I am writing in response to your May 21st article, “Mexico arrests ‘cartel leader’ behind Monterrey deaths.” While I appreciate your publishing this piece, horrific though its details are, I feel the obligation to point out that it lacks crucial information which would help your readers to better understand the explosive issues behind cartel violence. Specifically, the article mentions that the Zeta Cartel has been in conflict with the Gulf Cartel over smuggling routes, yet it makes no mention of the historical connection between these two cartels.
In 1998, a group of Mexican soldiers deserted the military to work as hit men for the Gulf Cartel. This group, called the Zetas, officially split from the Gulf Cartel in 2009 to begin its own sordid activities abetting drug trafficking, kidnapping, and extortion. The clash between the two cartels has been incredibly gory, with some fighting ominously spilling over onto U.S. soil. On October 5th, 2010, for example, the Gulf Cartel killed two Zeta members in Brownsville, Texas. The Mexican government, however, has been inclined to ignore the extreme volatility between these two cartels by repeatedly understating the amount of violence actually taking place. Without significant background information, your readers might not understand that it is all but impossible for them to reject the intensity of the violence discussed in your article.
Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs