Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mexico’s cartel-fighting vigilantes get closer to the Texas border


Armed residents are taking on the feared Zetas cartel in Tamaulipas state. One desperate town’s mayor applauds them.
 
Mayor Guerrero of Hidalgo. (Tamaulipas government website)
HIDALGO, Mexico — The gunmen nabbed watermelon farmer Jesus Manuel Guerrero as he drove from his ranch to buy supplies and held him for five painful days in the trunk of a car.

When family members finally paid a $120,000 ransom and they released him, he was urinating blood.
He’s just one of hundreds of victims of a wave of kidnapping that’s swept this once peaceful farming town, about 130 miles south of Texas.

But almost three years after his brutal abduction, Guerrero, who is now the mayor, says his town has become safer, the kidnappers scared to enter.

 This change is not due to the police, he says, but to a clandestine vigilante group known as the Pedro Mendez Column, named after a local general who fought the French in the 19th century.





The column hands out leaflets declaring it operates night patrols to defend the community from the feared Zetas cartel, which is behind most of the kidnapping. The vigilantes have also claimed responsibility for several murders of alleged Zeta members, including two men shot dead in January.

“The column only kills kidnappers and drug traffickers. They don’t allow extortion or threaten honest people,” Guerrero told GlobalPost, speaking in his town hall, which is decorated with paintings of Mexico’s independence and revolutionary heroes.

“It is much safer with them.”

This is the latest expression of a vigilante movement in Mexico that’s expanding from the southern mountains to areas near the United States border like Hidalgo, in Tamaulipas state.

The vigilantes are rising after the Mexican government failed to stop the country from becoming a world kidnap capital, with more than 1,600 reported abductions in 2013, the worst year on record. There have been more than 70,000 cartel-related killings since 2006.

But human rights groups warn that vigilantes may only add to Mexico’s cycle of violence — a severe problem in border states like Tamaulipas, which suffers shoot-outs that have caused temporary shutdowns of crossings into Texas.

Bordering the Rio Grande valley and the cities of Brownsville and Laredo, Tamaulipas lies along a major US-Mexico trade route, with tens of thousands of trucks of goods crossing daily, as well as many undocumented migrants and drug loads.

Farther south in the Pacific states of Michoacan and Guerrero, a vigilante movement mushroomed until thousands openly took up arms to fight cartels.

Some of those vigilantes were deputized as rural state police in May, but others have carried on operating outside the law. Last month, police and soldiers arrested Michoacan vigilante leader Jose Mireles and more than 70 of his supporters for carrying illegal guns.

Gun permits are difficult to get in Mexico, but the country is awash in illegal arms, many smuggled in from the US. The vigilantes favor the same Kalashnikovs and AR-15 rifles as the cartels, which sell on the black market here for several thousand dollars apiece.

The vigilantes in Tamaulipas are more secretive than those of the south, working in hidden cells from towns and ranches.


They conceal their identities because they not only fear arrest but also revenge attacks from the gangsters.
In May, alleged cartel gunmen shot and burned nine people at a ranch here in Hidalgo, accusing them of being linked to the vigilantes. Among the victims were two children.

“People of Hidalgo, don’t be involved with the column,” a note left by the bodies read. “The monster has woken up. This is the first test. Attentively: The Zetas.”


The murders took place in a hamlet away from the town center, which is harder for the vigilantes to defend, Mayor Guerrero says.

“It was a terrible, brutal scene. They killed the parents, the children. These are the kind of criminals we are dealing with,” he added.

The Pedro Mendez group first formed in 2010, but the mayor said it has grown substantially this year and now has hundreds of gun-owning affiliates.

“The criminals submit to blood and fire,” the Pedro Mendez declares in a leaflet it released in May. “The defense of our people has been long and gory, in permanent struggle and sustained combat against kidnappers.”

The column accuses some police officers of being in league with cartel members but says it supports the Mexican army and marines.

“Insecurity, violence and criminality are only solved by honest soldiers and an armed people,” the group says in the leaflet.

Web users claiming to be local vigilantes also participate on social media sites set up to discuss drug violence. In one January post, in which the vigilantes claim the killing of a Zetas cartel kidnapper, a user writes, “Excellent. That is the only way to finish the Z.”

There are also signs of these vigilantes spreading to other towns near the US border.

In the Tamaulipas state capital Ciudad Victoria, a leaflet recently appeared from a vigilante group calling itself the Alberto Carrera Torres brigade promising to fight the Zetas.

Federal prosecutors have accused some vigilantes across Mexico of being backed by drug cartels to fight rival gangs.

