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Mensaje por Lanceros de Toluca Enero 26th 2012, 02:32

Polarization and Sustained Violence in Mexico's Cartel War
January 24, 2012 | 1212 GMT
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Editor's Note: In this annual report on Mexico's drug cartels, we assess the most significant developments of 2011 and provide updated profiles of the country's powerful criminal cartels as well as a forecast for 2012. The report is a product of the coverage we maintain through our Mexico Security Memo, quarterly updates and other analyses we produce throughout the year.

As we noted in last year's annual cartel report, Mexico in 2010 bore witness to some 15,273 deaths in connection with the drug trade. The death toll for 2010 surpassed that of any previous year, and in doing so became the deadliest year ever in the country's fight against the cartels. But in the bloody chronology that is Mexico's cartel war, 2010's time at the top may have been short-lived. Despite the Mexican government's efforts to curb cartel-related violence, the death toll for 2011 may have exceeded what had been an unprecedented number.

According to the Mexican government, cartel-related homicides claimed around 12,900 lives from January to September -- about 1,400 deaths per month. While this figure is lower than that of 2010, it does not account for the final quarter of 2011. The Mexican government has not yet released official statistics for the entire year, but if the monthly average held until year's end, the overall death toll for 2011 would reach 17,000. Though most estimates put the total below that, the actual number of homicides in Mexico is likely higher than what is officially reported. At the very least, although we do not have a final, official number -- and despite media reports to the contrary -- we can conclude that violence in Mexico did not decline substantially in 2011.

Indeed, rather than receding to levels acceptable to the Mexican government, violence in Mexico has persisted, though it seems to have shifted geographically, abating in some cities and worsening in others. For example, while Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, was once again Mexico's deadliest city in terms of gross numbers, the city's annual death toll reportedly dropped substantially from 3,111 in 2010 to 1,955 in 2011. However, such reductions appear to have been offset by increases elsewhere, including Veracruz, Veracruz state; Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state; Matamoros, Tamaulipas state; and Durango, Durango state.

Over the past year it has also become evident that a polarization is under way among the country's cartels. Most smaller groups (or remnants of groups) have been subsumed by the Sinaloa Federation, which controls much of western Mexico, and Los Zetas, who control much of eastern Mexico. While a great deal has been said about the fluidity of the Mexican cartel landscape, these two groups have solidified themselves as the country's predominant forces. Of course, the battle lines in Mexico have not been drawn absolutely, and not every entity calling itself a cartel swears allegiance to one side or the other, but a polarization clearly is occurring.

Geography does not encapsulate this polarization. It reflects two very different modes of operation practiced by the two cartel hegemons, delineated by a common expression in Mexican vernacular: "Plata o plomo." The expression, which translates to "silver or lead" in English, means that a cartel will force one's cooperation with either a bribe or a bullet. The Sinaloa Federation leadership more often employs the former, preferring to buy off and corrupt to achieve its objectives. It also frequently provides intelligence to authorities, and in doing so uses the authorities as a weapon against rival cartels. Sinaloa certainly can and does resort to ruthless violence, but the violence it employs is merely one of many tools at its disposal, not its preferred tactic.

On the other hand, Los Zetas prefer brutality. They can and do resort to bribery, but they lean toward intimidation and violence. Their mode of operation tends to be far less subtle than that of their Sinaloa counterparts, and with a leadership composed of former special operations soldiers, they are quite effective in employing force and fear to achieve their objectives. Because ex-military personnel formed Los Zetas, members tend to move up in the group's hierarchy through merit rather than through familial connections. This contrasts starkly with the culture of other cartels, including Sinaloa.
Status of Mexico's Major Cartels
Sinaloa Federation

The Sinaloa Federation lost at least 10 major plaza bosses or top lieutenants in 2011, including its security chief and its alleged main weapons supplier. It is unclear how much those losses have affected the group's operations overall.

One Sinaloa operation that appears to have been affected is the group's methamphetamine production. After the disintegration of La Familia Michoacana (LFM) in early 2011, the Sinaloa Federation clearly emerged as the country's foremost producer of methamphetamine. Most of the tons of precursor chemicals seized by Mexican authorities in Manzanillo, Colima state; Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco state; Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan state; and Los Mochis and Mazatlan, Sinaloa state, likely belonged to the Sinaloa Federation. Because of these government operations -- and other operations to disassemble methamphetamine labs -- the group apparently began to divert at least some of its methamphetamine production to Guatemala in late 2011.

In addition to maintaining its anti-Zetas alliance with the Gulf cartel, Sinaloa in 2011 affiliated itself with the Knights Templar (KT) in Michoacan, and to counter Los Zetas in Jalisco state, Sinaloa affiliated itself with the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG). Sinaloa also has tightened its encirclement of the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes (VCF) organization in the latter's long-held plaza of Ciudad Juarez. There are even signs that it continues to expand its control over parts of Juarez itself.
Los Zetas

By the end of 2011, Los Zetas eclipsed the Sinaloa Federation as the largest cartel operating in Mexico in terms of geographic presence. According to a report from the Assistant Attorney General's Office of Special Investigations into Organized Crime, Los Zetas now operate in 17 states. (The same report said the Sinaloa Federation operates in 16 states, down from 23 in 2005.) While Los Zetas continue to fight off a CJNG incursion into Veracruz state, they did not sustain any significant territorial losses in 2011.

