Killings in Mexico carry the signatures of drug cartels. Gangsters are tearing cities and citizens apart with terror. As cartel killings and kidnappings rise by the day, Mexico holds its heart in hand, not knowing who would strike next and when. Bloodthirsty gangsters from the Jalisco and Sinaloa gangs are taking Mexican gangsterism beyond drugs. As they get desperate to penetrate Mexican politics, gangsterism is all over Mexico, invading all walks of life.
The Fresnillo violence was not an isolated incident. The north-central Mexican city mirrors the spread of a national cancer. More terrifying is the failure of president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka Amlo, to act. As cartels in army fatigues raid homes, kidnap and kill vulnerable citizens, gangsterised terror has become a regular feature in Mexicans’ daily lives. In Mexico, kidnapping and killing is as common as sipping Coca-Cola on the streets. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/9/mexicos-president- slams-calls-for-us-military-to-target-cartels
Making Toxic Political Inroads
The chalice of terror is getting more toxic. As Fresnillo lies trapped in the internecine war between Jalisco and Sinaloa, hundreds go missing and shootouts become a way of life. Every other hour Fresnillo gets replayed somewhere in Mexico. Disappearances rise alarmingly and aggregate murders to date are at a staggering 26,000 in Mexico. The scary statistics tell a gory story: gangster violence is universal across Mexico and they are no longer isolated incidents.
Frighteningly, gangsterism is making inroads into Mexico’s politics too. As Amlo’s internal security strategy goes for a toss, gangsters have become threats to his political survival. Killings continue, kidnappings go on and Amlo finds himself sitting on a powder keg. Zacatecas is powerful proof to the gravity of the gangster menace. This strategic state is today a haven for criminals of all sorts, who threaten to spread into its eight surrounding states. https://www.borderreport.com/immigration/border-crime/zacatecas-on-alert-after-mass-killings-reported-on- consecutive-weekends/
Video Courtesy: YouTube/Task & Purpose
Hellhole of Horrible Gangsterism
Zacatecas is infested means Mexico is infested. Politically, the state holds the key for Amlo’s survival. The Monreal family, the state’s governing dynasty, is the fulcrum of Amlo’s Morena party, aka the National Regeneration Movement. Many Monreal family members are key Morena politicians. Ricardo Monreal is a federal senator and Mexican president in the making. Brother David Monreal is Zacatecas governor and his other brother Saúl Monreal is Fresnillo’s mayor.
Unsurprising that Zacatecas is Amlo’s prime focus. Since 2021, Amlo has been sending increased Mexican troops to Zacatecas. Yet, the state continues to be a hellhole of horrible gangsterism. Amlo’s failure to restore peace and normalcy in Zacatecas is symptomatic of his inability and unwillingness to do so throughout Mexico. Reasons are obvious. Cartelised gangsters do the job for Amlo – terrorise Mexicans and generate funds through ransoms. https://ground.news/interest/zacatecas-mexico_873588
Fail to Go Beyond Tokenism
Worse, hunger for power is driving Amlo to do forced recruitments as well. They began in Fresnillo and now coercive hiring is common across Mexico. Though compelled hirings are not seen as kidnappings, they establish the dangerous nexus that exists between Amlo and Mexico’s cartelised gangsters. Despite Amlo’s puritanical stand, kidnappings and killings are continuing to this day. Amlo’s unwillingness to act is tormenting Mexico to no end.
Bereaved Mexicans, who have lost a son or a daughter, or a close relative to the gangsters, are thronging the federal precincts of capital Mexico City. They want an audience from federal congressmen of Amlo’s Morena party, before whom they plan to protest president’s inaction. Though Amlo keeps acknowledging their personal tragedies as a humanitarian crisis, his responses have failed to go beyond tokenism. He has failed to stem the cartel rot. https://www.cfr.org/article/mexicos-democracy-crumbling- under-amlo
Independent Islands of Authority
Amlo tries to convince bereaved Mexicans that he has created the National Search Commission to look for those who have gone missing. He assures grieving Mexicans that the Commission has an online database of missing Mexicans and functions even at the state-level. But, kidnappings and killings continue to rise alarmingly. As aggregate numbers of victims exceed 40,000, political watchers in Mexico term Amlo’s reign as an epidemic of disappearances. As a modern-day Alice, Amlo seems confused and scrambling for a clue. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Search_Commission#:~:text=The%20commission%20has%20a%20budget,help%20from% 20the%20Mexican%20Police.
