Cartel gunmen killed 11 people in and around Monterrey today in another bloody manifestation of the escalating turf war for control over Mexico’s business capital.The killings come in the wake of a weekend wave of violence that killed more than 40 people across Mexico, including 21 people gunned down in a nightclub attack in Monterrey.
Mexican officials blamed the Monterrey violence on a bloody conflict between the powerful Gulf Cartel and their former enforcement arm, Los Zetas. According to the Wall Street Journal, the club is a well-known retail drug distribution centre for Los Zetas; gunmen were most likely members of the Gulf Cartel.
Los Zetas responded Sunday with a series of banners, or narcomantas, blaming the Gulf Cartel for the attacks, which were hung in Monterrey, Mexico City, Juarez, and San Luis Potosí. A Stratfor analysis notes that the appearance of the banners in major cities across the country, rather than just in the northeast, may indicate that the two cartels are headed for a major confrontation.
Monterrey, Mexico’s second largest city and economic engine, had remained relatively immune to the country’s bloody drug wars. Violence erupted earlier this year as the gangs, looking to expand into Mexico’s growing retail drug trade, battle for control of the wealthy northern city’s lucrative market.
The escalating violence in Monterrey has raised fears that the Mexican government is completely powerless to stop the country’s descent into violence and lawlessness.
A recent editorial in El Universal, Mexico’s daily newspaper, puts it best:
The second most important city in the country, the central nervous system of our national industry, is at breaking point, on the border between civility and barbarism. If Monterrey falls, as Ciudad Juarez and Reynosa have, the country will be one step away from doing so as well.
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