Saturday, June 18, 2011

Nightmare in Monterrey

By DUDLEY ALTHAUS
HOUSTON CHRONICLE

The scrawled note left beside a woman's headless body in this already murder-mired city offered a simple promise.

"The worst is yet to come," the killers' note advised, and it seems all but certainly so.

Gangsters and their local police cronies seemed determined this week to drown Mexico's third-largest city and industrial juggernaut in terror and blood.

At least 33 people were murdered across greater Monterrey in a single day. They included two members of the state governor's personal security detail, whose diced bodies were tossed onto a supermarket parking lot. Army troops arrested 25 members of a suburban police force for suspected complicity in the crime.

Soldiers also have detained 17 police officers from another town, tucked behind the city's airport, accusing them of kidnapping a score of bricklayers working on a new housing development.

The workmen, who were at a site just a few miles from the cluster of hotels catering to U.S. factory executives, reportedly were handed over to gangsters as part of an extortion scheme. No ransom demands were made. Co-workers presume them dead.

This month's surge in butchery marks the return of gunmen from the Gulf Cartel, a narcotics-trafficking gang based in the city of Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, to reclaim Monterrey from the Zetas, the cartel's onetime henchmen and now bitter foes. The gangs have been warring for the past 16 months, leaving thousands dead in the Monterrey area and the ranchland towns between here and the Rio Grande.

Unfulfilled promises

Rival gangs have taken to hanging victims during daylight rush hours from overpasses on busy boulevards, burning one alive. They've left heads in front of popular restaurants and in plazas. They've flayed the skin from some victims, dismembered still others.

"It's obvious the problem is growing," said Tatiana Clouthier, a former federal congresswoman and public security activist. "Justice has been overcome at the local, state and federal level."

The new burst of violence mocks four years of promises and policies from state and federal politicians — backed by the city's powerful business community - aimed at bringing the gangs to heel. Efforts at reforming deeply corrupted and pitifully trained police forces have achieved little so far. The successful but precarious pacification of a few Monterrey suburbs has been driven by the personal agendas of colorful mayors who leave office next year.

As elsewhere in Mexico, Monterrey's decades-long nonchalance has claimed its due.

"It's a consequence of not doing things in time, of having closed our eyes to reality," said Jaime Rodriguez, the 53-year-old mayor of Garcia, a quickly industrializing former ranch town 20 miles west of Monterrey. He has survived two assassination attempts so far this year.

"If you don't act, you're complicit," Rodriguez said. "We all have something to do with this problem. So we all have to resolve it."

Mayor has armed guards

Suspected Zetas, aided by some city policemen, came gunning for Rodriguez at his home in November 2009, just days after he took office promising to clean up the corrupt force. The gunmen ambushed and killed his newly appointed police chief and five other officers as they rushed to the mayor's aid.

Rodriguez reacted by firing the entire police force, replacing officers with vetted former soldiers and appointing another general as chief. On Rodriguez's orders, the police shut down some 250 shops that were selling narcotics, forced unlicensed taxis off the streets and set up a network of more than 200 informants - the mayor calls them eagles - to keep watch on the neighborhoods.

Rodriguez claims crime has dropped by 60 percent. But Zetas attacked the mayor in February and again in March, killing one of his bodyguards in the second attack. These days, Rodriguez travels with at least half a dozen well-armed escorts. He carries a pocketful of hopefully protective religious amulets, offered by well-wishers.

"When you beat death, you think about what you want to do with your life," said Rodriguez, who admits coveting the governorship of Nuevo Leon state. "We are going to put this city in order."

In many ways, Monterrey might seem little changed from the past that built its reputation as a dynamic business center. Official figures claim the city leads Mexico this year in job growth and business investment.

Factories, including nearly 700 owned by U.S. and other foreign companies, hum on the outskirts of the city. Cargo trucks ply the local roads and roll up the freeways to and from the South Texas border. Crews are throwing up thousands of tiny working-class homes near the factories.

But center city streets empty quickly in the evening's fading light as people rush for the safety of home. The huge central plaza and the once-bustling restaurants and bars in the adjacent neighborhoods stand largely empty after dark.

Though the economy continues growing, security fears are having an effect. The 40,000 jobs Nuevo Leon has added so far this year fall far short of the 100,000 needed, said Jose Mario Garza, director of the state chapter of Coparmex, a leading business organization.

High stakes

Garza and business leaders warn that Monterrey and the entire state are "slipping out of control" because security reforms pushed by Nuevo Leon Gov. Rodrigo Medina have remedied nothing.

"The coordination that they are carrying out is just for publicity," Garza said. "It's failed, as we can see with the recent events."

Medina, who is midway through a six-year term, vowed this week "to keep attacking the criminals."

