Monday, August 14, 2017

The grim truth of Los Cabos

The truth of Los Cabos 

Aftermath of shootout in Acapulco, April 2010
There are signs.  Messages in the bodies, signals in the bound, executed bodies, who lay in the sun, or sit in the dark, until they are discovered.  There are patterns in the bullets, the ring of heavy arms firing from shoulders of men wearing t shirts and jeans, chasing down another, emptying bullets into the fleeing, until they are lifeless and bleed out, onto the pavement.

There is a sense of familiarly and foreboding in the coolers with body parts, with lifeless severed heads, twisted expressions and slicked, damp hair, eyes staring out of the OXXO coolers.  The mass graves, the fosas, the digging, shovels and heavy equipment, unearthing the secrets men tell, when they are alone, tired, beaten and bloody too, they whisper "I will tell you where there are bodies". Where we buried the bodies.

Aftermath of shootout in Acapulco, April 2010 
I've never been to Acapulco, but I learned the signs from there.  I remember the first public shootouts, April 2010, making headlines, SUV's in the tourist district firing from vehicle to vehicle, with multiple dead, after terrorizing those who witnessed the gunfight.  There were pictures of the cars, bullets torn throw windshields, bodies on the street.  

It didn't take long from there.  There were mass graves discovered soon enough, in the fall of 2010, when 20 plus men from Mexico City on vacation vanished, tourists, innocents, they were kidnapped, killed, and thrown in the mass graves.  This was ordered by Carlos Montemayor "El Charro" La Barbie's father in law, who was detained in late 2010, and extradited to the United States some years later. 

Man executed in tourist zone over the weekend
That was only the beginning. 2011 in Acapulco began with beheading of nearly 30 people, heads and bodies displayed on a public street, and the rest of the year felt like that day, over and over again, as reports of atrocities came out on a daily, weekly basis.  The CIDA, Los Rojos, and the other factions splintered, and splintered again, heads, bodies, and constant killings, more brutal then the last continued.

3 killed on Panilla Beach
There are differences to be noted.  Acapulco had long been a narco city, controlled by the Beltran-Leyva's until Arturo's killing in late 2009, which preceded the unraveling of Acapulco by less then 6 months.  There were heavily armed and established cells under Arturo Beltran, and when they split, they all tore at each other viciously and intimately, like the Teo/Inge wars of Tijuana.  They knew each other's secrets and families, girlfriends, and kids. 
Los Cabos never had that, while no doubt it was a sanctuary for traffickers since the 80's, it was never an important plaza for staging, and the retail market was independent to a degree.  That's all changed now, as cells have moved in to fight for these very markets, that were nonexistent to a degree 10 years ago, before the crystal meth expansion pushed it into the major markets and cities across Baja. 

As Alejandro Hope noted in an article in June, the similarities between Los Cabos, Acapulco, Cancun are there.  He describes how the cities themselves, are breeding grounds for the kind of insecurity and descent into chaos we have witnessed.  There is overwhelming concentrated urban poverty in all these places, pushing out for the main tourists and upscale areas, which are a small, and outnumbered portion of the city.  The murders were 300 last year, and will be more this year, they have passed 200 already. 
El Babay
Most of the cities population is below the poverty line, in whatever scale you wish to use.  There is no real economy, besides tourism, and construction, based on tourism.  What economy there is besides that is vulnerable to extortion. There are a lot of young men, young people, who are able to be recruited for the killing, participating the drug trade, extortion, kidnapping.  Endless recruits.  And, then you bring in the drugs.  Get the young recruits addicted, and use them until they are worthless, then kill them, and recruit another.  It's what is done in Tijuana.

The cell leaders and shifting alliances, is the same as Acapulco, as names like El Javier, Los Mayitos, Los Pepillos, El Lucifer, El Babay, who was arrested in June.  Some are detained, some are murdered outside clubs in Zona Dorada, like "El Docil", executed by ambush,  in December 2015, after watching Revolver Canabis perform, or El Javier executed in Culiacan in June 2016.  

El Javier, murdered in Culiacan
The shootouts, then the executions, then the narco messages, then the fosas, then the mass graves, and public killings.  These have all happened already.  And they haven't stopped or slowed down.  6 bodies were found dismembered in various locations in March.  In April, a journalist, Maximino Rodriguez Palacios was murdered, who reported on crime and security in Baja California Sur.  In early May 8 men were killed in a shootout with authorities, they were said to be part of a cell of Damaso Lopez.   June, saw the uncovering of another fosa with 14 bodies, that I believe grew to 22, in the passing days.   June also saw another two heads found in coolers.     

