By Chris Covert
The commander of the Mexican 5th Military Zone. General de Brigada Emilio Zarate Landeros, has been replaced by General de Brigada Leopoldo Noe Gaytan Ochoa, according to several Mexican news accounts.
|General de Brigada Gaytan Ochoa|
According to a story posted on the website of El Diario de Chihuahua news daily, the change ceremony took place Sunday at a base of the 23rd Infantry Battalion in Juarez. The 5th Military Zone encompasses Ciudad Juarez and surrounding area, and is part of the XI Military Region.
General Zarate Landeros has been the commander of the 5th Military Zone since July, 2010, when he relieved General Felipe de Jesus Espitia Hernandez. According to a news item on the Televisa Chihuahua website, General Zarate Landeros will be taking command of the Sonoyta army garrison in Sonora state.
According to a July, 2010 article posted on the website of El Mexicano news daily, General Zarate Landeros had served a deputy chief of staff of a military zone, chief of staff of the Military Police Brigade, director of a military school, an artillery regiment commander and had served as commander of the 20th Military Zone in Colima state.
General Zarate Landeros has been a public figure in Ciudad Juarz since he was posted there, focusing on activities such as weapons seizures during his tenure. The general was involved in one incident in February, 2011 in which he was to observe the destruction of a number of small arms. When a Chihuahua state civilian official failed to show up on time, the general ordered the ceremony to begin without him, apparently causing some friction between his office and the newly elected Chihuahua state government, headed by Governor Cesar Duarte Jazquez.
According to El Occidental news daily, General Gaytan Ochoa was previously commander of the army garrison in the Sonora state border city of Sonoyta, which is a component of the 4th Military Zone.
Voz en Rojo news daily reported that General Gaytan Ochoa had graduated from Heroico Colegio Militar in 1973, and has been known in the army as a cavalry officer and a horseman. He previously taught at the Escuela Militar de Equitacion, and had attended various staff and military schools throughout his career, including an equestrian school in France.
General Gaytan Ochoa has also previously held a staff position with the 15th Military Zone and was operations officer for the Mexican 15th Motorized Cavalry Regiment in Ameca, Jalisco. He also held a staff position in the 33rd Military Zone in Campeche state.
According to La Opcion news daily, General Gaytan Ochoa made General de Bridaga in November 2007, and he has about 40 years of service with the Mexican Army. 5th Military Zone receives from the posting of General Gaytan Ochoa, a field commander trained under one of Mexico's best military region commanders.
His service at Sonoyta was in II Military Region under General de Division Alfonso Duarte Mugica, a general considered to be one of Mexico's top field commanders. General Duarte Mugica has held posts in II Military Region since 2009. General Duarte Múgica has been previously mentioned in Mexican press as a potential candidate for Secretaria de Defensa Nacional (SEDENA), the controlling agency for the Mexican Army and Air force.
The current SEDENA, General Guillermo Galvan Galvan is due to step down when president elect Enrique Pena Nieto begins his term as Mexican president of the republic in December.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com