Drug Cartel Control Is Not Peace | Ioan Grillo Opinion Piece NYT

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Drug Cartel Control Is Not Peace | Ioan Grillo Opinion Piece NYT

Mica
This post was updated on .
NYT
MEXICO CITY — Parents hugged their children behind locked doors of nurseries while gunshots rang out on the streets. Men with Kalashnikovs and burning trucks blocked key roads and access to the airport. Fifty-one inmates including murderers and kidnappers broke out of jail. To avoid more bloodshed, the Mexican government ordered the release of Ovidio Guzmán López — son of the convicted drug kingpin Joaquin Guzmán, known as El Chapo — who had been indicted in the United States for drug trafficking and captured by Mexican government forces. Cartel gunmen had taken to the streets in response to Mr. Guzmán’s arrest.

As these events unfolded in the city of Culiacán in the state of Sinaloa on Thursday, they were broadcast live on TV and social media, raising fears about a failure in the security strategy of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Some people were relieved the official death toll that night was only eight, although several more corpses were found on Friday. But the Sinaloa cartel won, the government capitulated to its terror, and gangsters continue to have a level of control in swaths of the country.

On Friday, President López Obrador defended the decision to give in to the cartel’s demand to release Mr. Guzmán, saying it avoided a massacre. “You can’t fight fire with fire … We don’t want deaths. We don’t want war,” he said. “With justice, we will guarantee peace and tranquillity in the country.” The problem is that his government is absolutely not guaranteeing peace and tranquillity, and violence rages daily.

The call to set Mr. Guzmán free in the midst of the fighting was a tough decision. Cartel thugs even attacked a military family unit, putting the lives of officers’ children at stake. Other soldiers were reportedly held at gunpoint. There is a valid debate about the proper response to a hostage situation.
But the decision sends a message that cartels will be allowed to use violence to get their way. The Mexican security forces fumbled the operation from the start, arresting a top Sinaloa cartel suspect without enough backup to secure the area. And President López Obrador needs to forge a coherent strategy that provides a basic protection for citizens while tackling the deeper problems behind the violence.

Mr. López Obrador won his election last year thanks in part to his calls to end decades of corruption and uplift the poor. He rightly railed against the bloodshed and poverty that make people flee their homes, saying Mexico yearned for peace. Yet almost a year into office, homicide rates continue at record levels of more than 3,000 a month, while there are horrific incidents like gunmen ambushing and killing 13 police officers in the state of Michoacan last week.

I have been one of many voices criticizing the war on drugs and its catastrophic effects on Mexico. But the answer is not to give in to drug cartels, who can hold a major city and its residents under siege. The idea of drug policy reform, legalizing some drugs and providing better treatment for addicts, is to reduce the resources going to cartels and stop their rule of terror.

The problem in Mexico over the past decade is not only that the government has cracked down on traffickers by burning opium and marijuana fields. It is also that the cartels have used their billions to build paramilitary forces that lay waste to chunks of the country. It is not just a war on drugs but also a war financed by drugs. And that war does not stop even if the government is not attacking them.

Mr. López Obrador rightly points out that he inherited this problem. Reporting here since 2001, I have covered many dark days of this conflict: the massacre of 72 migrants; the disappearance of 43 students; cartel gunmen shooting down a military helicopter; a mass grave with more than 250 skulls. Yet that does not excuse him from the need to confront this humanitarian crisis.

The president appears to be struggling to win support from all his security forces. He created a new National Guard to bolster troops, but many of its members are occupied stopping Central American refugees and migrants from reaching the United States. Federal police officers blockaded streets in protest against being forced to join the National Guard, saying they would lose pay and benefits. And Mexican media outlets reported that elements in the army were unhappy with the outcome of Thursday’s debacle in Culiacán.

President López Obrador needs to rally support from his forces and send out a clear message that criminal groups cannot ambush and murder them. He needs these forces to reduce the homicide rate and stop armed criminals from openly taking control of city centers. At the same time, his government could lead a more coherent plan for drug policy reform; there is already a smattering of bills in Mexico’s Congress on the issue. And the government can press on with worthy social programs to steer young people from crime.

The United States also bears responsibility for this bloodshed. Between 2007 and 2018, more than 150,000 firearms seized in Mexico were traced to U.S. gun shops and factories. If serious American gun reform happens in the coming years, lawmakers should also listen to the gunshots over the Rio Grande.

