Zetas and the Cadereyta Atrocity (Zetas Tirando Cadaveres en Cadereyta Nuevo Leon)

Zetas tirando cadaveres Cadereyta Nuevo leon

Video File Title: Zetas tirando cadaveres Cadereyta Nuevo leon

Ostensibly Produced by: Los Zetas (see below)

Targeted Organizations: Gulf Cartel, Sinaloa Cartel, and the Navy, Army, and government of Mexico (see below)

Released: as late as May 15, 2012.[1]

Warning: Video displays images of extreme violence. Viewer discretion is recommended.

(click link below to view video)

Zetas tirando cadaveres Cadereyta Nuevo leon


The video begins with a text message dedicating this to the Gulf Cartel, Sinaloa Cartel, Navy, Army, and government, none of which have the power to do anything about it. The message was ostensibly signed by “Loco, Z40, and Comandante Lazcano”. The Cadereyta atrocity shocked the public, and their collective outrage became focused upon the Zetas in response to this video which surfaced within days of the body dump.

It cuts to the scene of the atrocity, where operatives have unfurled a large narco-banner on the ground. They chaotically attempt to arrange the severed body parts around the message without obscuring it. Clumsily, they attempt to roll the larger parts – such as torsos – using poles. The video is taken in the dark of night and it appears very extemporaneous. Indeed, some of the operatives may not have been aware they were being recorded. Dialogue can be overheard arguing about how to arrange the body parts, questions about how many are left, and logistics of presenting the message in a way that will look good on video. They finally decide to pile some of the parts. At one point the cameraman walks closer to an unfurled banner identical to the text message beginning the video. Although the message is signed from Loco, Z40, and Lazcano, (the latter two being top Zeta leaders), nothing can be overheard in this video that would indicate for which cartel these operatives work. The video ends with a still image of the body parts in what appears to be the back of a truck for transport.

It is important to distinguish what the video does and does not allow us to determine. It does appear to show cartel operatives arranging dismembered body parts of 49 victims with narco-messages near a highway at Cadereyta, Mexico. Its audio quality is poor and its visual quality worse. Ordinarily that would detract from the quality of a video, but in this case it works in the producers’ advantage, since it makes the individuals involved difficult or impossible to identify. We can only see the haphazard arrangement of body parts, and we can only hear scattered bits of chatter – but none of this provides evidence that the perpetrators are actually Zetas. They may have been Zetas, but given the willingness of the Zetas to stand by previous atrocities, the absence of any claim on the video is conspicuous, and should give us pause.

In the view of this analyst, it is unlikely that experienced Zeta leaders such as Herbierto Lazcano and Miguel Treviño would openly challenge the authority of the Mexican state in conjunction with an atrocity not being framed as retaliatory. Although public opinion widely attributes this video as depicting actions of the Zetas, it was probably created by the Gulf Cartel, or the Cartels Unified against Los Zetas (in this case, a Gulf-Sinaloa joint effort) with the intention of heating the Zetas’ plaza. Regardless, this video resulted in greater damage to the Zetas’ public image than any other at the time of its release.

[1] Accessed May 15, 2012: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fcYGJNVCF1o

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