The recent split between two former allies in Mexico’s criminal underworld has torn open a new chapter of violence in northern Mexico that has already tinged Monterrey and threatens to spread down the border line, Samuel Logan and John P Sullivan write for ISN Security Watch.
Between February and March, the number of homicides in Matamoros and Reynosa, two cities under siege in northern Mexico, surpassed 2009 totals. Police in the area, who only show up after the shooting has stopped, have recovered 50 abandoned trucks full of bullet holes and blood. Meanwhile, payments of $500 a month keep local journalists quiet and motivated to influence their colleagues to do the same. Those who speak out disappear.
Northern Mexico is deeply embroiled in Mexico’s ongoing violence, and as cartel members deal death to their rivals, the media blackout fuels rumor and fear – a perfect storm of misinformation allowing Mexico’s newest cartel rivals to engage in a battle for control over some of Mexico’s most lucrative criminal turf. The latest fronts are the northeastern states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon in northeastern Mexico, nestled up against Texas.
Intense violence continues to rock these states as factions within Mexico’s criminal underworld battle for primacy. The tectonic shift between former allied cartels Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel fuels battlefront intensity. As a result, gunmen contest northern and border cities, including Monterrey, Matamoros, Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo in a battle of ‘all against all.’
“My sense is that La Familia is cooperating with the Sinaloa Cartel and the Gulf Cartel against Los Zetas in the battle now raging in Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon,” George Grayson, a Latin American politics professor at The College of William and Mary in Virginia, US, and a senior associate at the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, told ISN Security Watch.