Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Insecurity: The cause and effect of systematic criminalization.

Sunday, January 8, 2012 |

Inseguridad: causa-efecto, Criminalización sistémica
by Carlos Ramirez

http://www.indicadorpolitico.com.mx/2012/I-01/03.php

In the final analysis the problem will be addressed by either the willingness of society to live with the drug cartels and tolerate the harmful nature of drugs, or for society to unite behind the better laws and strategies necessary for a frontal assault against the drug cartels


The security offensive the federal government has undertaken from 2007 to 2011 has revealed the role of society and politics in the crisis of violence facing the nation: the existence of organized crime was only possible through the collaboration of society, politicians, institutions and even the State.

Consequently, the irrational violence and the number of deaths has been the effect of a problem of decadence within the political power structure as its cause. The Army itself has seized 106,000 weapons and 41,000 vehicles, which give us an idea of the size of organized crime.

But the magnitude of organized crime is much greater than what those numbers represent. The Army has detained 41,000 criminals and the number of those killed may be up to 60,000, so can estimate that up to 100,000 criminals have been taken out of the game. If we add to those numbers that of the seizure of 10,000 tons of marijuana we can then get a clearer picture of the size of the crisis of insecurity.

The existence of organized crime can is best understood in terms of a dynamic process: the growth of criminal gangs was only possible under the protection of political powers and the State. Following the 1985 kidnapping and assassination of DEA agent Enrique Camarena Salazar by a cartel of Sinaloans headed by Rafael Caro Quintero, Ernesto Fonseca and Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, the U.S. government revealed that the federal police forces, the DFS (Mexico’s former national security police force under Gobernacion, or the Interior Ministry), the Policia Judicial Federal (the disbanded federal judicial police under the PGR, or the Attorney General’s office), and the Mexico City police were responsible for the protection of drug traffickers and their shipments. The administration of the then President Miguel de la Madrid was forced to terminate a slew of police commanders.

The federal police forces were responsible for ensuring the national security of the State in the face of both violent and nonviolent political dissidents and as a result accumulated enormous power (Mexico under the PRI was ruled, in general, as a single party authoritarian state). After the 1982 presidential elections, with political power within the PRI changing hands from a bureaucratic elite to economic technocrats, the federal security apparatus was set adrift with a high degree of autonomy from the political leadership. It was then when the federal police forces changed its raison d’etre from pursuing political dissidents (who had gained some breathing space with political reforms enacted in 1978) to the protection of organized crime.

Another moment forgotten in the shaping of organized crime’s power structure is found in the period between 1981 and 1985 when a government financial crisis forced the administration of President Miguel de la Madrid through clandestine mechanisms to collect and officially launder U.S. currency from drug traffickers to neutralize the bleeding of U.S. dollars used to prop the peso that was resulting in constant devaluations.

The crisis over the official protection of drug traffickers was precipitated, not by a desire by the State to fight criminality at its root, but by the assassination of Camarena. It was not a coincidence that Jose Antonio Zorrilla Perez, the director of the DFS under Interior Minister Manuel Bartlett Diaz and President De la Madrid and at the center of accusations by the U.S. of protecting drug traffickers, was removed from his post and entered as a PRI candidate for a federal congressional seat from the state of Hidalgo. And it was no coincidence that the Interior Minister, Attorney General and Mayor of Mexico City (all three posts whose police forces protected drug cartel kingpins) in 1987 were seen as prospective PRI presidential candidates.

The change in ruling parties with the victory of the PAN in the 2000 Presidential elections marked another phase in the revelations of the harmonious relationship between the drug cartels and the PRI political power structure. However, the PAN’s lack of experience in forging secret agreements with organized crime and the loss of PRI guarantees of protection to drug cartels presented opportunities for the cartels to become relatively autonomous. At that moment the cartels found protection with other international criminal organizations and took full advantage of the space created by the PRI’s departure from the presidency to consolidate their power. Above all, the drug cartels power grew because of the decision of the Vicente Fox administration to look the other way.

The Calderon administration’s security offensive against organized crime is only one phase of the solution to the problem. The other still awaits the greater engagement of society and urgent legislative action to end the drug cartels’ circumventions. This is where the topic of insecurity will be centered in 2012, especially as the Mexican drug cartels form part of an international network the links organized crime from South America to the United States.

