Mexico: Gulf Cartel behind border protests?

In a wave of coordinated demonstrations against the use of the army in northern Mexico’s crackdown on the warring drug cartels, hundreds of protesters on Feb. 17 blocked the international bridges over the Rio Grande at Ciudad Juárez, Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo, as well as blocking streets and government buildings in in the northern industrial city of Monterrey and roads in the Gulf state of Veracruz. The cities were paralyzed for hours, and riot police used water cannons to disperse the protesters in Monterrey, where streets were blocked for a sixth day running by marchers chanting “Soldiers, get out!” Protesters accused the army of arbitrary arrests and human rights abuses. But Nuevo León Gov. Natividad González Parás (PRI) charged that protesters were recruited and paid by the Gulf Cartel. (AP, El Universal, Feb. 17)

On the same day as the protests, eight people, including a top-ranking police commander and two officers, were killed in presumed narco-violence in Juárez and Reynosa. Sacramento Pérez Serrano, acting Public Security Secretary for the Juárez municipal government, was gunned down with two of his agents by a squad in a pick-up truck, and one more officer was gravely wounded. In Reynosa, five presumed drug traffickers were killed in a four-hour shootout with police on the city’s streets. Four police officers and three civilians were also wounded in the gunfight, Tamaulipas state authorities said.

Mexican President Felipe Calderón Feb. 16 asked Washington to enact “firm” measures against weapons trafficking from the US to Mexico. (AFP, El Universal, Feb. 18)

See our last post on Mexico’s narco wars.

  1. Calderón weighs in on border protests
    Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón weighed in for the theory that the so-called “tapado” (obstructor) anti-military protesters are in the pay of the cartels, saying the drug lords are “cowards” and “enemies of the country” for “using women and children for their petty intentions.” He spoke at an Army Day ceremony at General Escobedo, NL, honoring the 78 Mexican soldiers who lost their lives in anti-drug operations last year. (La Jornada, Feb. 20)

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