Fierce gun battles rage in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas

Mexican citizens are taking it upon themselves to report gun battles between drug traffickers because the main stream media is not reporting them and local state officials claim that the situation is calm. The video above which was take on the morning of Saturday 27th of February and uploaded to YouTube shows the aftermath of gun battle that according to the person filming lasted for 6 hours

The video shows at least 10 SUV’s – a vehicle typically used by the drugs cartels - strewn around a highway, nearly all the vehicles have bullet holes and their doors open as if they have been left in a hurry. There are also civilian vehicles that have been caught in the crossfire and the narrator filming says that a petrol tanker on the side of the road also has bullet holes.

The female filming the chaotic scene – presumably from the camera on her mobile phone – is being driven by a male and as the car progresses she points out the carnage left by the fierce gunfight. Spent cartridges litter the tarmac which the narrator says are from a “cuerno de chivo” which is slang term for an AK47, literally meaning “goats horn.” When the car passes a single shoe lying in the road the narrator states “There are a lot of cartridges around it, surely they must have taken that guy away in pieces.” The car then waits at a military roadblock and when they pass you can see what appears to be a dead body in between two bullet riddled SUV’s.

There was little reported about this confrontation by the local or national news, supporting previous rumours that the media have been threatened to keep a media blackout about the operation or face severe consequences. The cartels are acting with impunity and in Reynosa, one of the state’s biggest cities, young men have been seen openly carrying assault rifles in the street. The fear of violence has caused many to move away and those who stay tend not to venture outdoors more than is needed. The local economy is suffering and the video shows this desolation as the car passes through a town where “not even the traffic lights work.”  Last month a local journalist reported that many of the mayors of cities and municipalities in Tamaulipas live on the US side of the border and cross into Mexico every morning. The US consulate in Monterrey last week advised American citizens not to travel to the area because of the violence.

The governor of Tamaulipas last week released a memo to the citizens of the border state that they should not pay any attention to rumours spread by social networking sites about the violence. A community of people on Twitter calling themselves the “Twitter Cartel” have also been documenting the violence that the state government say is not happening. One user has posted photos of a group of four dead “hitmen” dressed in US military fatigues and armed with high powered rifles and large quantities of ammunition. The comments left on the photos criticise the government for saying that the situation is under control. Another group on Facebook called “I love the truth, this is why I don’t read The Morning”, referring to Reynosa’s local newspaper.

The increasing violence has been attributed to a turf war between the Zetas and their former business partners the Gulf Cartel, but the latter has reportedly called in reinforcements from La Familia Michoacana and the Sinaloa Cartel to drive out the Zetas from the area. According to sources about 1300 Zetas have moved into the area as pitched battles are taking place for the control of the towns of Valle Hermoso, Reynosa, Guerrero, Miguel Aleman, Ciudad Mier, and Valadeces. The Zetas are a criminal organisation formed by deserters from the Mexican and Guatamalan Special Forces, many are still given military training. They are renowned in Mexico because of their brutality and they frequently torture and behead their rivals

A US intelligence official has stated that there were numerous gun battles over the weekend after a convoy of 20 SUV’s with CDG (Cartel Del Golf) printed on the sides went searching for Zeta “hitsquads.” Unconfirmed reports also mention grenade attacks on police stations and in one part of the video the narrator mentions that in the gunfight there were about 20 consecutive grenade detonations.

The Mexican border region has turned into a warzone similar to what has been happening in Iraq or Afghanistan. Large armies of gunmen have created enclaves where they can openly act with impunity and impose their own law. The authorities seem powerless to stop them and civilians are left abandoned and living in fear. As the video shows, ordinary Mexicans feel abandoned, not only by the government but also by the media and they feel that they need to show the world what is happening at America’s backdoor.


Select newsletters to receive