I absolutely love this forum, and have been a member here for a long time. I remember literally being on this site when big news of all the big capos have been brought down. Chivis, you do an absolutely amazing job!
As such, I was sitting back thinking today about the changes I have seen in Mexico both as a huge fan of traveling to Mexico, and follower of this site.
We were always warned that the devil we knew in the big capos like Chapo, Osiel, El Lazca, Carrillo, Mayo (who's still there), even as recent as La Tuta, would be better than the devil we don't (removing them all from power). To some extent this has been proven correct. I have read stats that the way things are in Mexico right now are as bad or worse than as back in 08 when CDS and the Juarez cartel were fighting it out for Juarez. I guess my first question is to my fellow readers here whom I have come to respect over the years, do you feel as though Mexico is safer, or more dangerous with everything that has happened, and that is going on right now? My second questions is knowing what we know now, do you feel it was a good strategy to take out those top guys?
In my opinion, at the time I feel it was good to take out the top guys, but I do not think any of us knew exactly how high the corruption went. So to go into the second questions, looking back, had I known how high the corruption went I might have thought twice about taking the top guys down as they seemed to control the politicians, and people under them. There now seems to be more violence, with less "leadership" among the cartels. Sadly, I feel like if anything is actually going to change it will have to happen with the politicians first, and since we know that most likely won't happen, the best we might be able to hope for is strong leadership among the cartels again, with bosses who understand they make more money when there is less violence. What do you guys think?
Those are very interesting topics, 303.
I believe that the demise or capture of the great bosses during the late 2000´s and early 2010´s has proven itself a bad strategy. I don´t want to defend the existance of these people (if they can be called so) nor to suggest they must exist in order to reach some kind of underworld equilibrium.
But it´s a fact that the dissapearance of these people led to a weakening of the 6 or 7 main organisations that existed in Mexico at the begining of Calderon´s term back in 2006. The weakening of these cartels led to a relaxation of the entry barriers to the criminal economy market. With more space and less obstacles to join the criminal markets a lot of little organisations found it possible to introduce themselves in the offering of the two main products organised crime in Mexico offers: drugs and protection.
At the same time the Zetas business model was imitated by the new organisations and even by the old ones. The Zetas were pioneers in the sense that they realised that controlling not only drug trafficking, but also every single black/grey economy market business (mainly thorugh extorsion) would grant them a level of power never seen before. Of course, in order to control such a big market the level of violence required to control the already stablished suppliers is brutal and generalised. That´s the reason for the crazyness of the so called Zeta world which made them so visible that the crackdown of the hole organisation was almost total (by 2015 they were already very weak as a unique group, begining the splits which ended in the formation of the Cartel del Noreste, Zetas Vieja Escuela and a myriad of smaller cells)
At the same time the Zetas started also franchising their activities by partnering (but mainly absorbing) smaller bands or criminal cells. This model of offering the name of the organisation (the brand we could call it) and some times money and infrastructure to newcomers to penetrate in new business areas has led at the same time to a enlargement of the catalogue of products whose offer organised crime controls: oil theft (huachicoleo), extorsion, prostitution, alien smuggling, kidnapping, contraband/bootlegged CD´s, etc...
Sometimes the organisations/bands involved in these new portfolios do so because they can´t find enough space to deal in drugs which still is the best way to succeed in the underworld or to obtain the largest profits.
There´s plenty of material and papers about the so called Capo/Kingpin Strategy (currently the official tactic used by US Gov. to tackle terrorist and DTO´s) direct influence in the increasing Mexico´s violence level. Most of them suggest just so: the elimination of big bosses without a replacement to fill the vacum led to the weakening of the main organisations, this enabled smaller organisations to get involved in a market which at the same time became much wider and much more violent because of the fierce competition between the agents trying to reach a monopolistic position in the offering of drugs, protection and the new products.
I strongly recommend:
- The unintended consequences of kingpin strategies: kidnap rates and the Arellano-Félix Organization, by Nathan Jones.
- Narcoviolence in Mexico: elections, geography and cartels, by Guillermo Gomez Garcia (this papero is available only in Spanish I think. It focuses and the levels of violence depending on the type and markets of DTO´s)
- Kingpin Approaches to Fighting Crime and Community Violence: Evidence from Mexico’s Drug War, by Maria-Padilla Romo and Jason M. Lindo
- Trafficking Networks and the Mexican Drug War, by Melisa Dell (this paper focuses also on the efect of local elections and elected PAN Mayors on the escalation of violence depending on the type of Organisations dominating the plaza)
Thank you for your response. I will look into your sources as I think we both feel the same way. You brought up how things were back when there were 6-7 cartels. I think I might even go back further to when MFG originally broke the groups up.
