Mexico: The Army Gets Bought


May 25, 2012:  Illegal immigration from Mexico to the U.S. has been declining for several years and for at least three years the illegal immigrant outflow (return to Mexico) has been substantial. New immigration statistics indicate that from 2005 to 2010, the net migration (in flow from Mexico to U.S., then return to Mexico) was close to zero. The consensus opinion has been that the immigrants quit coming because of the U.S. economic recession. Mexican demographers argue that population changes in Mexico play a major role. A recent study suggested that improved U.S. border security is a factor but Mexico’s expanding economy is a bigger factor. NAFTA has contributed to that expansion.

May 22, 2012: The latest presidential election polls have Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Enrique Pena Nieto well in the lead with 38 percent of the vote. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, candidate of the left-wing Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), has moved into second place, with around 21 percent of the vote. The National Action Party (PAN) candidate, Josefina Vazquez Mota, has slipped into third place, with right at 20 percent of the vote.

May 21, 2012: The army claimed that two senior Los Zetas cartel commanders, Heriberto Lazcano and Miguel-Angel Trevino Morales, ordered Daniel Jesus Elizondo Ramirez (arrested May 18) to carry out the May 13th corpse dumping atrocity in Nuevo Leon state. Trevino Morales is regarded as being the deputy commander of the entire cartel. Apparently, Elizondo Ramirez’ team was supposed to dump the bodies in the town square but got scared and dumped them on the highway. The Zetas posted several banners in the area which said the deed was the work of their cartel. A video of the body dump also appeared on the internet.

The recent arrests of three army generals and a well-connected lieutenant-colonel on corruption charges have created a media firestorm. The Mexican media are vigorously questioning the government’s strategy of using the military in the Cartel War and are expressing shock that senior military officers may have been bribed by the cartels. The press criticism may help the presidential candidacy of PRI candidate Enrique Pena Nieto, who has opposed extensive use of the military in the drug war. Pena Nieto, however, has said he would continue to use the military to combat the cartels if he were elected but rely more on federal police.

May 20, 2012: The army announced that it had arrested Los Zetas leader Daniel Jesus Elizondo Ramirez on May 18 in Monterrey. Elizondo Ramirez is accused of leading the Zetas team that murdered 49 people then, on the morning of May 13, dumped their mutilated corpses near the town of Cadereyta (Nuevo Leon state, near Monterrey). 

May 19, 2012: The army reported that it had detained another officer for questioning in an investigation of drug cartel corruption of military leaders. Retired Lieutenant Colonel Silvio Hernandez Soto is being questioned in the investigation.

May 17, 2012: The army announced that retired General Ricardo Escorcia had been detained for questioning in an investigation of drug cartel links to the military. The army indicated that the investigation was examining links to the Beltran Leyva cartel. Escorcia retired in 2010. At one time he commanded a military post in the city of Cuernavaca (south of Mexico City), which was in Beltran Leyva territory. Two other army officers previously detained in the investigation, retired General Tomas Angeles Dauahare and General Roberto Dawe Gonzalez, will remain under arrest for at least 40 days. Angeles Dauahare served as assistant defense secretary from 2006 to 2008. The general is accused of taking money from a senior Beltran Leyva leader.

May 14, 2012: So far 49 mutilated bodies have been found on a highway outside of the town of Cadereyta., 43 men and six women. Examination of the bodies indicated several of the dead had been killed two days before they were dumped on the highway.

May 13, 2012: Dozens of decapitated and mutilated corpses were found dumped on a major road between the towns of Cadereyta and Reynosa. Cadereyta is an industrial suburb of the city of Monterrey (Nuevo Leon state). Police and army troops shut down the highway as investigators examined and then recovered the bodies. A banner was strung across the highway which claimed the atrocity was committed by members of Los Zetas cartel.

May 9, 2012: The army announced that it had arrested 17 members of the Gulf cartel and one Cuban man. The Cuban is suspected of providing the cartel gunmen with weapons training. The arrests took place in the small town of China (Nuevo Leon state) on April 30. This is about 100 kilometers south of the U.S. border. Police identified the Cuban as Roberto Rodriguez Sanchez, who lives in Reynosa (Tamaulipas state).


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