Reducing Mexico’s body count is a herculean task. But if politics is for anything, it should be to save lives. Just talking about justice does not stop bullets; cartel control is not peace.
MX
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Re: Drug Cartel Control Is Not Peace | Ioan Grillo Opinion Piece NYT

MX
Thanks for sharing. Interesting to read about the PF officers complaining about not wanting to be in the National Guard. What were the military folks exactly complaining / unhappy about in the protests Grillo mentioned? I'd love to read more about that.
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Re: Drug Cartel Control Is Not Peace | Ioan Grillo Opinion Piece NYT

canadiana
Administrator
In reply to this post by Mica
Mica is there a link for this article?
My 2 cents worth on the article:Has catch a Capo really worked in the past when there's dozens that move up quicker within the ranks to replace them?I think they need to hit them where it hurts,not jail but dismantle their organizations financially.
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Re: Drug Cartel Control Is Not Peace | Ioan Grillo Opinion Piece NYT

Chava
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Re: Drug Cartel Control Is Not Peace | Ioan Grillo Opinion Piece NYT

Mica
In reply to this post by canadiana
Sorry, I thought that I had included it and just updated the post.
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Re: Drug Cartel Control Is Not Peace | Ioan Grillo Opinion Piece NYT

Mica
In reply to this post by Mica
I am waiting for people to say that if drugs were completely legal, this event would not have occurred.
TA
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Re: Drug Cartel Control Is Not Peace | Ioan Grillo Opinion Piece NYT

TA
Or that it's American's faults for buying drugs
El Armadillo
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Re: Drug Cartel Control Is Not Peace | Ioan Grillo Opinion Piece NYT

IVAN CHESNOKOV
In reply to this post by Mica
Mica wrote
I am waiting for people to say that if drugs were completely legal, this event would not have occurred.
They wouldn't have had all this power if prohibition wasn't implemented in the first place.Imagine if alcohol was still ilegal, Jose Cuervo and don Julio would be fighting each other with sicarios instead of lawyers .
By definition a cartel needs to use intimidation or violence to keep control .  From drug cartels to the Seven Sisters Cartel (oil companies).

And did you even read the article?
"I have been one of many voices criticizing the war on drugs and its catastrophic effects on Mexico. But the answer is not to give in to drug cartels, who can hold a major city and its residents under siege. The idea of drug policy reform, legalizing some drugs and providing better treatment for addicts, is to reduce the resources going to cartels and stop their rule of terror."

Legalizing drugs doesn't mean GIVING IN to the cartels. Is actually fighting them from another angle.

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Re: Drug Cartel Control Is Not Peace | Ioan Grillo Opinion Piece NYT

IVAN CHESNOKOV
In reply to this post by TA
TA wrote
Or that it's American's faults for buying drugs
Its sadly the puritan double moral legacy. Some can't accept that the same thing happened during the dry law years, those behind Prohibition saw a ban on the sale of 'intoxicating liquors' as a crusade against a moral evil yet, the big winners were Al Capone and the mob.
I wonder why the violent alcohol mafia/cartel is no more tho?
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Re: Drug Cartel Control Is Not Peace | Ioan Grillo Opinion Piece NYT

deelucky1
biggest opium dealers now is HSBC bank the legacy lives on .dig deeper then you find out how harvard and yale are the opium godfathers of the trade .what funds where they built with AMLO trying to do a reanacment in badiraguato not even close !
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Re: Drug Cartel Control Is Not Peace | Ioan Grillo Opinion Piece NYT

canadiana
Administrator
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by Mica
An opinion article from an anomymous person about 'the Mexican state collapse' from an outsider point of view.

https://claireberlinski.substack.com/p/on-mexican-state-collapse-a-guest
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Re: Drug Cartel Control Is Not Peace | Ioan Grillo Opinion Piece NYT

Mica
In reply to this post by IVAN CHESNOKOV
So insightful, especially the part about Jose Cuervo fighting Don Julio.  Did you come up with that on your own?   Maybe I missed that in the article...  

IVAN CHESNOKOV wrote
Mica wrote
I am waiting for people to say that if drugs were completely legal, this event would not have occurred.
They wouldn't have had all this power if prohibition wasn't implemented in the first place.Imagine if alcohol was still ilegal, Jose Cuervo and don Julio would be fighting each other with sicarios instead of lawyers .
By definition a cartel needs to use intimidation or violence to keep control .  From drug cartels to the Seven Sisters Cartel (oil companies).

And did you even read the article?
"I have been one of many voices criticizing the war on drugs and its catastrophic effects on Mexico. But the answer is not to give in to drug cartels, who can hold a major city and its residents under siege. The idea of drug policy reform, legalizing some drugs and providing better treatment for addicts, is to reduce the resources going to cartels and stop their rule of terror."

Legalizing drugs doesn't mean GIVING IN to the cartels. Is actually fighting them from another angle.
H39
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Re: Drug Cartel Control Is Not Peace | Ioan Grillo Opinion Piece NYT

H39
In reply to this post by Mica
Well, of course it wouldn't happen, just imagine the cartels without those billions coming from cocaine alone and how the drugs corrupted the Mexican society and consolidated cartels presence in the country, they have to pay for guns, sicarios, workers, police, politicians, equipment, mercenaries, army, locals and many more, these are all sustained with drugs money. And is the article is saying, this will not end the cartels but it will kill one of their revenues, an important one and cutting these revenues one by one plus social and security reforms their power will dimish to acceptable levels of crime