I had a dream.
I was interviewing a former Zeta Boss in Monterrey, Mexico. Code name: Fernando, about 65 years old, an ordinary Mexican, nothing else, nothing more.
In the dream we had a brief but substantial conversation. He wanted me to write a book about his past. “From the very beginning, until the very end”, he said. He has things that he would like to state before he could make statements no more. Things that he has decided to tell everyone, from the ordinary citizen to the top of the top in the Mexican government and drug mafias.
I was not sure if he was joking or if he really meant business. He decided to tell me some highlights of what the book would talk about.
Originally, our friend was a member of the elite parachute troopers of the Mexican Army who were American-trained in South Korea in the seventies. Later on, in different fragments of his professional life, he received specialized training by the CIA and DEA. He was part of the Operation Condor of the Mexican government in Sinaloa, at the end of the seventies.
I think that my skepticism pushed him to be a little more specific about what he could really tell to the world.
He mentioned that we can work on how the son of the Senator Ibarra de Piedra was thrown into the sea from an airplane right outside Mazatlán. Or the murder in 2006 of the Director of the State Police of Nuevo León, Marcelo Garza y Garza, in which two of his bodyguards were involved, he stated.
He also wanted to talk about all the undercover operations in which he participated back in the seventies and eighties in Central American and Caribbean countries on behalf of the CIA, and how he got a couple of bullets in his heaps in an anti-Zeta operation in Guerrero.
He regrets that the American government has more considerations for him that the Mexican government at his age, although the Americans are not very generous, neither.
All his contacts come from his years in the military. The Zetas are a military organization that think and act as military, but with a better, much better pay (US $1600 per week to experienced sicarios). Indeed, today, December the 8th, the Zetas get their aguinaldo (end-of-the-year monetary compensation, very popular in Mexico), and a flow of dollars will cover Monterrey in the following days, “mostly in the puteros (bordellos).” However, most Zetas will go back home for the holidays, and “come back to work” in the very first days of January 2011.
Currently, there are about 20,000 to 30,000 Zeta-men training in the Lacandona Jungle, in Chiapas. A huge Zeta offensive is programmed for January-February 2011 at a national scale. “You have seen nothing yet”, he said, “Monterrey, among other cities across the country, will be the closest thing to hell that you can imagine.” Indeed, during these days, there are serious fighting between the Zetas and the Mexican Army in the Lacandona, but the federal government has not gone public on this.
The Zetas control the Monterrey police, and the state police in Nuevo León, although this last not all the time. Monterrey is an important plaza for the narco gangs in Mexico. He mentioned full names and neighborhoods or territories of the Metropolitan area that these gangs controlled. The people from the Beltrán Leyva gang have their headquarters in the South, by the Carretera Nacional; others like the Mexican Mafia (Mexicans and Mexican Americans that have lived in the U.S. but came to Monterrey to do business and decided to stay to protect certain interests) live here, the Contras (the Chapo people) live there, the Familia Michoacana is over there, and he would mention places in Apodaca, Guadalupe, San Nicolás, Santiago, Santa Catarina, etc.
In a similar way to the Mexican Army or Navy, the Zetas may have good or bad Generals. Therefore, it is difficult to forecast the behavior of this or that Zeta group. Some Generals may be totally corrupt, others would be quite considered towards their troops, others would mind only their own business and others would try to influence other Generals. Each General controls his own territory with his own rules. Some of them are psychopaths: “this guy already has about 130 empozolados (people whose body is cooked in acid to erase evidence of the murder) somewhere in the Grutas de García (Nuevo León), but he says that it is not enough, that he wants to go for the Mexican record… and that is completely sick.”
Fernando could go on and on, with several anecdotes regarding his encounters with Secretaries and Undersecretaries of the Mexican Ministry of the Interior of several governments, his “Gringo” trainers, his confrontations with the Mexican military after he quit the Mexican Army, his phone calls with a special code to Campo Marte to save (or not) lives; or his phone calls to a Zeta commando “the other day that a group of Monterrey policemen arrived to my house to kick the door.” As soon as the Zetas arrived, they insulted the policemen and told them to go and fuck their mothers on the spot. The policemen apologized to their Jefecitos (Little Bosses), the Zetas, because of what they called “a terrible misunderstanding.”
I asked him that who were the worst in this war. He said “The civil authorities and the politicians at a national, state and local levels; they change sides like changing underwear, there is no way to trust these motherfuckers! That is why justice arrives to their ass sooner or later, they have to understand that they need to show respect and loyalty to their owners… or else.”
Next encounter: January 3rd, 2011. In the meantime, Fernando goes to Texas for the holidays with his family.
When I woke up the following morning, I was concerned and sad. Probably, Mexico has arrived to a situation in which two armies and other drug traffickers have gone beyond the no-return point, and an authoritarian, military regime will become the only short-term solution to a chaotic, collapsing, State. And the average American keeps on buying tons of drugs at an accessible price. Can’t we, Mexicans, create a certification process of drug consumption for the U.S., for example?
Yes we can, but there is not enough huevos to talk to the eye to Uncle Sam. Not in the current administration at least. They just follow American government’s orders from a binational perspective, when the core of the problem is transnational.
Sweet Dreams, indeed.
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