The Pedro Mendez may be receiving weapons to fight the Zetas from that gang’s enemies in the Gulf Cartel, Guerrero says. But the mayor insists the vigilantes are authentic in defending their community.
While Guerrero says the vigilantes have reduced crime, he says he is not himself a militia member.

The government of President Enrique Peña Nieto has led a shifting and seemingly confused policy on Mexico’s vigilante movement. At times it has ignored them, at others attacked them, and sometimes actively worked with them.

 Peña Nieto repeatedly condemned people taking justice into their own hands — but then in May he made a speech in Michoacan recognizing the work of vigilantes there.

The administration is currently waging an offensive by soldiers and federal police in Tamaulipas to quell cartel violence plaguing the state. In the last two months, troops have arrested ranking gangsters from both the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel.

“We are working in a good coordinated way and with good results to win back the tranquility of Tamaulipas,” Mexico’s Interior Secretary Miguel Osorio Chong told the government’s news agency. “All the criminals who have hurt the Mexicans’ tranquility will have to fall.”

However, many residents in the embattled state are concerned that the federal offensive won’t do enough to protect them from ruthless gangsters.
I
In June, thousands of marchers dressed in white took to the streets of the Tamaulipas cities of Victoria and Tampico, calling for better security.
march in Tampico
While some of these residents sympathize with vigilante efforts like those of the Pedro Mendez Column, others want to pressure the government to police them better.

“I think the self-defense groups [vigilantes] are dangerous,” said Raul Villarreal, a furniture store owner in Victoria who marched against crime. “A shoemaker makes shoes. A businessman does business. You need trained police officers to fight crime, not just anybody with a gun.”

57 comments:

  1. It's all good... Chong has been cooking the books...

    "Castillo y Osorio Chong falsean cifras" http://www.sinembargo.mx/07-07-2014/1049965

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  2. Hope the EPN administration somehow legitimize s these vigilante groups some way to some extent. The only way to stop the cartels from kidnapping and extorting is to report them and if it deems necessary fight back.

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    1. Never gonna happens Mexican cops make 150$ a week there not going to allow vigilantes to steal there kidnapping hustle plus 90 percent of kidnappings in Mexico are done by family members or friends. Who know exactly how much money and assets they got

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    2. 90%? Where did u get that from?

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    3. Statistics, or sources please

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  3. Kill all Zetas... Only thing that will work. Period the end.

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    1. Kill all zetas? Hahah jajaja,you might as well try go kill God,haha!!ATTN.NorthPole Zeta

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    2. Catch a true Zeta,and take him out one piece at a time.Leave his head on a stick for all to see.He will call for his mommy soon enough.Not men but cowards.

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    3. @3:59...Santa is that you? Youve got some explaining to do buddy.

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  4. It is very doable, all they need is to arm the right people, those who have been hurt by the criminals. They aren't likely to turn into cartels or kidnappers, they just want the justice they've been denied. Use those who won't take arms to watch every movements in their hoods. Clone the way they cartels act but target only criminals.

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  5. the federal and state police, corrupt the municipal police and the army brass are corrupt since before el lazca told them what to do.
    --now osorio, former governor of el lazca home state, probaly helped to win his state with gulf and zeta money, comes to tamaulipas to take it back for his and pena nieto's zeas, they are probably helping tamaulipas autodefensas like on michoacan to force the remaining narcs to settle under the new pena nieto narcos, like the michoacan AD, hunting the most troublesome narcs at night, whatever, but peace for oil investors money is job number one, narcos, and zetas helped el pri, and el pri is now sticking it up their arses for all the marbles...
    --calling them "vigilantes" stinks, by the way, they are Auto Defensas looking out for a well deserved peace, and are entitled to find their way, after thirty years of bullshit from all quarters from the government, and if they receive and accept help from the worst people in the world, even from the devil himself, what is the motherfucking problem? nobody else is helping them show the government, narcos and cartel sicarios how to FUCK OFF...

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  6. These men are not vigilantes. They are patriots!

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  7. According to Menny Valdez blogger of Epoca Violenta the vigilantes of Hidalgo, Tamaulipas, are being sponsored by the CDG cartel obviously rivals of the Zetas. The Pedro Mendez vigilantes of Hidalgo are receiving weapons from CDG. I am by no way saying that every vigilante group are bad but especifically this vigilante group called
    Pedro Mendez are corrupt. This group will keep on killing Zetas but will not touch CDG members.

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    1. Tamaulipas is firmly under the cdg thumb.

