Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Police warn border senator known as "Z" off beloved initial

Saturday, July 16, 2011 |

By Karen Brooks
Reuters

A Texas state senator's beloved signature symbol will be reluctantly stripped from her campaign vehicle and rally signs this weekend after police in her border town warned it could draw unwelcome attention from Mexican drug cartels.


Veteran Democratic Sen. Judith Zaffirini is known by her friends, loved ones and constituents simply as "Z."

But authorities told her sister recently that the symbol, which translates in Spanish to "zeta," could cause the truck to be mistaken for vehicles belonging to the deadly "Zeta" cartel, based on the Texas-Mexico border.

Zaffirini told Reuters on Saturday she was grateful for the warning, but found it "disappointing" and "mind-boggling."

"Sadly, we will remove the 'Z' from our campaign vehicle and will not use it at rallies or other public places," she said.

Late last month, police in downtown Laredo pulled over Zaffirini's sister, Josie Pappas. The officer pointed to three bumper stickers on the pick-up's back window.

The stickers, bearing the word "Zaffirini," were applied in a big "Z" formation on the glass of the blue Ford F-150 truck.

Pappas told Reuters the officer asked her if she had noticed "cars full of men passing me by and staring back" at her car recently.

The bewildered Pappas answered, "No."

The officer told her that in Mexico, the Zetas had taken to wearing the letter "Z" on their clothing and their cars. He advised her it was best to remove the stickers "at this time."

He hadn't been the first to mention it, and she figured it was a sign that it was time to take them down.

"I'm having a little trouble removing it," Pappas said Saturday, adding that she would just have to "hold my nose and do it."

NO CHOICE

"We just don't have any choice. Those people have changed our lives completely," she said.

Laredo is directly across the Rio Grande river from Nuevo Laredo, a city of more than half a million people and a birthplace of the Zetas, formed in the late 1990s with members of the Mexican military.

The drug war in Mexico has killed more than 37,000 people in the past five years.

The sticker-symbol has adorned all of Zaffirini's campaign vehicles since her days as a money-strapped freshman campaigner in 1986, the senator said.

"Because we only had 12-cent bumper stickers left, my sister, Josie Pappas, thought of improvising for signs by making a "Z" out of three bumper stickers, repeating 'Zaffirini' three times," said Zaffirini, who runs a communications firm. "The resulting 'Z' was attractive and communicated our message."

Zaffirini is known in the Texas Senate for her refusal to back down from a fight and a calm demeanor in the face of hot heads in the Legislature.

"The initial is especially meaningful to me because my favorite fictional hero is "Zorro," who splendidly carved a "Z" to mark the scenes of his good works," she said.

"Who would have thought that an initial that characterizes such a literary hero could be interpreted so negatively in a potentially dangerous context?"

In an email she added: "I will, however, continue to use it personally."

She signed the note, "Z."

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26 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

really? where has she been? in a cloud? how can she be unaware of such thing? my guess, she is probably involved and she is their connection in the US..ha!

Anonymous said...

She is one of them. Thought she had a secret flag only her "people" would understand. We better get these people out of office now, before they are the ones making ALL of the rules.

Anonymous said...

From Wiki- Zaffirini has been named among the "Top 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States.

As a result of redistricting and structuring of terms in the Senate, Zaffirini has served three four-year and five two-year terms.

She is one of the people who fled to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to disrupt the Texas legislature and prevent a quorum to halt Republican plans to re-redistrict the Texas congressional map.

After three special legislative sessions, the Republican (GOP) plan was adopted, but it was later altered by the United States Supreme Court. That change resulted in the defeat in 2006 of Republican U.S. Representative Henry Bonilla of San Antonio.

attorney-husband, Carlos M. Zaffirini, Sr.

In 2007, she led a successful movement to restore $154 million in community college funds vetoed by Governor Rick Perry.
---
Another pushy La Raza infiltrating our Gov.???

Anonymous said...

This politician should might as well walk around town with a shirt that says "Shoot Me".

Anonymous said...

IF you look on a map you will see her husband office is right on the Border at Nuevo Laredo/Laredo.

Lawyers in Mex. are known for being cartel guys. (no choice) I guess when they are at least 100 feet inside the US they straighten up and fly right.

Also note, he specializes in Oil,Gas,Real Estate, International business, and suing American companies for world RECORD judgements.

Very cozy relationship he and his wife have.

Open your eyes America!

Anonymous said...

How about a sticker that says "NRA and ATF SUPPORTS YOUR LOCAL DRUG CARTELS".

Anonymous said...

July 17, 2011 12:51 AM,

They fled to stop the Illegal Redistricting
remember that?
As i recall texas was and is led by a bunch of corrupt Republicans who Redistrict in their favor to hold on to power.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? A Texas senator from Laredo and she doesn't know what the letter 'Z' stands for. She is obviously out of touch with the people or not very smart. We deserve better representation!

