How do we learn to live with el narco?
By: Dulce Ramos | Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat
“You learn to live with the pain.” Resigned, with glassy eyes, Emma Veleta Rodríguez recounts how eight men in her family disappeared on the same day in Anáhuac, Chihuahua, four years ago.
The local press said something, but no one asked, later, how a family survives on a day to day basis when it is left without providers.
In Tamaulipas, a reporter is summoned to a meeting with an organized crime boss. They inform him, or rather obligate, to receive a bribe. It can’t be denied. A journalist who breaks this rule appears dead.
How does the disappearance of an ordinary man’s son from Guerrero convert him into a “dog”, as they call the professional clandestine grave searchers?
We know that on the roads of Tamaulipas, they kidnap, extort, and disappear…but how do those who have no other choice pass through there?
Organized crime not only makes us fear for our lives. Its impact is felt beyond. For example, in the closure of shops that sell common supplies by narco harassment, forcing entire communities to travel kilometers in order to buy something as simple as milk.
Since the government of Felipe Calderón declared “war” against organized crime, the Mexican media has covered missing or dead, but has forgotten to narrate the day after.
The digital project “Aprender a Vivir con el Narco” (Learning to live with El Narco) has those stories.
We know that organized crime breathes at our neck, but what have we done to stand up to fear when the State- either missing, an accomplice, or exceeded at its ability to react, fails to guarantee minimum security?
“Today is a fact that violence is declining in Mexico.” Enrique Peña Nieto said this in his message for the third government report. Their sustenance: the reduction in the homicide rate in 2014, which according to INEGI was 24.3% lower than in 2012.
However, to close 2015, there is a number of data that contradicts-or at least- questions it. The first is that the downward trend in the denunciations of murder is over. The first half of 2015 closed with a rising trend. This is the first time in four years that something like this has happened. Compared to the same period as last year, the number grew 0.4%.
The second fact: the increase in the perception of insecurity in the year that Peña took the reins of government and its sustained performance since.
Between 2012 and 2013, the percentage of Mexicans over 18 years that believed it to be unsafe to live in his or her own state because of crime grew by almost six percentage points. It went from 66.6% to 72.3%. From then until now, the figure has hardly changed. This year (2015), 73% of citizens feels unsafe in their territory, according to the National Survey of Victimization and Perception of Public Safety 2015.
“The people in general that feel fear, is due to common crimes or property crimes,” said the director of the National Laboratory of Public Policy for the Center of Investigation and Economic Research, Carlos Vilalta, one of the academics who has most studied the fear in the country.
With that phrase, one might think that citizens fear common criminals and not drug traffickers, let’s remember that, for a decade, organized crime has changed the face of Mexico.
The Mexican “narco” has gone from settling as large organizations that traffic drugs internationally, to having among their ranks small local groups that terrorize the city with its power of violence, firepower, kidnapping, and extortion. This “new narco” plays in the field of Mexicans on foot and has them in fear.
And how has the government acted? At first, with silence. Education, telecommunications, energy, and other reforms were their center of speech. But incidents like the Tlatlaya massacre or the disappearance of the 43 normalistas in Iguala made the policy of silence fall under its own weight.
“To stop talking about the crime problem is not a policy of crime prevention. Nor is it a control policy, nor is it a communication policy to reduce the fear of crime (…). It is simply to silence things. That doesn’t work,” Said Carlos Vilalta.
Why do the consequences of learning to live with the narco become so important as to create this digital project? Not only because it is urgent to portray the faces of those who plant their face in fear, but because a country’s conflict, the fragility and the governance are being targeted by the international community.
Since the United Nations was running a discussion on the Millennium Development Goals-which countries had to complete in 2015- organizations such as Open Society Foundation, funder of this project, promotes a new more comprehensive agenda for 2030.
With an initiative called Goal 16, Open Soceity encourages states to not only commit to combating extreme poverty, its causes and consequences, but also to prioritize confronting organized crime, reduce all forms of violence, homicide rates, promote the rule of law, strengthen transparency at all levels of government, and involve citizens in public decision making. All these goals have a direct relation to tackle and eliminate fear experienced by Mexicans since the state’s ability to keep them safe broke.
Source: Animal Politico
Source: Animal Politico