Thursday, February 9, 2012
San Fernando, revisted.
A couple was arrested earlier this week in the municipality of Nanchital, in southern Veracruz after attempting to run a military checkpoint.
Pedro Antonio Pérez Fernández and Karla Lizet Martínez Estudillo abandoned their car and tried to escape on foot but were quickly captured.
Soon after his arrest Pérez Fernández confessed to being a Zeta and to have participated in the massacres of bus passengers that occurred in the spring of 2011 in the crossroads city of San Fernando in northern Tamaulipas.
The suspect had in his possession the usual items, like cell phones and nextels, a small amount of drugs and ammunition and magazines used with AK-47's and AR-15's. Maybe he was not armed or maybe his assault rifle was stolen by a soldier or even successfully ditched.
What made his story credible, perhaps, were the two "tablas" or wood clubs that according to the military were found in his vehicle. Los Zetas and pretty much every other cartel or gang uses these "tablas" for the purpose of torturing their victims before their usual fate is met. Often an aluminum baseball bat fills in nicely.
A person who professes to be a Zeta says that what happened in "San Fer" back in 2011 was a horrible mistake. His story goes like this.
According to spies at at the service of Los Zetas, the Gulf cartel was recruiting ex-Guatemalan Kaibiles and gangbangers from central Mexico and transporting them via inter city buses to their base of operations in the Tamaulipas border towns.
A "Golfo" transportation network used in human smuggling operations already existed with the complicity of major bus lines, using their buses to transport busloads of Central Americans and Mexicans wanting to cross into Texas to the Gulf cartel border cities of Matamoros and Reynosa.
This route passed through San Fernando.
The Zetas targeted this transportation network, telling the "San Fer" plaza chief Martín Omar Estrada Luna, alias "El Kilo", to look out for these buses carrying Gulf cartel recruits and eliminate them.
However "El Kilo" was too enthusiastic in carrying out his task and the San Fernando massacre of 2011 ensued.
According to the Mexican government 193 victims, mostly men but including some women and children, were abducted from January to March 2011 as they traveled on buses through San Fernando on the way to the border, before the authorities were forced to act by the weight of hundreds of family members searching for their disappeared relatives.
The discovery of the narcofosas, or clandestine mass graves, led to the exhumation of the 193 missing persons. Postmortem studies revealed that many of the victims were killed by sledge hammer blows to the head.
The Zeta cell led by "El Kilo" was dismantled and most of its members arrested and imprisoned; and the belated entry of thousands of military and federal police reinforcements began in an attempt to wrest control of the area.
That person who professes to be a Zeta said that the penalty for screwing up a mission is death, and that is what happened to the spies who supplied what ended up being exaggerated reports of the Gulf cartel using buses to transport recruits.
He said that El Kilo, now in prison, was allowed to live because he was only following orders.
Who knows if the above version of the events that Pedro Antonio Pérez Fernández confessed to this week is true, maybe only the perpetrators and a few tight lipped government officials really know.
Speaking of elections, the PAN candidate for the post of Head of Government for the Distrito Federal, or Mexico City, in the July 2012 elections claimed late last year that the number of victims abducted from buses and murdered in San Fernando was much higher than the official government figure of 193.
María Isabel Miranda de Wallace, the PAN candidate and victims advocate, stated that the tally of dead was hundreds higher than what the government was willing to admit.
Miranda de Wallace, director of a victim's advocate group "Alto al Secuestro" (Stop the Kidnappings) and herself the mother of a kidnapped and murdered son, stated in August, 2011 that documents related to the investigation she had been allowed to see that included confessions and the statements of relatives still searching for the missing including San Fernando residents, led her to believe that there are at least 500 more victims in mass graves that lie undiscovered in deserted ranches and farms surrounding San Fernando.