knew or decided to leave the pitch. Without hesitation, they both ran for the locker rooms at the first sounds of gunshots.

That grabbed my attention too. I'm guessing that they must have some sort of training about that, as soccer games/competitions can get pretty heated and crazy people sometimes use violence against players or referees.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 11:04 AM on August 22, 2011


I dont know whats worse, the drug violence in that state or the fact that its very corrupt governor secretly increased the state's debt from 360 million pesos to 32,000,000,000 in less than 6 years. True story.
posted by Omon Ra at 11:06 AM on August 22, 2011


Its also lucky that about two years ago they decided to remove the mesh cage which used to block access to the pitch.

Last championship a fan ran all over the field and created a minor brawl. I'm assuming that this was also in the players minds when they reacted.
posted by Omon Ra at 11:10 AM on August 22, 2011


And U.S. Drug policy needs to change or Mexico will be forever fucked.

I don't have a pony in this cock fight, but why on earth is it the responsibility - an any way whatsoever - of the US to change national policy to calm another country's issues?

I just can't get my head around why that link is being made - Mexico has major issues, but the US's policies are really not the issue, even if they may be a major cause. That'd be akin to the US expecting Mexico to strengthen its borders to prevent illegal immigration into the US.
posted by Brockles at 11:10 AM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


but why on earth is it the responsibility - an any way whatsoever - of the US to change national policy to calm another country's issues?

Because most of the drugs are bought by US consumers, and most of the weapons brought illegally into Mexico are being obtained in the US.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 11:14 AM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


...but why on earth is it the responsibility - an any way whatsoever - of the US to change national policy to calm another country's issues?

Because our drug policy neither works for us nor Mexico. The only one who benefits from the standing laws is the incarcerato-industrial complex. Our laws have gone from just fucking us over by straining the court and jail system (although, don't worry about the latter, there's always someone to take government money and build a new jail), and making people unemployable by virtue of a convict status for a bullshit crime, to setting Mexico on fire and then fanning the flames with stricter laws.
posted by griphus at 11:20 AM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


but why on earth is it the responsibility - an any way whatsoever - of the US to change national policy to calm another country's issues?


What's that Mexico? Narcos are using guns we (U.S.) keep selling them to battle each other (and terrorize anyone who might get in the way) over the profits from selling us (U.S.) the drugs we keep buying?


I really don't see how that's our problem...
posted by stenseng at 11:21 AM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Que vergüenza, indeed.

the US's policies are really not the issue, even if they may be a major cause

I'm not really seeing the difference between "major cause" and "the issue." If a US policy is creating a massive amount of human suffering in a neighboring country, to the point where it's difficult for people to live normal lives in vast regions of that country, then yeah, I think we should change the policy—whether or not the resultant human suffering is in our jurisdiction.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:26 AM on August 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Because most of the drugs are bought by US consumers, and most of the weapons brought illegally into Mexico are being obtained in the US.

So? I'm not trying to be argumentative, but involvement in the basis of the issue doesn't also create responsibility for solving it necessarily. Otherwise why aren't the gun manufacturers also responsible for helping Mexico?
posted by Brockles at 11:30 AM on August 22, 2011


To be fair, it's not just a matter of the Invisible Hand of the drug market creating all these conditions. It's also that American diplomats and lobbyists put a lot of pressure on the Mexican government to play ball with our drug policy. The U.S. is Mexico's top economic trading partner, and when we threaten to raise tariffs on what they're exporting, their politicians start falling over themselves to please us. Or start lining up for bribes.
posted by Jon_Evil at 11:31 AM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, our government sold Mexican cartels guns which were then used to kill Americans. How messed up is that policy?
posted by annsunny at 11:35 AM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Jon_Evil nailed it. Mexico could correct these problems itself by legalizing drugs, like Portugal did. Except that avenue has effectively been blocked by American law enforcement interests.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:41 AM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's always delightful to see how a soccer game brings the flags out. Such national pride! Such solidarity!

You're right! That is always delightful! But this isn't that. This could just as easily have happened outside a theater or museum.
posted by GodricVT at 11:45 AM on August 22, 2011


The video is scary, but the commentary is heartbreaking.

This.

