Wikileaks on Situation in Monterrey, Mexico

Link to cable February 28, 2010

A leaked cable on Wikileaks from the US Consulate in Monterrey, Mexico paints a grim picture. The cable shows the US consulate does not believe the stories told by Mexican officials. Furthermore, US officials believe the police force is totally penetrated by the cartels:

While Nuevo Leon Secretary General Javier Trevino Cantu has characterized the coordinated attacks as a reaction by organized crime to the state government’s security efforts, this explanation is not persuasive as the state’s programs are still notional at best. Neither the recently-announced military/federal/state plan to install roadblocks (68 checkpoints in 19 cities) along the Monterrey to Reynosa, Tamaulipas corridor nor the state’s new plan to install checkpoints in 11 Monterrey metro area municipalities to stem car theft have begun. Given the thorough penetration by the Zetas of the police forces in those municipalities that were hit, a much more likely explanation is that the attacks were a signal from the Gulf cartel to the police to cease/desist their support of the Zetas and switch sides. 

The cable goes on to say that the Zetas are in retreat from the border and heading to Monterrey, not due to government action, but due to a full-court press by the rival Gulf Cartel:

Locally, the Monterrey public is worried as citizens fear that if the war between the cartels were to hit the city in earnest, Monterrey could experience the rampant violence seen at the border. The continuing wave of car-jackings/car thefts — the DTOs appear to be using the stolen cars to fulfull their transportation needs — has many on edge. Citizens are curtailing trips to the border, and several bus companies are cancelling runs to outlying cities in the state. Indeed, if high-value targets fleeing Tamaulipas take up residence in Monterrey and nearby Saltillo, Coahuila, violence here between the cartels and between the cartels and the military (both army and navy) will increase. During the previous week reliable witness reported carloads of gunmen, with automatic weapons hanging out the window, retreating to Monterrey along the highways linking the city to Reynosa. Indeed, DEA confirms a rolling confrontation between the military and retreating Zetas on February 27 in the Nuevo Leon municipalities of Zuazua and Pesqueria, both to the north and east of Monterrey.

The cable also indicates that the amount of violence in the region is significantly underreported by both the press and government officials:

A recent poll done by the Monterrey-based Grupo Reforma — publishers of the influential local daily “El Norte” — revealed that 58 percent of Tamaulipas respondents had seen or heard gun battles or violent acts that the media/government had not made public. From here, it looks as if Nuevo Leon residents share this view. Indeed, post law enforcement has learned that six died during the Zuazua/Pesqueria shoot-out, an incident which has not been reported in the local press.