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Bloodthirsty Los Zetas are Striving for Control of MexicoBy Jerry Brewer Special to Salem-News.com
The Los Zetas strategic structure, their wealth, arms and fluid movement, have indeed succeeded in causing paralyses in the Mexican government.
(MIAMI) - Revolutionary conspiracy theorists within the southwest hemisphere could be getting closer to connecting the graphic dots of murder and violence with impunity, narcotics trafficking as revenue, and an ideology that seeks to go beyond just financial enrichment and wealth.
Mexico's Los Zetas movement is becoming clearly more violent, using direct military confrontation and intimidation in attempts at neutralizing government and taking control of national territory. This by paramilitaries who are part of a sophisticated and superior-armed insurgent group that threatens to create a quasi-state within a state. Although Los Zetas probably do not find the expectations of a “failed state” in Mexico completely appealing or viable, it would achieve victory by simply weakening Mexico and finding opportunity to operate with impunity, which to a degree has already been accomplished.
The U.S. has contributed more than US$5 billion over the last seven years to the Colombian government for assistance and training to aggressively locate and stop guerrilla insurgency and narcotrafficking in that country. This a nominal sum considering the U.S. has a US$30 billion yearly illicit drug demand.
Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe, as well as Mexican President Felipe Calderon, have boldly emerged as no nonsense leaders who continue to focus on defeating and demobilizing (narco) terrorist groups in their homelands. Vigorous law enforcement, intelligence, military, and economic measures against these insurgents has been their mandate.
How successful has President Uribe's war on terror been? Security forces captured or killed numerous terrorists and mid-level commanders, plus they have debriefed combatant deserters for detailed information, and hence reduced the territory or area of terrorist operations in Colombia. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the main narco-terrorist group, has been reduced to around 9,000 soldiers, down from about 18,000 six years ago.
Colombia's successful and strategic initiatives have also brought the homicide rate down 40 percent over the last five years. Terror attacks against citizens were down 61 percent, and kidnapping for ransom by 76 percent. The U.S. military’s Southern Command has played a strategic and proactive role in this highly effective operation in South America. The strategic intelligence focus on these terrorists has consisted of tracking terrorist training, their recruiting, fundraising, logistical support, and their pre-attack planning. Significant dollars as bounty for the capture of terror leaders have also been paid, as in Mexico. This has also resulted in the ritual dismantling of many in the high leadership hierarchies.
President Uribe's frustrations have been what he describes as a lack of support and cooperation by Venezuela and Ecuador in the tracking and capture of these terror insurgents. As recently as last week leftist President Hugo Chavez, of Venezuela, urged Colombian President-elect Juan Manuel Santos to close U.S. military bases in the country to show a change of attitude toward the neighboring countries.
"We are evaluating to see whether the new Colombian government comes to retake the path of respecting South America," Chavez said. "We are going to see what will happen with the Yankee bases in Colombia."
President Uribe had accused President Rafael Correa of Ecuador of having ties to the FARC. A letter allegedly pulled from the computer of a rebel leader who was killed showed that the FARC had supported Correa during his 2006 presidential campaign. Too, Colombia's national police chief stated that evidence from a computer showed that the FARC had given Venezuela's Chavez $100 million pesos when he was a jailed rebel leader. The computer apparently also revealed a US$300 million contribution to the FARC from Chavez.
Declining cooperation with anti-drug and anti-terrorism efforts by Venezuela under the Chavez administration has been a major U.S. concern, as Venezuela is ranked as one of the principal drug transit countries in this hemisphere. As far back as March of 2002 the former commander of the U.S. Southern Command (General Gary Speer) told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “We are very concerned about President [Hugo] Chavez as the FARC guerrillas operate at will across the border into Venezuela.”
As with Colombia’s history with FARC paramilitary guerrillas, Mexico is seeing ever increasing acts of drug trafficking, kidnapping for ransom, robberies, ritual murder (“over-kill”), and other acts of extortion, aggression and murder against police and government officials. These practical methods of out-and-out terrorism, with models of military (guerrilla) and nonmilitary strategies and operational acts, are evidence of the challenges to disrupt and capture the sovereignty and decision making abilities of a democratic government.
The Los Zetas strategic structure, their wealth, arms and fluid movement, have indeed succeeded in causing paralyses in the Mexican government, and they have created divided opinions on the government’s drug war initiatives and operations. As well, this has resulted in criminal anarchy and forced Mexican police to increasingly flee from their posts in some communities.
Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global risk mitigation firm headquartered in Miami, Florida. His website is located at cjiausa.org.
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