Police officers put out a burning car in Zapopan, Jalisco, on August 10. Fernando Carranza (Cuartoscuro)
"Seek shelter until further notice."
That was the recommendation for the staff of the United States Consulate in Guadalajara after the night of terror that unleashed the attempted capture of a regional leader of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).
The security alert was issued late on Tuesday, in the midst of drug blockades and the counteroffensive of the criminal organization against the Mexican Army in the states of Jalisco and Guanajuato.
Just a few hours before, the US ambassador Ken Salazar visited Colima, which five months ago was also under siege by the CJNG for the arrest of two commanders and is listed as one of the five most dangerous entities in Mexico, according to Washington monitoring. about criminal violence.
The clash between the military and members of the Jalisco Cartel has left five detainees and an alleged criminal dead, according to the balance given by the governor, Enrique Alfaro, this Wednesday.
The president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, pointed out that the images of roadblocks, shootings and burning of vehicles were the response of the criminal group to an Army operation in the middle of a conclave of two criminal gangs.
The security forces remained deployed for several hours until they were able to reestablish control.
By midday, the US Consulate withdrew the security alert, although it said it "continued to closely monitor the situation."
The top tourist destination for Americans in 2021 continues to be painted red by Washington.
The White House maintains travel restrictions for 30 of the 32 states of Mexico.
The Joe Biden government asks its citizens to reconsider their trips to Jalisco and Guanajuato.
“In Guadalajara [capital of Jalisco], the battles for territory between criminal groups are fought in tourist areas.
Gunfights between groups have injured and killed innocent bystanders,” reads the Embassy page.
In the case of Colima, the general recommendation is not to travel because the violence is "generalized", along with entities such as Guerrero, Sinaloa, Michoacán and Tamaulipas.
"Violent crimes such as homicides, kidnappings, carjackings and assaults are common and widespread,"
On the ground, the statements are kinder.
Salazar met with the governor of Colima, Indira Vizcaíno, from the party of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and held out his hand: "Let's see how we can help."
He said that he was optimistic because there had been progress in the binational fight against crime and asked that the extraditions of defendants and criminals be intensified.
“We want them in the United States, that they send them to us as soon as possible,” commented the ambassador, adding, in comments collected by the magazine
, that this is a “very effective way to have an impact on this crime.”
On that list, the name that occupies the first place is that of drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero, arrested a couple of weeks ago and accused of the murder of DEA agent Enrique
Camarena in the eighties.
The murder of two Jesuit priests and a tourist guide in Chihuahua, in the north of the country, on June 20 also caused noise in Washington.
A group of 24 Democratic congressmen sent a letter to Biden last week in which they lamented the "rampant violence" and "senseless bloodshed" in Mexico and in which they urged the Executive to collaborate with the López Obrador Administration to punish those responsible.
Those arrested for the homicide belong to Los Salazar, a faction of the Sinaloa Cartel.
In any case, the CJNG released a video at the beginning of last month in which it exhorted the drug bosses: "Invite them to make war between us and not mess with who we shouldn't mess with."
Two weeks before the controversy over the murdered Jesuits, the US Congress highlighted in a report that the most significant event in Mexico's criminal ecosystem has been the emergence of the CJNG and its battle with the Sinaloa Cartel, the historically dominant group.
The criminal group, focused on the trafficking of synthetic drugs, has its strongholds in western Mexico, the area that has been put under the spotlight by this week's clashes, according to a map in that report.
The Jalisco Cartel is in dispute with the Zetas over the Gulf of Mexico region;
It has gone against local groups to control Michoacán, the State of Mexico and Oaxaca, and disputes the tourist territory of Quintana Roo with those from Sinaloa.
After criticizing the "Hugs, not bullets" policy,
López Obrador's visit to Washington in mid-July seems to have given impetus to bilateral collaboration with the capture of capos such as Caro Quintero and two blows to the Sinaloa cartel in central Mexico, including the largest seizure of cocaine in history. From the capital.
Analyst Andrew Selee does not believe that recent events will automatically translate into more pressure on the Mexican government, but he does note that there is an effort on both sides of the border to achieve greater understanding and resume intelligence sharing.
"This makes it possible to hit some of the criminal networks that are of most concern," says the president of the Migration Policy Institute.
Meanwhile, the DEA keeps its sights on the Mexican drug lords and has as priority targets, on the list of the most wanted fugitives, Nemesio Oseguera
from the CJNG, and Ismael
Zambada, historical boss of Sinaloa .
Beyond the political and diplomatic tensions, the challenge is enormous.
In this latest attempt to arrest a local leader of the Jalisco Cartel, roads were blocked, dozens of vehicles were stolen and 25 convenience stores were burned, according to the Oxxo chain, in Guanajuato alone.
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