Los Zetas moved into Zacatecas and Durango states, achieving a degree of control of the former and challenging the Sinaloa Federation in the latter. Both states are mountainous and conducive to the harvesting of poppy and marijuana. They also contain major north-south transportation corridors. By mid-November, reports indicated that Los Zetas had begun to assert control over Colima state and its crucial port of Manzanillo. In some cases, Los Zetas are sharing territories with cartels they reportedly have relationships with, including the Cartel Pacifico Sur (CPS), La Resistencia and the remnants of LFM. But Los Zetas have a long history of working as hired enforcers for other organizations throughout the country. Therefore, having an alliance or business relationship with Los Zetas is not necessarily the equivalent of being a Sinaloa vassal. A relationship with Los Zetas may be perceived as more fleeting than Sinaloa subjugation.

On the whole, Los Zetas remained strong in 2011 despite losing 17 cell leaders and plaza bosses to death and arrest. Los Zetas also remain the dominant force in the Yucatan Peninsula. However, the CJNG's mass killings of alleged Zetas members or supporters in Veracruz have called into question the group's unchallenged control of that state.

In response to the mass killings in Veracruz, Los Zetas killed dozens of CJNG and Sinaloa members in Guadalajara, Jalisco state, and Culiacan, Sinaloa state. Aided by La Resistencia, these operations were well-executed, and the groups clearly invested a great deal of time and effort into surveillance and planning.
The Gulf Cartel

The Gulf cartel (CDG) was strong at the beginning of 2011, holding off several Zetas incursions into its territory. However, as the year progressed, internal divisions led to intra-cartel battles in Matamoros and Reynosa, Tamaulipas state. The infighting resulted in several deaths and arrests in Mexico and in the United States. The CDG has since broken apart, and it appears that one faction, known as Los Metros, has overpowered its rival Los Rojos faction and is now asserting its control over CDG operations. The infighting has weakened the CDG, but the group seems to have maintained control of its primary plazas, or smuggling corridors, into the United States. (CDG infighting is detailed further in another section of this report.)
La Familia Michoacana

LFM disintegrated at the beginning of 2011, giving rise to and becoming eclipsed by one of its factions, the Knights Templar (KT). Indeed, by July it was clear the KT had become more powerful than LFM in Mexico. The media and the police continue to report that LFM maintains extensive networks in the United States, but it is unclear how many of the U.S.-based networks are actually working with LFM rather than the KT, which is far more capable of trafficking narcotics. It appears that many reports regarding LFM in the United States do not reflect the changes that have occurred in Mexico over the past year; many former LFM leaders are now members of the KT. Adding to the confusion was the alleged late-summer alliance between LFM and Los Zetas. Such an alliance would have been a final attempt by the remaining LFM leadership to keep the group from being utterly destroyed by the KT. LFM is still active, but it is very weak.
The Knights Templar

In January 2011, a month after the death of charismatic LFM leader Nazario "El Mas Loco" Moreno, two former LFM lieutenants, Servando "La Tuta" Gomez and Enrique Plancarte, formed the Knights Templar due to differences with Jose de Jesus "El Chango" Mendez, who had assumed leadership of LFM. In March they announced the formation of their new organization via narcomantas in Morelia, Zitacuaro and Apatzingan, Michoacan state.

After the emergence of the KT, sizable battles flared up during the spring and summer months between the KT and LFM. The organization has grown from a splinter group to a dominant force over LFM, and it appears to be taking over the bulk of the original LFM's operations in Mexico. At present, the Knights Templar appear to have aligned with the Sinaloa Federation in an effort to root out the remnants of LFM and to prevent Los Zetas from gaining a more substantial foothold in the region through their alliance with LFM.
Independent Cartel of Acapulco

The Independent Cartel of Acapulco (CIDA) has not been eliminated entirely, but it appears to have been severely damaged. Since the capture of CIDA leader Gilberto Castrejon Morales in early December, the group has faded from the public view. CIDA's weakness appears to have allowed its in-town rival, Sinaloa-affiliated La Barredora, to move some of its enforcers to Guadalajara to fend off the Zetas offensive there. The decreased levels of violence and public displays of dead bodies in Acapulco of late can be attributed to the group's weakening, and we are unsure if CIDA will be able to regroup and attempt to reclaim Acapulco.
Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion

After the death of Ignacio "El Nacho" Coronel in July 2010, his followers suspected the Sinaloa cartel had betrayed him and broke away to form the CJNG. In spring 2011, the CJNG declared war on all other Mexican cartels and stated its intention to take control of Guadalajara. However, by midsummer, the group appeared to have been reunited with its former partners in the Sinaloa Federation. We are unsure what precipitated the reconciliation, but it seems that the CJNG was somehow convinced that Sinaloa did not betray Coronel after all. It is also possible CJNG was convinced that Coronel needed to go. In any case, CJNG "sicarios," or assassins, in September traveled to the important Los Zetas stronghold of Veracruz, labeled themselves the "Matazetas," or Zeta killers, and began to murder alleged Zetas members and their supporters. By mid-December, the CJNG was still in Veracruz fighting Los Zetas while also helping to protect Guadalajara and other areas on Mexico's west coast from Zetas aggression.
Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Organization/Juarez Cartel

The VCF, aka the Juarez cartel, continues to weaken. A Sinaloa operative killed one of its top lieutenants, Francisco Vicente Castillo Carrillo -- a Carrillo family member -- in September 2011. The VCF reportedly still controls the three main points of entry into El Paso, Texas, but the organization appears unable to expand its operations or move narcotics en masse through its plazas because it is hemmed in by the Sinaloa Federation, which appears to have chipped away at the VCF's monopoly of the Juarez plaza. The VCF is only a shadow of the organization it was a decade ago, and its weakness and inability to effectively fight against Sinaloa's advances in Juarez contributed to the lower death toll in Juarez in 2011.
Cartel Pacifico Sur

The CPS, headed by Hector Beltran Leyva, saw a reduction in violence in the latter part of 2011 after having been very active in the first third of the year. We are unsure why the group quieted down. The CPS may be concentrating on smuggling for revenue generation to support itself and assist its Los Zetas allies, who provide military muscle for the CPS and work in their areas of operation. Because of their reputation, Los Zetas receive a great deal of media attention, so it is also possible that the media attributed violent incidents involving CPS gunmen to Los Zetas.
Arellano Felix Organization

The November arrest of Juan Francisco Sillas Rocha, the AFO's chief enforcer, was yet another sign of the organization's continued weakness. It remains an impotent and reluctant subsidiary of the Sinaloa Federation, unable to reclaim the Tijuana plaza for its own.

