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I am a consultant and analyst with eight years of military law enforcement experience, six years of analytical experience covering Latin America, and over seven years of analytical experience covering Mexican TCOs and border violence issues. This blog is designed to inform readers about current border violence issues and provide analysis on those issues, as well as detailed focus on specific border topics. By applying my knowledge and experience through this blog, I hope to separate the wheat from the chaff...that is, dispel rumors propagated by sensationalist media reporting, explain in layman's terms what is going on with Mexican TCOs, and most importantly, WHY violence is happening along the US-Mexico border.

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September 01, 2011

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Sylvia ... I notice that 5 people have now been arrested for this crime, including at least one State police officer. Further, the Zeta's have now been directly implicated, and news sources are commenting that the torching of the casino could have been tied to bribes that were not paid (to th Zeta's). None of this is surprising - I commented earlier that the scale and ruthlessness of this attack sounded like the Zeta's.

The problem is this. While observers debate the nature of the crime, and Mexico claims to be "stepping up" its response, the Zeta's have in fact achieved their primary goal. Pure raw intimidation. By showing no hesitation to burn down a profitable business in the middle of the day - with many patrons inside - the Zeta's are instilling a higher level of fear in Mexico. What business is going to say NO now - if the Zeta's demand extortion payments??

It's far from clear who's winning this battle.

P.

I think I have to disagree on the article this time. I understand that Los Zetas were extorting the owner of the casino, and that the attack was a result of his failure to comply with the protection racket. But the real question is—was the attack a sign of terrorism? I’ll have to say it was.

Remember, Los Zetas could have found numerous ways to kill the owner (since that was their intention). And, the attack wasn't a spontaneous one. As a matter of fact, Los Zetas could’ve easily ambushed him outside his own house, they could’ve also kidnapped and tortured him to death, but they did not want to kill him that way—they wanted to leave a message to everyone out there. A clear message. And they did.

Burning down a casino in an important and busy avenue cannot get any clearer. Los Zetas wanted for people to know and “see” for themselves the consequences of refusing to pay for protection rackets. Therefore, we can argue that there can actually be a political implication behind of all this. Nevertheless, I don't claim to know the minds of the drug cartels, so this will always be up to debate. I just think it's inconclusive to completely assert a claim like this.

Now, I understand that the attack might have been out-of-hand even for them. And the article correctly pinpoints that if Los Zetas wanted to indeed massacre hundreds more, they could’ve done the attack on a busy weekend, but they didn’t. However, that does not erase the fact that the casino attack was still a terrorist one. It was more than a simple crime, and it was obviously more into it than just an attempt to put down a debtor.

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