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  8. It seems like a good idea lets see how it goes

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  9. People within 200 miles north of the border think this is all lies and hate.
    They do not realize the nightly gunfire, N Laredo , Miguel Aleman, Camargo, Reynosa and more. There are so many people that are fooled into thinking Mexico is one big Margarita paradise (cancun , Playa del Carmen) that BB and all negative news about poor widdle sovereign Mexico is ingnored. Even the Cacti are bleeding . Thanks BB and all reporters / bloggers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for getting the truth out . But it is said that history repeats itself . So , when another " Columbus NM" incident happens we shall see what happens. Peace to all brothers and sisters that wish for peace and prosperity south of the border .

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    1. I would so agree the border is hot their is daily gunfire nuevo laredo is heating up again slowly the contras are making their move patiently and quietly ojo mucho ojo..

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    2. I think your wrong 99% of americans know mexico is a shithole cuss of 10 different reasons.the thought of mexico being a margarota heaven is no longer in anyones mind if it ever was

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  10. chivis wrote about this 4 or 5 months ago. there were banners posted, by the group and they contacted dr mirales. I remember it well, and she said other banners signed self defense appeared in a neighboring state but she thought they were really zetas

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  11. What Tamps needs to do is follow the N.L. model of war on the cartels. The authorities of N.L. have strengthened their police corporations and their justice system. The chaos of a couple years ago in cities like Monterey have diminished. Shootouts and
    massacres have now become non-existent. The states of the Rio Bravo del Norte need to reclaim their normalcy and get back to business.

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  12. This is the type of thing that happens when local authorities are a complete failure. Lawlessness reigns until the people get fed up with it.

    The link about the quoted comment leads to another report where a 16 and 13 year old (Zetas) were kidnapping people. They made videos of dismembering their victims including those whose families had paid the ransoms.

    It's "off the hook" as we say. What's left for the people to do but fight using any help they can get?

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  13. Off Topic: any news on the capture of Carlos Salmon Higuera aka Macaco, Chapo Isidro lieutenant?

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  14. this vigilante group is just a front for the CDG. they kidnap and extort as well. not in their area but in other parts of tamaulipas and nuevo leon.. these guys are just as bad as the zetas their against. fuck them!

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    1. Proof? Names? How can they extort anyone when everyone is broke. They sleep in the brush. With no vehicles yet they can go an hour away to zeta territory to take part in what they're trying to stop.

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  15. puro matazetas culeros.

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  16. The Land of Zoro, where even the police wear masks.

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  17. God be with you in your fight against these outlaws.

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  18. F@#$ the human rights group. If the Mexican government cannot wipe their your asses, then the honest hard- working Mexicans should protect their own.

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  19. Until the Mexican people get off their asses and overthrow the government, nothing will change. It's a corrupt country from the top to the bottom. This is all a product of the culture. A nation of sheep will have a government of wolfs.

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    1. America isnt a nation full of sheeps?

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    2. The bank owns you. Get off your ass too. Because, the Chinese are about to really own you and they won't put up with your lazy ass once they fleeced you real good.

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  20. 9:47 wow and more wow, i would have "worte" cactuses, cacti is more like "corrept", i'm impressed that we keep getting more and more people with better language skills...
    kongratlations to BB on having passed...
    ...the 45 million visitors
    --so if the cdg helps their autodefensas, and the zetas force conscription of their own autodefensas, who do you think will perform better when the shit hits the fan?
    --i'd bet on the all volunteer.
    --i have not seen anything about a reconciliation program that tries to offer something to the criminals to mend their ways, there is of course conjugal visitations, and people get used to prison, but there are the prison maffias, and cartel recruiters, and wholesale corruption, but the people are fed up and looking for their own way, it is a better start than to keep waiting for the saviour that most surely will never come.
    also there is no formal program about conquering the minds of the soldiers, they are also exploited, and they are doing their jobs under the misunderstood discipline and belief that the brass is the "authority", they need to have rights to refuse commissions and to obey orders blindly without retribution, and to sue their commanders, and to be judged by their peers, not by military and corrupt ass kisser brass.
    the people has the right to not be divorced from their soldiers for the benefit of the governing class, it is the armed forces of the people's not the mercenary armies of the government, extracted from the people and paid for by the people who have to go and get sponsored by the dominating cartel to try and get some freedom at least, to die fighting for themselves, which the fucking government still refuses to allow, in the name of an "estado de derecho" that does not exist and has not existed for a while, thanks to the corruption of that very same "government"...
    --sin embargo: osorio chong denies that Dr Mireles arrest is because of politics, says just thinking that is a crime...
    --BB readers! you are under arrest, stick'em up...
    --no, no, no, not your arms...
    ...las patas!!!

