Home NewsCrime Are US and Mexican authorities involuntarily contributing to cartel violence? (Opinion)

Are US and Mexican authorities involuntarily contributing to cartel violence? (Opinion)

by Yucatan Times
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by Luis Chaparro

Chihuahua, Mexico – Tens of thousands of people have been killed in Mexico during the “war on drugs,” and while turf battles between drug cartels may drive much of the violence, US authorities have helped make some of that bloodshed possible.

The new Netflix feature series “Somos,” based on a revealing article by journalist Ginger Thompson, seeks to illuminate the US’s role in the massacre in Allende, a town in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila.

Thompson’s 2017 article details how in 2011 the Zetas cartel “swept through” Allende and nearby towns “like a flash flood, demolishing homes and businesses and kidnapping and killing dozens, possibly hundreds, of men, women, and children.”

The massacre unfolded after the DEA told Mexican authorities of a secret operation to spy on several cellphones belonging to Zetas leaders. Mexican authorities leaked details of the operation to the Zetas, who ordered the killings of everyone suspected of being informants, their families, and anyone who might be close to them.

Among the many victims were locals who had nothing to do with the cartel or with US or Mexican authorities. “They just happened to be in the way,” Thompson wrote in 2017.

Torched house in Allende Mexico
A view of a home torched by the Zetas cartel in 2011, in Allende, December 3, 2019. AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo

“I started this story because I was aware that there are many tragedies like the one in Allende, but this one in particular could show a direct link to the US,” Thompson told Insider.

For Thompson this was an opportunity to “at least have policymakers thinking” about the consequences of their decisions, but she’s not confident the series will lead to better policies.


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