Guatemala, massacre was preceded by expansion of Los Zetas cartel

Posted on June 4, 2011 • Filed under: Crime, Drug Activity, Guatemala, Police/Military Activity, Social Issues, Zetas

According to, last month’s massacre of 28 Guatemalan farm workers by the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas represents a first act of extreme violence aimed explicitly at civilians since the end of Guatemala’s Civil War. However, it is not the first instance of violence attributed to Los Zetas in El Petén, the department of dense jungle bordering Mexico and Belize, which is key to trafficking drugs, Central American migrants and firearms. As of three years ago, Guatemalan officials informed local law enforcement as well as the Mexican Federal Police of increasingly frequent, concentrated and forceful raids by Los Zetas. Security specialist Dr. Max Manwaring also published a report in 2009 outlining Los Zeta’s worrisome neighboring-country “Zones of Impunity” of social and political control. To economist Dr. Carlos Resa Nestares, the massacre by Los Zetas signifies a natural development in efforts to gain complete and unrestricted control of northern Guatemala. He criticized the Guatemalan president’s state of emergency declaration as a shortsighted, ineffective response with economic and civil rights consequences. Read Article

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