That might be the most brazen act by an organized crime gang I think I've ever heard of! The Post also mentions cartel expenditures aimed at winning the hearts and minds of the public:
"We're offering you a good salary, food and medical care for your families," it said in block letters.
But there was a catch: The employer was Los Zetas, a notorious Gulf cartel hit squad formed by elite Mexican army deserters. The group even included a phone number for job seekers that linked to a voice mailbox.
Outrageous as they seem, drug cartel messages such as the banner hung here late last month are becoming increasingly common along the violence-savaged U.S.-Mexico border and in other parts of the region. As soldiers wage a massive campaign against drug trafficking across Mexico, they are encountering an information war managed by criminal networks that operate with near impunity.
The cartels' appeals -- which authorities generally believe to be authentic recruitment efforts -- seem designed in part to taunt a military plagued by at least 100,000 desertions in the past eight years.
Last week, clowns entertained 500 children and gave out presents at a party in the city of Acuña, across the border from [Del Rio in] southeast Texas. A banner said the party was sponsored by Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, the Gulf cartel kingpin who is now imprisoned on drug trafficking charges in the United States.
"Your friend Osiel Cárdenas Guillén wishes you a Happy Children's Day," the banner read. "You are the future of Mexico."
The battle against Mexican drug cartels can never be won solely by force. What's equally needed is to facilitate a cultural transformation on both sides of the border to isolate cartels from the general public to make them more vulnerable. From this account, and others I've seen, the cartels are winning the battle for the public's hearts and minds, even when the government enjoys a short-term interdiction success.