A family of five was attacked on Palmilla Beach, over the weekend.  A group of gunmen exited vehicles and fired on the family with pistols and assault rifles, killing three men, and leaving a small child, and a mother alive, likely by chance. Less than 2 days ago, a man was executed, again in daylight  after being pursued by gunmen in the tourist zone Plaza Peninsula.  That was 9 killed over the weekend, including other executions. 

Narco Fosa in Los Cabos
This isn't about Los Cabos being safe or unsafe for tourists, it is still safe.  Go today.  But, don't close your eyes to the reality, and don't think because you are safe in a resort, that you aren't aware of the violence that has descended to these places, because of the kind of inequality expressed by the dynamic of the tourist city. They don't want to know, they don't want to see.  They want their instagram shots, and their quick vacation, they want to be passive.  They want to look away from the violence.  Hope calls these places a facade. Potemkin by the Sea. 

Tourists marvel at the low cost, the beauty of the city, the paradise, the selfies, the snapchats, the beaches and bikini's, unaware, or uncaring what is bred across the city, where that cost is paid for in blood. A place where lives are cheap, and men plan executions in safe houses, and stalk their targets, to catch them, at the beach, exposed, shirtless, with family, enjoying the breeze, and the clear, clue water, stretching out across the Pacific.

Sources: Zeta Tijuana, Alejandro Hope's article:

49 comments:

  1. "This isn't about Los Cabos being safe or unsafe for tourists, it is still safe. Go today. "

    Thanks but no thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such wholesale killing stared by the government taking the big capos down to steal the business because they wanted more than kickbacks and partnerships, and only the federal government and their gestapo and KGBs can murder so many people with such reckless abandon. FOLLOWING THE Loco Duterte formula?

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  2. Sad....I remember when Acapulco was a premier vacation resort...Maybe because I'm too aware of what's going on, I doubt I'd ever go to that poor country again...just isn't worth the risk....I really feel for the Mexican citizens. Sad, because I'm a 3rd Gen.....Mex-Am, and I loved visiting Mexico as a young man..

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    Replies
    1. The difference between Acapulco and Los Cabos is the value of the real estate. Acapulco was on the decline before 2010, whereas Los Cabos is still an actual premier resort, even with the rising violence.

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  3. Muchas Gracias, otra vez , J

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  4. It was like that for a while now but looks like cjng took control frim dona lety from cds. Dona lety got caught last week and was fighting with cjng for control after cjng went there to take the plaza.

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    Replies
    1. what makes you think that CJNG took control? for real now. i'm sure that CDS replaced dona lety already. she was just a pawn mate, just a pawn...

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    2. Because cjng is taking All cds plazas, that's why.

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    3. hah CJNG did not take control. You think it's as easy as taking her out and the whole organization switches sides. They are embedded deep into that society. Dona Lety was taken out because the pressure from government over possible tourism loss/tainted alc etc. CDP authorized this and already had her replacement meaning; instead of "cartel de cancun" it's now CDP/CDS.. thank you for myself clearing this up for everyone:)

      Delete
    4. 12:52 "it could be a 400 guy living on his mom's basement that took over from Doña Lety",
      as long as nobody can prove anything

      Delete
  5. 2010 was when it started to get worse? Edgar was arrested in 2010, he had it on lock until he went away

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  6. I always wondered if Yaqui is M or F?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I often wonder the same ?

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    2. Yaqui is a she, and if she were a he/she it would not matter.

      Delete
  7. "Tourists marvel at the low cost, the beauty of the city, the paradise, the selfies, the snapchats, the beaches and bikini's, unaware,"
    -----------

    Sheep eating grass, unaware of the wolves that are drooling over the fat wallets and white meat in bikinis. Dreaming of getting 5 figure ransom payments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tin foil hat much buddy? Do us all a favor and never go to Mexico. It will flourish without your money or presence.

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    2. @8:43. Well put. There is $ to be made at every tourist destination. New Orleans, Bangkok, Rome, Bogota, and Cancun. The specifics just vary from location to location.

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  8. Is this supposed to make me feel guilty for vacationing in Mexico?
    Because, I go and I am aware of the violence but what else can I do? I understood the comparison with Acapulco but the last portion about the low prices paid in blood is what I didn't get.

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    1. Yea, that part didn't make sense to me. those tourist locations are just fun and carefree but not cheap. The violence and cartel problems are honestly completely unrelated to anything going on at the tourist locations. I wouldn't worry about your safety there. The gov't really does a great job keeping us safe at these spots. If the Mexican gov't can keep anything safe it's their precious tourists not their own fucking people. Sorry, Its not your problem have fun, spend a lot and send a thank you note to the government for keeping you safe. If the violence is ever over we can head in the main land and dance on the ashes completely at awe as to how the government is always perfectly capable of stop the violence at the resorts and tourist locations but no where else. However, you are right what else can we do? Except sit on the beach and have some beer and be aware and spend some money.

