Several “narco” banners placed Saturday on pedestrian overpasses in the border cities of Matamoros and Reynosa called on Mexico’s federal government to join forces with the “Carteles Unidos”, or united cartels, to liquidate Los Zetas.
Both Matamoros and Reynosa straddle the Southeastern U.S.-Mexico border with the Rio Grande Valley region of South Texas and are longtime strongholds of the Gulf Cartel.
“Carteles Unidos” is a euphemism used at times by the Gulf Cartel when addressing the civilian population and refers to a reputed alliance between the Familia Michoacana, Gulf and Sinaloa cartels against the Los Zetas criminal organization that was announced in early 2010.
"Mr. President Felipe Calderón, we know that you do not negotiate with drug traffickers. However, with all due respect to your authority, and for the welfare and future of the families in Mexico, we propose a common front between the “Carteles Unidos” and federal forces in the struggle to eliminate the Los Zetas criminal gang that are so damaging to the nation.“
"We know there would never be a deal, but this is not about drugs or money, let alone about the fight for plazas. This is about saving human lives."
"Once the task of eliminating Los Zetas is achieved you may continue your mission of trying to eliminate drug trafficking."
"It is in your hands as the Supreme Commander of Mexico’s armed forces to restore calm. We the cartel members pledge to do everything possible to restore calm to Mexico’s families, something the Federal government has found it impossible to do.”
It was reported that the banners stayed in place for two hours before being removed by military personnel.
Was this simply a propaganda ploy by the Gulf cartel? If any arrangement was to be made it would probably happen at a local or regional level with local/regional comandantes, but this is apparently not the case as the recent blows against the Gulf cartel by the military indicate.
Is this a sign of weakness by the Gulf cartel? Los Zetas raids continue into Gulf cartel strongholds as evidenced by last Wednesday’s heavy fighting in the central district of Matamoros between rival groups of gunmen, or the news that Los Zetas are back in Mier and civilians are again fleeing.
What is certain is that Los Zetas seem to have the ability to roam at will in Tamaulipas.