Friday, May 27, 2011

Chaos In Michoacan


By DAVID LUHNOW And JOSÉ DE CÓRDOBA
Wall Street Journal

Three days of raging gun battles this week between rival drug gangs in Michoacán state killed an unknown number of people, forced hundreds to flee their homes and raised fresh fears that another major Mexican state has become all but ungovernable.

Fighting broke out Monday and lasted for three days. But news of the conflict was slow to get out because local media in states like Michoacán have largely stopped covering the carnage on orders from drug gangs.

On Tuesday, a helicopter belonging to the Federal Police was forced to make a hard landing after being shot at by gunmen from a drug cartel, the Federal Investigative Agency, an arm of the Attorney General's Office, said Tuesday. Three federal police were injured.

The police didn't immediately have a number of casualties in the fighting between the gangs. But the lawlessness echoed the scene in Tamaulipas state, where mass graves have recently been found. In another western Mexican state, Nayarit, a gunbattle this week left 28 dead.

"Organized crime groups are fighting for control of the area," said Genaro Guizar, the mayor of Apatzingán, the fourth-largest city in Michoacán. "There was panic throughout the place."

Mr. Guizar said that a total of about 800 people had taken refuge in shelters in the nearby town of Buenavista and in Apazingan, but that the refugees had started to return to their homes Wednesday after fighting eased.

Michoacán, a large agricultural state known also for its tourist attractions like the colonial state capital of Morelia, is the home turf of the powerful La Familia drug cartel, which specializes in making and trafficking methamphetamines, using the port of Lázaro Cárdenas to smuggle in precursor chemicals.

The cartel has infiltrated local police forces and city halls throughout the state, experts say, and largely displaced local governments in many areas.

The situation is so bad that Mexico's three main political parties on Wednesday signed a joint statement saying they were exploring the possibility of fielding a single, unity candidate in November's gubernatorial race in an attempt to set aside partisan bickering and save the state.

"It's indicative of how badly the wheels are falling off," said James McDonald, an anthropology professor at Southern Utah University who lived for many years in Michoacán and is an expert on it. "I think Michoacán is lost, like Tamaulipas. And it could be the realization that they need to get together on this and deal with it, or else."

The uptick in violence in Michoacán this week could be related to December's killing of La Familia chief Nazario Moreno, the messianic leader of the cartel who was known as "El Mas Loco," or "The Craziest One."

But in March, dozens of banners pinned up across the state announced the creation of a new local cartel, dubbed "The Knights Templar."

The Templars are thought to be remnants of La Familia that have regrouped. Mexican police officials believe the Templars are led by a former teacher, Servando Gomez, nicknamed "La Tuta." They believe another surviving La Familia leader, José de Jesus Mendez, known as "El Chango", or the monkey, may be fighting with Mr. Gomez for control of the organization.

A Mexican police report said that La Familia had retreated to the countryside after the arrest of 13 mayors and other officials on drug corruption charges in 2009, but had regained much of their former positions in the state's towns and cities after prosecutors failed to win prosecution against the detained officials, who were released.

Drug-related corruption in Michoacán is rampant, analysts say. The current governor's half-brother and former federal congressman Julio Cesar Godoy was accused of being on the La Familia payroll by Mexican federal officials last year. The congressman was impeached and went on the run. He remains a fugitive.

Raul Benitez, a security analyst at the Autonomous University of Mexico said the federal government is determined not to lose control of Michoacán in part because of its strategic location between Mexico and Guadalajara, the country's two largest cities. "Michoacán is a big problem," said Mr. Benitez, who fears the violence that plagues the state could contaminate the capital and Guadalajara.

Unlike Mexico's other cartels, La Familia and the Templars have a messianic creed and strive to gain popular support among the local population. This worries Mexican officials who see the drug traffickers taking on some of the characteristics of guerrilla fighters, said Mr. Benitez.

Indeed, Michoacán is a prime example of why some military analysts and government officials in the U.S. worry Mexico's drugs war could take on the characteristics of an insurgency, where drug gangs try to displace Mexico's government.

Last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the violence in Mexico was starting to resemble a "narco-insurgency," but her comments were batted down by President Barack Obama days later.