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    2. So don't go. Don't spend any money. The only ones I'm helping are the government, the vendors, the hotel employees, tour guides are all government workers anyway. I'm gonna stay away and live in my bubble here in the US and that's how I'll help.

      Delete
  9. Great Story.great writing.i like it.thank you very much.

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  10. Los Mayitos run cabo. Damaso and his tweaker friends the CTNG/CJNG don't stand a chance!

    -El Burro

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  11. Las vacaciones del chucky...

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  12. 8:43

    your comment makes little sense to me lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He saying that the cartels make so much money they need to launder they actually need to drive tourism down to accommodate this. What better way to accomplish this than beat, rob, kidnap and kill tourists? Viva Mexico!!!

      -El Girafe

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  13. Cancun and Playa next. After that, good bye Mexico

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What do you mean next? It's already there.

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    2. Mexico has been long gone its over it will never be the same

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  14. The “lot of young men, young people, who are able to be recruited“ are EXACTLY the same kind of people being recruited as terrorists in the muslim world. EXACTLY like Mexico (and most of LatAm) these are highly corrupt and unequal societies where the young and hopeless are easy prey by criminals/fanatics to be used and disposed of.

    And the “stay in school“ is the simple answer from white suburbia which understand NOTHING what life is like in the slums.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What are you doing to change it?

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    2. Youu know it wise guy.

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    3. Yup! Call it what it is. Terrorism is what it is. Period. Cartels=terrorists.

      Delete
  15. What about J ?
    M or F ?

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  16. Please do NOT get the wrong impression: EL JAVIER is misleading.

    Javier Valdez is Ríodoce's cofounder and was shot dead in May, one of Mexico's
    fallen heroes who brought us the news so that we can bring it to you. A real Journalist who took the risks that cost him his life.
    Using the name " El Javier " makes him sound like a Narco. I am sure his family would be highly offended.
    Check out our post from a few days back.

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    Replies
    1. Ya I actually was trying to remember who el Javier was cause I remembered the name but couldn't put him to a face. Assumed he was a narco until the last note. Dude was a hero.

      Eh

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    2. I don't know if you are referring to the story, or a comment that maybe was deleted, but my story does not reference Javier Valdez in anyway. El Javier was a plaza boss for Los Damasos, executed in June 2016, in Culiacan, Javier Valdez was killed this year, sadly and shamefully.

      I don't think there will be confusion here, but I can edit if you'd like.

      Delete
    3. Hey mano, no problemo ...........just a clarification for the uneducated.
      Gracias / thanks for all your work, seriously !

      Delete
    4. J, Since you are here, is "El Javier" related to "El Javi"?

      Delete
  17. I'm sure I'll probably get bitched at for this, but idc, I've always been curious.

    I've had quite a few friends go down to Mexico for vacations. The quality of coca in Canada is not that great. Most of them have bought a couple Gs of coca in the resorts, usually hooked up from a resort worker. They said they paid 80usd for a G and the quality was garbage. How on earth would Coca cost more in Mexico then Canada and worse quality? Obviously the locals take advantage of drug seeking gringos but you'd think it would still be very good quality. Especially considering you're paying 80usd which is a fucking lot for bunk coca. I'm sure some bbers know the answer. I don't think any of them were expecting uncut Peruvian scale. Though given mexicos current situation with drugs and the abdunance, you would expect a good product at reasonable cost.

    And please save the bullshit about supporting cartels and feeding the violence. This is what coworkers and friends have told me so don't give me a long winded lecture. I'm very aware of what that money funds and goes to when you support drug dealers in Mexico.

    Eh

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was in sinaloa a while back and the coke is lavada aka chopped up.. That being said I've tasted better lavada in California where I live. They step on it to make money it's pretty simple really

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    2. The reality is that most of the good stuff goes North.

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    3. 8:31 When tourist is written with a P?
      --When the tourist walks around with a P for pendejo on his or her forehead, it magically turns back into an F in their country of Canada or the US, want "peruvian" go to perú, they also have murders, kidnappers and muggers there, but a lot less than mexico, must be that lack of oil gold or protesters.

      Delete
  18. Cheerleaders are in denial

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  19. people wake up, the cabo with violence is san jose del cabo not cabo san lucas which is next foor

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The American neo-nazis, fascists, and alt right are coming back apparently fueled by meth and steroids "to defend their future and their prezident" and you worry about "los Cabos"?
      See the New Yorker, the Economist and Time for an orientation before we send you to re-education camps in China's Gulags.

      Delete
  20. Awesome job "J"!!! It's like you write the same story, over and over again!

    ReplyDelete

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