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Stratfor’s Myth in Mexico PDF Print E-mail
Written by José Pérez-Espino, Translation by Laura Cann   
Wednesday, 15 February 2012 18:37
Editor's note: We republish the translation of this blog entry to share with our readers an important, critical perspective on Austin, Texas based "intelligence" firm Stratfor, whose reports are often cited and repeated without question in the U.S. media.
Source: hilo directo

The Zetas, a criminal group that were the military arm of the Gulf Cartel, has not entered the dispute over the routes of activity with other gangs, as claimed by the authorities. They are dedicated to the control of dirty money, extortion, kidnapping and the retail sales of drugs, according to a text written by journalist Juan Carlos Romero Puga, published in a blog in the magazine Letras Libres.

In his text, the analyst questions the official version. The Zetas don’t have control of 17 federal entities in the country, as stated on the 8th of November 2011 by Cuitáhuac Salinas, head of the Office of Special Investigations in Organized Crime. Thus neither are they the criminal organization with the biggest presence, as Salinas said in a forum where he displayed this on a map.

“The image doesn’t just create the illusion of a dispute that reality doesn’t exist in many of these states, but perpetuates an idea which seems mistaken: that the Zetas are a drug trafficking cartel,” writes Romero.

The security consultants Statfor practically reproduced the official version and assumed that the Zetas are a drug trafficking cartel, and the most powerful criminal group in the country.

Romero Puga published “The myth of the Zetas” on the 18th of January in the discussion blog in Letras Libres. Nearly a week later on Tuesday 24th January, several of the Mexican media divulged fragments of the content of the report
Polarization and Sustained Violence in the Mexico’s Cartel War, written by an agency from the US, Stratfor.

The document Polarization and Sustained Violence in Mexico’s Cartel War reads:

“By the end of 2011, Los Zetas eclipsed the Sinaloa Federation as the largest cartel operating in Mexico in terms of geographic presence. According to a report from the Assistant Attorney General's Office of Special Investigations into Organized Crime, Los Zetas now operate in 17 states. (The same report said the Sinaloa Federation operates in 16 states, down from 23 in 2005)."

As you can see, the Stratfor agency basically reproduced the same version that in turn repeats an official declaration of the Attorney General’s Office.

Meanwhile, in “The Myth of the Zetas,” Romero Puga cites the conclusions of journalist Juan Alberto Cedillo:

“The Zetas haven’t joined in the dispute of the activity routes, not even with their oldest allies of the Golfo cartel. Their strategy was to get control of the dirty money and consequently of the retail sales of drugs, enabling them to take over much more profitable businesses such as kidnapping and extortion; if the sale of cocaine can bring them 250 thousand pesos in a weekend, the kidnapping of just one boy, the son of a family in San Pedro Garza, carried out in the Barrio Antiguo de Monterrey could bring them up to a million pesos.

“Given that their business isn’t that of transport, the Zetas have focused on buying the members of municipal police forces, not the federales [federal police] who watch over the motorways. The policemen who are badly paid and less well served by local governments have found the protection that they need for their small shops and they are the ideal partners to trap their victims and to facilitate the kidnapping operations."

For Cedillo, the Zetas have been mythologized by authorities, who locate them throughout the country. The criminal group has become “a company that allows the use of its name to other local criminal groups to which they work.They have been able to generate know-how."

Also, “they are anchors of human trafficking, large scale robbery of Pemex gasoline (Cadereyta is one of the most important sites) and they have managed to impose conditions on the public-sector in the famous Cuenca de Burgos where kidnappings of union workers and contractors have become commonplace. Likewise, they have taken control of the piracy market, which, it was learned after the takedown of an important boss, produces around 23 million pesos monthly in five states."

However, in their report dated January 24th, Stratfor says that expansion of the Zetas represents a big risk for increased violence in states like Zacatecas and Durango, where [the Zetas] are allegedly in dispute with the Sinaloa Cartel.
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