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    1. Thank you for pointing out that none of us can spell except you! Everyone has a right to comment. Personally, I reread the articles if it has alot of comments. The feedback is interesting. If I still know what the commenter is trying to say, I don't care about correct spelling.

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  21. " There are so many people that are fooled into thinking Mexico is one big Margarita paradise "

    Do you actually believe your statement?Mexican people themselves have an amount of culpability in Mexico's predicament.Where is the outrage and action against gob for the arrest of Mireles in Mexico?Do you want other countries to protest for you also?Is it other countries fault for his arrest?
    People think Mexico is margaritas?I think not....

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    1. Margarita heaven my ass

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  22. You can start a Business to feed your Family... You can also start a Vigilante group to protect your Family... Viva Mexico!!!

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  23. Another reader wrote about Macaco yesterday saying in Spanish they really "F"ed him up. I could find nothing, just about his brother.

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  24. This is the reason why our U.S. Constitution GIVES US THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS.
    When the Government fails to protect, we are still a well armed militia.
    You don't see Cartels terrorizing citizens in the U.S.
    Mexico needs to change the law that forbids the right of citizens to bear arms.

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  25. It seems likely that theses groups would have the support of rival cartels but if these vigilantes keep growing around Mexico than CDG and more likely CDS will be the last ones standing as they portray the image of being supporters of the people. One big thing that CDS have going for them is that the people in their core areas generally love them. That way they are safe from vigilantes which have already taken out at least a large chunk of CT. Zetas however who govern the population by fear make it almost encouraging for autodefensas.

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    1. Your dumb. Maybe in sonora and sinaloa but other states dont really belive in cds bulljive. They are all going to go down at the same time if mexico decides to do so or is forced to by the U.S. Maibe zetas or cdg is going down first because they are taking each other out and are not that organized.

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    2. You are wrong my friend every drug cartel in Mexico is the same whether it's the CDG, Z's, Sinaloans, or CT they all kill civilians, extort businesses, ect.

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    3. I bet money that the zetas outlast the cdg by far at least zetas aren't infighting the way cdg is... has any cartel ever?

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  26. I hope this type of revolution spreads to many small towns and villages!!!

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  27. That's the way to do it. Keep the identity of the vigilante movement secret, no interaction with govt. or media. Identify the cartel operatives and shoot them in the head. Leave a message and let mugrosos know the jig is up.

    Ronco

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  28. You don't see Cartels terrorizing citizens in the U.S.
    Mexico needs to change the law that forbids the right of citizens to bear arms.

    i think it has more to do with a relatively honest core of cops and judges that will imprison cartel killers for life, than the freedom to bear arms. when cartel guys do terrorize and kill on this side of the border, its usually other criminals who have access and keep high powered arms themselves that are the victims. having all the guns in the world won't save you if you don't see it coming.

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  29. Hidalgo, Tamaulipas is a beautiful town, an island, surrounded by a sea of zetas. It has limited access. This makes it an ideal town to defend. In days past. Gunfights could last for hours, bodies could lie in the dirt streets for days. Children got used to seeing dead bodies burnt in trucks on their way to school. The presidencia (town hall) was shot at and grenades thrown. along with police officers murdered. I remember those cops where working for the town. The old mayor also known around those parts as z1 was killed in his truck by a wounded kid on foot. This town has some fight left in it. Road side IED's have been built to blow the zetas convoys up. Its guerrilla warfare at its finest. These men fight on foot with what they have. They sleep in the woods, they have no luxury to speak of. El, chorrito was a beautiful place in Hidalgo to visit. There is a small waterfall, and a virgin mary carved on a stalacite that people have visited for miracles. Unfortunately people have stopped visiting. Zetas used to steal buses and drive in to town. Then they would be unloaded near town ready to attack. The zetas would send the rural police to scout and if and when soldiers had left they would arrive in dozens of trucks ready to kidnap and murder. They charged people to pick oranges on their own land. They took peoples properties. A man who sold food was told to not sell food to go. When he did they came for him. He's never been heard from again. Entire families where slaughtered,completely cut to pieces and thrown about town like confetti. So many people ask why people don't fight back. And when they do others claim it's with weapons provided by the CDG. Well if that's the case I don't see anyone else helping out. my enemies enemy is my friend. Specially when children get kidnapped at school and found tortured and murdered days later. Everyone in town is encouraged to send the "Columna Armada" ammo for their weapons. This doesn't sound like cartel activity. The towns people who have survived are ready to put their lives out on the line. They have seen enough carnage that a few dead bodies here and there is considered calm. Women risk their lives by running out with tortillas smeared with beans to feed the columna armada when they ambush convoys or attack the zeta objectives. The men just grab the tortilla and keep running in to the bush with their AK47 strapped to their sides. This isn't the last you hear from Hidalgo Tamaulipas. It's people are only beginning to fight. Don't forget the difference between someone who is trained to kill and those who depend on their guns to eat and survive. People in Hidalgo are doing this to survive. The zetas are nothing but a scavenger pawing at a snake in a hole. Over a hundred zetas have lost their lives in or around this town. 80 in one day with help from the marina. It doesn't make the news but it doesn't have to to make a difference.

