Why would the U.S. Embassy in Mexico ban all its employees and officials from visiting Acapulco since two weeks ago? Did they have a premonition on the upcoming violence breakout Sunday?
The first shootout Sunday night began exactly at 9:53 p.m. as a group of armed men fired against the Alba Suites Hotel in the Miguel Alemán coastal avenue (best known as La Costera) which is also where the largest number of tourists gathers to cruise and look around.
As it happens, Alba Suites is not just a tourist inn but the one place where the Federal Police agents assigned to the port city stay at. The Feds fired back and killed one suspect but one of their own was wounded, according to the official report.
This first shootout unleashed a hot pursuit of the bad guys by the Feds in different adjacent streets. The result was that the crackling of automatic weaponry in this one skirmish spread the panic throughout Acapulco. But the shootings didn’t end there.
It spread out to the always-crowded Zona Dorada or Golden Zone where the resorts favorite beaches are at, but also the Naval Base and Aca’s three most famous beaches. This random shoot out and persecution lasted for about two hours, and sure enough, it emptied the area and shut businesses down. The attack by the gangsters was directly against the Federal Police. There was another attacker killed, and another cop wounded, or so say the reports.
The result was that after the shootouts stopped in the wee hours of Monday, you could hear a pin drop in Aca.
Also, immediately the local Education Secretariat acted by cancelling classes in over 100 elementary, and high schools.
Most private business in the area opened up for business but closed early and, in case you were looking for empty malls, this was the time to watch a few.
Reports say that the direct attacks against the Feds were provoked by the arrest last Saturday in Los Cabos of “El Burro”, as alleged mobster and heroin trafficker Fredy del Valle Verdel is known in Acapulco. He is accused of being the leader of the Acapulco Independent Cartel.
Apparently “El Burro’s” henchmen wanted revenge as their leader is now under questioning in Mexico City and perhaps make their presence to the authorities felt. Indeed, they could not have chosen a better target.
But also reports claim that are at least 17 organized criminal gangs in the city battling for the heroin selling territory which broke upon since 2009 when then top trafficker Arturo Beltrán Leyva was gunned down by also Federal officials in Cuernavaca.
With the Beltràn Leyva organization broken up, many groups allegedly popped up including the Guerreros Unidos, formally accused of the Ayotzinapa case regarding the disappearance of 43 education students at nearby Iguala.
As a consequence these gangs have spread their activities into kidnapping and extortion. But their favorite activity, which has shut down over 500 businesses in Aca over the past two years, is “charging floor” or paying for protection, which is indeed a second taxation on small entrepreneurs.
On Tuesday, the president of the Confederation of Industrial and Entrepreneurial Chambers of the State of Guerrero (Concamingro) Julián Urióstegui during the weekly session of the prestigious group of businessmen known as “Grupo Aca,” questioned the uselessness of the Federal Police and accused the mayors of the 81 Guerrero state municipalities of running corrupt police departments, which he claimed, is the source of all evil in Guerrero.
“The Federal Police only looks after the Costera and is here on loan,” Urióstegui was quoted as saying and pleaded with the mayors to have “certified police departments” that are beyond corruption.
“It’s an urgent move,” he added, mostly because even if Acapulco is the main source of revenue in state taxes it has become the focal point of reunion of all the criminals who use the resort to market heroin.
He went as far as accusing Aca mayor Evodio Velázquez of “omission” in the proper training and “certification” of the ports policemen. He said he asked Evodio twice about it, getting silence as an answer in both occasions.
And silence is what the Aca business community can expect, as the noise made by the sound of machine guns Sunday spread rapidly in the Mexican and international press.
And of course, it’s no wonder the U.S. Embassy is forbidding its officials to visit the infamous port city.