By Chris Covert
The commander for the Mexican 42 Military Zone has changed from General de Brigada Jesus Pedroza Ayala to General Diplomado Estado Mayor Miguel Andrade Cisneros, according to Mexican news sources.
The new commander, General Andrade Cisneros, had been commander of the Mexican 32rd Military Zone in Yucatan, an appointment he gained in July 2010, when he relieved General de Brigada Diplomado de Estado Mayor, Juan Manuel Rico Gamez, who went on as commander of the 31st Military Zone based in Chiapas state.
According to data supplied by the Mexican Secretaria de Defensa Nacional (SEDENA), General Andrade Cisneros was promoted to his current rank in November 2008. He had previously served a military attache for the Mexican embassy in Panama prior to his appointment to the army garrison in Cozumel, which he received in early 2010.
Going by news accounts, the General Andrade Cisneros maintained friendly relations with the local business and education community in his Yucatan area of operation, even going so far as attending less formal functions in civilian dress. During his brief tenure as garrison commander, however, in Cozumel, he was considered a low profile commander.
|General Andrade Cisneros|
The change of scenery could not be more stark for General Andrade Cisneros, going from an area where the tourist industry thrives to essentially a backwater command in a desert area bounded by mountains in the west.
His predecessor in the 42 Military Zone, General Jesus Podroza Ayala, was only appointed commander of the zone last July. He had come from commanding the army garrison at Manzanillio in Colima, where he was appointed sometime in 2010.
Like General Andrade Cisneros, General Podroza Ayala was promoted to his current rank in November 2008. He had previously served as chief of staff for the IV Military Region in 2009 encompassing Nuevo Leon state. His tenure as chief of staff was marked by public appearances in behalf of the army in Nuevo Leon.
General Podroza Ayala tenure as 42 Military Zone commander was marked by high profile marijuana seizures, and at least one "Guns for groceries" buyback program, according to Mexican press accounts. His unit also helped with relief efforts in the Sierra Tarahumara earlier this year, in one instance shipping 110 tons of material.
According to several Mexican news accounts at the time, in October, 2011 his wife and daughter were carjacked and kidnapped in a Soriana Foods parking lot in Chihuahua city and taken only to be pursued by local municipal police. The pursuit ended a short distance away when the suspects abandoned the vehicles and their two hostages, running into the desert. Both females were unharmed in the incident.
General Podroza Ayala was commander during the intergang battles in Choix, Sinaloa earlier this month, which took the lives of 57 individuals including two military in Sinaloa state. The 42nd Military Zone maintains both rifle company sized bases as well as road patrols in the area on the Chihuahua state side of the battle area, but apparently failed to intervene when armed suspects were said to be crossing into Chihuahua avoiding an army cordon in Sinaloa state.
SEDENA likes to keep commanders in place for a long as possible, so they may gain experience, and train lower echelon commanders. Successful commanders will retain their commands if they don't attract negative attention and have some success. The Choix, Sinaloa incident may not have cost General Podroza Ayala his command, however. General Podroza Ayala is staff qualified, and may be going to Mexico City. SEDENA has plucked short time military zone commanders before for staff appointments elsewhere.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com
© Copyright Chris Covert
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