FACTBOX-Drug war tarnishes Mexico’s richest city

Oct 13 (BestGrowthStock) – Once an oasis of calm, Mexico’s richest
city has become a central battleground in the country’s
increasingly bloody drug war as cartels open fire on city
streets and throw grenades onto busy highways. [ID:nN13136329]

Here are some facts about the city 140 miles (230 km) from
the border with Texas:

* Nestled in picturesque mountains and home to 4 million
people, Monterrey is one of Latin America’s premier business
cities. With 4 percent of Mexico’s population, it generates 8
percent of annual gross domestic product. A few hours drive
from the U.S. border, the city has a Texan feel, with its car
culture, Carl’s Jr. hamburger restaurants and manicured parks.

* Residents of Monterrey, known as “regios” for the
mountainous region they live in, are famed for being staid and
canny with money. Annual income per capita is double the
Mexican average at $17,000, although still below the Texas
average of $38,000, according to the University of Monterrey.
In summer, wealthier regios flock to South Padre Island off the
Texan coast. Many have adopted English words like “shopping”,
which they love to do in McAllen, also in Texas.

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Full coverage of drug war:

http://www.reuters.com/subjects/mexico-drug-war

Blog: http://blogs.reuters.com/global/2010/10/12/monterrey/

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* Monterrey is home to two top-flight Mexican soccer teams
and major companies such as drinks maker FEMSA (FMSAUBD.MX: )
(FMX.N: ). FEMSA helped spark industrialization in Monterrey at
the end of the 19th century, when the company’s brewery
attracted glass and steelmakers to bottle and cap its beer.

* In 2002, Monterrey hosted a U.N. conference on combating
global poverty attended by 50 world leaders. The city was
chosen for its low crime, universities and diversified economy
based on manufacturing, trade and high-tech industries.

* Monterrey started seeing serious drug violence in 2006
with the killing of a top police investigator, but stayed
relatively calm until this year when drug murders have leapt to
an unprecedented 650 people, far more than the past four years
combined. The killings are due to a battle between the Gulf
cartel and its former armed wing, the Zetas, over trafficking
routes into the United States. The former allies split in early
2008 and their feud erupted into war in January as the Zetas,
made up of elite former soldiers, run their own cartel.
(Reporting by Robin Emmott in Monterrey; Editing by Jerry
Norton)

FACTBOX-Drug war tarnishes Mexico’s richest city