HomeNewsBriefMexican Guerrillas Obtain Weapons on Guatemalan Border
BRIEF

Mexican Guerrillas Obtain Weapons on Guatemalan Border

EPR / 28 NOV 2012 BY CLAIRE O NEILL MCCLESKEY EN

Mexico’s Navy has warned that two small but dedicated guerrilla groups in the country are arming themselves with black market weapons smuggled in from Guatemala.

According to Navy intelligence officials, the leftist Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) and the Insurgent People’s Revolutionary Army (ERPI) have obtained automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades from the illegal arms trade on Mexico’s southern border, reports El Universal.

In response to this, as well as the flow of weapons to Mexico’s drug cartels, the Navy established nine Advanced Naval Stations (ENAs) on the border with Guatemala and Belize in 2009.

The paper also reported that the larger of the two groups, the EPR, has spread throughout the country. Recently-released intelligence documents indicate that EPR rebels are present not only in the group’s home state of Guerrero, but in 11 other states as well.

InSight Crime Analysis

The EPR emerged in 1996, when 100 masked guerrillas entered the town of Aguas Blancas, Guerrero, and publicly read the group’s manifesto calling for the overthrow of the Mexican government. In the 1990s the EPR was less active than its more famous guerrilla cousins, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), although it launched several attacks against Mexican security forces during this time. More recently, in July and September of 2007, the EPR bombed six oil and gas pipelines. Despite fears at the time that the group could begin increasingly targeting infrastructure, the EPR has not launched any new attacks since the bombings, although it has been connected to the 2010 kidnapping of a Mexican politician

The ERPI emerged in 1998 as a splinter group of the EPR. Based in Guerrero, the group is thought to be more ideologically driven than the EPR, but its ability to conduct attacks was significantly impaired by the arrest of its two principal leaders in 1999.

It is easier to explain how the two groups have been rearming — obtaining old Soviet-model weapons from Guatemala’s civil war stockpiles on the black market — than why. The EZLN gained broader support in the Mexican left and in mainstream politics by distancing itself from armed struggle within Mexico and focusing more on social and political work, but the EPR and the ERPI have refused to renounce military activity. 

The apparent growth of the EPR is worrying.  In Colombia, both the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) are still very active, while in Peru, the Shining Path is growing once again, thanks to its increasingly involvement in the drug trade. While the cold war and the civil wars it spawned are over, left-wing rebel groups in Latin America are far from dead.

 

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Related Content

MEXICO / 23 OCT 2012

Mexico's northern Coahuila state has seen a series of heavy arms seizures in recent weeks, evidence that Mexico's police are…

METHAMPHETAMINE / 24 JUN 2011

Mexican authorities announced the find of seven tons of precursor chemicals, used in the production of synthetic drugs, in the…

ARGENTINA / 5 MAR 2020

In a year marked by political and criminal turmoil, Latin American capitals did not escape the effects of the violence,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…