Narco Tanks: the Monstruos

Cease Fear, Drugs

Costumes, stratagems. Speedboats, catapults, submarines. There are many and varied types of arsenals that have developed over the past decades in the service of drug dealers and cartels in Colombia and Mexico.

But where does their product go? "Of the drug that we sow, you, Americans and Europeans are the main consumers" has become a truth rooted in the Latin peoples who make their lives in the production, processing and distribution of narcotics. After the party, you wash your face and hands, but in ignorance and easy double standards, frown moralistically or smile slyly when someone declares that they come from Colombia or Mexico. The drug is an issue that eats our countries, sponsored by sniffs of cocaine in your noses and marijuana spliffs in your mouths.

War. According to Unidad para la Atención y Reparación Integral de Víctimas, an agency concerned about the damage the drug industry has inflicted on Colombia's population, nearly five million people have died in the country during 50 years of armed conflict. In Mexico, a country to which the drug business and the violent ballad of the cartels has migrated, the figures are also impressive. More than 40,000 Mexicans were murdered by the end of 2011, and the numbers keep growing. 

In the ‘manito’ country, cartels fight to control the territories and drug distribution routes. The Gulf cartel and the Zetas have been lead the business of drugs and bullets for a while, leading  Mexico to one of the most violent periods in its history. Mexican newspaper La Reforma recently released a photo, in its front page, with one of these cars called Monstruos, headlined: “This seems like a war?”

These ‘Monsters’ are the newest invention of Mexican drug cartels. Armored hybrids between a Mad Max car, the A-Team van and the same retrofitted pickups iconic of the Arab Spring insurgencies. 

Coated with metal, armored and armed to the teeth, these cars have the same mechanical DNA as tanks and protect those who fight against the army and police in Mexico. Cartels have used them as moving barricades, a conveyance of drugs and a shelter from enemy attacks. These cars made in makeshift and clandestine workshops by powerful blacksmiths with military skills have come to undermine the confidence of the Mexican armed forces in their fight against violent cartels.