AUTHOR: JOSÉ REYEZ
As a threat to national security, organized crime could alter the course of the presidential election in 2018, warn analysts and professors
Organized crime and drug trafficking constitute an economic entity whose excessive growth and influence in political processes has been inevitable and its networks have penetrated the structures of government, state institutions and represent a threat to the presidential election of 2018.
Experts in national security and doctors in political science warn about the threat and vulnerabilities hanging over the electoral process next year in our country, in which the election of the president of the Republic is even at risk.
Aida Torres Chávez points out that there is a permanent presence of organized crime and drug trafficking within the structure of the State: territory, population and government. "No wonder, the issue has been the most relevant for the security agenda of the last two administrations for years," he says.
The professor of the Strategic Research Institute of the Navy of Mexico (IIEAM) points out that although organized crime will never seek to disappear or replace the State, its activity has led the groups to gradually assume functions of government, to generate the ideal environment in their activities or because they really want to be considered as a political entity with power.
In a scenario that configures Mexico as a "narco state" and in the face of the lack of political alternatives and solutions to social problems, the electoral process in July faces serious risks for national security due to the penetration of organized crime, warns the PhD in Political Science from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Emilio Vizarretea Rosales.
"We are facing a narco state because organized crime entered a facet in which it became involved with society, local, state and federal authorities, which has generated a degree of violence that has escalated and caused a conflict between drug traffickers, society and government, "he emphasizes.
In an interview, he points out that this situation leads to recognizing that the narco-state signaling has an effective dimension, because "it is not a failed or weak state, but rather that part of the state is inclined towards criminal interests that undermine the social force and they cause that in each electoral process they force to value the weight of the organized delinquency ".
Nelson Arteaga Botello, Ph.D. in Sociology from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (Flacso), disagrees with his UNAM counterpart when indicating in an interview that one can not speak of a Narco State in the strict sense. "It would imply that the State has lost autonomy to exercise the functions of its organs and norms."
What happens, he says, is that there are powers and spheres of government that have established links with criminal gangs that operate in specific and localized areas and with different territorial objectives in the medium and long term, which does not allow the total cooperation of the State and your institutions.
In his analysis Perspectives on the influence of organized crime in the next presidential election (September 2017), Aidé Torres Chávez points out that although the level of involvement of organized crime is more noticeable in states and municipalities, there is a high risk that it will influence in the presidential election.
The specialist of the Naval Center for Higher Studies (Cesnav) estimates that "there would be no way for the cartels to succeed in their businesses if they do not have the support of authorities and officials."
He explains that the democratic transition broke the synergy that organized crime maintained with the political structure and resulted in the lack of coordination of different levels of government in the field of security.
It was then, he says, that organized crime focused its strength on the establishment of alliances and ties at all political, military and business levels, with a high corruption component and infiltrated public spaces to the degree of assuming an entire government structure .
In the last decade, Torres Chávez explains, several examples illustrate how organized crime presses candidates to align with their interests, buying authorities, officials, government secretaries, municipal presidents and governors.
He points out that Enrique Peña Nieto, by increasing by 50 percent the presence of the Armed Forces in the anti-crime struggle compared to the previous administration and maintaining the dynamics of his predecessor's detentions to hit the cartels, only caused an excessive increase of homicides in the country. (Picture 1).
And on September 26, 2014, with the disappearance of 43 normalistas from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, the president's second major crisis was generated-the other was the revelation of the White House by his wife Angélica Rivera-and represented a turning point in his life. government.
Vulnerabilities of the State
Aidé Torres believes that before the electoral process of 2018, several high-risk issues are faced with the potential to affect the conduct of elections, such as the State's vulnerability to organized crime, the political links of drug trafficking and the infiltration of its networks into the electoral processes.
In this regard, Flacso professor and researcher, Nelson Arteaga, believes that it is difficult to predict what the links of organized crime would be like to some political circles, since it has been a posteriori when this phenomenon is observed, when there are executions of municipal or deputies.
"It is a complex relationship, and precisely by 2018 we will find pressures from criminal organizations towards some politicians to benefit, and overcome the resistance of some candidates through acts of violence," he says.
Perhaps one of the dangers in the elections of 2018 is that presidential candidates do not necessarily have a direct link to drug trafficking, but rather of the groups behind the candidates, providing them with economic resources or political support, emphasizes the professor.