Anonymous said...

Stupid gringos

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, if you have a business in Laredo and you flash "Z" around openly, you obviously have ties with that group. Everyone from Laredo to Brownsville up to McAllen know what the "Z" means. We need her as far away from office as we can get her.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe" she isn;t stupid on what the "Z" represents, and got called on it and has been forced to let the "z" GO because the bad publicity is going to produce...Drug is money is money, and when people campaign, they need money to spread the word, and remember bad publicity is still publicity. and people will remember even more..There are more corrupt people on earth today than there has ever been, and "pretending to be good" is always a good front, or "doing good for the people is another"...Sooner or later, TRUTH has a way of seeping thru the cracks, and THUTH is something that reveals it's self, no matter how much someone tries to hide it...
....In the end no matter how smart, sneaky or the arrogant beliefs of our circumstances, we all pay the piper, and with that; we can.. "TAKE THAT TO THE BANK"!!!!......

???? said...

Anonymous said...

Stupid gringos
July 17, 2011 7:29 AM

that makes you sound real smart stupid Mexican

iamme said...

Wow, some of you have jumped off the opposite side of the spectrum. Zaffarini never said she didn't know about the Zeta's. She said she was not aware that the initial to her name would have caused such problems. Believe it or not, there are many people here on the border who are unaware of what might tick the cartel off. In one of my recent trips to Mexico, I was told not video tape the military. I didn't know. Some of us learn once we've stepped into the problem. Not everyone is aware. However, I'd be more worried about the cop that warned them being involved with the cartel. I highly doubt the cartel are interested in having connections with Senators. What can a senator supply for them? No, I'd be more worried about the cop. He's the one that can supply the guns and ammo, and he's also the one that can look the other way.

Anonymous said...

Hey BB since when is 7:29 AM an acceptable post?

No names are mentioned so it's not personal?

You want to even things up because of all the racist comments about Mexicans you have allowed?

Who was reviewing comments this morning?

Anonymous said...

I think "Z" was just waiting to garner more attention by not getting as far away from that association as long possible. As soon as the expected happens, on to a new bull moniker, "She showed the Zetas that initials can be shared and still live but she is mostly known in Congress as Crafty Zafi not "Z" because of her ability to get her own way". Another arrogant politician who doesn't expect to pay for their bad decisions. To me, she's just stupid and maybe corrupt too.

Anonymous said...

@July 17, 2011 9:20 AM

"You want to even things up because of all the racist comments about Mexicans you have allowed?"

Really your crying over a simple comment saying "stupid gringo" Wow quit crying you little girl. Move on and stop getting your panties in a wad.

July 17, 2011 8:37 AM
Answering a racist comment with a racist comment makes you sound real smart right? F**kin dumba**.

How about you two stick to the article and stop worrying about what others have to say.

Anonymous said...

No Joke, this is a Blog that regularly shows decapitated humans, pieces of humans in containers, dead, shot up kids with their brains on the street, skinned alive, etc.
and words are too offensive?
ROFL

Anonymous said...

Cops should have said nothing! Its their hides. You want to drive around with a huge Z on your vehicle then so be it! So happy I moved out of TX! Hate that state!

???? said...

Anonymous said...blah blah blah July 17, 2011 10:23 AM

why don't you stick your head all the rest of the way up your ass and get your nose out of everybody elses business.

Anonymous said...

Arriba Tijuana Compas Que se escuche la balacera

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

really? where has she been? in a cloud? how can she be unaware of such thing? my guess, she is probably involved and she is their connection in the US..ha!
July 17, 2011 12:00 AM

She's a democrat which explains why she doesn't know whats going on in mexico.

Anonymous said...

someone said that they "Highly doubt the cartel are interested in having connections with Senators. What can a senator supply for them?.." well, they can supply protection or immunity from law! and c'mon if you are involved in government, YOU HAVE to know who the Zetas are and what they're mark is, specially living so relatively close to the border...i live 6hours away from the border and if you ask anybody who keeps informed, they will know who the "Z" is...

Anonymous said...

as far as the "stupid gringo" post i find it funny how people here would get upset about that but are perfectly fine with viewing hacked-up people. it's like on mundonarco i dont know if its still up, but on the front page they had someone getting killed and the tijuana cops making that girl strip. The graphic one no warning, the one with the tits +18 adults. For some reason i find tits less offensive.

El_Regio said...

@Anon 5:39 am
If redistricting is illegal (which it isn't) then those doing it would be breaking the law and therefor subject to arrest. Those that flee should lose their jobs, that is what happens to normal folks if they abandon their position!

Anonymous said...

@July 18, 2011 2:08 AM

I'm here because i like censored news.


"The graphic one no warning, the one with the tits +18 adults. For some reason i find tits less offensive."

I feel You. :)

Anonymous said...

Meant UNcensored. :D

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