Some state officials complain they cannot be blamed for a problem that has been decades in the making.

"It's unrealistic to think this would be fixed in two or four or six years," said one official who works on security issues, speaking on condition of anonymity. "What's at stake is not the survival of a government," he said, referring to Medina's administration.

"What's at stake is the survival of society."

21 comments:

  1. I feel so bad after reading this...

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  2. Large amounts of money are laundered via Monterrey, the fact so much money flows through the city/state is a prime candidate for money laundering.

    No one is innocent in Mexico, not even me all of us are complicit in what is happening because we have refused to take action against the corrupt Mexican government. In the end it's our country not Calderon's not the PAN's, not the Sinaloa cartel's.

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  3. ? ? ? Nothing appears ... So what's the nightmare in Monterrey? I live in MTY & slept pretty well last night (apart from the heat) ...

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  4. What Mexico needs is the death penalty for all drug traffickers. What is the deterent when you get caught go to jail and have your friends on the outside send you food, money and girls to help you through your jail time....Drastic situations require drastic actions.....bring back the firing squad, not only for druggie but for dirty, useless, crooked cops and politicians.

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  5. The only solution is for the USA to declare the cartels a terrorist group and then invade/occupy Mexico to root out and fight these cartels like we do Al Queda and the Taliban in Afganistan/Iraq....

    Mexico is weak and incapable of fixing this problem. We're the only ones with the intelligence and brevity to fight these animals in Mexico and bring peace to the region, quell drugs that flow North and harm our populace...

    Why are we not doing this yet? Fuck Mexico and their pride.... We (USA) need to treat them like children, not "partners" or respectable neighbors.

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  6. How can anybody get anything done in Mexico the police continue to be alligned with the CRIMINALS ?? Until there are substantial Law Enforcment forces that actually PERFORM Mexico will continue to suffer, its not drugs, its EVERYTHING. Mexico created a lawless corrupt dispicable State the criminals grew,and grew, and grew Now we expect them to just go away??

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  7. the authorities don't know how to deal with it ..they just play cat and mouse..all the while the army of little informants are on every corner reporting in every ten minutes...the police and militares are out flanked...and just get led around by the nose ...besides half of the municipal police are dirty anyway..a real clown show...blood spattered

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  8. We need to seal our American borders and then make everyone in the states line up for an I.D. Check. Forget Mexico- its lost. Cocaine is bad anyway and makes you into a loser and Mexican weed is really for the most part shit, rag weed- Americans grow a much higher quality product and they'd be happy to buy American for America!!
    We need to come home from ragville and pull our resorces back home so that we can strengthen our own country.
    Central America better pay close attention to Mexicos situation because soon its coming thier way. just leave us out of it!!
    Americans don't need anything that we don't have here!!

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  9. "The only solution is for the USA to declare the cartels a terrorist group and then invade/occupy Mexico to root out and fight these cartels like we do Al Queda and the Taliban in Afganistan/Iraq...."

    Yeah and how is Afghanistan and Iraq looking now? Even worst than before you invaded. We don't want your help and don't need your help, you will ruin Mexico just like you ruined Iraq and Afghanistan. Worry about your own goddamn country instead of ours. This COUNTRY IS NOT YOURS. Mind your own business and BUTT OUT GRINGOS!

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  10. @june 19th 10:07
    Well them Pepe- why don't you just wait at the border with cattle trailers so that we can send YOUR wetback family home-fucken loseres.

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  11. P.S.PEPE
    Your right its your country, stay in it and stop being a bunch of ball-less cowards and fight for your family and your homes.
    I happen to live in a great, beautiful country and would gladly stay on of that festering shithole that you call home.LOLOL!!!!
    Theres nothing that you all have that we need !!

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  12. Than why does mexico keep coming to the u.s for handouts if mexico doesn't need our help. Without help so far what has mexcio done to stop all this and bring peace. There is nothing wrong with getting help to end this but with that thought how does that help the ones who have suffered. Also if u don't need our help than keep your war on yourside and don't bring it here. And before I get called gringo am mexican american. I am proud of my history and all but my country and my flag will all ways be the usa. Born and raised. Usmc vet

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  13. I love my adopted country and have lived in Mty for more than a decade.

    For anyone claiming things are fine here, they are liars, cartel members or just plain stupid.

    The life we live here has become normal. But it is NOT a normal existence for anyone to live this way.

    Thank god for the concrete construction of our homes. Bars on windows, don't drive a nice car or wear a nice watch. Don't look flashy or go out at night much....how is this normal?

