NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico - For all the beefed-up enforcement along the border, the militialike group of drug cartel enforcers known as the Zetas appears stronger than ever, a result of better training, successful recruiting in Central America and continued desertions from the Mexican military, U.S. intelligence officials say.
The Zetas have again become entrenched in Nuevo Laredo, and they practically control the movement of people through an intricate web of spies, checkpoints and skillful use of technology, provoking an extraordinary cross-border human exodus, U.S. and Mexican authorities say.
Last year, U.S. and Mexican authorities reported that the number of Zetas was falling rapidly, the result of both government pressure and ongoing warfare with rival cartels. But the shadowy group of elite former military officers, soldiers and others has now grown to more than 500 nationwide, with hundreds more in a support network throughout the country, U.S. officials said. Some of those networks are deepening their ties to Texas cities, including Houston and Dallas, with the help of Texas gang members.
The fighting in Iraq - er, I mean Mexico - is going great. We'll have those insurgents - um, I mean drug lords - defeated in no time at all.
NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico — A wild, 30-minute shootout reportedly involving bazookas and a grenade invaded the streets of an upscale neighborhood here, though details were few.
Mexican and U.S. sources familiar with the incident Friday night said three people were killed and four injured, but neither local nor federal officials would give an official version of events.
No newspaper in Nuevo Laredo printed an article about the incident, which according to sources involved a bazooka, a grenade and assault rifles.
What gives? Surely the Sinoloa and Gulf cartels can afford RPGs. The Zetas work for the Gulf cartel. So the Zetas can afford the best.
The historic level of drug violence not only threatens Mexican judges and politicians, who once were immune, but also American tourists and U.S. investors, as the cartels move into vacation corridors such as Acapulco-Zihuatanejo on the Pacific Coast, and Morelia-Uruapan in the central state of Michoacan.
A Dallas businessman recently pulled out of a $40 million project near the Zihuatanejo resort.
"We didn't think this was the right moment," said Carol Davenport, a real estate agent from Arlington, Texas, now working in Mexico, who represented the businessman. "The dire situation didn't exactly inspire investor confidence," she added, referring to a rash of killings in the area.
The bloody turf war in Nuevo Laredo is being waged to gain control of the market, because it is considered a key transportation node in the drug-trafficking business. Guzman has moved in big for that reason, and his organization is allegedly responsible for the murders of numerous Mexican law enforcers who are on the payroll of the Cardenas organization, according to U.S. law enforcement sources.
"Always look on the bright side of life".
The US military doesn't need to send troops to Mexico. We can just send military trainers. Help the Mexican government stand on their own two feet so they can put down the insurgent drug lord fighters. Yeah, that's the ticket.
You might be asking: Why is it important to have the US military train the Mexican military to fight the drug cartels? Fair question. Easy answer: The Mexican military has to fight the Los Zetas and the Zetas are such a menace because many are former Mexican special forces who were trained at Fort Benning Georgia. We need to make the current Mexican military competent enough to fight the former Mexican military that we trained. It seems only fair. Make sense?
You object? Oh come on. Yes, if we train more Mexicans to fight well then more will leave the Mexican military to fight for the cartels which probably pay much better. But there's an easy solution to that problem which any Bush Administration civilian military strategist will see: Just train the Mexican military faster than they desert. Look at how well this policy works in Iraq.
The Iraqi - oh sorry, I keep getting confused - Mexican elected officials won't stand up to the insurgent drug fighters because they derive key support from the drug insurgencies.
Jorge Fernandez Menendez, co-author of the new book, "From the Maras to the Zetas: the Secrets of Drug Trafficking from Colombia to Chicago," said politicians who control 90 percent of the country's police are more reluctant than ever to take on the cartels.
"There are local and state politicians whose intention is not to participate in the drug fight either because they are complicit, in some cases, or they are scared, or because they simply don't want trouble," Fernandez said.
"If the state and local governments don't get involved, the situation is going to become very complicated ... and destabilizing."
How far down will Mexico go?
The killing of al-Zarqawi was supposed to be a key turning point for the US fight against insurgents in Iraq. But maybe someone forgot which way to turn since now the place is going to hell. Similarly, capture of a drug lord in Tijuana has not brought any peace.
TIJUANA – A string of killings is plaguing Tijuana a month after U.S. authorities detained suspected drug kingpin Francisco Javier Arellano Félix, and some authorities are taking the violence so seriously that they have called on the Mexican army to help restore order.
The latest victim was a city police assistant chief, Arturo Rivas Vaca, who was in his patrol car when he was gunned down about 8 a.m. yesterday. Jorge Eduardo Ledezma Magallon, a police officer who was Rivas' bodyguard, and Luis Francisco de Santiago Ferrer, a bystander, were injured in the attack, according to Luis Javier Algorri Franco, the city's secretary of public security.
Looking at the worsening mess in Mexico and the dangers it creates for Americans we can learn from Israel. Faced with violence coming from the West Bank the response of Israel was to build a barrier wall and fence along the entire Israel-West Bank border. This cut suicide bombings down to a rare trickle. America can build a barrier and improve air space control as well as improve Coast Guard defenses to insulate ourselves from the worsening security situation south of the border. It is clear that NAFTA and immigration law non-enforcement have not brought us border peace or political stability in Mexico. We need to take more drastic steps.
We need to physically isolate ourselves from Mexico and the Middle East. In the case of Mexico great border control systems will also cut down on the drug flow northward and therefore will reduce the amount of money the drug lords have to buy politicians and run private armies.
MEXICO CITY - To send a chilling message to their underworld rivals, Mexican drug cartels are adopting a method of intimidation made notorious by Middle Eastern terrorist groups.
At least 26 people have been decapitated in Mexico this year, with heads stuck on fences, dumped in trash piles and -- most recently -- tossed onto a nightclub dance floor.
Mexico's political system is failing. We need to build a barrier along the entire US-Mexican border and stop immigration from Mexico. We need to deport all illegals and take legal residency and citizenship away from Mexican and Central American immgrants who are involved in Los Zetas, MS-13, and other organized crime gangs.
Think I'm exaggerating? The President-elect of Mexico says governments in Mexico are overwhelmed by the drug lords.
Felipe Calderon said the wave of bloodshed knows no politics; it is ravaging state governments controlled by each of Mexico's three major parties. He singled out Mexico City, the northern states of Sinaloa and Tamaulipas, the southern state of Guerrero and his home state of Michoacan, as being especially hard-hit.
"It seems to me that drug violence has overwhelmed the governments of the PAN, the PRI and the PRD," Calderon said in a radio interview.
This is a country on the US border.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2006 September 28 07:37 PM Immigration Societal Decay|