posted on Feb, 17 2007 @ 10:50 PM
The government may wish to save their tourism but they have been bought by others who could care less if every tourist in the country were shot. Ever
since the big Colombian cartels went the way of the dinosaurs in the 90s the cartels in Mexico became more powerful to the point where they are the
biggest players in the narco world - and they pretty much own the country now. Since the early part of the new century a war has been waged by Osiel
Cardenas and his Gulf cartel against El Chapo Guzman and his Sinaloa cartel. Much of the fighting has been over who controls the plaza at the border
crossing at Laredo, Texas. Nuevo Laredo is no longer a place you want to get caught in - day or night.
The violence was ratcheted up in the late 90s when Mexico sent underpaid special forces soldiers to the state of Tamaulipas to destroy the Gulf
cartel. Many of these GAFES had been trained by Israeli and French special forces - some even rumored to have attended the School of the Americas in
Georgia. Osiel Cardenas offered them triple or more what they were being paid as soldiers and ended up buying himself about 30 or so GAFES who were
renamed the Zetas. The Zetas not only brought the use of even more exotic weaponry to the game but more importantly they came with a higher degree of
discipline and training. The cartels never had more deadly assasins before the Zetas and it forced the Gulf cartel's enemies to acquire their own
versions of the Zetas.
Much of the fighting in and around Nuevo Laredo in recent years has been between Heriberto Lazcano's Zetas and El Barbie Valdez's Pelones who work
for El Chapo. This war has not stayed on the border though. Acapulco is one plaza where the coc aine is brought in from Colombia and as such has
become another front in between the Gulf and Sinaloa cartels. The state of Michoacan is also a battleground - especially the port of Lazaro Cardenas
which is another off loading point for coc aine. The violence is only getting started. The Zetas are said to be contracting Guatemalan death
squads known as Kaibiles while the Pelones have been hiring Mara Salvatruchas. This explains why it is easier to lose your head in the states of
Guerrero and Michoacan recently.
Both cartels also own agents in the PGR, the AFI, and even SIEDO. This is to say nothing of the many local police, judges, mayors, and politicians
that are bought and paid for. Some even believe that President Fox may have had a hand in allowing Chapo Guzman to escape from a prison in 2001.
President Calderon appears to be making an early effort against the cartels but it is too soon to predict the outcome. He may have already been bought
and is being used against an opposing cartel or he may be sincere and just hasn't been purchased, killed, or rendered impotent yet. Time will show
The bottom line for tourists is this - if you stay away from plazas - locations where drugs are either brought into Mexico from locations south or
locations where drugs cross into the U.S., you have a better chance of staying out of harms way. But understand that flare ups are happening anywhere
that Zetas and Pelones cross paths. Any location with money and prestige could become a battlefield at any time - the narcos like to play and have the
money to do it. If one cartel is there I would not want to hang around waiting for the other cartel to find them.
It is true, when you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time it could mean your time is up - no matter where you are. But also consider
that no matter how much the department of tourism cries to deny it, those odds stack substantially against your favor when you enter the narco
democracy of Mexico.