So do we hope for an actual defeat of corruption? Or do we have to essentially pick the top 5 groups and let the them get rid of the rest? That is a lot of death. It's why I am kind of sad for the whole situation in Mexico, no matter what direction it goes it is almost certainly going to lead to more bloodshed.
You´re right, any direct measure taken against these organisations (``support´´ the big players letting them eliminating the little but violent organisations/trying to tackle the global corruption system in which Mexico is enbedded) would in my opinion inebitably lead to higher levels of violence.
In my opinion there´s no a direct/immediate solution to this dramatic crisis. I think the most useful solution would need a combination of Drug War scope change (focusing not only on the suppliers but also on the demand, this is, the addicts and their environment) all along with a serious, proffesional and efficient combat against the industry which facilitates the operations not only of DTO´s but also of corrupt law enforcement, military, politicians and businessmen: money laundering.
If you realise, corruption needs a mechanism in order to disguise the profits illegally obtained. That´s why corrupt officials from the Policia Federal, the PGR, the military and politicians are always the hidden owners of gas stations, casas de cambio (CDC´s), car dealerships, drugstores, restaurants, discos and other cash intensive businesses which paradoxically are the businesses used at a widespread level by small, medium and large DTO´s to launder their profits.
It´s clear that fighting Mexican criminal organisations only through military strategies using for it corrupt forces is useless since there´s a constant flow of income between the two. DTO´s pay bribes to and use public officials and the private sector to launder money and the private sector all along with many public servants (in this last case Gov, officials let the organisations operate thus letting them create income) pay monthly fees (through extortion/racketeering) to the criminal structures.
I believe that an efficient ``financial war´´ waged against the extremely vast and proffesional money laundering networks/organisations operating not only in Mexico but through the whole Latin America (and even in Europe and Asia) would lead to a debilitation of the cartels in such a way that violence would not be their most rational answer. Of course the measure should be followed by a relaxation of the tough legislations in drug consumption so popular nowadays (in other words, legalization of some of them) as well as by an international consensus. Anyway, I think we´re following the same path 303.
By the way, let me say I´m new at the BB Forum and its contents are extremely interesting. Thank you everyone for the welcome
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by 303
Redlogarythm’s comment I agree a lot with. My opinion I think Mexico is sliding downwards and fast.Just compare the homicide stats.Every year it’s more and more with every passing year. I think the problem is because instead of just a few key plazas for drug smuggling routes near the borders the plazas are all over Mexico now as drugs have been released on their own population. It will change society in Mexico FOREVER.Mind you almost all the violence is criminal vs. criminal or so we are led to believe.North of the border there are more resources ( or less plundered resources) to deal with it or keep it somewhat contained. South of the border no way. Corruption is almost a cultural thing right from top to bottom in Mexico.My opinion is it’s not going to change overnight. Yes AMLO’ s heart might be iin the right place cracking down on corruption but I think it’s been a well oiled and perfected machine for so many years it’s going to take a generation if not decades to get that on par with north of the border or at least a handle on it.The ‘silver or lead’ thing plays a lot into it too. That part of it will be played out for many years to come. Lots of do gooders will have to lose their lives before the criminals get it that there’s no more impunity. Maybe things have gotten too far out of control to come back. There’s no crystal ball but I think it will get worse before it gets better if it ever does get better. I almost think the criminals are running the country in the last year or 2 the way they are going after and making threats to the Government everywhere or maybe that’s just CJNG.I guess time will tell. My piece anyway.another note to add is that the world has gone global.Take the Philippines. Meth has been released on that population. In other words countries before that didn’t have a drug problem do now. Maybe except the countries that have sanctions like Iran or Cuba so it’s a global problem and probably growing.
Just wanted to say excellent contributions and quality information @Redlogarythm. Hope these posts are glanced upon by many eyeballs.
In reply to this post by redlogarythm
Welcome! This place is the most informative, and accurate place for real cartel news.
I agree with what you are saying, and you are right that going after the money is how they defeat a huge part of the problem. Historically that's how they did it here with guys like Capone, and others.
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