Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Veracruz: A city and state held hostage
On July 27, a group of sicarios from the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) identifying themselves as "mata Zetas", or Zeta Killers, release a video to the public acknowledging that they have arrived in Veracruz to free the people from Los Zetas, who control organized crime and drug trafficking throughout the state.
The CJNG is believed to be nothing more than a group of gunmen in the service of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Rumors begin to be heard that El Chapo Guzman has been seen eating in high end restaurants in the Gulf coast port city of Veracruz.
The new PRI Governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte, inherited a state firmly under the control of Los Zetas from the previous Governor, Fidel Herrera, who is said to have allowed Los Zetas to establish that control, for a price.
Fidel Herrera was said to be in the early running for the PRI party candidacy for the Mexican presidential election in 2012.
Javier Duarte, whose campaign for Governor may have been partly financed by Los Zetas, feels increasingly threatened by that group and decides to betray them by "selling the plaza" to Chapo Guzman and his Sinaloa Cartel.
The arrival of the CJNG "MataZetas", who express respect and admiration for Javier Duarte in their video, confirms Duarte's betrayal.
The problem is that this treason has begun a fight for the plaza of Veracruz that will claim many lives, and could possibly result in the bloodiest dispute for a plaza to date in Mexico's drug war
An opinion piece in the Templo Mayor column of Tuesday's edition of the national Reforma Newspaper comfirms rumors of "El Chapo's" presence in Veracruz leading the fight for the plaza against Los Zetas.
The above rumors of El Chapo Guzman's presence in Veracruz and Javier Duarte's betrayal of Los Zetas are only speculation given a lack of hard evidence but what is certain is that extreme violence and killings have swept the state since the beginning of August.
It appears the people of Veracruz are being held hostage in what is looking like a battle for the plaza between Los Zetas and other rival groups.
Videos of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire of a street battle this Sunday in the upscale Boca del Rio municipality, which lies immediately to the south of Veracruz. This battle was between two rival groups of gunmen and brought Boca del Rio to a standstill Sunday evening as skirmishing and "narco" blockades continued into the night.
Four gunmen were killed in the fighting that according to a speaker in the second video below lasted several minutes with heavy automatic fire and grenades.
The videos show the fear and danger involved with simply going out on a Sunday afternoon in Veracruz.
Hours after the second video was posted on Youtube, deaths threats began appearing on Facebook and Twitter aimed at the young male speaker. A 15,000 peso reward for the name of the person was posted on the Balacera Veracruz facebook page but was removed shortly after.
Even the act of experiencing and documenting an act of violence, with no threats to any party, can get you and your family killed in Mexico's war on drugs.
This is the power of the "narco" to silence the nation, to hold it hostage.
Aftermath of Sunday's fighting in Boca Del Rio.
At around 7:00pm Sunday, about an hour after the confrontation in Boca del Rio,
a vehicle with gunmen on board, suspected of involvement in the earlier shootout, was being pursued in Veracruz by a Marine patrol on the beachfront Avila Camacho Boulevard.
In front of the Veracruz aquarium a grenade was thrown from the vehicle, probably meant for the Marine pursuers, and exploded among a crowd of tourists.
An unidentified family from Texcoco, Estado de Mexico, vacationing over the weekend in Veracruz was hit by the grenade blast.
The father died of shrapnel wounds at the scene, Three other tourists from Texcoco, Estado de Mexico, a woman and her two children, were also injured by shrapnel.
The mother suffered shrapnel wounds to her abdomen and a toddler suffered superficial wounds. The 5 year old daughter suffered a severe head wound.
The survivors were being treated in a local hospital and were expected to survive. The daughter's head injuries were said to be of a permanent nature.
On Thursday, August 11, thirteen people were killed in shootouts throughout the city of Vera Cruz between rival groups of gunmen and in confrontations with military forces
Five gunmen travelling in a white SUV were killed by Army troops in the Las Vegas area of Vera Cruz
Thursday afternoon another five gunmen were killed according to authorities after they ambushed a convoy of 3 buses carrying a unit of Marines in Boca del Rio.
In the fighting Thursday a Veracruz doctor, Irving Noe Hernandez, was murdered by gunmen on board a white Ford pickup that crashed into the doctor's VW Bora while escaping from an Army pursuit.
Hernandez was shot by the gunmen as they fled from their vehicle on foot, his life was taken for "getting in the way".
Saturday and Sunday, August 6 and 7, twenty people died in organized crime violence throuhjout the state of Veracruz. Nine people were killed in the violence the week before.