In 2012 the nation faces the decisive hour to put into action the final strategy against organized crime or to negotiate an agreement with the criminal organizations; there is no more room for halfway measures. In the final analysis the problem will be addressed by either the willingness of society to live with the drug cartels and tolerate the harmful nature of drugs, or for society to unite behind the better laws and strategies necessary for a frontal assault against the drug cartels.

In the end, the violence is an effect and not the cause.

Carlos Ramirez is a political analyst and columnist for the newspaper El Financiero

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10 Borderland Beat Comments:

Siskiyou_Kid said...

Calderon and his successor need to address the difference between cartels and affiliated gangs who are engaged in systematic violent crime, like murder, extortion, and kidnapping, and the production and shipment of illegal narcotics.

All of the organized crime groups in Mexico are engaged in violent crime against their rivals, but some use violent crime as a primary revenue generator, and these are the worst. They prey on average working people, while others commit violent acts against rivals or perceived supporters of their rivals.

While there were murders committed by drug gangs under the PRI's reign, they specifically involved internecine rivalries among gangs, and specifically didn't target innocent bystanders.

In retrospect, the corrupt system under the PRI was tame compared to the situation today. Of course, there's no way to put the cat back into the bag, but the focus needs to shift to prosecuting violence first and worrying about narcotics later.

The government's focus on narcotics has actually been used as a weapon by rival groups, leading to more bloodshed with a marked increase in the level of savagery. A simple example is the CDS's tip to the PGR, leading to a 23 ton cocaine seizure from the CDJ. This was revealed in the request for request documents by lawyers defending Vicente Zambada Garcia in Chicago.

Drugs and the enormous profits they produce are funding private armies, but those in the business would much rather make money than engage in violence.

Anonymous said...

The American government is run by mindless morons and control freaks. They have enacted drug laws that in effect are working to destroy the entire world.

They have an agenda they are not telling us about.

Alcohol is officially listed as the worst drug known to man and is not illegal.

GET SMART

DUMP THE DRUG LAWS

Anonymous said...

Moving money and products is not intrinsically violent. Failure to properly protect those transactions is what leads to the violence. It's the middlemen fighting for a bigger piece of the profits that produces violence. The ones making the most money right now, are the people keeping their business quiet. They might even be propping up violent groups as a diversion.

Anonymous said...

My My, this article is pure fantasy.

Anonymous said...

"DUMP THE DRUG LAWS"

Will that eliminate, express kidnappings, extortion, protection rackets, route disputes, rapes, beheadings???

Anonymous said...

As the worldwide economic recession goes on, the poor in Mexico become poorer while the rich become richer.
Right now, the poor in Mexico are preying on each other over scarce resources. But already they are turning their attention to the wealthy elites who exist only to enrich themselves at the expense of the people.
This article pointed out how action was taken only after the interests of the elite are threatened. I totally agree. It is just a matter time before crime starts affecting the rich Mexican elites that control the government. Then you'll see massive action against organized crime, at least until the threat is stopped enough for elite corruption to continue.

Anonymous said...

January 9, 2012 3:03 AM Alcohol is officially listed as the worst drug known to man and is not illegal.

Correction Tobacco is the worst drug.

You often say GET SMART DUMP THE DRUG LAWS why?

My neighbor will tell me back in the 60's 70's he used to leave tools, bicycle's and other things in the front yard, he will go out for the weekend and on his way back everything was there. Now in these days with the use of hard drugs you can't leave anything out in the open or it will be gone in a flash.

Decriminalized Marijuana? We should vote for that.

DUMP THE DRUG LAWS? Fuck no. I personally know what Meth, Crack, PCP, Heroine, Cocaine and other hard drugs can do to people, it will turn a user in to a thief or worse.

Anonymous said...

Until the profitibility of drugs stop the u.s. will be a willing participant. Stop the money to the bankers and the politicians. Until it is stopped it will continue for another 50years. "War on Drugs". Duh!!

Anonymous said...

Earth is made for Nature.

Anonymous said...

I LIVE IN THE COUNTRY. I GOT THE FEDS IN MY BACKYARD AND CARTEL IN MY FRONT YARD. CARTEL IS PAYING THESE FEDS OFF, LITTLE WHITE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO JAIL AND THEY ARE INNOCENT, CARTEL HAD ME AND OTHERS ARRESTED AND NOT HIM. HE GOT THE WHITE NEIGHBORS TO WATCHING ME AND NOT HIM, AND HE IS THE CARTEL MAN, I AM SICK OF CROOKED FEDS AND CROOKED CARTEL

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