Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Chronicles From Terror Island: Part I

Revista Proceso
Gerardo Albarrán de Alba

The Literature of Fear

If Tamaulipas has an owner besides the Gulf Cartel, it is Governor Eugenio Hernandez. And what is Tamaulipas today but the humiliated, painful citizen needing to bow his head or hide it under penalty of succumbing between the violence of organized crime and the relentless outrages of the PRI Governor?

It is a mirage state where life is not lived, where the abusive corruption of state authority is only matched by the unprecedented freedom and impunity with which drug traffickers operate.

Tamaulipas has just staged a sham election, the PRI victory assured by its best friend: the fear imposed by drug violence.

la maña en matamoros

MORONGO | MySpace Video

Valle Hermoso, Tamps., June 28 (Proceso) .- The silence is deeper than a tomb. Everyone knows what happens, but nobody says anything.

Entire villages are for days occupied by the Gulf cartel or Zetas, homes and businesses burned and looted; lightning attacks on police facilities or safe houses, fighting lasting all night and killings in broad daylight that leave no other trace than walls and cars riddled with bullets, blood on the pavement, because the victims disappear faster than it takes to die.

Everywhere threats against those who do not acquiesce immediately; kidnapping, assault and extortion for those who submit, and you must submit if you want to see tomorrow.

The communities living in the disputed areas are controlled by checkpoints and propaganda in the streets and main avenues, all the same in large cities like Reynosa and Matamoros and small like Burgos.

“No, nothing happens here, these are isolated events” chant the Governor and the majority of Mayors, at the cost of casting suspicion on themselves.

The people exercise the right of reply on the Internet. The calls for help accumulate, the accusations fly, anger at the impunity. It’s the testimony of helplessness.

The convoy of over 100 trucks tagged with CDG (Gulf Cartel) and X M3 (Metro 3) arrived early on Wednesday, February 24, in Valle Hermoso.

The village was occupied for three days with fighting around the clock. Tires squealing as cars sped through. No help arrived, not even the Army came in spite of all the pleas.

There were about 60 dead.

The story was repeated on the 6th of June. The entrances and exits to Valle Hermoso were blocked after several days of rumors and tension.

They went right to the local and state police stations. It was a massacre. They took several policemen

Violence raged in the state from the first assault on Valle Hermoso, the same day a judge in Houston, Texas, sentenced Osiel Cardenas to a quarter century in prison.

The next day, Ciudad Victoria schools and streets were emptied by rumors of shootings.

On March 11, they threw grenades and shot the offices of the State Ministerial Police and the State Preventive Police.

Just three weeks ago, on June 11, soldiers killed two people outside the home of the State Attorney General, although the first version that spread through the streets is that the crime occurred inside.

Not even the Government is saved. Several Mayors are slapped by drug traffickers, senior state officials are stripped of their showy vehicles, federal employees unable to accomplish their tasks.

They charge for the electricity, the water and the farms. They became public service providers.

The state government and municipalities only manage the disaster and work with what is left behind, while watching their back.

Have you noticed that the Governor ordered all state vehicles painted white with large logos of the state government on the roof so their identity won’t be confused? Only then can they travel safely on the road without being shot at by the helicopters of “La Maña”

Everyday life is measured in calibers employed and grenades detonated, the number of casualties, the hours of terror.

Only your closest circle hears of the months of bearing witness to countless episodes, among strangers only small talk is spoken

With the media muzzled, police in collusion or capitulated, and political authorities idle or in full flight, rumors become urban legend. If something rises over the censorship, the official version is minimized by the newspapers and T.V.

No one knows when it’s their turn, but everyone understands it will come one of these days, while carrying children to school or making purchases of the week or venturing on roads and paths. The imagination is torn between the desire to believe that we can continue as if everything’s fine and the internal prayer of thanks because it is not you or yours turn today.

Normal life disfigured, fear fills the void and appeals to common sense and survival instinct. See and be silent, or else stay blind and know nothing.

Violence leaves no room for self-deception, the number of stories is overwhelming: Nuevo Laredo, Nueva Ciudad Guerrero, Mier, Camargo, Comal, Diaz Ordaz, Reynosa, Rio Bravo, Matamoros, Ciudad Valle Hermoso, San Fernando, Soto La Marina, Mante, Gonzalez, Altamira, Ciudad Madero, Tampico and the capital, Ciudad Victoria.

More than fifty clashes and massacres in the past six months, here death takes no holiday.


  1. You have a video set in Reynosa, but none of your article related to that. What is the event in the Reynosa video? How does it relate to the rest of the stories set in and around Tamps?

  2. Isn't Reynosa in the state of Tamaulipas?

  3. The video from Reynosa was the shootout when El Karis was killed, he was one poisened apple in a box of bad apples.

  4. I'm sorry for Mexico, this war is a cancer..that nobody can't stop, not even the Mexican Federal Goberment...

  5. These videos are hard to watch especially the one at the top of the gang members beating two rivals with 2x4's. The level of sadism is impossible to comprehend.

  6. damn...bust that ass....reminds me of being back in grade school...but the teacher didn't put a gun to your head...these boys really play rough

  7. Mexico is in a coup d' etat. Part by force, the rest by an organized placing of elected officials under the control over the cartel revolutionaries...
    It's failing from within.

    In two years, Mexico's government will be under the complete control of organized crime. There will be no civil rights, no property rights, no rights at all. Just sponsored chaos and servitude by the people of Mexico.

    Only they rising up can change any of that....and you shouldn't expect that very soon.

  8. Very.very sad there is no words to say.My God!

  9. Please to notice though that the "inductee" took that 2 X 4 beating 'willingly'. Probably KNEW the 'initiation' would be pretty brutal but -still- subjected himself to it.

    Says a LOT about the alternative options for employment they have to consider? They've reached a tipping point where this basically IS your option if you were born poor?

  10. I lived in Ciudad Victoria back in the '80s after leaving the Marine Corps. It was such a beautiful place to live and work -- I had never been happier in my life. I could hitch hike the highway between CV and the border towns.
    I named my son after a friend from CV. It makes me cry to see what has happened - is happening -to these wonderful people and their world. When MX is ready for another revolution to kill these cartels and the corrupt government officials, I will be the first in line to fight for a lasting peace.

  11. my heart goes out to all the people suffering all the injustice crime


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