Killer Elite Switching Sides in Mexico Drug War

(VIDEO) Bloodthirsty cartels recruit troops from Guatemalan Special Forces.
Former Kaibile Carlos Antonio Carias is one of four soldiers sentenced to 6,060 years in prison for his part in a 1982 massacre. Fellow Kaibiles are now working for Mexican drug cartels. (Photo: Jorge Lopez/Reuters)
Aug 14, 2011
Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

Unleashed in the 1970s during its long-running civil war, Guatemala’s U.S.-trained Kaibiles Special Forces have a fearsome history. Specializing in jungle tactics, the Kaibiles fought relentlessly to earn a reputation for massacring civilians, epitomized by the December 1982 Dos Erres slaughter. At least 250 men, women and children were methodically killed by 40 of the elite troops at the village of Las Dos Erres. Many of the victims were raped as well as murdered before being thrown into a community well. 

More recently, the Kaibile mission has pivoted to battling Mexico’s drug cartels. With its awesome tradition of butchery, the Guatemalan specialists should be striking fear into the cold, heartless core of the narco traffickers...except for one minor detail.

Renegade Kaibiles, reports Al Jazeera, have been hired by the Zetas drug cartel to school its members in the arts of barbarity.

The Zetas are a surging force in Mexico’s ongoing cycle of corruption and murder. In the past four years, the Zetas have exerted a crippling control on the manufacturing city of Monterrey. Monterrey has a population of 4 million and annual per capita income double the Mexican average. The city had been a model for developing economies, until the Zetas dragged it into a bloody swirl of drug hits and endemic lawlessness.

Mexico is a major U.S. trade partner and the world’s seventh-largest exporter of oil. Aside from arranging the inaugural training of Guatemala’s Kaibiles, the United States also provides the primary market for Mexico’s illegal drug traffic.

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