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Mensaje por Lanceros de Toluca Enero 26th 2012, 02:33


2011 Forecast in Review

In our forecast for 2011, we believed that the unprecedented levels of violence from 2010 would continue as long as the cartel balance of power remained in a state of flux. Indeed, cartel-related deaths appear to have at least continued apace.

Much of the cartel conflict in 2011 followed patterns set in 2010. Los Zetas continued to fight the CDG in northeast Mexico while maintaining their control of Veracruz state and the Yucatan Peninsula. The Sinaloa Federation continued to fight the VCF in Ciudad Juarez while maintaining control of much of Sonora state and Baja California state.

We forecast that government operations and cartel infighting and rivalry would expose fissures in and among the cartels. This prediction held true. The Beltran Leyva Organization no longer exists in its original form, its members dispersed among the Sinaloa Federation, the CPS, CIDA and other smaller groups. As noted above, fissures within LFM led to the creation of two groups, LFM and the KT. The CDG also now consists of two factions competing for control of the organization's operations.

We also forecast that the degree of violence in the country was politically unacceptable for Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his ruling National Action Party. Calderon knew he would have to reduce the violence to acceptable levels if his party was going to have a chance to continue to hold power after he left office in 2012 (Mexican presidents serve only one six-year term). As the 2012 presidential election approaches, Calderon is continuing his strategy of deploying the armed forces against the cartels. He has also reached out to the United States for assistance. The two countries shared signals intelligence throughout the year and continued to cooperate through joint intelligence centers like the one in Mexico City. The U.S. military also continues to train Mexican military and law enforcement personnel, and the United States has deployed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Mexican airspace at Mexico's behest. The Mexican military was in operational command of the UAV missions.

As we have noted the past few years, we also believed that Calderon's continued use of the military would perpetuate what is referred to as the three-front war in Mexico. The fronts consist of cartels against rival cartels, the military against cartels, and cartels against civilians. Indeed, in 2011 the cartels continued to vie for control of ports, plazas and markets, while deployments of military forces increased to counter Los Zetas in the states of Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and Veracruz; to combat several groups waging a bloody turf war in Acapulco, Guerrero state; and to respond to conflicts arising between the Sinaloa Federation and Los Zetas and their affiliate groups in Nayarit and Michoacan states.

While Los Zetas were hit hard in 2011, the Mexican government's offensive against the group was unable to damage it to the extent we believed it would. Despite losing several key leaders and plaza bosses, as noted previously, the group maintains its pre-eminence in the east. This is largely due to the ease with which such groups can replenish their ranks.
Resupplying Leadership

One of the ways in which Mexico's cartels, including Los Zetas, replenish their ranks is with defected military personnel. Around 27,000 men and women desert the Mexican military every year, and about 50 percent of the military's recruiting class will have left before the end of their first tour. In March 2011, the Mexican army admitted that it had "lost track of" 1,680 special forces personnel over the past decade (Los Zetas were formed by more than 30 former members of Mexico's Special Forces Airmobile Group). Some cartels even reportedly task some of their own foot soldiers to enlist in the military to gain knowledge and experience in military tactics. In any case, retention is clearly a serious problem for the Mexican armed forces, and deserting soldiers take their skills (and oftentimes their weapons) to the cartels.

In addition, the drug trade attracts ex-military personnel who did not desert but left in good standing after serving their duty. There are fewer opportunities for veterans in Mexico than in many countries, and understandably many are drawn to a lucrative practice that places value on their skill sets. But deserters or former soldiers are not the only source of recruits for the cartels. They also replenish their ranks with current and former police officers, gang members and others (to include Central American immigrants and even U.S. citizens).
2012 Forecasts by Region
Northeast Mexico

Northeast Mexico saw some of the most noteworthy cartel violence in 2011. The primary conflict in the region involved the continuing fight between CDG and Los Zetas, who were CDG enforcers before breaking away from the CDG in early 2010. Los Zetas have since eclipsed the CDG in terms of size, reach and influence. In 2011, divisions within the CDG over leadership succession came to the fore, leading to further violence in the region, and we believe these divisions will sow the group's undoing in 2012.

The CDG began to suffer another internal fracture in late 2010 when the Mexican army killed Antonio "Tony Tormenta" Cardenas Guillen, who co-lead the CDG with Eduardo "El Coss" Costilla Sanchez, in Matamoros, Tamaulipas state. After Cardenas Guillen's death in November 2010, Costilla Sanchez assumed full control of the organization, passing over Rafael "El Junior" Cardenas Vela, the Cardenas family's heir apparent, in the process. This bisected the CDG, creating two competing factions: Los Rojos, loyal to the Cardenas family, and Los Metros, loyal to Costilla Sanchez.

In late 2011, several events exacerbated tensions between the factions. On Sept. 3, authorities found the body of Samuel "El Metro 3" Flores Borrego, Costilla Sanchez's second-in-command, in Reynosa, Tamaulipas state. Then on Sept. 27, gunmen in an SUV shot and killed a man driving a vehicle on U.S. Route 83, east of McAllen, Texas. The driver, Jorge Zavala of Mission, Texas, was connected to Los Metros.

