Chaos Threatens Mexico

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MEXICO CITY: “Things could go crazy here this week,” warns TIME Latin America Bureau Chief Tim Padgett, as Mexico teeters once again on the brink of social chaos. Police fired on unarmed protesters in Chiapas Monday, killing two — and 80,000 protesters were already in the streets when the news reached the capital.

President Zedillo had sacked his interior minister following a December massacre in Chiapas carried out by local leaders of his own party. That was not enough to stem the crisis created by spiraling crime and political violence as traditional elites panic in the face of moves toward democratization. While there is no immediate threat to his rule, questions remain as to whether Zedillo can stop the country’s slide into turmoil. It could be a long week for Mexico’s president; one of many in a long, hot year.