A Molotov cocktail attack on a supermarket in Monterrey, Mexico, follows a string of similar incidents around the city in recent days, pointing to efforts by criminal groups to intimidate rivals.
On July 30, unknown assailants attacked a supermarket in the municipality of Guadalupe in the Monterrey metropolitan area, causing damage to the building but no injuries. Proceso reported that the perpetrators broke down the door before starting a fire using cloth and lighter fluid. According to authorities, the attack was not an attempted robbery, but an act of intimidation.
The identity and the motive of the perpetrators remain unknown. Some media outlets have speculated that the attack may be politically motivated. The store attacked, Soriana, is part of a national chain that handed out gift cards which many on the political left have accused the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of using to buy votes in the recent presidential election. A source in the Nuevo Leon government, however, denied that there is any evidence connecting the attack and the accusations made against Soriana, according to Proceso.
The incident follows a string of explosive attacks throughout Nuevo Leon. On Friday, July 27, unknown gunmen attacked a casino in Monterrey with assault weapons and grenades. While the governor of Nuevo Leon Rodrigo Medina called on citizens not to allow themselves to be “terrorized” by criminal groups, a spokesperson advised residents to avoid casinos in the wake of the attacks. Two days later, on Sunday, July 29, the offices of El Norte, a newspaper owned by Grupo Reforma, were attacked for the third time in 19 days, prompting human rights groups to call for increased government protection for journalists.
InSight Crime Analysis
Violence has engulfed Monterrey since the Gulf Cartel parted ways with their former enforcers, the Zetas, in 2010, sparking a war for control of Nuevo Leon. Previously regarded as one of the country’s safest cities, Monterrey currently ranks fourth in murders related to organized crime, with 323 killings during the first half of 2012. While this is a slight improvement from the previous six months, evidence suggests that violence may merely have moved from the city of Monterrey to the surrounding metropolitan area; neighboring municipalities such as Juarez and Cadereyta Jimenez have all experienced an increase in killings linked to organized crime in 2012.
In August last year, an arson attack on the Casino Royale in Monterrey resulted in 52 deaths, leading President Felipe Calderon to brand it a “terrorist” act.
These kind of large-scale public attacks are used by Mexico's criminal organizations to warn off rivals, silence uncooperative journalists, and demonstrate their power to the public.