As the holiday season gets closer, some of Mexico’s most violent cartels are expected to begin handing out gifts and food to needy families. The longstanding tradition is followed with the hope it will improve public perception for organized crime.
Hyper-violent cartels such as Los Zetas and Cartel Jalisco New Generation traditionally host parties to hand out toys and food to needy families. The practice dates back decades, however, it has become more noticeable in recent years due to social media.
One of the most glaring examples took place on December 26, 2016, when gunmen from the Cartel Del Noreste faction of Los Zetas held a large-scale celebration in the border city of Nuevo Laredo. Local politicians and news outlets widely praised the CDN-Los Zetas as their gunmen drove through the city’s poorest areas delivering toys and food.
In January 2021, the Gulf Cartel delivered King’s Bread and toys for the Epiphany celebrations in border city of Matamoros. The gunmen were able to deliver the gifts and pose for pictures with locals without any interference from authorities.
In December 2020, the sons of famed Sinaloa Cartel drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman hosted large-scale parties with live music and high-value gifts. While some of their parties went on without a problem, in El Dorado, Mexican military forces shut down an event due to the pandemic.
In addition to the Christmastime celebrations, cartels have carried out similar events such as on Children’s Day, when Cartel Jalisco New Generation hosted a large party for an entire town. Other times, criminal organizations have provided food to needy families after natural disasters or during the pandemic lockdowns.
The giveaways give the cartels a chance to curry favor with the poorest communities while recruiting new members. Most of the events are usually carried out without government interference.
Editor’s Note: Breitbart Texas traveled to Mexico City and the 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 “C.P. Mireles” from Tamaulipas.