Analysis: Mexican Government Will Not Be Able to Stop Cartel Violence in Acapulco

Acapulco Turf War
AP File Photo/Gonzalo Perez

Acapulco was once a bustling tourist region in the Mexican state of Guerrero. The beach-resort city has now become a heavily contested drug territory where executions have become commonplace. Large scale gun battles continue to bring the city to a halt.

The violence continues despite the many assurances by the Mexican government that the region is safe and that state and federal authorities have been deployed en force to restore order.

The violence currently taking place in Acapulco, Guerrero is not new. As Breitbart Texas reported last year, during the last decade the once calm beach resort area began to see a sharp increase in violence resulting in all-out war without Mexican government officials being able to do anything about it. While Guerrero is a highly valued drug production and trafficking route, the violence had initially taken place in the rural areas. It wasn’t until that last two years that the beach resort area became a battleground. As Breitbart Texas reported last month, a fierce gun battle between cartel gunmen and Mexican authorities along the main boulevard in the city brought the bustling city to a complete halt. Citizens were forced to seek refuge in shopping centers and other buildings as gunfire rang out throughout the city.

One of the most publicized violent cartel events that took place in Guerrero in September 2014 when 43 education students from the rural town of Ayotzinapa were kidnapped by police forces and then turned over to cartel gunmen who, according to the Mexican government, murdered them and incinerated their remains.  The case has since taken various twists and turns as international scientist have disproved the government’s account of events by pointing to the alleged involvement of federal police forces as well as military personnel. The new allegations have brought much controversy since the international scientists have been run out of Mexico before they could provide answers as to the student’s fate.

Unlike other parts of Mexico that have been taken over by drug cartel violence such as Tamaulipas or Coahuila, Acapulco is relatively close to Mexico City. This makes it one of the most popular tourists destinations for the citizens of that country. The location also provides easier access to foreign correspondents in comparison with the other regions.

Despite the raging chaos, the Guerrero government appears to be more focused in the image of the state rather than the raging cartel violence. Governor Hector Astudillo reached out to news outlets asking them to stop publishing stories about cartel violence because they were scaring away tourists. In a similar fashion, the Catholic Church in that state has been calling for government officials to negotiate with cartel members in order to restore peace.

The events taking place in Guerrero are very similar to those that have previously taken place in other parts of Mexico where rival cartel factions fight for control of drug production or drug distributions routes.

In 2010, the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, earned the nickname as the murder capital of the world as Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s powerful Sinaloa Cartel made a push to take control away from the Juarez Cartel, a once powerful Mexican criminal organization that has since lost most of its power and barely holds on to some areas near Juarez.

While businessmen and local politicos in Juarez and their counterparts in on the Texas border praise a rebirth of the region after a decrease in violence, in reality their effort were irrelevant. Law enforcement officials in intelligence wings on both sides of the border that have spoken with Breitbart Texas in the past have concurred that the real reason for the decrease of violence in that area came after the Sinaloa Cartel came out on top and pushed their rivals to the fringes.

In 2010, the Gulf Cartel went to war with their former enforcers known as the Los Zetas who eventually became an independent cartel. Unlike the events in Acapulco and Chihuahua, the horrors brought forth from those fierce gun battles, gory executions, and, at times, the mass extermination of innocent civilians were largely ignored by international news outlets and suppressed by local outlets who had been muffled by both drug cartels and the government. 

Unlike in Chihuahua, in Tamaulipas, the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas fought each other to a stalemate before each criminal organization began to implode setting off multiple internal wars between rival factions of each cartel. Despite the media silence, in Ciudad Victoria, two rivals factions of the Los Zetas cartel have spent seven months fighting for the control of the city. The raging violence between the two criminal groups has brought terror to the city where beheadings, dismemberments, and other gruesome executions have become a daily occurrence.

In a similar fashion in the border cities of Matamoros and Reynosa, two rival factions of the Gulf Cartel have a love-hate relation that has resulted in the two groups going to war various times in the past. Also despite the lack of media coverage, the two fighting between the two factions has been intense as large convoys of gunmen clash along main avenues raining gunfire and grenades on each other not far from Texas cities.

As with other parts of Mexico that have been subjected to cartel violence, the presence of Mexican troops will likely do little to restore peace in the area. For several years, the Mexican government has consistently proven their inability to stop cartel violence. Military might has proven itself to be unable to counter the widespread public corruption that feeds the criminal organizations. As in the case of Ciudad Juarez, peace will only return to Acapulco, and to the state of Guerrero, when one of the multiple drug cartels and smaller gangs operating in the area is able to exert full dominance to the area and either run out the other groups or beat them into submission.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award winning journalist with Breitbart Texas you can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.


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