Friday, March 9, 2012

Narco terror in metropolitan Guadalajara

Another "narcobloqueo" wreaks havoc in Mexico's cultural heart: cartel retaliation after Mexican army captures their boss; three dead, 16 suspects in custody

*See updates below*
A narcobloqueo is a coordinated attack in which multiple heavily armed commando squads independently hijack buses, trucks and large commercial vehicles in a city, park them on main roads and especially at heavily traversed intersections, and then set them afire. Such tactics are designed to disrupt normal traffic flow, confuse and embarrass local law enforcement authorities and above all incite terror in the local populace.

Mexican cartel operatives pull off narcobloqueos from time to time, usually in major cities. Monterrey in northern Mexico, a seedbed of drug cartel rivalry and extreme violence, has experienced these kinds of attacks in recent years. This afternoon Guadalajara, capital of Jalisco state and the second largest city in the country, was struck. Guadalajara, regarded by many as the cultural center of Mexico, has a metro area population of about 4.5 million.

The governor reported that 26 vehicles were burned at 16 separate locations, 11 within central Guadalajara. There are also accounts of sporadic gun battles between attackers and police. No casualties have yet been reported, and no suspects have been identified. Guadalajara is under heavy security this evening, provided in part by military units.

Updates: Reports this evening say the narcobloqueo was precipitated by the Mexican army's capture of a top boss of the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación, as well as his second-in-command, earlier in the day. So the attack was retaliatory. The United States Consulate in Guadalajara emitted an alert to all U.S. nationals in the area, urging them to remain in "secure areas" until further notice. Three were killed in today's events, and 16 suspects are in custody. Numerous combat assault weapons were seized from the cartel, including fragmentation grenades and grenade launchers.

The dead include a 27 year old man killed in a shootout with government forces, who presumably was one of the attackers. A bus driver, 49, also died after the assailants spread gasoline in his vehicle and ignited it.

One Mexican presidential candidate wants to entirely remove military forces from the drug war: And the front-runner won't tell anybody what his strategy is (or if he has one):

Guadalajara had another experience with narco terror in November 2011:

Police are primary targets of brazen daytime attacks in Ciudad Juárez:
Juárez police take refuge in fortress hotels to escape roaming cartel hit teams:
Local police suffer the most in Mexico's drug war - underpaid and outgunned:


  1. what a waste of a wonderful city!!

  2. I bet my Canadian cousin regrets buying vacation real estate there now. He paid cash, a few $100,000. Will vacation real estate in some areas of Mexico become illiquid in the future?

    1. Nothing happened amigo, don't worry about it, if you relate with these people and then you have to worry about it, not everybody is at risk.

  3. Good question, Denyse, and a fair one. And it's not just relevant to Guadalajara. The area which I believe could really take a major hit is neighboring Quintana Roo state - places like Cancún. Yesterday there was yet ANOTHER U.S. security warning for that area (that makes two this week). Developers are building like crazy there, and demanding huge prices for condos and homes.

    Of course, the same is true here in Mérida, where new high rises with units priced in the multiple hundreds of thousands are going up all the time. My question is, who wants them? The developers are betting that retired baby-boomers trying to escape the cold will purchase them. I'm betting they're wrong. The cost of owning real estate (at least new, modern construction, ready-to-occupy real estate) is ridiculously high in the Yucatán. When you factor in the fideicomiso fees (an annual charge which most foreigners have to pay in order to hold a trust deed to the property), plus attendant legal fees and the ridiculously high cost of electricity (if you don't want to rely on a hammock and periodic sponge baths), the real price of home ownership here easily equals or exceeds many areas in the United States.

    Until Mexico's security situation improves, and especially until we know who is going to lead the country for the next six years, I wouldn't invest a dime in real estate. It's much easier to rent, live simply and keep all your options open. There's beauty in being able to pack everything you own and move in 60 minutes.

  4. Thanks for the insight Edward.
    Re retired Boomers. In Canada we are expecting a glut of housing on the market by 2015 as the majority of Boomers retire with hopes of selling to downsize or fund their retirements for next 20-30 years of their lives. 70% of Canadians own homes to date, who will be left to buy from Boomers in 2015?
    It is my opinion that Canadian Boomers will not risk a cash investment to buy real estate in Mexico at this stage of their lives.

    1. Very well stated as Canadians ourselves we were going to purchase property in Cancun or Merida for our retirement, but since the ongoing drug violence plus uncertainty of who will form the new governemnt,we have decided to only rent for next couple of years. This also applies to our friends as many have decided to look around other sunny destinations for retiremnt.