So 35 bodies were dumped in full display in Veracruz. (Link to AP story in title of post)
The significance of this latest massacre should not be understated, in my view. Veracruz is traditionally a Zeta-Gulf cartel stronghold. I last went there in late 2008, and everything you could imagine was said to be run by Zetas. Bars, nightclubs, hotels – if you named it, locals likely identified it as a Zeta operation.
Real Zetas, mind you, not the young thugs running around the country currently calling themselves Zetas for shits and giggles and to make a name for themselves.
Rumor (based on a narcomanta allegedly left at the scene) has it that Chapo's Gente Nueva were responsible for the latest killings.
If that's the case, and Chapo's people are moving in on Zeta turf in the southeast/gulf region, then this could spell serious trouble for an already volatile area.
For several decades, the southeast corner of Mexico (Veracruz is at what I consider to be the tip of that corner) has been inhabited by both the Gulf cartel and the Sinaloa cartel. I don't know details of the arrangement by which they co-existed, but there is sufficient evidence that both big groups have been allowed to operate in the states of Veracruz, Quintana Roo and Yucatan. Veracruz and Cancun have both served as useful ports of entry for cocaine coming in from Colombia, as well as shipping points for drugs destined to Europe.
So if Chapo's people are indeed going after rivals in Veracruz (the city), it could signal a shift of some kind. We already know that US officials believe the Gulf cartel leadership and the Sinaloa cartel have formed an alliance against the renegade Zetas, so this may be just another sign of that move.
But we also know that the Sinaloa cartel is hellbent on expanding its operations, particularly to Europe, where drug consumption is up and law enforcement is down (would be nice to have a port like Veracruz in one's control). We also know that the goal of the Mexican authorities is not to end drug trafficking altogether (an impossibility) but to make it so difficult to traffic through Mexico that the cartels have to look elsewhere.
Back to the Caribbean, for instance.