For the non-Spanish-speakers, the commentary ranges from confusion at what's going on, to urging the audience (and themselves, it seems to me) not to panic ("It's important to remain calm, and don't move from where you are"), to outrage about what's become of Mexico ("Never in our lives have we seen this kind of thing, indeed, what a horrible situation there is right now in all of our country"), to anger over how the stadium officials are handling it ("Where is the damn security?") -- all while trying to narrate what's happening in front of them.
posted by nickmark at 12:02 PM on August 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


That'd be akin to the US expecting Mexico to strengthen its borders to prevent illegal immigration into the US.

For this to be an analogous situation, you need to assume that illegal immigration from Mexico into the U.S. is a bad thing for most Americans. I thought one of the reasons it was hard for the U.S. to come up with a decent policy is that so many people profit from the current situation.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:09 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


You're right! That is always delightful! But this isn't that. This could just as easily have happened outside a theater or museum.

That was actually regarding the now-deleted argument about flagging the post. My atempt at witty meta-commentary has left me holding the bag, it seems.
posted by griphus at 12:12 PM on August 22, 2011


Pobre Mexico: Tan lejos the dios, y tan cerca a los Estados Unidos
posted by Gilbert at 12:15 PM on August 22, 2011


That was incredibly sad. My heart breaks for Mexicans just trying to live their lives and take care of their kids. Wonderful people. Stupid war.
posted by kinnakeet at 12:20 PM on August 22, 2011


Given the power of the drug lords in Mexico, do people think that "just legalize it" is going to be smooth sailing?
posted by smackfu at 12:30 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. The commentary from the sportscasters was really something- they just narrated what was going on, deploring what was happening to their country in a way that I won't even pretend those are allergies making me tear up. The video is scary, but the commentary is heartbreaking.

This. It made me cry too. It was unbearably sad to listen to them, the shock and horror and anger as they reflected on their country coming apart.

(I admit this next bit somewhat shamefacedly: my tears kind of surprised me. I have no family ties to Mexico, have never been there save for layovers on the way to South America, and in the age of the internet, I am (so sadly) accustomed to seeing such heartbreaking scenes out of countries across the world that at first I couldn't understand why this struck me so hard when other terrible videos haven't made me cry. Then it occurred to me that maybe the reason it affected me so strongly was the mere fact that I could understand what they were saying as they were saying it. It removed a level of mediation; no need for subtitles, no need to guess which words lined up with which emotions I was hearing. So. All this to make a very small point: before today, I never fully felt the full truth of the argument that all these budget cuts for language training in the US are going to make Americans less and less interested in the wider world. I guess I never before fully realized that understanding a foreign language not only aids one's *knowledge* of foreign countries, but also one's empathy for other people. I'm sure it doesn't speak well of me that I find it easier to empathize with someone when I can understand what they are saying as they say it - but now I have realized this, I'm even more determined to keep agitating about the need to fund foreign language programs in our schools.)
posted by artemisia at 12:32 PM on August 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


Ideally, drugs should be legalized inside the U.S., but remain prohibited from importation, smackfu. I'll acknowledge that doesn't depose these druglord, but it eliminates their financing, giving honest Mexicans some chance.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:40 PM on August 22, 2011


That was actually regarding the now-deleted argument about flagging the post. My atempt at witty meta-commentary has left me holding the bag, it seems.

Ah, sorry then! I hope the bag has candy in it at least.
posted by GodricVT at 12:40 PM on August 22, 2011


Panics/inappropriate crowd movement inside football stadia can be much more serious.
See the Hillsborough Disaster.
posted by lalochezia at 12:43 PM on August 22, 2011


It's more than just the consequences of US domestic policy though; Charles Bowden for one has long been linking the intensification of the drug war to NAFTA.
posted by Abiezer at 12:50 PM on August 22, 2011


Yes, you can see here that the seats do provide a pretty good barrier to just panicked running towards the field, where one trip can cause a fatal pile-up.
posted by smackfu at 12:54 PM on August 22, 2011


The players ran off the pitch so quickly in the middle of play, it's like they'd done it many times before.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:00 PM on August 22, 2011


I was gonna make a joke about "moar guns" but after watching the video, I realized there is absolutely nothing amusing about this. Yes, the announcers keep saying "In Mexico, can you believe it? It's incredible." Which is so true. During all my travels in Mexico, I rarely felt physically threatened. And now there are shots fired in open soccer stadiums?