The Mexican navy reported the following month that Cesar "El Gama" Davila Garcia, the CDG's head finance officer, was found dead in Reynosa. Davila previously had served as Cardenas Guillen's accountant. Then on Oct. 20, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Cardenas Vela after a traffic stop near Port Isabel, Texas. We believe Los Metros tipped off U.S. authorities about Cardenas Vela's location. (Los Metros have every reason to kill Los Rojos leaders, including Cardenas Vela, but cartels rarely conduct assassinations on U.S. soil for fear of U.S. retribution.)

On Oct. 28, Jose Luis "Comandante Wicho" Zuniga Hernandez, believed to be Cardenas Vela's deputy and operational leader in Matamoros, reportedly turned himself in to U.S. authorities without a fight near Santa Maria, Texas. Finally, Mexican federal authorities arrested Ezequiel "El Junior" Cardenas Rivera, Cardenas Guillen's son, in Matamoros on Nov. 25.

By December, media agencies reported that Cardenas Guillen's brother, Mario Cardenas Guillen, was the overall leader of the CDG. But Mario was never known to be very active in the family business, and his reluctance to involve himself in cartel operations appears to have continued after his brother's death. In addition, Costilla Sanchez is reclusive, choosing to run his organization from several secluded ranches. That he is not mentioned in media reports does not mean he has been removed from his position. Given his reclusiveness and Mario Cardenas Guillen's longstanding reticence to involve himself in cartel activity, it seems unlikely that Costilla Sanchez would be replaced. Because Los Metros seemingly have gained the upper hand over Los Rojos, we anticipate that they will further expand their dominance in early 2012.

However, while Los Metros may have defeated their rival for control of the CDG, the organizational infighting has left the CDG vulnerable to outside attack. Of course, any group divided is vulnerable to attack, but the CDG's ongoing feud with Los Zetas compounds its problem. Fully aware of the CDG's weakness, we believe Los Zetas will step up their attempts to assume control of CDG territory.

If Los Zetas are able to defeat the Los Metros faction -- or they engage in a truce with the faction -- they may be able to redeploy fighters to other regions or cities, particularly Veracruz and Guadalajara. Reinforcements in Veracruz would help counter the CJNG presence in the port city, and reinforcements in Guadalajara would shore up Los Zetas' operations and presence in Jalisco state. Likewise, a reduction in cartel-on-cartel fighting in the region would free up troops the Mexican army has stationed in Tamaulipas state -- an estimated force of 13,000 soldiers -- for deployment elsewhere.
Southeast Mexico

Some notable events took place in southeast Mexico in 2011. On Dec. 4 the Mexican army dismantled a Zetas communications network that encompassed multiple cities in Veracruz, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi and Coahuila states.

In addition, Veracruz state Gov. Javier Duarte on Dec. 21 fired the city's municipal police, including officers and administrative employees, and gave the Mexican navy law enforcement responsibilities. By Dec. 22, Mexican marines began patrols and law enforcement activities, effectively replacing the police much like the army replaced the police in Ciudad Juarez in 2009 and in various cities in Tamaulipas state in August 2011. We anticipate that fighting between the CJNG and Los Zetas will continue in Veracruz for at least the first quarter of 2012.

We expect security conditions on the Yucatan Peninsula to remain relatively stable in 2012 because there are no other major players in the region contesting Los Zetas' control.
Southwest Mexico

In the southern Pacific coastal states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, we expect violence to be as infrequent in 2012 as it was in 2011. Chiapas and Oaxaca have been transshipment zones for Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Federation for several years; as such, clashes and cargo hijackings occasionally take place. However, direct and sustained combat does not occur regularly because the two groups tend to use different routes to transport their shipments. The Sinaloa Federation prefers to move its product north on roads and highways along the Pacific coast, whereas Los Zetas' transportation lines cross Mexico's interior before moving north along the Gulf coast.
Pacific Coast and Central Mexico

As many as a dozen organizations, ranging from the KT to local criminal organizations to newer groups like La Barredora and La Resistencia, continue to fight for control of the plazas in Guerrero, Michoacan and Jalisco states. Acapulco was particularly violent in 2011, and we believe it will continue to be violent through 2012 unless La Barredora is able to exert firm control over the city. Acapulco has been a traditional Beltran Leyva stronghold, and the CPS may attempt to reassert itself there. If that happens, violence will once again increase.

Security conditions worsened in Jalisco state at the end of 2011, and Stratfor anticipates violence there will continue to increase in 2012, especially in Guadalajara, a valued transportation hub. In November, Los Zetas struck the CJNG in Guadalajara in response to the mass killings of Los Zetas members in Veracruz state. The attacks are significant because they demonstrated an ability to conduct protracted cross-country operations. Should Los Zetas establish firm control over Guadalajara, the Sinaloa Federation's smuggling activities could be adversely affected, something Sinaloa obviously cannot permit. Given an increased Zetas presence in Zacatecas, Durango and Jalisco states, and Sinaloa's operational need to counter that presence, we expect to see violence increase in the region in 2012.

Unless a significant military force is somehow brought to bear, we do not expect to see any substantive improvement in the security conditions in Guerrero or Michoacan states.
Northwest Mexico

The cross-country operations performed by Los Zetas indicate that the group's growth and expansion has been more profound than we expected in the face of the government's major operations specifically targeting the organization. Such expansion will pose a direct threat not only to the Sinaloa Federation's supply lines but to its home turf, which stretches from Guadalajara to southern Sonora state.

