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PostExtorted by the Zetas: One Family's Experience (Richard Hancock, USA, 11/07/19 3:51 am)
We have enjoyed our connection with two Mexican ladies, a mother and her daughter, who come to clean our house every two weeks. I shared my experiences in their home state of Jalisco where I served as a livestock inspector working for the Foot and Mouth Commission in 1950-51. They in turn, told of their desire to visit their relatives in Jalisco.
I visited every Mexican state, beginning in 1946. Nancy and I have visited Chihuahua, Jalisco and Colima (on the southern border of Jalisco) many times and have had scarcely any unpleasant experiences. In fact, Nancy and I have I found the Mexicans to be most friendly and warm-hearted people that exist in the Western Hemisphere. When I learned that the mother and her husband and son were visiting their relatives in Jalisco, we looked forward to hearing pleasant stories of their trip.
On October 30, when the mother had rejoined her daughter for work, I was shocked to learn that the trip had been painful. They crossed the border at Laredo, driving their son's pickup truck. Being legal residents of the US, they encountered no problems with Mexican immigration or customs agents. A few miles down Highway 87 toward Monterrey, however, a man from Los Zetas, a large criminal syndicate, stopped them and demanded that they pay him $800. If they refused, he said that he would seize their pickup and leave them standing beside the highway. They felt that their only choice was to pay up as ordered so that they could continue their journey to Jalisco. Our Mexican friends felt that the Mexican border officials must have informed Los Zetas about their travel route and the money they were carrying.
I think that this vile encounter with Los Zetas ruined their whole trip because the mother, María, never spoke of enjoying it. When they returned to the US, she said her son remarked, "Now we are safe." I believe that they will never make another trip to Mexico.
I googled Los Zetas on Wikipidia and read 11 pages of their history which stated that Los Zetas are regarded as one of the most dangerous of the Mexican drug cartels. "While primarily concerned with drug trafficking, the organization runs profitable sex-trafficking and gun-running rackets." Their home state is Tamaulipas, located across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas. It is said to be one of the most corrupt states in Mexico. Los Zetas also operate in Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia, and Italy.
I was interested in Gary Moore's post of October 31, with links which confirmed most of the Information that I had received from Wikipedia. I was especially interested to learn that the US State Dept. had issued a warning to Americans not to travel to Mexico via Nuevo Laredo.
I have lived in and traveled in Mexico for 72 years. When I was last there in 2004, I felt very positive about Mexico because I had seen it pass from primitive conditions to a rather high level of development. When I was writing on Mexico for the Hispanic American Report, no one predicted that it would reach the high level of 2000-2004. In those years, it boasted a high level of tourism, industrialization and improvement of communications as well as a more democratic form of government.
I am going to write my Senators and Congressmen about the Mexican problems, suggesting that we should cooperate with Mexico in helping them to solve their problems rather than build a monstrous and insulting border wall which will achieve nothing either for us or them.
JE comments: Monstrous and insulting: Richard Hancock has described The Wall to a T. Fortunately, three years into the Trump era, and still no wall.
What a horrible experience for María and family. They were luckier however than the nine members of the LeBaron family killed this week in Sonora. The details of the massacre are unclear--whether it was a mistaken identity (doubtful) or a reprisal against the Church of the Firstborn community, which has been outspoken against the drug cartels.
Richard, you know Mexico better than anyone: What type of US-Mexican cooperation would you like to see to address the problem?