Tag Archives: Zetas

MEXICO: Upon the death of a Drug Lord — David Hidalgo, Jackson Browne and Los Cenzontles

This morning’s news that Heriberto Lazcano (pictured here), leader of the bloodthirsty Zeta drug cartel in Mexico, may have been killed by the Mexican military reminded me of a song by Los Cenzontles, the Mexican roots-music band from the Bay Area. (Update below: Lazcano’s corpse stolen.)

The Silence was recorded in February in a session in Echo Park with David Hidalgo, from Los Lobos, who has the vocals on the track, and singer-songwriter Jackson Browne, who sings backup.

A great, elegant tune about Mexico’s drug violence — one of the few songs whose achingly beautiful feel does some kind of justice to the tragedy.

The song is from the band’s great new CD, Regeneration — for which (full disclosure) I wrote the liner notes. The album mixes norteno, a little sixties rock, some blues and funk — all in a really strong, bold sound.

The band started as part of a grant to get kids involved in music in the East Bay. Years later, it’s an accomplished crew, having recorded several albums¬† and artists such as Hidalgo, Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal.

On a lower note, the Zetas started out as Mexican military special operations commandos and were paid to desert by Osiel Cardenas Guillen, then the leader of the Gulf Cartel, which ran the territory on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande Valley.

Cardenas, now doing 25 years in a US prison, hired them — 31 of them — as bodyguards. It took only a few years for them to realize that they could be a cartel as well. They branched off, recruited heavily among poor youth and returning deportees from the U.S. They formed new cells like amoeba, and became a fearsome force across Mexico and down into Guatemala.

See a Mexican military-issued photo of the corpse of Heriberto Lazcano.

UPDATE: Now there are reports that an armed squad of Zetas broke into the place where Lazcano’s corpse was held and made off with it.

The drama of our times — not good for much, except art sometimes.

David Hidalgo and Jackson Browne

 

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MEXICO: Nuevo Laredo paper stops publishing narco news

Two days after being attacked by a drug gang, the newspaper El Manana of Nuevo Laredo said it will suspend publishing news of narco conflicts in the area.

On Friday, armed men shot up the newspaper’s offices and threw an explosive device as well. It marked the seventh armed attack on media offices in the state of Tamaulipas in six years.

The city, opposite Laredo, Texas, has been the scene of repeated flare-ups of intense violence between drug cartels. It was the first Mexican city to erupt in the drug violence in 2005, as the Sinaloa Cartel and the Gulf Cartel, with its then-allies, the Zetas, battled for hegemony.

The current battle for the Nuevo Laredo plaza — the term for drug territory leading into the U.S. — is between the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas. Also on Friday, 14 decapitated bodies were found stuffed into a minivan in the city.

In a story for the Houston Chronicle, ace reporters Dudley Althaus and Dane Schiller, wrote that a banner over an overpass, addressed to the Gulf Cartel, read: “This is how I am going to finish off all the fools you send to heat up the plaza. We’ll see you around, you bunch of¬†parasites.”

 

 

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Filed under Drugs, Mexico