In northwest Mexico, specifically Baja California, Baja California Sur and Chihuahua states (and most of Sonora state), the Sinaloa Federation either directly controls or regularly uses the smuggling corridors and points of entry into the United States. Security conditions in the plazas under firm Sinaloa control have been relatively stable. Indeed, as Sinaloa tightened its control over Tijuana, violence there dropped, and we expect to see the same dynamic play out in Juarez as Sinaloa consolidates its control of that city. Stability could be threatened, however, if Los Zetas attempt to push into Sinaloa-held cities.
Outside of Mexico

As we noted in the past three annual cartel reports, Mexico's cartels have been expanding their control of the cocaine supply chain all the way into South America. This eliminates middlemen and brings in more profit. They are also using their presence in South America to obtain chemical precursors and weapons.

Increased violence in northern Mexico and ramped-up law enforcement along the U.S. border has made narcotics smuggling into the United States more difficult than it has been in the past. The cartels have adapted to these challenges by becoming more involved in the trafficking of cocaine to alternative markets in Europe and Australia. The arrests of Mexican cartel members in such places as the Dominican Republic also seem to indicate that the Mexicans are becoming more involved in the Caribbean smuggling routes into the United States. In the past, Colombian smuggling groups and their Caribbean partners in places like Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic used these routes. We anticipate seeing more signs of Mexican cartel involvement in the Caribbean, Europe and Australia in 2012.
Government Strategy in 2012

There is no indication of a major shift in the Mexican government's overarching security strategy for 2012; Calderon will continue to use the military against the cartels throughout the year (a new president will be elected in July, but Calderon's term does not conclude until the end of 2012). This strategy of taking out cartel leaders has resulted in the disruption of the cartel balance of power in the past, which tends to lead to more violence as groups scramble to fill the resultant power vacuum. Mexican operations may further disrupt that balance in 2012, but while government operations have broken apart some cartel organizations, the combination of military and law enforcement resources has been unable to dislodge cartel influence from the areas it targets. They can break specific criminal organizations, but the lucrative smuggling corridors into the United States will continue to exist, even after the organizations controlling them are taken down. And as long as the smuggling corridors exist, and provide access to so much money, other organizations will inevitably fight to assume control over them.

Some 45,000 Mexican troops are actively involved in domestic counter-cartel operations. These troops work alongside state and federal law enforcement officers and in some cases have replaced fired municipal police officers. They are spread across a large country with high levels of violence in most major cities, and their presence in these cities is essential for maintaining what security has been achieved.

While this number of troops represents only about a quarter of the overall Mexican army's manpower -- troops are often supplemented by deployments of Mexican marines -- it also represents the bulk of applicable Mexican military ground combat strength. Meager and poorly maintained reserve forces do not appear to be a meaningful supplemental resource.

In short, if the current conditions persist, it does not appear that the Mexican government can redeploy troops to conduct meaningful offensive operations in new areas of Mexico in 2012 without jeopardizing the gains it has already made. The government cannot eliminate the cartels any more than it can end the drug trade. The only way the Mexican government can bring the violence down to what would be considered an acceptable level is for it to allow one cartel group to become dominant throughout the country -- something that does not appear to be plausible in the near term -- or for some sort of truce to be reached between the country's two cartel hegemons, Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Federation.

Such scenarios are not unprecedented. At one time the Guadalajara cartel controlled virtually all of Mexico's drug trade, and it was only the dissolution of that organization that led to its regional branches subsequently becoming what we now know as the Sinaloa Federation, AFO, VCF and CDG. There have also been periods of cartel truces in the past between the various regional cartel groups, although they tend to be short-lived.

With the current levels of violence, a government-brokered truce between Los Zetas and Sinaloa will be no easy task, given the level of animosity and mistrust that exists between the two organizations. This means that it is unlikely that such a truce will be brokered in 2012, but we expect to see more rhetoric in support of a truce as a way to reduce violence.

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Mensaje por Lanceros de Toluca Enero 26th 2012, 02:34

Pacto entre cárteles bajaría violencia: Stratfor
Martes 24 de Enero 1:00 pm image 0 Comentarios

Señala que otra opción es que un cártel logre dominar todo el territorio


La violencia en México sufriría una disminución sólo si existiera un pacto entre narcos o que uno de los dos cárteles más poderosos del país lograra dominar todo el territorio.

De acuerdo con su informe anual, la agencia de inteligencia Stratfor considera que el gobierno de Felipe Calderón “no puede eliminar a los cárteles como no puede poner fin al tráfico de drogas. La única manera de que el gobierno mexicano puede reducir la violencia hasta un nivel aceptable es que se permita a un grupo ser el dominante en todo el país -algo que no parece ser plausible en el corto plazo- o que una especie de tregua se alcance entre los grupos hegemónicos, Los Zetas y la Federación de Sinaloa", apuntó.

La agencia insiste que este escenario no tienen precedentes y que incluso durante la historia del país hubo un tiempo en el cartel de Guadalajara controló prácticamente todo el comercio de drogas de México, y sólo la disolución de esa organización es lo que llevó a crear lo que hoy conocemos como el cártel de Sinaloa.

Explica que a pesar de la existencia de otros grupos de traficantes, son precisamente estos dos grupos delictivos quienes dominan en la mayor parte del País y las disputas que sostienen entre sí de manera directa o a través de bandas locales, lo que provoca la mayor parte de la violencia.

Durante su informe, agrega que la cifra de muertos como consecuencia de la lucha que emprende el gobierno federal contra el narco no disminuyó en 2011, a pesar de que Administración del Presidente Felipe Calderón sabía que una reducción en la violencia le beneficiaría electoralmente este año.

Incluso estima que para finales de este año, alcance los 17 mil muertos tan sólo este año, con un promedio de mil 400 muertes mensuales, luego de que diera a conocer este mes un informe por parte de las autoridades.

