Nov 8, 2013

Mexico's San Fernando Massacres: A Declassified History

National Security Archive 
Electronic Briefing Book No. 445
Edited by Michael Evans and Jesse Franzblau
November 6, 2013

Four months before the feared Zetas drug cartel kidnapped and murdered 72 migrants in northeastern Mexico, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City said that narcotrafficking organizations in that region operated with "near total impunity in the face of compromised local security forces." As the date of the massacre drew nearer, another U.S. agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), reported new evidence linking the Zetas to soldiers from the Kaibiles, an elite Guatemalan special forces known for spectacular acts of cruelty and brutality during that country's civil war.

These records are among a set of U.S. documents declassified under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and published today by the National Security Archive, providing a glimpse of what U.S. diplomats and intelligence analysts were saying about the extreme violence that has engulfed Mexico's northern border state of Tamaulipas in recent years and the apparent complicity of Mexican officials. Just this week, a new round of violence in Tamaulipas took the lives of 13 more people, as drug-related violence flared yet again.

Some of these documents are featured in this week's edition of Proceso magazine, in an article by award-winning investigative journalist Marcela Turati. Her report highlights the unchecked power of the Zetas in the region and the inability or unwillingness of federal, state and local officials in Mexico to provide security for citizens and migrants traveling in the region.  Read more.

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