|Leticia Salazer, foto de Twitter|
The mayor of the northern Mexican border city of Matamoros is warning residents about extreme risks associated with traveling in the city, according to Mexican news reports.
Leticia Salazar took to Twitter Monday afternoon to warn her constituents about risks from road blocks and presumably shootings in the city. According to a news account which appeared in the online edition of Milenio news daily, four photographs which were taken Monday afternoon and posted to Twitter, showed two roadblocks and students inside a classroom ducking to the floor, presumably to avoid gun fire.
A check of Twitter showed very little in the way of information about the elevated risk in Matamoros, mosly reactions to Señora Salazar's warnings. Two events in the last three days may have been a factor in any elevated risk.
Friday a hand grenade was detonated in Ciudad Victoria, state capital of Tamaulipas, which did some damage to a metal overhead door at the residence of father of Alejandro Etienne, mayor of Ciudad Victoria. Later a painted banner, colloquially known as a narcomanta or narcopinta said to be from a local Los Zetas commander in the city appeared, as a warning to the government.
Another incident took place in Brownsville Texas, directly across the border from Matamoros, Monday when a young woman identified in a ValleyCentral.com English language report as Dayna Velasquez, 21, was allegedly caught with 12 kilograms of cocaine inside the vehicle she was driving.
A news account which appeared in the online edition of El Diario de Chihuahua news daily said that shootout began at noon in San Carlos colony and the spread to other sectors of the city including on Avenida Pedro Cardenas. No reports have emerged as to casualties, which is not unusual in shootouts in Tamaulipas border cities.
Starting in 2010 some of the worse intergang fighting between the Los Zetas cartel and their bitterest rivals, the Gulf Cartel took place in Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo and in Reynosa as shooters fought openly against one another, the fighting of which often produced roadblocks. Much of the violence at the time went unreported because, reportedly local press were under death threats from local drug gangs not to publish news about the activities.
During those years local Twitter users as well as local government officials used Twitter to report gunfights and shootings and shootouts.
With the election of president Enrique Pena Nieto almost two years ago, the government got into the news spiking business by stopping the practice of reporting on individual incidents and compiling series of incidents into one, thereby reducing -- and improving -- crime statistics. According to Tijuana, Baja California based Zetas magazine, only one part of the new anti crime strategy has worked: the statistics have improved, but not the violence, which is as bad as it has ever been.
Señora Salazar has run afoul of Mexico's Secretaria de Gobernacion (SEGOB), or interior minister Miguel Osorio Chong before, last December, when she suggested she may call for a curfew in the city after a series of shootout between rival criminal gangs, which left 13 dead. At the time Osorio Chong said it would be illegal for her to impose a curfew, which may not be completely true.
Curfews in Mexican localities have been called for or imposed by local government officials because of drug and gang related violence, including, reportedly in Piedras Negras in Coahuila state in 2012 and Jimenez in Chihuahua state in late 2013 because of the extreme violence from local drug gang rivalries.
Lately the federal government's anti crime strategy has undergone a transparent shift as former head of Mexico's Comision Nacional de Seguridad, Manuel Mandrgon y Kalb has left his post, and was replaced by Monte Alejandro Rubido.
According to a news report last week in Milenio, several Mexican senators have noted that the new appointee signals a strategy shift more towards then strategy of former president Felipe Calderon Hinojosa.
It remains to be seen if Calderon's hands off strategy with regard to the press will be followed as well.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War nad national political news for Rantburg.com and BorderlandBeat.com He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org