Stratfor enfatiza que uno de los principales problemas que enfrenta el gobierno mexicano es la deserción de elementos militares, alrededor de 27 mil cada año, y alrededor del 50 por ciento de la clase de reclutamiento de las fuerzas armadas la han abandonado antes del final de su primera gira.

“En marzo de 2011, el ejército mexicano admitió que había "perdido la pista" de mil 680 efectivos de las fuerzas especiales en la última década (Los Zetas fueron formados por más de 30 ex miembros del Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales)", resaltó.

A esto agrega que el comercio de drogas atrae a ex militares que finalizaron su servicio. “Hay menos oportunidades para los veteranos en México que en muchos países, y muchos son comprensiblemente atraídos por una práctica lucrativa. Sin embargo, los ex soldados desertores no son la única fuente de reclutas para los carteles. También reponen sus filas con agentes de policía actuales y anteriores, con miembros de pandillas y otros (para incluir a los inmigrantes centroamericanos e incluso los ciudadanos de Estados Unidos)”.

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"No hay suficientes militares para combatir al narcotráfico en México"
Deje su comentario

El think tank estadounidense Stratfor asegura que ya no quedan hombres para revertir la situación. Advierten que Los Zetas son la mayor organización armada del país

Crédito foto: Reuters

"La única manera de que el Gobierno mexicano pueda llevar la violencia hasta lo que se considera un nivel aceptable es que se permita que un cártel sea dominante en todo el país o una especie de tregua entre los cárteles hegemónicos del país: Los Zetas y la Federación de Sinaloa, algo que no parece viable al menos en el corto plazo", advierte la agencia privada de análisis de Inteligencia.

En su informe 2012 sobre la situación de México -difundido por Excelsior-, Stratfor afirma que Los Zetas pasaron a ser el cártel más grande de México. Aun habiendo perdido 17 jefes de plaza (entre presos y muertos), operan en 17 estados. Su principal rival, el Cártel de Sinaloa sólo maneja 16.

Los Zetas nacieron como un grupo de soldados de élite retirados que ofrecían sus servicios como sicarios al cártel del Golfo. Con el correr de los años, fueron creciendo en número de sicarios y poder, hasta que se escindieron. La división supuso el comienzo de una sanguinaria lucha por el control del tráfico de droga en el sur del país. Se trata de la banda criminal mexicana con mayor dominio territorial. Controla los estados de Nuevo León, Quintana Roo, Yucatán, Campeche, Tabasco, Veracruz, Tamaulipas, la mitad de Chihuahua, parte de Chiapas y San Luis Potosí, y diversas localidades de Durango, Oaxaca y Zacatecas. Heriberto Lazcano es el máximo líder de esta banda criminal.

El máximo oponente de Los Zetas es Joaquín Guzmán Loera, "El Chapo", que fue incluido por la revista Forbes en su listado de las personas más poderosas del mundo 2011. De Guzmán Loera, quien aparece en el lugar 55 -por encima del presidente mexicano Felipe Calderón-, la publicación detalla que "lidera al cártel de Sinaloa, el abastecedor de cocaína más grande de los Estados Unidos". Es que el cártel de Sinaloa maneja parte del violento estado mexicano de Chihuahua -donde está ubicada la peligrosa Ciudad Juárez-, más Durango, Sinaloa, Nayarit y ciertas zonas de Jalisco, Guanajuato, Zacatecas, Chiapas, Sonora y Baja California. La DEA asegura que este grupo ya está instalado en Costa Rica. Y las autoridades colombianas confirmaron el vínculo de la banda criminal con la guerrilla de las FARC.

Según la organización estadounidense, el problema se agrava porque "las Fuerzas Armadas ya no pueden llevar su ofensiva antidrogas a nuevas partes del país, puesto que los 45 mil militares ya desplegados representan prácticamente la totalidad de los elementos de línea existentes". Las fuerzas de reserva, afirma Stratfor, son "escasas y pobremente mantenidas".

La organización privada de análisis de inteligencia admite que "una tregua negociada por el gobierno entre Los Zetas y Sinaloa no será una tarea fácil, dado el nivel de animosidad y desconfianza que existe entre las dos organizaciones". Para Stratfor, eso significa que "es improbable que tal tregua pueda ser negociada en 2012, pero una retórica en apoyo de una tregua como una forma de reducir la violencia".

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Los Zetas beneficiados por acciones del gobierno mexicano
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Según consultora estadounidense Stratfor


Los Zetas han salido beneficiados de golpes recientes de las autoridades mexicanas a su principal rival, el cártel de Sinaloa, concluye un informe divulgado este miércoles por la consultora estadounidense en temas de seguridad Stratfor.

El documento considera que los dos cárteles predominantes en México mantienen "su violenta competencia por el control de tráfico de drogas", al tiempo que el gobierno se ve obligado a contener esa violencia "tan bien como puede", lo que beneficia a algunos cárteles, "especialmente cuando esas intervenciones se dirigen contra uno de sus rivales".

Para Stratfor, eso está sucediendo con recientes operaciones contra el cártel liderado por el capo Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, en tres estados donde enfrenta la incursión de sus rivales.

Según Stratfor, entre esas acciones se encuentran la captura de responsables del contrabando de armas, lugartenientes y encargados de lavar dinero para el cártel de Sinaloa.

El informe explicó que esos reveses "llegan en un momento inoportuno", pues tanto la provisión de armas como el flujo de dinero son "clave en la infraestructura de una organización criminal".

"La disminución de esos activos podría disminuir la capacidad del cártel de Sinaloa para combatir no solo las fuerzas de seguridad del gobierno (...) sino para hacer frente a Los Zetas", resaltó el documento.