Therefore, he argues that it is difficult for the country to become a narco state . What there is, he says, are certain political spaces where there could be fissures in which organized crime is embedded and generate violence and attacks against the candidates (as in Colombia, where even a presidential candidate was killed).
The media power of narcopolitics
"The impact on institutions and the rule of law is undoubted, permeates in various ways and has several aspects, since the action of drug trafficking involves a political background that seeks to manipulate public opinion and the perception that you have of them", notes the IIEAM academic, Aidé Torres Chávez.
He points out that there are numerous cases that demonstrate the involvement of members of the political class with organized crime groups, in a kind of "narco-politics". And he cites several examples.
Édgar Valdez Villareal «La Barbie», Lieutenant of the Beltrán Leyva cartel, published in 2005 deployments addressed to President Vicente Fox, the Secretary of Defense, the prosecutor, governors and candidates for the Presidency of the Republic of 2006, whom he warned of the danger of Los Zetas and asked them to apply the rule of law over them, something that Felipe Calderón did not do.
In November 2012, Villarreal released a letter in which he stated that President Felipe Calderón proposed him to join a pact that he intended to carry out with various drug trafficking leaders and, having refused, initiated a political persecution against him.
Servando Gómez Martínez «La Tuta», leader of the Knights Templar and at the time of the Michoacán Family, used to record his meetings with politicians, businessmen and journalists, and in August 2009 he called for dialogue with federal authorities to "do things well" »
The michoacanazo is one of the most emblematic cases in the scope of corruption in its governance structures, underlines Torres Chávez. On May 26, 2009, 38 State and municipal officials of the Democratic Revolution Party were arrested by the Attorney General's Office accused of having links with members of La Familia Michoacana.
"It was the first major blow against narco-politics in the history of the country, but 16 months later all those involved were released due to lack of evidence, despite investigations by the Federal Police, citizen complaints and the testimonies of protected witnesses "
By 2014 -continues the analyst-, already in the government of Peña Nieto, the crisis in Michoacán still remained, but the new scandal came from the close circle of the then governor Fausto Vallejo, emanating from the Institutional Revolutionary Party. In July, the Knights Templar released a recording of the meeting of the son of the president, Rodrigo Vallejo Mora, with Servando Gómez. And Jesús Reyna, who replaced Fauso Vallejo, was arrested for links to organized crime.
Another example of narco - politics , says Aidé Torres, was that of the ex-governor of Coahuila, Humberto Moreira, and former national leader of PRI (the same party that led to the Presidency of the Republic Peña Nieto), accused of diverting 50 billion pesos from the treasury . He was arrested in January 2016 in Spain for money laundering, bribery and criminal organization, but was released after proving the origin of 200 thousand euros.
Moreira had a relationship with Juan Manuel Muñoz Luévano "El Mono", operator of Los Zetas in Europe and apprehended in Spain as part of an investigation of the Los Zetas financing network abroad. It is linked to the case against Rolando González Treviño, a former member of the same cartel, accused of handling accounts of the Coahuila government. In pleading guilty to US justice, González accused Moreira of being responsible for diverting funds allegedly used for the Enrique Peña Nieto campaign.
On July 20, 2017, in an operation of the Navy, Felipe de Jesus Perez Luna "El Ojos", leader of the Tláhuac Cartel, was shot down, which broke the security bubble that was believed to be the capital of the country. the one that the head of government presumed Miguel Ángel Mancera.
Criminality has assaulted candidates for elected office and the most affected have been the candidates for municipal presidents (more than 100 murdered in recent years), councilors and deputies, recapitulates the professor of Cesnav.
The criminal phenomenon not only threatens the security forces of the State, it has direct impact on the civilian population that has been threatened, intimidated and has been the victim of "collateral damage", with its sequel of civilians killed in clashes, clandestine graves, kidnappings, disappeared and displaced.
Elections: risk to national security
The electoral process of July 2018 faces serious risks, including for national security, due to the penetration of members of organized crime in political and government structures, insists UNAM political scientist Emilio Vizarretea Rosales
"It is not only a matter of candidates or political parties, but of national security, because the increase in violence affects the stability and democratic participation of citizens," he stresses.
