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

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Mexico's energy risks make uneasy allies-the uncomfortable cooperation of feds and state

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat  TY Gus   Argus Media
On the capture of El Marro:

"We, the authorities, have a responsibility to the people and in this case instead of blaming each other, we have decided to combine forces to give security to the people of Guanajuato," Lopez Obrador said at the time.

The last in Argus' series of articles on the security risks associated with Mexico's energy sector focuses on the federal government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his at times difficult relationship with some state governors.

Reducing crime that has flared against energy investment in Mexico's northeast and southeast may demand more political detentes such as one that recently emerged in the center of the country, with some results.

A joint effort between federal and state law enforcement agencies led to the capture last week of the leader of a fuel-theft ring — Jose Antonio Yepez, also known as El Marro — in central Guanajuato state.

Yepez is head of the Santa Rosa de Lima cartel, which gained influence by stealing fuel from pipelines connected to the 220,000 b/d Salamanca refinery. Guanajuato has traditionally been one of the states with the largest number of fuel pipeline taps and is home to the only pipeline in the country that is being reinforced with concrete — the 38,000 b/d, 240km Tula-Salamanca line, which has become a frequent target for criminals.

The win for law enforcement came only after President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador visited the state in mid-July to improve communication between federal and Guanajauto state officials that has faltered amid political disputes.

"We, the authorities, have a responsibility to the people and in this case instead of blaming each other, we have decided to combine forces to give security to the people of Guanajuato," Lopez Obrador said at the time.

Relations had deteriorated in recent months following a series of high-profile disputes over public policy. The government of Guanajuato is governed by the opposition national action party (PAN), which represents the far right of the political spectrum, in contrast to Lopez Obrador's Morena party on the far left. PAN is the second-most dominant force in domestic politics, after Lopez Obrador's dominant left-wing Morena party.

Hugs amid bullets

The co-operation in Guanajuato offers a possible template for other regions suffering from criminal violence that is often centered on oil and gas infrastructure. Tamaulipas faces a violent turf war between criminal groups that surged after the president took office, while Lopez Obrador's home state of Tabasco has to deal with an infiltration of increasingly violent criminal groups into local unions, now possibly also drawn by the flagship 340,000 b/d Dos Bocas refinery construction.

And while law enforcement agencies have had a long history of some cooperation — along with US agencies in the fight against illegal drug trafficking — Lopez Obrador's public policy of "hugs not bullets" had strained relations amid the already complicated political outlook. At the same time, the president has used the military to take over functions typically handled by police or other civil agencies, such as security at the country's ports.

The result for safety in Mexico has been dire, with the country recording record-high murder rates along with an increase in crime against energy companies.

Tamaulipas faces a similar political dynamic as Guanajuato, as it is governed by right-wing PAN's Francisco Garcia Cabeza de Vaca. He has been the face of an opposition group of eight governors that — among other actions against federal policies — aim to stop the president's plan to use more polluting fuel oil in state power company CFE's plants.

Federal health, energy and security policies are also points of conflict between the president and the Tamaulipas governor. The governor claims there are not enough resources to combat crime and more should come from federal taxes.

Garcia Cabeza de Vaca wants to strengthen regional entities in communication and preventative security, in contrast to the president's agenda that leans toward centralization and militarization.

The president has often publicly held up what he called failures in the Tamaulipas security, such as when gangs appeared to be threatening fuel retailers into shutting down.

Tabasco Test

In Tabasco, an alliance between federal and state forces would appear easier as the governor is aligned with Morena.

But the picture is not entirely rosy there either. The risks in Tabasco are greater politically and economically. The planned Dos Bocas refinery is the face of the president's energy and economic policy. Allowing crime to penetrate its construction would be a major failure for the president.

Lopez Obrador says he holds a daily 6am meeting in Mexico City with his security advisers, which include both state and city officials as well as national authorities.

Yet the private sector has described the government's actions to combat crime as only reactive — simply "dealing with incidents as they arise," Mexico's oil and gas producers' association Amexhi said. Enhancing co-operation between the federal government and the states is only part of the solution, which requires much broader action to address energy investors' security concerns, the association says.


  1. The scum that purchases stolen fuel is just as guilty as "El Marro".

    1. The scum is probably called el pobre

    2. The stolen fuel is going every where. People will travel fr cheap fuel and the further away from the source the more it will cost plus taxes. Some people will buy a bunch and bring it back to their people. Alot of that fuel ends up in the U.S. 🇺🇸 as well.

  2. Chivis...can you please look into the YouTube channel “El Mexa” who video topics are very similar to borderland beat but in video form, with daily updates. Today they posted a video saying YouTube is no longer letting them upload based on the content of its video (they don’t use gore, or glorify violence) . Can you look into it’s claims and if true why YouTube did that?

    1. The thing about YouTube is that their policy is crazy at best. All it really takes is for 1 individual to complain about your channel. And the next thing you know your content is being flagged. First comes the warning. Followed by your temporary suspension. If the complaints continuously come in you get permanently banned all together. There’s really no way to appeal.

      Some time back I posted a few narco videos with Spanish to English translations for educational purposes. Nothing gory or horrific in nature. Just simple video translations free of profanities. Some bright bulb decided to complain and I just stopped posting once the warnings from YouTube came in.

      With El Mexa it’s safe to assume the same was happening. The only difference was he was probably getting paid for his content from his sponsors/supporters. If that’s the case then his videos could’ve been demonetized because of a complainer.

      It doesn’t really take much to impede the flow of a YouTubers videos. With that being said the only way around this problem would be to go to another platform, one that doesn’t suppress or censor narco news. But as far as I know El Mexa commented he’s doing something other than narco news from now on. More than likely he got tired of all the political nitpicking involved.

      - Sol Prendido

    2. That guy el Mexa has deep knowledge and the videos are on point. Partner up with him Chivis.

  3. “We will join forces to eradicate what’s left of the CSRL and guarantee a smooth transition for the CJNG”

  4. Kill all Huachicoleros and their collaborators. There are many Marros in the central states. Be they alligned with CJNG, CSRL, Zetas, CDS or whoever.

  5. sorry Francisco, u r Pan, I am not helping Tamaulipas. Hugs and Kisses, Your President Amlo

    1. 5:12 AMLO is not the one talking partisan divisions, the opposition league are the ones organizing more opposition marches, calls for resignation of AMLO, ordering AMLO to quit and many other acts of hate...
      Luckily, even the DEA is on the heels of garcia cabeza de cagadas de vacas for illícit enrichmemt on one side and for money laundering...and there are about 10 o'those narco-governors

    2. Peligra Mexico!!!
      Policias arrebatan bicicleta a Lady Tacos de Canasta/ TelediarioMx
      Ordenes de Claudia Rebsamen and her intelligencia policiaca CHIEF Harfuch

  6. we Tamaulipas r Proud of our Governor

  7. ALMO Says he meets EVERY DAY at 6 am
    well if you have met every day to have meeting or is ( breakfest money exchanging)
    and you havent come up with an idea yet
    I say your meeting are Not Working

    ya think

    1. 6:13 it is all on video,
      please produce the money changing evidence,
      but there is nobody eating anything other than opposition CHAYOTEROS eating their chones in frustration for the lack of CHAYOTE.
      well, some are females, like Denise dresser or frida guerrera who eat their parachuting bloomers

  8. Think about it pemex was owed by the people privitized by EPN i believe now all of a sudden there is a problem .... Its chess not checkers .... The poor become poorer the richer get richer like every modern so called democracy


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