Belizeans on Edge as Cartel Violence Spills into Chetumal: Mexican Military Deployed

Belizeans on Edge as Cartel Violence Spills into Chetumal: Mexican Military Deployed

Recent violence and insurgence of the cartels in Mexico have become a cause for concern for Belizeans who frequent Chetumal.  The violence that was once many miles away from Belize’s Santa Elena border has now made its way into neighboring Chetumal.  As we reported in yesterday’s newscast, the Mexican government deployed some 200 military men to Chetumal to fight off the threats and movements of drug cartels.  Love News spoke with Belize’s Ambassador to Mexico, Oscar Arnold who explains what is happening on the ground, what are the contributing factors and the measures being taken by the Mexican Government.  

Oscar Arnold, Belizean Ambassador to Mexico: “Understand that as far back as 2019 National Guards have been deployed in the Quintana Roo area mainly in Tulum, Cancun, Playa to address and arrest the narco activity and the crimes that have been popping up in this tourist destination. Tourism in Mexico is a $40 billion dollar a year industry and it’s not something that the authorities are taking lightly and for that reason I want to think that you see two hundred national guards who are supported by air by helicopter and also armored vehicles have been sent in specifically to the Chetumal area to arrest and address the problems that they’ve been seeing spiking. Information reaching us is that it’s two rival groups who have a turf war going and so there have been targeted attempts on the lives of individuals. The authorities like I said have sent these national guards to support the municipal and the state police in that area. Yesterday evening there was a meeting that the governor of Quintana Roo her Excellency Mara Lizama Espinosa headed along with the Secretary of Government Christina Torres Gomez, the Secretary of Citizen Security, and they basically met with the business community to try to give them a report as to what was taking place, what the response from authorities were and what to expect over the next few days. Everything that I say or that I have said I want to position it in the context that on June 2nd there will be the largest elections ever in Mexican history. They will be voting for their president, they’ll be voting for other members of their Camara de Deputados, they will be voting for Senate, they will be voting for municipal leaders and this is the largest elections with the amount of seats that are up for grabs. Historically around this time or nearer to elections there’s always been an uptick in violence in Mexico City. Not to say that that should be regularized or that should be accepted but that also plays an impact or has a part to play in the rise in criminal activity that we’re experiencing.” 

One of the concerning factors on the current situation in Chetumal is a video purportedly recorded by members of a cartel.  The group of masked men has reportedly instilled fear in the citizens in the city of Chetumal.  Ambassador Arnold says, however, that the Mexican military is increasing its presence in the areas and have made numerous arrests so far.

Oscar Arnold, Belizean Ambassador to Mexico: “I did see the social media post that you’re referring to. Authorities are very careful to say if it is a narco group or a group of persons. We’ve seen where in the past groups have used social media and social media posts to try to strike fear in the heart of the citizenry because then once you have a hypersensitive or you have a citizenry that’s on the edge then that is 50% of the battle. For the most part the authorities at the meeting yesterday asked the citizenry to be calm, to not be flustered and be influenced by these social media posts because the authorities are aware of it and they are doing everything that they can plus more to try to arrest the situation. There’s been about maybe fourteen detentions and arrests over the past twenty four hours of individuals who have been linked or who have been known to be involved in nefarious activities in and around Chetumal.”

According to the Yucatan Times, the most recent cases of violence have been the execution of a businessman, the murder of the son of a Police officer, as well as execution of the head of the Secretariat of Citizen Security and former director of the Cancún Prison, and the kidnapping of a captain of the Mexican Army.  Love News understands that in a recent arrest, Police uncovered five high-powered weapons coupled with a thousand cartridges of ammunition.

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