Watch now how this incident will be used as a selling point for more arms into Mexico and escalation to the next unbelievable incident.

DRUGS ARE MORE POWERFUL THAN GOVERNMENTS.

DRUGS ARE MORE POWERFUL THAN GOVERNMENTS.
posted by telstar at 1:01 PM on August 22, 2011


> The players ran off the pitch so quickly in the middle of play, it's like they'd done it many times before.

Did you notice the one player who had taken a dive fishing for a penalty immediately sprang up and sprinted?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 1:01 PM on August 22, 2011


Given the power of the drug lords in Mexico, do people think that "just legalize it" is going to be smooth sailing?

Nope, but it might be a good start; organized crime certainly didn't go away after Prohibition, but legalizing liquor reduced their overall power and forced them into other, more complicated endeavors.

I honestly don't know though. Prohibition seems to be the best analog we have, and we know how that turned out. We're now forty or so years into the War on Drugs and it doesn't seem to have had any impact other than bad, so at this point, how much longer should we keep this failed experiment active?

Hell, I'd love it if Mexico just told the US to fuck off, and legalized it within their own borders. They're a sovereign nation and at some point, it becomes a trade off of tariffs versus body-counts. At the very least, they'd have a huge tourism boom.
posted by quin at 1:02 PM on August 22, 2011




It seems incredibly simplistic to blame the violence at the soccer stadium on the US "war on drugs."
posted by KokuRyu at 1:07 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


The wife of a good friend grew up on an ejido in northern Mexico. These were communal lands rooted in indigenous traditions, a legacy of the revolution. She said it was the best way she could imagine for anyone to grow up, that people worked together, shared what they could and took care of one another. Then, about 20 years ago, President Salinas instituted economic "reforms" which, among other things, meant that the ejidos would be broken up, divided among those living there. Each would now have their own little bit of private property. Then, thanks to NAFTA, the area was flooded with cheap, heavily-subsidized US produce. Between that and various other factors, people gradually had to sell their bit of private property in order to survive. And who had the money to buy it up? The drug traffickers. The last time she went back, about 10 years ago, the place was unrecognizable to her. Huge SUVs with tinted windows were everywhere. Most of the land was in the hands of drug traffickers, who built mansions with high wall around them. There was no farming, and people stayed indoors. Just about everybody worked for the traffickers one way or another, who control just about everything that goes on. What was once a community was now, as she put it, like a morgue full of fear. She says she will never go back.
posted by williampratt at 1:16 PM on August 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


No matter that this happened outside the stadium; this represents "just another day" in Mexico, a place that has become a hellhole of random violence. The Mexican authorities are corrupt, and the Mexican people suffer.

Some here say that we should legalize drugs and use the revenue earned for education, prevention, and treatment - I agree. In the meantime, what about the Mexican people? And, what about the spread of this kind of violence - into an already overly-violent American culture? I still think we need to send some kind of help to the Mexican authorities, to stem the spread of this violent trend. The stuff that is happening in Mexico is beyond the pale (Not Safe For sensitive eyes and minds - article about violence in Mexico). We have to help stop this - by legalizing drugs, ending a failed drug war, and helping the Mexican authorities clean up this mess with real help on the ground
posted by Vibrissae at 2:00 PM on August 22, 2011


It seems incredibly simplistic to blame the violence at the soccer stadium on the US "war on drugs."

Then what is your assessment?
posted by krinklyfig at 2:27 PM on August 22, 2011


It seems incredibly simplistic to blame the violence at the soccer stadium on the US "war on drugs."

It's all the same incredibly fucked up and self-propagating multi-trillion dollar industry.

The violence, the Narco's, the US "War on drugs," the bloated and overfed private corrections industry, their lobbyists, their politicians, their Sherriff's (Arpaio etc) with the federalized over-broad and extreme local powers, the drug-gangs and the various syndicates that control the traffic, the DEA, the ATF, and the law-enforcement idustrialized complex that provides the tools (armaments, armor, guns etc...) to both the police, and indirectly to the gangs and narco's.

These people are all part of the same industry, but they either won't admit it, or they're lying to themselves.

