Zetas Interrogate and Behead a Member of the Gulf Cartel

Los Zetas interrogate and behead a member of the Gulf Cartel

Video File Title: Los Zetas interrogate and behead a member of the Gulf Cartel

Ostensibly Produced by: Los Zetas

Targeted Organization: Gulf Cartel

Released: as late as January 29, 2012.[1]

Warning: Video contains images of graphic violence. Viewer discretion is recommended. 

(click link below to view video)

Video- Los Zetas interrogate and behead a member of the Gulf Cartel


This video begins during the daytime with interrogation in a wooded area, and after an edited cut, ends with execution at twilight. A single alleged Gulf operative is kneeling and blindfolded. Three presumed Zetas stand behind him, dressed in black military style clothing, and black caps with the Zetas’ logo. The Zetas on the far left and right are pointing assault rifles toward the prisoner’s back. The one in the center has his left hand on the prisoner’s head, and holds a pistol against the back of his head using the opposite hand as he leads the interrogation. Afterwards, the prisoner is clubbed unconscious and beheaded.

The video is focused on presenting an alleged Gulf operative as an informant to suggest that the Zetas have been framed for local violence by their enemies, and that the Gulf Cartel collaborates with police and military. The video is also meant to terrorize, though the video’s content clearly indicates the terror is intended for the Gulf Cartel and its would-be collaborators, rather than the population in general.

The violence of this video is paradoxical in simultaneous display of brutality and restraint. The Zetas clubbed the operative before beheading him. Amidst the brutality, it also demonstrates mercy since he presumably was either dead or unconscious during the cutting. The courtesy of unconsciousness is only sometimes extended to beheading victims, and this may reflect Zeta satisfaction that the prisoner cooperated to his fullest. While most viewers will see depravity and mutilation, enemy operatives who have conducted executions will notice that they went out of their way to spare him the experience of beheading. Ironically, this might incentivize prisoner cooperation in the future. Through a logic of reciprocity, Gulf operatives would be expected to display the same courtesy to Zeta prisoners being executed (despite the likelihood such individuals have been tortured prior to the video’s production).

Name Calling was exhibited with enemy collaborators being labeled “sons of bitches”. The Gulf Cartel operatives were called “golfas”, a play on words that is a feminized version of “golfo” (slang for someone from the Cartel del Golfo), and the term “golfa” also is slang for “slut”). Glittering Generalities such as the police and military were that which the Gulf was accused of collaborating with (i.e., corrupting). The Transfer technique was mobilized by the military appearance of the Zetas, as well as bearing their organization’s logo, with resulting in the appearance of the Zetas being a highly professional, elite organization. The Testimony technique was used rather effectively, as the prisoner made a convincing informant of his own guilt by affiliation with the Gulf Cartel. It would be difficult to doubt the guilt of a man who indicates his own uncle as sending him on his mission. His claim that the Gulf Cartel (first person plural, “we”) was responsible for local attacks sounded rather believable. The Card Stacking technique was perhaps utilized with an even more believable claim that the Gulf Cartel collaborates with police and military, the omitted truth being that Zetas have done the same when it served their interests.


[1] Accessed January 29, 2012: http://www.notaroja.mundonarco.com/2012/01/video-los-zetas-interrogan-y-decapitan.html

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