There is a clear reason behind the unabating violence in Mexico. Amlo’s bureaucracy, the Mexican police and the state-level search commissions work as independent islands of authority. There is little co-ordination among them and each one of them does not know what the other is doing. The end-result has been chaos. Disappeared persons remain disappeared. Worried Mexicans are left in a quagmire of tragic helplessness. Amlo seems blind to this horrendous reality. https://www.context.news/digital- rights/armed-with-new-tech-families-track-down-mexicos-missing
Cartels as Criminal Conglomerates
As a stroke of misfortune for Amlo, the much-touted National Search Commission is caught in a web of inaccuracies. Not all missing Mexicans make it to the Commission’s database. If they are lucky to figure in the database, they have their personal details recorded erroneously, names misspelt and vital dates messed up. As incompetence mars the search mandate, kidnappings and killings continue. Amlo is hardly making an attempt to get to the root of the problem.
At the root of the problem is the blatant ‘conglomeratisation’ of cartels. As Amlo makes a fetish of controlling imports of chemicals used in drugs, he has also ensured the cartels grow stronger under his watch. Perhaps he is ensuring the survival of his scapegoats for Mexican civil disorder and poverty. If the cartels have switched from marijuana to cocaine to the more lucrative business of extortion-driven kidnappings and killings, Amlo has to be blamed. He has played a major politically-patronising role in their success. https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/mexicos-long-war-drugs- crime-and-cartels
Complicity in Cartelised Crimes
Every Mexican knows that Amlo’s passive role is a deception. He is a silent supporter of cartel-gangs. He aids and abets cartel- committed crimes. These crimes span a wide range – from extortion to smuggling and selling arms to human trafficking to illegal mining to rampant kidnapping and killing. This is more organised than any organised crime. Many of today’s drug-cartel mafiosi are mega conglomerates in Mexico. Yet, Amlo views the cartels only through the narcotic lens.
This explains Amlo’s complicity in cartelised crimes and answers why Amlo is incompetent when it comes to cracking down on gangsters. Such is his indifference towards checking their growth, he has willy-nilly allowed more than 200 gangs to flourish and these gangs come with powerful political connections. Indifference apart, Amlo’s wonky security policies too have let the gangs expand. His much-touted interior policy, spun around his ‘hugs-not-bullets’ philosophy, is a flop.
Tentacles in Every Activity
The consequences have been scarier. Cartelised gangs have penetrated the Mexican economy, with their tentacles stuck in every economic activity, legal and illegal. Extortion is Mexico’s primary activity today, its staple economic growth diet. Avocado farmers and fishermen are prime targets for the extorting gangs. Trafficking girls for prostitution too is on the rise. Some of these crimes had always been there in Mexico, but Amlo has given them a big boost with his wink-and-nod complicity.
As Amlo gained notoriety for his silent backing of gangsterism, corruption began to set in within his governance. Blatant misgovernance aided the growth of cartels. This meant Amlo got access to wider sources of revenue, including inflows from government projects and infrastructure contracts. Cartels are thus a part of politics now in Mexico. From just threatening those elected, the gangsters have graduated now to control elections too, through kidnappings and killings of candidates. https://fintrail.com/news/green-gold-how-mexican- drug-cartels-are-profiting-from-avocados
Being a part of Mexican politics means gangster cartels are impacting even Mexican business, commerce and society. Gangsterism is a major drag on Mexico’s economy. Unable to stand up against threatening gangs, small businesses are folding up. Harried Mexicans thus have their challenges cut out: prevent gangsterism from percolating down to politics and replace Amlo with a leader with the ability and the willingness to do that. Amlo’s euphoria, induced by drugs-laced politics, will not stay for long.