Guzmán, prófugo desde 2001, fue considerado el año pasado por la revista Forbes como el delincuente más poderoso del mundo y se estima que el cártel de Sinaloa ingresa al menos una tercera parte de la cocaína que llega a Estados Unidos.

Stratfor recordó que en su informe anual 2012, divulgado el martes, señaló que Los Zetas han ampliado su presencia y operan en más territorios que el cártel de "El Chapo".

"Entonces no sorprende que los dos carteles más fuertes estén entrando en conflicto uno con otro en mayor número de territorios", resalta, y menciona que los estados de Durango (norte), Jalisco y Sinaloa (oeste) "son áreas tradicionalmente controladas por el cártel de Sinaloa donde ahora Los Zetas están tratando de establecer presencia".

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‘Gana Chapo control aquí y baja violencia’

‘Gana Chapo control aquí y baja violencia'

25 de enero de 2012

09:31 am

La agencia norteamericana de análisis Stratfor atribuye la relativa disminución en la violencia que se ha registrado en ciudades como Tijuana y Juárez al control ganado en ambas localidades por el Cártel de Sinaloa, el cual, agrega un reporte de ayer, privilegia la compra y corrupción de autoridades por encima de la expansión de los homicidios.

“En el noroeste de México, específicamente en los estados de Baja California, Baja California Sur y Chihuahua (y en gran parte de Sonora), la Federación de Sinaloa controla directamente o usa de manera regular los corredores del contrabando y los puntos de entrada a los Estados Unidos”, dice el documento.

“Las condiciones de seguridad en las plazas bajo el firme control de Sinaloa han sido relativamente estables. De hecho, mientras Sinaloa estrecha su control sobre Tijuana, la violencia ha disminuido, y esperamos ver la misma dinámica en Juárez mientras Sinaloa consolida su control sobre esa ciudad. La estabilidad, sin embargo, puede estar amenazada si ‘Los Zetas’ intentan presionar en las ciudades controladas por Sinaloa”, agrega el texto.

En el reporte, titulado “Polarización y violencia sostenida en la guerra de cárteles en México”, la compañía identifica a los cárteles de Sinaloa y de los Zetas como los dos grupos predominantes en el país y asevera que ambos utilizan de diferentes formas la estrategia de “plata o plomo” para controlar territorios.

En ese sentido, dice Stratfor, mientras que los Zetas “prefieren la brutalidad”, el Cártel de Sinaloa privilegia la negociación.

“El liderazgo de la Federación de Sinaloa emplea más frecuentemente la primera (la ‘plata’), prefiriendo comprar y corromper para lograr sus objetivos. También frecuentemente provee información y datos de inteligencia a las autoridades y a través de eso usa a éstas como un arma en contra de los cárteles rivales”, dice el reporte.

“Sinaloa ciertamente puede y debe recurrir a la violencia despiadada, pero la violencia que emplea es únicamente una de las muchas herramientas a su disposición, mas no su táctica preferida”, agrega.

Stratfor es una compañía con sede en Austin, Texas, que distribuye información y análisis sobre conflictos en el mundo. Desde hace años ha monitoreado el desarrollo de la violencia en México atribuida a la disputa de diferentes organizaciones por el control del narcotráfico y, periódicamente, genera reportes en los que describe el estado en el que se encuentra cada agrupación mexicana.

En su análisis de ayer, como ha hecho desde al menos 2011, Stratfor insiste en que la organización de Vicente Carrillo Fuentes –con sede en Juárez– “no es ni la sombra de lo que era hace una década”, que está acorralada por el Cártel de Sinaloa y esta debilidad, dice, ha contribuido a una disminución de la violencia en esta frontera.

“La organización de Vicente Carrillo, o Cártel de Juárez, continúa debilitándose. Un elemento de Sinaloa asesinó uno de sus lugartenientes –Francisco Vicente Castillo Carrillo, integrante de la familia Carrillo– en septiembre de 2011. Esta organización, se informa, mantiene el control de los tres principales puertos de entrada a El Paso, pero se observa incapaz de expandir sus operaciones o mover drogas en gran escala a través de sus plazas debido a que está acorralada por Sinaloa, la cual parece haber erosionado el monopolio de los Carrillo sobre Juárez”, dice Stratfor.

“La organización de los Carrillo no es más que una sombra de lo que era hace una década, y su debilidad y su inhabilidad para combatir con efectividad los avances del cártel de Sinaloa sobre Juárez han contribuido a un menor índice de muerte en Juárez en 2011”, agrega.

Al final del reporte, Stratfor presenta un pronóstico para 2012 que asevera que la única forma en la que el gobierno puede disminuir la violencia es permitiendo que sólo uno de los cárteles mantenga el control sobre el país, o a través de una tregua entre los Zetas y Sinaloa que, sin embargo, la misma agencia considera como poco probable dados los altos grados de rivalidad y desconfianza que han mostrado las dos organizaciones.

“La única forma en la que el gobierno mexicano puede disminuir la violencia a niveles que puedan considerarse aceptables es permitiendo a un grupo convertirse en el dominante en todo el país, algo que no parece plausible en el corto plazo, o alguna especie de tregua entre los dos cárteles hegemónicos: Sinaloa y los Zetas”, dice.