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  30. If Mexico ever wants to defeat the cartels, you are going to have to fight fire with fire.. If you expect these individuals to be saints you are going to be very disappointed.. It sucks but it's just how it is..

    You think Colombia would have ever gotten to Pablo Escobar without the help of Los Pepes? No way...

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  31. Zetas don't die they multiply like roaches

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    1. When i see roaches i squash as many as i can.

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  32. --the zetas as gafes demonstrated extreme prejudice, traditional of the kaibiles, against the indian population, instead fo fighting the EZLN.
    --the gafes as zetas demonstrated extreme prejudice against everybody else, even against their own recruits who did not even get paid for the maruchan, and who had to live off the field kidnapping, extorting, selling their grams just to eat, and put their ass on the line to defend "their" plazas.
    --the zetas socialized drug addiction and crime like nobody else in mexico, with the customary military contempt the mexican military teaches even before the kaibiles influenced the gafes.
    --for the last one hundred years, the government has instilled the principle of "authority" in the soldiers, the concept that the "commander in chief" must be obeyed at all costs, which is a total lie, because all of them are to serve the people, not to kill and murder the people for any Raqueteer Influenced and Corrupt Organization as the mexican military has repeatedly proven to be AT THE TOP, all the way up to the "commander in chief" and most of his ministers...with impunity garranteed for all...
    --and some people still fight like bitches to deny the people the right to defend themselve and their families,never mind their property...

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  33. 9:10 so what, any help is welcome, while the cdg fucked up for bringing he zetas on board, they have paid for it too, it has been a very expensive lesson, osiel would have been better off not killng his own corrupt friends than trusting his not so courageous sicarios, z1 paid for his sins real quick, so did osiel, el lazca, z40 "el walkin barrel of menudo con patas", all of them zetas have been paying for their sins, so until pancho villa comes back and with the help of the divine providence spiritual force finishes his revolution, we the pedestrian aspirinos will have to make doo with the cdg or the cds, who by the way, do buy the maruchan for their sicarios and pay them better AND don't see the need to fuck around with the people for the little peanuts and cents or the gramero business...like the zetas.

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  34. contrary to the imaginative suppositories, i mean suppositions of some, i adore the writings of BB commenters, in spanish and english, good or bad orthography, misspellings and put downs, AND i believe no comments should be kept out of here, from anybody, irregardless of the content of their comments, maybe when la maestra se vaya, we will be able to have a free for all, no communist propaganda, no NRA supporters, no religious bible thumping, and no teabaggers welcome...

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  35. 11:03 you are a real cynic, i know what kind of roaches you are talking about and i don't know how chivis lets you get away with it...
    -real pros never leave roaches behind aunque se les quemen todas las uñas
    --someone said that bill clinton who said he never inhaled, sounds like he never exhaled, and HEY, IT IS TRUE! its must be an expert who discovered that...

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    1. I was talking about the insect and i sort of felt like it came into play with the zetas multiplying like roaches comment. Roaches are gross and a symbol of filth. When i see roaches i try to kill them all. Logical right? Lol unless you welcome them in your you Gill Grisom and you take offense to the harm of insects.

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  36. k menem on the forum posted about the massacres on coahuila, and about the cowardly behaviour of the bertie boy moreira, the mexican army and the local police who never went to help the hundreds of victims, just like castillo and co. refused to help valencia, but arrested Dr Mireles and his AD for trying to help, there is also the way the army was ordered to not help the federales that were massacred in michoacan, with no investigation, ni internal affairs involvement, of course, the government that is shooting its own foot is not going to blow both of them...
    that is why auto defensas are needed and welcome, to at least stick it for a while to the narcs, and if those helping now turn against them, we'll cross that bridge when we get there...

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  37. El Debate is reporting that unofficially Macaco has been captured in the federal operation that has been heavily targeting Guasave.

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  38. yeah, yeah, just like clinton, you never smoked the OTHER kind of roaches, you must be the cherry commander of the roach smokers...

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