It is all one monolithic eco-system fed by one thing, and one thing alone: American demand.
posted by Skygazer at 2:37 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did you notice the one player who had taken a dive fishing for a penalty immediately sprang up and sprinted?

I did see that guy go down, and was trying to figure out why, since it didn't look like there was any contact near him (from the angle, he seemed to go down off the ball and a couple yards from the nearest player). He wasn't fishing for a penalty, though - he was a defender.

I'm thinking maybe he heard the first shot and hit the dirt instinctively, then got up and ran with everyone else.
posted by nickmark at 2:39 PM on August 22, 2011


Metafilter- a peaceful soccer match interrupted by gunfire.
posted by ergomatic at 4:47 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, this was a CONCACAF match, which might explain some of the less than packed turnout. Not a regular league match.

But I have some questions about what happened afterward. Did the match continue after a while, or did the referees end the match early? If the match ended early...what happens now? Is there something in the CONCACAF rules that handle a situation where a match is interrupted by civil disturbance like this?
posted by spinifex23 at 5:10 PM on August 22, 2011


If US drug policy caused this situation in Mexico, how come Canada isn't on the verge of becoming a failed narco-state? Honest question.
posted by gertzedek at 7:07 PM on August 22, 2011


Probably because Canada has a significantly longer democratic tradition than does Mexico, a more highly educated population, a more diversified economy, and a more developed economy. Plus, Canada does not lie between the US and the drug-producing regions of South America. Mexico was also a frontline state during the US interventions in Central America of the 1980s.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:19 PM on August 22, 2011


Kokuryu - basically none of those things (with the exception of the Central America interventions, which are debatable) have anything to do with the US.

I think the US drug policy is shit, but blaming the woes of Mexico on anyone else but Mexicans is not something that should be done in such a cavalier manner.

Interetingly, I was doing some Google searches to find out about the drug traffic situation in Canada, and apparently Canadians are exporting a shitload of meth to the US. Nonetheless, the situation seems to be under control and Canada doesn't seem about to become a narco-state.
posted by gertzedek at 7:43 PM on August 22, 2011


Heh, gertzedeck, if you go back up the thread you may find that I actually agree with you regarding Mexico.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:54 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]




You realize the poorer population makes the drug trade more powerful, right gertzedek? Is that their fault? There are poorer countries like Portugal that've resolved their drug problems through legalization, but the U.S. prevents Mexico from adopting that route, largely though law enforcement spending.

You've heard the stories about Mexican police executing random civilians just so they'd have dead 'drug dealers' for the Americans, right? Yes, those police are responsible for murder. Yes, Mexicans could prevent that by standing up against the U.S. Yet, America's perverse law enforcement interests are ultimately responsible for creating that situation to line their own bank accounts instead of pursuing sensible policy.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:39 PM on August 22, 2011


Yeah, I'm going to have to recant and say that Mexico's fate will be determined by the American War on Drugs.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:00 PM on August 22, 2011


Yeah, I'm going to have to recant and say that Mexico's fate will be determined by the American War on Drugs Chiclets.

I don't even know what we're talking about now, but I had to fix that.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:30 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was a regular game, spinifex23. Monarcas Morelia vs Santos Laguna. The match was suspended (they were 0-0 at the time). My guess is that the game will be played again sometime in the future.
posted by Omon Ra at 10:17 PM on August 22, 2011


Oh, my mistake. Thanks for the clarification.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:56 PM on August 22, 2011


Jeffburdges, can you describe what changes Mexico wants to/should make that are being prevented by the US? Are you talking about Mexico legalizing drugs? Because if so I don't see how that would make one iota of difference.
posted by gertzedek at 4:38 AM on August 23, 2011


It has made a spectacular difference in Portugal and elsewhere, ending prohibition reduced organized crime in the U.S. dramatically, etc. Afaik, there has never been any effective approach to drug problems aside from legalization.

Yes, many criminals would seek out new criminal enterprises once competition from legal sources lowers prices, such as extortion or simply smuggling, rather than staying in the drug buisness but going legit. If the margins aren't there though, then fewer new criminals will enter the business, existing criminals may eventually pursue less criminal activities, and bribe money won't be so plentiful.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:45 AM on August 23, 2011


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