War between Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas fingered as behind the killing of gubernatorial candidate Rodolfo Torre

The assassination of Rodolfo Torre Cantú, the PRI candidate for governor of Tamaulipas, is the country’s most serious political killing since the 1994 death of Luis Donaldo Colosio, the PRI’s presidential candidate.

Today’s NYT story has the basic information as currently known.

Most speculation in Mexico points to the violent struggle between the Gulf Cartel (CDG) and Los Zetas—formerly the armed wing of the CDG, and now their rivals—as the proximate cause of the surge in violence in Tamaulipas this year.  The Zetas, in particular, are suspected of being behind the ambush that killed Torre Cantú and four of his campaign staff.

Several items are worth noting:

  • Torre Cantú had recently gotten enhanced security.  The Ministry of Defense had just assigned him a new head of security, General (ret.) Roberto Miranda, who handled security for then-presidential candidate Ernesto Zedillo after the Colosio assassination.  (Universal 6/29)
  • In May, the PAN mayoral candidate for the town of Valle Hermoso, José Mario Guajardo Varela was assassinated. Valle Hermosa was where Torre Cantú was heading when his caravan was ambushed.
  • In eight of the 43 towns in the state, either the PRD or PAN did not field mayoral candidates, mostly because of intimidation and fears for personal safety.
  • In February, the U.S. DEA warned their Mexican counterparts of the growing wave of violence in Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon because of the war between the two groups. (Excelsior 6/29)
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