10 days of barbarity: Some of the events during one week of this Mexico that "turned the corner" toward peace.
- 11 people were executed and narco messages left on their corpses beside a highway in Guerrero that leads to the popular resort communities of Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa (http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/
article/2012/08/23/mexique-la- spirale-de-la-barbarie_ 1749042_3232.html)
- The bloodiest major cartel (Los Zetas) appears to be fracturing amidst an internal and brutal fight for turf. Long time leader and founder Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano ("El Lazca) is being challenged by the even more brutal Miguel Angel Treviño (El Z-40) . There are bloody, inhumane and horrrendous consequences that have been documented by both the Zetas and by others (http://www.blogdelnarco.com/
2012/08/decapitan-al- comandante-charro-de-los- zetas-en-zacatecas/ and http://www.blogdelnarco. com/2012/08/lucha-al-interior- de-los-zetas-en-varios- estados/#more-14409) Also see http://www.proceso.com.mx/ ?p=318153
- Elements of the Mexican Federal police reportedly captured the leader of the New Generation of the Cartel of Jalisco (with alleged links to Sinaloa) and unleashed urban chaos. The arrest of Nemesio Oceguera Cervantes "El Mencho" was followed by at least 22 narco blockades in the Guadalajara area. Buses, vehicles and trucks were burned and blocking streets in Mexico's second largest city. (see http://www.blogdelnarco.
com/2012/08/detienen-a- nemesio-oceguera-cervantes-el- mencho-y-causa-22- narcobloqueos/ ). And a later report indicated that the police were mistaken — El Mencho wasn't captured even though everyone thought that he had been. (http://www.proceso.com.mx/?p=318298)
- Another turf war involving the Caballeros Templarios and Jalisco New Generation resulted in at least 17 executions and the widespread posting of narco messages and warnings throughout Michoacan .(http://www.proceso.com.mx/?p=
- The weekly newsmagazine Proceso reported a confrontation involving unknown forces and army forces in Mexico State that left an estimated 30 "sicarios dead". (http://www.proceso.com.mx/?p=
318139) The official death report is lower, since no bodies were left the site. Only hundreds of spent cartridges and bloodstains remained as evidence of the skirmish. Eyewitnesses report that the bodies were retrieved by survivors of the shoot-out.
- There was an ambush and attack directed at an US embassy vehicle driven by a Mexican Marinero. The driver and his passengers — 2 men linked to the US embassy and a mysterious 4th person who was rumoured to have been a protected witness providing information about Beltran Leyva cartel operations in the area. Proceso (#1859) immediately reported that the two Americans were not registered diplomats and claimed that they were DEA agents (http://www.proceso.com.mx/?
page_id=278958& a51dc26366d99bb5fa29cea4747565 fec=317968). Later reports identified these two wounded survivors as CIA agents (see La Jornada http://www.jornada.unam.mx/ 2012/08/28/politica/005n1pol). Fortunately for everyone in the embassy vehicle, it was "blindado" and "bullet-proof" to level 7 (the highest possible armour and bullet proofing available). Twelve Federal Police officers were arrested and remain in detention in Cuernavaca. Their families claim they had been acting under orders and they have filed a protest and complaint about their relatives treatment with the National Human Rights Commission.
Furthermore, there are far too many outbreaks of violence within such short time-frame to treat these as isolated occurrences that are unconnected to a larger political and economic context. Something bigger is going on, but at the same time there are too many different dynamics at play to suggest that there is only one thing going on. We can only guess about the big picture, and must be content to offer impressions about what might explain this recent rash of violence.
That is, many of the skirmishes and battles described above are probably about claiming, staking and preserving turf. Violence is a necessary and symbolic demonstration that someone has the huevos to control the plaza or to take it over. The escalating casualty count is the consequence of their strutting, and uncontrolled brutality is represents both a threat to others and a reaffirmation that someone is strong enough to be the boss. Remember, there will be major bureaucratic change in the upper levels of most institutions in Mexico, and all external connections to bureaucratic power must be renegotiated; the narcos, the money launderers, the politicos, the police, the military, customs agents, border agents, air authorities or anyone else who wants to retain their to stake out an institutional turf in Mexico will be doing whatever it takes to preserve their place. With the return of a PRI president it is even more likely that there will be a wholesale bureaucratic switchover to placate PRI loyalists and place them in positions currently occupied by the true believers of PAN (...although many PANistas have been converting).
|From Fisgón — La Jornada, Aug 28|
Personally, I suspect that those Policia Federal on those backroads near Tres Marias were stooges who were set-up with incomplete,false or misleading information — that's a common modus operandi in the byzantine political world inhabited by denizens at the upper echelon drug trade. "Machiavelli for narcos" is really a bible for those involved, and the Tres Marias incident has more twists and turns than found cumulatively in both seasons of the Borgias.