He agrees with the professor Aidé Torres in that organized crime generates situations of "narco-elections that derive in a political narco in the electoral processes, in which insecurity, violence, instability and poverty place the population in a climate of social defenselessness, political and legal ".
For example, the professor points out, candidates and parties that have ties to drug trafficking question the security of municipal and governor elections, even a cascading effect that would make any public policy unsustainable.
The failure of the independents
He adds that the response of society in some states to the action and crisis of the political forces, is the search for solutions in the independent candidacies, which, however, "lost the synergy that they brought with the social groups, especially with young people, faced with the bewilderment of lack of immediate responses to social problems that require attention and continuity ".
Vizarretea Rosales indica que con los candidatos independientes –85 de ellos registrados ante el Instituto Nacional Electoral para la elección presidencial- se diluye la fuerza política de la sociedad y se desorganiza, porque generan la disolución del voto y desagregación de la participación ciudadana, en un contexto en el que las fuerzas minoritarias (partidos políticos) pero organizadas mantienen el control del poder.
Es decir, abundan los independientes y dividen a los distintos grupos sociales que podrían articularse, y quién resulta beneficiada es la delincuencia organizada porque controla a la comunidad, a los gobiernos y se reproduce.
Dr. Nelson Arteaga argues that the process of political recomposition in the country allows different personalities to seek new forms of participation, which attracts society towards the figure of independent candidates.
"That speaks to the political vitality in the country and the political parties have not been exhausted, have played a central role in the Congress of the Union, where they play a central role, and any independent candidate who arrives will have to negotiate with the parties, "he says.
There are states with the presence of criminal groups historically: Sinaloa, Michoacán, Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Jalisco and that for their performance and capacity to generate violence and death have been placed on the media scene in the country.
This scenario makes us see that they have a territorial presence and that they try to indirectly influence elections, which does not necessarily mean that they are in collusion with the candidates, but that they could influence their interests without the need to establish a link.
The case of the governors is illustrative, the pressure of the media has made evident acts of corruption and questioned their integrity that has placed them as possible responsible for acts and links with organized crime, and embezzle the state coffers.
And it is that with Peña Nieto there has been no change, except in some actors and institutions, but the way of operating the political apparatus is intact, with everything and political alternation, where government authoritarianism coexists with other democratic instances and in that symmetry is where this particular way of doing politics in the country is being built, concludes the professor of Flacso, Nelson Arteaga.
Governors subject to criminal or extradition proceedings
Javier Duarte, former governor of Veracruz, of the PRI, extradited on July 17 by Guatemala, imprisoned in the North Prison, subject to a federal process for money laundering and organized crime.
Roberto Borge, former governor of Quintana Roo (PRI), captured by Interpol on June 4 in Panama, is being held in that country. It is requested by Mexico for money laundering, embezzlement, illicit use and improper exercise of public function.
Tomás Yarrington, former governor of Tamaulipas (PRI), arrested in April in Florence, Italy, is being held in the Sollicciano prison. On September 21, the Court of Cassation granted his extradition, accused in the United States of organized crime, money laundering, drug trafficking and bank fraud, and in Mexico for crimes against health.
César Duarte, former governor of Chihuahua (PRI), from March 28 to date have been issued 10 arrest warrants against him for embezzlement. Although he has been a fugitive from justice for more than half a year and the red file has been turned against him, the PGR has not requested the arrest warrant from the EU.
Andrés Granier, former governor of Tabasco (PRI), imprisoned in the Reclusorio Oriente since June 2013 and in July transferred to the Medical Tower of the Tepepan Prison, faces three trials for tax fraud and one for embezzlement.
Guillermo Padrés, former governor of Sonora (PAN), was apprehended in November 2016 and is being held in the Oriente Prison for money laundering, tax fraud and organized crime crimes.
Roberto Sandoval, former governor of Nayarit (PRI), on April 17, a group called the Truth Commission, filed a complaint against him for embezzlement and illicit enrichment before the PGR. On June 2, Seido attracted the investigation file that was initiated, but has not been summoned to testify.
Eugenio Hernández, former governor of Tamaulipas (2005-2010), was arrested on October 6 by the Attorney General's Office of the State, in compliance with an arrest warrant against him for the crimes of embezzlement and money laundering.
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