Sorry. Not Sorry.
Well, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has rejected U.S. action against Mexican drug cartels, despite joint U.S-Mexico investigations into the kidnapping and murder of four U.S. citizens last Friday.
While Mexican officials believe that the Americans were mistaken for members of a Haitian drug gang before two were murdered during the kidnapping in the city of Matamoros, it appears that the cartel itself believes that this act was perpetrated by a small group of rogue cartel members. The cartel delivered those 5 members in handcuffs with a note apologizing for the entire incident.
The five handcuffed men were abandoned in the streets of Matamoros and with them a message in which the Gulf Cartel accuses them of having participated in the kidnapping. As you can see in the photo here, the letter states:
"To the families impacted & the American people, you can be sure that these grave errors, due to lack of discipline will not be repeated & those responsible will pay; regardless of who they may be."
The Gulf Cartel is all about business and the acts of these five men definitely posed a threat to the cartel business as the United States and Mexican officials combined descended on the heart of cartel territory following the kidnapping; an interruption the cartel would rather not deal with.
This odd “moral code” is not new to the way of doing business for the cartels. Cartels frequently will use their social media marketing arm to soften situations, explain accidents and show that they care about their communities and reputations. It is a strange phenomena but understandable when you look at cartel history.
In 1993 the cartels learned a hard lesson about optics when Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo was gunned down. Posadas Ocampo was an Archbishop of the Catholic Church in Mexico who served the eighth Archbishop of the See of Guadalajara and as Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.
Posadas Ocampo was elevated to the Cardinalate by Pope John II in 1991 and was an incredibly popular man even amongst the cartel community.
On May 24, 1993, Cardinal Posadas Ocampo was murdered, struck by 14 bullets during a shootout at Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla Guadalajara International Airport. Sicarios were carrying out a contract killing for the Tijuana Cartel and Cardinal Posadas Ocampos was mistaken for Sinaloa Cartel drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
The incident drew such anger and shock worldwide that the Arellano Felix brothers went into immediate hiding and cartel businesses were all but halted in the aftermath and subsequent investigations.
Although it was later determined that the shooting may have been actually orchestrated by the Mexican government itself, the damage had been done to both cartels in the public eye and since then the cartels have been very pro-active in their marketing efforts.
The kidnapping and murders of last week were obviously because of a current battle between factions within the Gulf Cartel. The two factions, from what I have been able to gather, are the Cyclones and the Scorpions. These five men hand-delivered to authorities were obviously connected to the Cyclone faction as the letter of apology mentions the Scorpions and stated that these men acted “against the rules”. Also in the letter the Cartel asked “society to remain calm” and that the guilty parties “would pay”.
Translation: PLEASE do not come into our neighborhood. We are handling this internally. It is a blatant attempt at marketing not only to prevent a surge of officers and soldiers into their area but also to show power as a government entity; this is the Gulf Cartel’s area and they will exact justice and rule themselves.
The immediate reaction to last week’s incident pushed itself across the news media as cries came forth for the United States to take military action against the cartels but the White House said nothing and is seemingly going to ignore the demands. Experts do not expect that this new development will not change anything being done in Mexico at this time in relation to the war on drugs or the cartels. At best, Mexico may target the Gulf Cartel leadership and increase action against fentanyl production and distribution across the border.
The main reason for the lack of movement from the White House is probably because it is widely believed that AMLO and his Morena political party are actually working with the Gulf Cartel. The partnership is sometimes obvious as you dive into current situations on both sides of the border and see the amnesty received by cartel members and the highly organized production of drugs operating almost in the wide open while the Mexican government has shut down the DEA offices in the area and recent assassination attempts have all been targeting rivals of the Morena party.
As Spring Breakers are preparing for trips to Mexico, we better not ignore the fact that just a few weeks ago American Rapper KaMillion was accosted and extorted by the cartel and was almost kidnapped by the group. They reissued a travel advisory and have continued to do so since.
Just yesterday the State Department reminded travelers to avoid going to parts of Mexico for Spring Break (parts?).
According to data from Mexico’s Tourism Secretary, 270-thousand students are set to visit Mexico during the spring break season, which will take place from March 4th through the first two weeks of April. Out of those 270-thousand students, around 32 to 35 thousand will be headed to Cabo shores. The State Department's current travel warnings to several states in Mexico, advise travelers to flat out avoid certain places due to crime and kidnapping and to exercise increased caution when going to more than a dozen more. The warnings have been issued for some of the most popular states, like Quintana Roo where Cancun is located and Baja California Sur where Los Cabos is.
One popular thought is that you are safe if you just stay within the confines of your resort, but that logic fades quickly when you have to consider how you will get to and from that resort and that many of the resorts themselves are now owned by the
cartels themselves a means to launder money. While it would be bad for business to attack students within the resorts, there is nothing preventing factions and cartels from targeting the traveling students.
Now I have no idea who these college kids are nor do I know their parents but it is mind-boggling to me that anyone would take such a trip at this point in time. There seems to be a huge problem in communication here as well as a complete lack of mature parental input.
Will we ever see the United States head south across the border to engage the cartels?
Will we ever see Mexico as a safe destination spot again?
I doubt it. After all, the last time the United States was allowed to cross into Mexico militarily was to get Pancho Villa in 1914.
Last Friday's tragedy was just a huge mistake by five wayward youths that "broke the rules" and I think we can all agree that the situation has been handled and we should let bygones be bygones, right?
The cartels seem to have things under control just fine...I mean, they said they were sorry, right?