Some academics think the comparison is not a stretch—at least in places like Michoacán, a state of 4.3 million. "La Familia is the de facto go-to governance system in communities that are largely abandoned by the state. If you need anything, from medicine to loans, they are the ones people turn to," said Mr. McDonald.

Spanish Links: Apatzingán recibe a mil desplazados por violencia

Levantan albergues instalados en Michoacán





5 comments:

  1. That cartel gives a helping hand to the people. Thr people that live in poverty, and in exchange for goods they keep an eye. They are the eyes of the cartel. They notify if the military or any other type of government is approaching the town. The cartel does for these people what their country never has done for them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Does anyone still think that killing capos isn't creating more violence?

    And I quote, "The uptick in violence in Michoacán this week could be related to December's killing of La Familia chief Nazario Moreno, the messianic leader of the cartel who was known as "El Mas Loco," or "The Craziest One. Mexican police officials believe the Templars are led by a former teacher, Servando Gomez, nicknamed "La Tuta." They believe another surviving La Familia leader, José de Jesus Mendez, known as "El Chango", or the monkey, may be fighting with Mr. Gomez for control of the organization."

    So now that Moreno is gone La Tuta and el Chango are fighting for control. Just great. And same example applies to Arturo Beltran Leyva, El Nacho, TT, Benjamin Arellano, Osiel Cardenas and etc etc etc. Just to name a few examples. Its time to change the strategy Calderon.

    ReplyDelete
  3. When a State becomes "Ungovernable" it is the epitome of a "FAILED STATE". What does it take to realize that Mexico is a failed State? In my mind it is worse than when I was in Iraq, as the violence thier had less impact on citizens in towns. (while the US was their anyhow). Mexico has towns that have to be abandonded by their citizens. It`s shameful that PRIDE is so hard to swallow that Calderon and CO. won`t ask for USA help. We don`t want to take their Soverignty. We just want to quell their violence in hopes it quells ours from happening. All of my old company wondered why we never went to Mexico. Some of us wondered aloud, some not in "mixed" company. as is the military.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @11:20AM

    That doesn't mean you can't send those troops along the US side of the border. It's not always necessary to step foot on foreign soil in order to make a difference.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The drug cartels are not 'Robin Hood" solutions for the people in these states. This is how they fool the poor, uneducated citizens and especially the young. They come in with charitable aid gained by the 'blood money' received for murder, kidnapping and selling of drugs and people.

    They want you to think they are the 'heroes' before people see them for who they really are: murderers and thieves. What they really want is power, absolute power. Then they can run things the way they want to: without the rule of law, at any arbitrary whim of the gang in power at the time. Then do you think they will really care about 'the people?' Only if you serve their purpose. If you give up your children and husbands to do battle in he streets against rival cartels and die for nothing. If you give up your wives and daughters as slaves to the arbitrary whim of a cartel member or sicario who happens to think it is his right to take them...and do whatever he wants.

    If you give up your freedoms, your towns, your family and loved ones, your life--then they will support you. If you rebel--off with your head! Is this the type of country you want to live in. I would rather be a poor farmer cultivating spinach or bananas, knowing it was my business and my property to trade for other goods and services I needed than to be subjected to brute force rule. And believe me, that is what they are after.

    I have talked about terrorist activities for some time now. States like Michoacan and Tamaulipas are getting closer to the time when these terrorist cartel thugs will be able to take over. Many of their gov't facilities are either corrupted or they are being murdered and replaced. How long before the transition is complete?


    This statement is very telling: "La Familia is the de facto go-to governance system in communities that are largely abandoned by the state. If you need anything, from medicine to loans, they are the ones people turn to," said Mr. McDonald.

    Ask yourself why these communiies are abandoned? Because they have been taken over and police and other officials are afraid to apply the rule of law for fear of death.

    If Mexico (and the US for that matter) did not have to spend so much money fighting these cartels, think of how much more would be available to support the infrastructure in the communities. One solution: they should take every dime they confiscate and put it back into reinforcing the rule of law--of keeping these neighborhoods and cities safe. And hire the Leyzaola's and Vilia's of mexico to help clean up the mess.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are moderated, refer to policy for more information.
Envía fotos, vídeos, notas, enlaces o información
Todo 100% Anónimo;

borderlandbeat@gmail.com