Norte is back online again, after a several-week absence. In today's paper Federico Ziga Martínez, President of the Mexican Restaurant Association (CANIRAC) is quoted as saying that in 2009 over 200 restaurants in Juárez closed down rather than pay extortion fees.
Extortion fees have gone up, from about $150-$200 (U.S.) per month last year to around $400-$1000 (U.S) this year. In some cases, however, given the lack of customers going out to restaurants in Juárez, extortion fees have had to be lowered.
One anonymous restaurant owner who closed his business last year told the Norte reporter the extortionists who approached him identified themselves as members of "Los Zetas," formerly an armed branch of the Gulf Cartel. There have been rumors for the past three years that the Zetas were in Juárez and, more recently, that they have made an alliance with the Juárez cartel.
For Norte article click here.