Drug gangs hijack mexican state

Fighting between drug cartels threatens internal security. State organs are infiltrated, neighboring states are threatened

The 3. November marked a tragic high point in mexico: fighting between drug gangs killed 58 people within 24 hours in the southern neighbor of the usa – more than ever before in such a short period of time. The violence of rival cartels in mexico and their fight against the state have become one of the greatest threats to internal security in the country. The government under president felipe calderon is increasingly helpless in the face of the escalation. On 1. December 2006, the conservative politician took office with a promise to fight drug-related crime. Two years later he is more restrained. According to the daily newspaper el universal, 5031 people have died in the drug war since the beginning of the year. A bloody record. On thursday alone, 12 men were again found executed in sinaloa, and in another case, five men shot in broad daylight on a street in chihuahua. There were another eight executions in chihuahua on the same day, and six in ciudad juarez.

Drug gangs hijack mexican state

Title of el universal on 5.12.

Violence has become so commonplace in mexico that almost all that is reported are super ordinary murders. When some nine decapitated bodies were found in tijuana in the northern state of baja california at the beginning of the week. Among the dead, investigators found a message for the arellano clan, which controlled the drug business in the region as part of the tijuana cartel until a few years ago.

The tijuana massacre was one of the latest high points of violence in mexico. Another example: in mid-november, a police reporter was shot dead in the city of ciudad juarez on the u.S. Border. Armando rodriguez fell victim to hired killers just as he was taking his daughter to school. For the daily newspaper el diario, he had repeatedly reported on the rampant power of the drug cartels. Rodriguez was not the first victim among journalists. Since 2000, some 50 members of the press have been murdered in mexico. Most of them had published details of the drug gangs’ activities.

The fact that only a few of these murders have been solved is due to the fact that mexico’s police force is caught between corruption and threats. At the end of november, the police chief of sinaloa barely survived an assassination attempt. At almost the same time, in culiacan, in the northeast of the country, unknown persons opened fire on the leading police officer ricardo serrano alonso. The 60-year-old also survived the attack with injuries. Everyday life in mexico, where drug gang violence recently claimed an average of 24 victims a day. One death per hour.

Threat to regional security

The "colombianization" mexico’s drug wars increasingly threaten the security of the entire region. On tuesday of this week, guatemala’s president alvaro colom lamented the spillover of the mexican drug wars into his country. The weekend before, 17 people had been executed in the central american state. Apparently, colom told the international press, they fell victim to territorial disputes between different gangs. The so-called pacific or sinaloa cartel already controls entire regions of guatemala: "now they want to rub shoulders with the whole country."

As in mexico, guatemalan authorities are militarizing the affected regions along the border with mexico. So far, however, they have been able to do little against the confrontation of the cartels. In late march, eleven gang members from guatemala and mexico were killed in firefights in the eastern department of zacapa. In early november, the charred remains of 15 nicaraguans and a dutch citizen were found in a burned-out bus, also in zacapa.

Mexican authorities and the u.S. Have relied exclusively on military means in the war against the drug cartels – although this approach is highly controversial because of the experiences in south america. Nevertheless, representatives of both countries signed an agreement to this effect in mexico city on wednesday of this week. A good $197 million is to be made available under the so-called merida initiative to crack down on the cartels. The initiative had been taken at the end of june by us president george w. Bush has been signed. A total of $1.4 billion will be made available to mexico, central american and caribbean nations over three years to fight drug trafficking and related violence. For mexico alone, 400 million us dollars were earmarked in the first year (2008). The money is administered by the usa.

Mexican state is infiltrated

And there is a good reason for this. Two years after the start of calderon’s campaign, the mexican authorities have been "campaign against drug crime" targeted by the cartels. The military confrontation is the lesser danger here. The gangs are simply buying off high-ranking officials.

Just a few days ago, the "anti-drug czar" mexico’s anti-drug czar arrested on corruption charges. Noe ramirez mandujano is said to have been given 450 million u.S. Dollars by members of the powerful pacific cartel at two meetings.000 u.S. Dollars in cash. This is what a member of this gang testified in us custody. The top official is said to have agreed in return to pass on information to the cartel as well as warn the drug lords of upcoming police and military actions. A delicate case, because until a few weeks ago ramirez mandujano was the head of the prosecutor’s office responsible for organized crime. He also represented mexico at the un anti-drug agency based in vienna. The coincidental arrest of the cartel member in the u.S. Allowed for the arrest of other corrupt public officials in mexico in addition to ramirez mandujano: ricardo gutierrez, the head of interpol mexico, and several associates of the minister of public security, genaro garcia luna.

In view of the state’s incompetence, popular resistance is now forming in mexico. In ciudad juarez, colleagues of murdered police reporter armando rodriguez called on president calderon to impose a state of emergency. Small traders and middle class entrepreneurs in the "capital of crime", as ciudad juarez is called, closed their stores for a day after the murder of rodriguez. A few days later, calderon presented his government balance sheet after a third of his term in office. In the fight against the drug cartels, he said, there is still a long way to go "much to do".