MATAMOROS, Tamaulipas — Mexican federal authorities are leaving thousands of tourists who are expected to visit this border city, and other cities in Texas, for the Christmas holidays without protection from and at the mercy of the drug cartels that control this area.
For years, as Breitbart Texas has reported, Mexican cartels have controlled the highways in this state. They routinely set up roadblocks, rob drivers, steal vehicles, kidnap victims, and murder innocent civilians with complete impunity. In an attempt to provide some security, federal police officers have been traveling in convoys escorting tourists in an operation called “Escalon.”
As part of the operation, tourists traveling from the central part of the state and those traveling from the border would be escorted by police convoys. Almost 100 cars would line up and travel at high speeds with police escort in an attempt to avoid being targeted by cartel gunmen.
The lack of security by federal authorities comes just days after the Tamaulipas Attorney General Irving Barrios Mojica declared Matamoros as one of the three most dangerous cities in the state.
The sudden lack of operations can be blamed on Mexico’s federal government. That entity has pulled out more than 1,000 federal law enforcement officers from Tamaulipas and deployed them to other parts of Mexico. The re-deployment of the cops out of Tamaulipas comes after a governor, who is not from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was elected last summer. The PRI is the current ruling party in Mexico. It is constantly being accused of corruption. Police officers that have been moved out of Tamaulipas have not been replaced.
This year, Tamaulipas expects to see more than 200,000 tourists from Mexico who will travel through the state’s highways to visit relatives in the central part of the country. The lack of security in Tamaulipas could present a large obstacle to their journey or force them to drive around the state through other highways.
The head of the National Confederation of Mexican Transporters (CONATRAM), Jesus Sandoval, said to Breitbart Texas that nine months ago federal police officers stopped escorting bus drivers and truckers in their regular trips.
The local chapter of Mexico’s National Chamber of Commerce (CANACO), recently issued a warning about the uptick of highway robberies and carjacking along the Matamoros, Ciudad Victoria highway due to the lack of federal police forces patrolling the area. Cristian Perez Cossio, the local CANACO director, told Breitbart Texas that since August, business owners have been victims of crimes at the hands of cartel gunmen while driving through those highways.
Editor’s Note: Breitbart Texas traveled to the Mexican States of Tamaulipas, Coahuila and Nuevo León to recruit citizen journalists willing to risk their lives and expose the cartels silencing their communities. The writers would face certain death at the hands of the various cartels that operate in those areas including the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas if a pseudonym were not used. Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles are published in both English and in their original Spanish. This article was written by “J.A.Espinoza” from Matamoros, Tamaulipas.