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  14. @DFL
    How can I be a "wetback" when I don't even live in the US? You stupid ignorant fuck. Second I am in my country and have never planned to move to the US, but seriously "ball-less cowards and fight for your family and your homes" do you really believe all this shit you read on BB is occurring in all of Mexico? Goes to show how much you really know about Mexico..Dumb ass! I like how you didn't even debate my post and just spewed your stupid comment with racist remarks and called me PEPE..hahahaha how smart. Let me guess, DFL stands for (Dick fucking lips) hahaha..i can now understand why your so bitter in all your posts. Anyways I like how spewed on your hate on Mexicans but yet your on this blog concerning Mexicans & Mexican problems...and if your that proud to be an American...then leave this blog..this is about Mexico and the Mexican people. Worry about your goddamn problems and not ours.

    @June 19, 2011 12:10 PM
    "u.s for handouts" Oh I forgot that 1.3 billion dollar package in 5 years? Do you even know how much money in the last 5 years Mexico has spent fighting this drug war. Over 50 billion dollars compare that to you useless 1.3 Billion from the Merida Initiative which only a quarter has been used. So yeah thanks for all the "handouts" haha.....oh im sorry for calling you a gringo...but seriously what is with you Americans thinking you need to be in everyone affairs? And again answer me this question how is Afghanistan and Iraq looking now? Worst isn't it. And that's what I don't want for Mexico because you made those countries worse not better. Even your own leaders have said Afghanistan is a “heartbreaking” failure." And that's how you want to help??

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  15. I may be really naive, but why can't the government of Mexico allow citizens to arm themselves in their homes and cars?
    Imjustagirl

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  16. I get so sick of seeing your phony and sexist e-name all the time. I wonder if BB moderators would also accept posts from a reader writing in with the sicko e-name of ImjustaSpick, too? It's the same damn thing!

    And what happened to Buela, who all the time used to accuse me of being supposedly a sexist? Apparently when confronted with somebody calling themself Imjustagirl on the site, Buela has no problem with this at all... The e-names you racist redneck thugs use for yourselves speaks a ton about yourselves.

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  17. hey there ardtard...picking on girls now?...

    hang in there imjustagirl

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  18. Ardent, you truly are a solid as a rock, no doubt about it, piece of shit. YES, I am spewing hate all over you. So before you say all I`m doing is spewing vile and hatred and don`t bring anything to the conversation, I just wanted you to know all that I bring is intolerance, hatred, and bigotry to this conversation, same as you did to Imjustagirl.


    Signed, Imjustagorilla does that make me racist as well? Do I have a bigotry towards gorillas? Your a fucking idiot. Yes, Yes, I AM resorting to name calling and spewing hate, you fucking moron. It`s the same shit you do, you just try and act high and mighty about it by talking down to EVERYONE on bordeland beat. Your an ignorant fuck who cannot stand his life and has to hate everything in it. If you spent the time loving everything instead of hating everything, you might be a pleasant person, but right now, your just an unpleasant fuckwad.

    Sorry to borderland beat and all the readers of this website. I know me lashing out at Ardent won`t do any good as he is so self-absorbed he can`t see that he is without a doubt the most insensitive person on here day in and day out and I`m sick of hereing how everyone is a wretch and he`s the Prophet. My apologies for the rant to the fine people of BB

    Thanks from South Texas.

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  19. You are a racist and a sexist and just plain brain-damaged ardent. Anyone who reads a few of your posts knows that. What you are good at is picking fights with everyone. For example, you have called me a rightwing racist dittohead etc etc etc for being critical of you. My posts are on topic. That is your routine response to any disagreement. Eventually admin will 86 you because you are building a case for them.

    1:17

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  20. I apologize and now see the error of my ways, IjustAlittleGirl. You're not a male chauvinist pig at all and all your fan club here are Knights In Shining Amor all coming to save the sweet damsel in distress. How rude of me to ever pick a fight with you...

    'I may be really naive, but why can't the government of Mexico allow citizens to arm themselves in their homes and cars?' Imjustagirl

    Perhaps it is because they know that guns kill people? And they want the guns for themselves... It seems that their gun control works about as well as their drug control does. Or not at all..... being so close to the US and all.

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  21. smarmy fucktard can't even apologize correctly

    you really think the Mexican govt dosen't want Mexicans to have guns because "guns kill people"...paaaaghhhh!!!!..what a laugh...you really are a simple child aren't you?

    mebbe it is because that the government of Mexico's prime concern for all of it's existence is to protect the moneyed elites from the rest of the population ...and they fear revolution more than crime

    mebbe it is because the Mexican population is not imbued with the concept of the right of individual liberty and personal protection from birth

    mebbe it is because they are taught to depend on someone else to take care of it

    mebbe it is because Mexico has always been ruled by groups of violent men

    probably not any reason to do with the USA

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