“Es poco probable que tal tregua sea negociada en 2012, pero esperamos ver más retórica a favor de tal acuerdo como una forma de reducir la violencia”, agrega el texto.,38925.html

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Un nuevo gobierno no cambiará el plan antinarco, según Stratfor

Quien llegue al poder en diciembre poco podrá hacer por cambiar la estrategia de seguridad, estimó la agencia de inteligencia
Por Rodrigo Aguiar
Martes, 24 de enero de 2012 a las 18:20

Poco podrá hacer un nuevo gobierno por cambiar la estrategia contra la violencia, afirmó Stratfor (Gabriela Pérez).
Poco podrá hacer un nuevo gobierno por cambiar la estrategia contra la violencia, afirmó Stratfor (Gabriela Pérez).
Lo más importante

La violencia continuará durante el 2012 producto de la lucha entre el cártel de Sinaloa y Los Zetas, según Stratfor
Solo una tregua entre cárteles, o entre el gobierno y los cárteles reducirá los niveles de violencia, afirma la agencia

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Aún si hay un cambio de partidos, cuando la nueva administración llegue al poder a fin de año, no podrán hacer mucho por cambiar la estrategia
Scott Stewart, vicepresidente de Inteligencia Táctica de Stratfor
'Los Zetas' lideraron el narcotráfico en México
Líderes del narcotráfico fueron capturados en 2011

(CNNMéxico) — La violencia derivada de la lucha entre los cárteles por el control de las rutas de la droga continuará durante el 2012 en los mismos niveles que el año anterior; aun cuando haya un cambio de partido en el poder, la estrategia de seguridad no cambiará mucho, estimó la firma de inteligencia estadounidense Stratfor.

“Debido a la situación que tenemos ahora mismo, aun si hay un cambio de partidos, cuando la nueva administración llegue al poder a fin de año, no podrán hacer mucho por cambiar la estrategia”, dijo en entrevista telefónica con CNNMéxico Scott Stewart, vicepresidente de Inteligencia Táctica de Stratfor.

Según el análisis de la agencia, las formas mediante las cuales el gobierno puede reducir la violencia, es permitir que un cártel amplíe su dominio a todo el país, o bien “una tregua negociada por el gobierno entre Los Zetas y el Cártel de Sinaloa”.

Una tregua entre el gobierno y grupos de criminales es un tema que tenderá a debatirse más durante este año, señaló Stewart, y puso como ejemplo “la forma en la que Estados Unidos negocia con el Talibán”.

En el informe anual sobre la violencia en México, llamado Cartel Report 2012, la firma concluyó que los niveles de violencia solo podrían ser reducidos “a niveles aceptables” de tres formas: si un cártel logra dominar a otro, mediante un acuerdo entre los cárteles rivales, y mediante una tregua negociada por el gobierno.

La firma, con sede en Austin, Texas, señaló que las elecciones federales que se realizarán en julio próximo —en las que se votará presidente y se renovará el Congreso—, no vendrán acompañadas de un cambio sustancial en la estrategia gubernamental para enfrentar el problema de la violencia generada por el crimen organizado.

Según Stewart, la reducción de violencia registrada en ciudades como Tijuana, Baja California, y Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, son el resultado de la incursión del cártel de Sinaloa, que incrementó su dominio en ambas plazas.

Dicho nivel de violencia es “políticamente inaceptable para el presidente mexicano Felipe Calderón y su partido Acción Nacional”, se indicó en el informe anual sobre la violencia.

La violencia, sin embargo, no podría ser eliminada en su totalidad. “Mientras sigan existiendo plazas del narcotráfico, tendrás a personas peleando por el control”, dijo Stewart.

Los cárteles “no quieren una situación como la que existe en Juárez, debido a que es malo para sus negocios. Una vez que obtienen el control de la plaza, vimos que la violencia bajó”, abundó Stewart.

El Cártel de Sinaloa busca el control total de Tijuana —por años dominada por el de los Arellano Félix— y el de Ciudad Juárez —que estuvo controlado por la organización de Amado Carillo Fuentes— debido a que “quieren tener el control de los puntos de entrada” de las rutas de la droga a Estados Unidos.

Según el especialista, las autoridades no podrán derrotar en su totalidad a los cárteles, ya que mientras exista el negocio ilícito del tráfico de drogas, seguirán existiendo grupos que se disputen el control.

“No puedes derrotar a los cárteles, puedes derrotar a ciertas organizaciones”, dijo Stewart, y puso de ejemplo al cártel de Guadalajara, que fue desarticulado y sus líderes aprehendidos luego del secuestro y asesinato en 1985 en Jalisco de Enrique Camarena Salazar, agente encubierto de la DEA.

Según el documento, producto del registro que realiza la agencia sobre la seguridad en México, son el cártel de Sinaloa y el de Los Zetas quienes provocan la mayor parte de la violencia, con tácticas distintas.

Mientras el cártel de Sinaloa, liderado por Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán, prefiere corromper a los funcionarios, el de Los Zetas utiliza la violencia como forma de intimidación.

La forma violenta de Los Zetas les ha permitido expandirse a 17 estados del país, y ser el cártel con mayor influencia geográfica, superando al de Sinaloa, que opera en 16 estados, según la agencia, que citó información gubernamental.

Según el análisis de Stratfor, en el 2012 el despliegue de las fuerzas militares continuará, sin que se desarrollen operaciones importantes en áreas distintas a donde actualmente actúa el Ejército.

El Ejército seguirá enfrentándose al problema de la deserción, según el mismo documento, que citó información de la Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional dada a conocer en marzo pasado, en la cual se admitió que “se perdió la pista” de 1,680 elementos de las fuerzas especiales durante la última década.

Según la agencia, 45,000 tropas del Ejército están envueltas en el combate a los cárteles de la droga, un cuarto del total del personal militar. El resto no puede ser utilizado debido a que son reservas mal preparadas.

La Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) informó hace unos días que hasta septiembre del año pasado han muerto 47,515 personas en hechos vinculados a la violencia en México, desde que el presidente Felipe Calderón lanzó la Estrategia Nacional de Seguridad tras tomar protesta en 2006.

El 70% de las muertes ocurrieron en ocho entidades: Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Durango, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Guerrero y Veracruz.

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