Cartel Chronicles: Cartel Attacks on Local Businesses Leave Government And Media Silent

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Mexican TV Screenshot

Breitbart Texas traveled to the Mexican border cities of Reynosa and Matamoros 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 Gulf Cartel 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 “AJ Espinoza” from Matamoros.

MATAMOROS, Tamaulipas — The Tamaulipas state government and local media are silent after the executions of two local entrepreneurs in recent weeks by drug cartel gunmen. Black ribbons now decorate the doors to their businesses acting as a grim reminder of the daily life in this border city just south of Brownsville, Texas.

The death of two Matamoros businessmen in just a matter of weeks, shows how state and federal authorities remain unable to stop the growing wave of violence targeting average citizens in this once bustling border city.

For more than a month, local news outlets and state authorities have remained silent and not provided any information as to the execution of Manuel de la Garza Berlanga, a local businessman and brother of Dolores de la Garza Berlanga, the Social Development Coordinator for the Tamaulipas’ government.

De la Garza Berlanga, who was in the automotive business, was killed with at least 6 shots at close range just outside of his business in the downtown area of the city. The murder took place near the intersection of Herrera and 14th streets, about seven blocks from the Office of Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Police Station (PGR). The shootings occured just five minutes walking distance from two international bridges to the United States.

Just moments of after the shooting, the local businessman was rushed to a local hospital where he eventually died from his injuries thus losing the battle against escalating lack of security that has overtaking this city.

Another grim reminder of the overwhelming violence that continues to creep into all areas of society is last month’s kidnapping and execution of Bogar Cordoba, the owner of two restaurants named “La Cantinita” and “Habaneros: Brazas y Tequilas.” Both are located on Sixth Street. While family and friends mourned his death, authorities never released any official information about the murder.

Bogar Cordoba began his business career selling used cars and after several years working while dealing with harassment and extortion from organized crime he was able to save enough money and jump into the restaurants business, his family said.

The detail of the crime were never made public by local authorities nor did news outlets ever run any stories. The news of the tragic events were only shared by relatives through Cordoba’s Facebook page  and citizen journalists through social media.

A public letter in social networks written by Cordoba’s brother, was the only evidence where the family openly accused Angel “Ciclon 7 or Orejon” Prado Rodriguez, the Gulf Cartel commander in Matamoros as the responsible party for the execution. Prado Rodriguez regularly extorted large sums of money from Cordoba and other local businessmen as the cost of doing business in Matamoros.

According to the family’s letter (below) in recent weeks the persecution and demands for money from the Gulf cartel became more and more aggressive until they kidnapped Cordoba in order to force the family to pay a large ransom; to force the family to help finance organized crime.

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As far as Mexican authorities, the crimes remain unpunished, giving a free pass to cartel members and organized crime — the ones who force local business owners into paying “fees” to let them continue working.