Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Error in the Fight Against the Narcos

Por: Genoveva Flores

The Government should include Society in the strategy against drug trafficking, says Genoveva Flores. Society was not excluded in the fight against the Mafias in Sicily, Naples and Colombia.

Airport Taxi drivers from Apodaca, or Monterrey families and workers, they all know to minimize travel to Reynosa, especially after five in the afternoon or risk attending the battle front of the Army and Navy’s war against drug trafficking as spectators of the nightmare that changed their way of life and undermined their safety.

Like them, the inhabitants of Michoacan, Zacatecas, Veracruz, Morelos and of course the Northwest states and all the states across the Northern border have stopped seeing the Narco problem as an isolated issue rooted in rural areas.

Because the Narco crisis today is there on the road home in your municipality, or in the municipality next door.

The severity of the change from the decade of the 90s to today is that the idea that drugs are a way of getting rich quickly and a guarantee of impunity for a new generation of young people has deepened in the social imagination, both in the rural areas and in the cities even for social sectors that had remained outside its hold.

Evidence of this is seen in the Inmujeres report, which shows a 400% increase among female prisoners linked to the drug trade in the last five years.

This is a major problem. In February Ricardo Garcia Villalobos, president of the Agrarian Superior Court, alleged that in 30% of the Mexican countryside traditional crops now coexist with crops (marijuana, opium) related to drug trafficking.

It is the drug traffickers who provide rural finance and it impacts approximately 6 million hectares, equivalent to the acreage of all the irrigation districts of the country. And they do it at the base of the social pyramid, in the space where before policies reached the poor to promote agricultural production.

These state policies have abandoned the poor and are now concentrated in the middle “productive” agricultural sector, as evidenced by the pattern of Procampo, in accordance with neoliberal economic policies followed by the Mexican Government.

President Felipe Calderon in a recent national speech explains what the federal government is doing about the drug trafficking crisis and noted as a cause the poverty that exists in many sectors of society, but his strategy only highlights the use of armed tactics and military strategy.

Society is absent. There is a role assigned to us in this fight against organized crime. And that's a big gap, which can be viewed in the light of international experiences with similar problems, as they were and are still fighting the Mafia in Sicily and Naples, and the narcos in Colombia.

None of these strategies excluded society. From the churches to the mothers' organizations and civil society, the dismantling of the drug networks and mafias was accompanied by a participatory society, who turned fear into valor and joined the fight for justice.

The president's strategy lacks this fundamental piece, the society which now experiences with horror the consequences of the fight against drug trafficking without any secure, accessible and real mechanisms with which to collaborate in the fight.

All those who do not live in large cities most likely know where and who the dealers are. The residents of the most exclusive subdivisions know which homes belong to drug dealers, some may even attend their parties.

Much information is visible to persons who refuse to be involved in illegal activities, but they do not have mechanisms for the secure delivery of information, as we all know very well the high level of infiltration of organized crime among the local, state and federal police force.

For a real fight against drug trafficking it is also necessary for public policy to refocus on the problems of the base of the social pyramid, both in the countryside and in the city, and perhaps to modify the neoliberal model that calls for less government.

A thinner, less expensive state is still very expensive if one accounts for the effect of marginalization, lack of opportunities, the sorry state of basic and secondary education.

It is much more expensive to let conditions deteriorate in large sectors of society and the cost is that organized crime finds fertile ground in their abandonment by the State.

We need to return the State to lead the rural development in the "less productive” agricultural sector through non-protectionist public policies, but we need development as well in the large urban areas, mainly aimed at our youth, to break the social base from the Narcos, something that the State’s bullets will never accomplish.


  1. This article misses much of the point. Certainly, the poor conditions for those at the bottom of society play a part, but wrong is just wrong!

    What happened to working hard and striving to get ahead to make a better life for yourself and your family?

    No, these people want what they see on TV without having to work for it.

    Where are their families? Their mothers?

    Society created this problem by ignoring the crime and corruption all around them. And now we should feel sorry for society? I don't think so

    I feel sorry for the millions upon millions of hard-working people who are trying to make their way without turning to crime. This article diminishes their hard work to avoid crime and the cartels by saying it is not society's fault for turning to illegal activities.

    We are all responsible, regardless of economics. For ignoring the crime and corruption. For failing to report everything and holding our police and officials responsible when they don't act. For thinking the problem would just go away if we just ignore it.

    We have many things to fix in our country. Education, wages, health care. But that does not excuse turning to crime.

    We voted these people in for decades and ignored while they stole our money and got in bed with the cartels. We have to be the source for fixing things.

  2. I agree with 3:17PM

    And we are a part of the problem. My brother-in-law was recently kidnapped in Monterrey and after getting him back (for $20,000 USD) we have not reported to police.

    Why? Because we are afraid they will come back. And because we fear the police are involved in some way.

