US embassy cable - 09MONTERREY79 (original version)

CONTINUING NARCO-DEMONSTRATIONS CHALLENGE NUEVO LEON (original version)

Identifier: 09MONTERREY79
Wikileaks: View 09MONTERREY79 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Monterrey
Created: 2009-02-18 19:43:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: SNAR PHUM ASEC PGOV KCRM CASC ECON MX
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Compare redacted and unredacted version]
VZCZCXRO5902
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHMC #0079/01 0491943
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 181943Z FEB 09
FM AMCONSUL MONTERREY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3524
INFO RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 4570
RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USNORTHCOM
RUEABND/DEA HQ WASHDC
RUEHMC/AMCONSUL MONTERREY 9083
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MONTERREY 000079 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  2/18/2019 
TAGS: SNAR, PHUM, ASEC, PGOV, KCRM, CASC, ECON, MX 
SUBJECT: CONTINUING NARCO-DEMONSTRATIONS CHALLENGE NUEVO LEON 
 
REF: MONTERREY 074 
 
MONTERREY 00000079  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Bruce Williamson, Consul General, Monterrey, 
State. 
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 
1.  (C)  Summary.  Nuevo Leon residents are demanding that the 
state government do more to stop narco-funded demonstrations. 
Although the Nuevo Leon Governor and Secretary of Public 
Security have publicly said that organized crime is behind the 
protests - specifically naming the Gulf Cartel and their armed 
enforcers, the Zetas, municipal police have done nothing and 
state police have been very slow to disperse the protestors over 
the last week.  One protest leader, a cell leader of the Zetas, 
was arrested, and the arresting officer was killed two days 
later.  We believe that the Zetas are staging these 
demonstrations to challenge the state government and prove that 
they can disrupt the city at will.  End Summary. 
 
Protests Continue; Police Officer Killed 
 
2.  (C)  A series of protests against the Mexican military 
turned violent on February 12 (see reftel).  Gunmen killed a 
commander of the judicial police two days after he arrested one 
of the organizers of the protests.   Juan Antonio Beltran Cruz 
was arrested on February 10 after a protest in Monterrey 
disrupted large part of the city.  Ten minutes after the arrest, 
the commander of the judicial police in charge of his case, 
Ramon Jasso Rodriguez received threats against his life.  Two 
days later Jasso was killed near his home.  A reliable contact 
described Jasso as one of the few honest police on the state 
force.  Beltran is a known member of the Zetas, a drug 
trafficking organization, and is accused of organizing the 
police protests.  Zetas are reportedly paying Monterrey 
residents up to 500 pesos or US$35 to protest the military 
presence in Monterrey. 
 
Public Pressure for a Solution 
 
3.  (C) Governor of Nuevo Leon Jose Natividad Gonzalez Paras and 
Secretary of Public Security Aldo Fasci have acknowledged a link 
between organized crime and the protests.  On February 17, for 
the first time they named  the Gulf Cartel and its armed wing, 
the Zetas, as the entities responsible, adding that Nuevo Leon 
state police commanders and their officers had been the subject 
of numerous death threats.  Nevertheless, the public is 
demanding that they do more to stop them.  The road blocks in 
the city have taken place on major roads grid-locking large 
parts of the city and little has been done to break up them up. 
A long term Amcit resident has never seen demonstrations like 
this before.  One day the police waited two hours to break up a 
protest.  The next day they broke up the demonstration quickly 
and arrested protestors, but later the leading newspaper El 
Norte reported that they had released the protesters within 30 
minutes, conveniently within walking distance of the next 
protest.  Now that a drug connection has been officially 
acknowledged,  police officers are reluctant to take action.   A 
contact with inside knowledge of the police said that following 
Jasso's killing, police officers are hesitant to effect 
detentions because they do not want to sign documents linking 
themselves to an arrest. 
 
4.  (SBU)  According to a poll conducted on the third day of the 
demonstrations by El Norte,  93% of Monterrey area residents 
support the military presence in the state, 4% were not sure and 
3% wanted the military to leave.  In addition, even prior to the 
Governor's February 17 statements,  the public generally 
believed drug traffickers were behind the protests.  There is 
speculation that the Zetas are using the demonstrations as a 
response to the military's success against their operations as 
there does not appear to be any other catalyst for the 
demonstrations.   El Norte carried quotes from residents in a 
working class neighborhood who stated that the protest 
organizers went door to door offering cash and school supplies 
to those who joined the protest.  A recent El Norte photo showed 
multiple back packs filled with school supplies in the car of 
one of the detained protestors (who was later released).  The 
most recent tactic has been to recruit mothers carrying young 
infants to take part in the demonstrations, with the rationale 
apparently being that frustrated motorists would be less likely 
to aggressively challenge maternal figures standing in their way. 
 
5.  (C) Comment.  The drug cartels have intimidated the 
municipal and state police forces for some time.  For example, 
only the Mexican military, with some assistance from the federal 
police, conducts active operations against the drug cartels.  A 
story related to the Consul General by a Nuevo Leon state 
legislator illustrates the situation.  A fellow state 
legislator's car was stolen.  When the legislator reported the 
theft to the police, officers said that they could do nothing. 
The legislator's staff went out to search for the car and found 
it several blocks away.  However, when the legislator asked the 
police to retrieve the car, the police said that they needed to 
check with the Zetas first.  After checking with the Zetas, the 
 
MONTERREY 00000079  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
police received the go-ahead and they finally returned the 
stolen car. 
 
6.  (C)  Continued comment.  These protests could have two 
purposes: to try to intimidate the Mexican military; or to 
influence the upcoming election for Governor in July 2009. 
Either way, the demonstrations are important because they 
constitute a direct challenge to the state, and they prove that 
the cartels can disrupt the city when they choose.  We will 
follow closely whether the state and local governments have the 
political will to answer this challenge.  End Comment. 
WILLIAMSON 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04