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Security Consultant’s Report Reinforces Violence Myths

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 04 March, 2011

(Acapulco, El Sur 4 March) A US-based security consulting company, Stratfor, published a report in which it argues that most Mexican tourist destinations other than Los Cabos are “permeated with narco traffic” and therefore, dangerous. Their theory is that coastal locations are useful for drug smuggling by sea, and the waning tourism is providing an opportunity for money laundering via the cash-strapped hotels and resorts. The report says that Acapulco is a war zone, in which the Beltrán Leyva group is fighting for control so as to oust the “Cartel Independiente de Acapulco,” which grew out of the remains of the gang run by “La Barbie” (Edgar Valdez Villareal), who was arrested last summer. The report says that tourists are not targets, but could be “caught in the crossfire.”

The report also presumes that Acapulco is an important market for illegal drugs, that is, turf worth fighting over. In fact, Acapulco is relatively small and rather poor. The turf is more important in the mountains, where production occurs, and in the remote areas of the coast, where the smuggling takes place. The idea that drug lords parade in and out of Acapulco Bay each day with loads of narcotics is simply a manufactured image, inconsistent with the facts. For these reasons, Acapulco mayor Manuel Añorve Baños, dismissed the report, branding it “incongruous.”

Curiously, the report cited Mazatlán, not Acapulco, as the place where the violence was most persistent last year.