    But our fears make the problem worse.

    So what is the solution?

    Our beloved Mexico is turning into the worst of 3rd world countries. Juarez is the Murder capital of the world and Mexico is the kidnap capital of the world.

    And this is what our children will inherit? Very sad...

  3. "Tenemos una deliquencia organizada y una sociedad desorganizada" We have organized crime and an unorganized society: Felipe Calderon

    There are more than 110 million people in Mexico, of those how many are narcos, 500,000? 1 million?

    For decades, citizens conformed;slept. " as long as it doesn't affect me or mine" it's okay. But now it IS affecting me and mine. It's affecting you and yours, ours, theirs, everyone.

    Society must unite rich or poor, PRI or PAN, educated or uneducated, everyone.

  4. Over...

    ...hay que no desesperarnos...

    Mira...los grandes se comeran a los chicos, o los chicos se unen o se mueren...

    ...mientras, los que quedan se pelean con la policia y el gobierno y poco a poco se van a ir acabando las liebres...the carteles will become weaker and weaker with every one of the battles.

    I already love the Mexico that is going to rise from the ashes of the carteles. From this we will see a decrease in their numbers and their coercive power; definitely a reduction in their economic and political power. To combat this, the federal and state legislatures will have no choice but to move towards pandering to the electorate...they won't fear the carteles as much as the people... hay de otra...

    It won't happen overnight, alot of people will still die, many innocents will still be caught in the crossfire.

    With every firefight, with every narcomanta, with every head in a cooler we are witnessing political events!

    Its great! Let the MF'ers blood flow!

  5. mexico is a beautiful country, i admired so much about mexicans, culture, language, historical etc. i got in the drug crossfire war in ciudad juarez, it was a horrible experience but i still want to return to mexico some day.

  6. Here is what I see. I see the 1M narcos control the 109M in the grip of fear. No one reports kidnappings and other crimes because who can you trust? I am surprised that in Monterrey it seems they in fact do return the kidnapped after ransom is paid, many kidnappings end in death even after ransom is paid in other cities. Mexican's are the hardest working, family loving, happy people on earth. Deemed so 3 or 4 years straight...but now the happiest people on earth are scared shitless. and I see something happening that scares Abuela Chivis even greater. I see a new generation of children whose dreams are being effected by these bastards, being influenced in a way that says the future will be much worse than now. For the kids I work with and interact with, sweet beautiful children with great potential talk openly about aspirations of becomming Narcos, and beautiful little girls saying they want to marry a narco with lots of money....that just about sucks the life out of me. I was at a school last month on the last day of school. I was speaking with 5 ten yr old girls asking about their dreams for their future, one said I am going to be a doctor, another sweet child says I will be a professor of english...another girl laughed and said professor? They only get paid 500 pesos a week .. you will be poor. She continues and says I am marrying a narco and I will have a big house with a swimming pool, another girl says me too!!! and the last girl could see I was so upset that when I asked about her she looked down and shrugged her little shoulders. 3 out 5 want to marry those fuckers that are destroying our Mexico, our culture....

  7. Now the cartels are their own worst enemy. In the end not a whole lot of the old school, and the young who think they have to have it all,or know it all, will survive. The greed,and lust for control, or power over another ,will only cause their demise. It will get worse. We can't realisticaly blame the cartels and their leaders for everything that's going on. If you think about it ,we are all to blame. Drugs are here to stay,it's just the way it is. The poor get sucked into the business because they have to survive some how, and they are probably the most abused in this vicious circle. Mexico's leaders and Pres. have let the country become even more lawless than it has ever been.I think they should carry a lot of the blame. The blood that is flowing in the streets ,is on their hands. Let them know somehow that you are not going to keep letting them ruin your country.

  8. ...Oiga abue...

    No se ponga tan triste. Mejor vamos a tomarnos un chocolatito espeso y una platicada.

    Es mejor ser buen ejemplo pa nosotros los mas chavalos. La vida tiene la manera de siempre salirle mejor a los que vemos todos los vasos al nuestro alrededor medios llenos. Somos ellos los que nos levantaremos y seguiremos trabajando, votando, viviendo.


  9. drug cartels - wow much worst than jack the ripper

  10. I Love my Mexico the ranches the small villages where people are happy work are honest. Will this Cancer kill the country? Please remember the sacrifice made the first steps have been taken but it will take years to complete. I hope the people of Mexico develop courage and finish what is started.

  11. The same reasons that all of you are sad about is why my parents came to the U.S. They wanted a better life for us. My father couldn't see us getting an education and having a better life than them in Mexico, not as a campesino. Here we are now, their children, counselors, teachers, doctors, and soldiers in our new country... It's unfortunate but until Mexico can guarantee safety and more opportunities for its hardworking poor, they will choose to go elsewhere like my parents did.


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