Excellent May 31, 2010 New Yorker article by William Finnegan called Letter from Mexico, Silver or Lead which is unfortunately only available by subscription only (click here for link to abstract also pasted below) The most telling two words of the article = “state capture.”
ABSTRACT: LETTER FROM MEXICO about La Familia Michoacana and the pervasive power of drug traffickers in the country. Writer visits the hill town of Zitácuaro in the Mexican state of Michoacán. On the morning before his arrival, the dismembered body of a young man was left in the middle of the main intersection. It was an instance of what people call corpse messaging. Usually it involves a mutilated body and a handwritten sign. “Talked too much.” “You get what you deserve.” The corpse’s message—terror—was clear enough and everybody knew who left it: La Familia Michoacana, a crime syndicate whose depredations pervade the life of the region.
Mexico’s president, Felipe Calerón declared war—his metaphor—on the country’s drug traffickers when he took office, in December, 2006. It was a popular move. Although large-scale trafficking had been around for decades, the violence associated with the drug trade had begun to spiral out of control. More than twenty-three thousand people have died since Calderón’s declaration. La Inseguridad, as Mexicans call it, has become engulfing, with drugs sliding far down the list of public concerns, below kidnapping, extortion, torture, unemployment, and simple fear of leaving the house. The big crime syndicates still earn billions from drugs, but they have also diversified profitably. In Michoacán a recent estimate found eight-five per cent of legitimate businesses involved in some way with La Familia. Among Mexico’s drug trafficking organizations, La Familia is the big new kid on the block. It first gained national attention in September, 2006, when five severed heads rolled onto the dance floor at a night club in Uruapan, Michoacán. A senior American official in Mexico City told the writer, “La Familia is looking more and more like an insurgency and less like a cartel.” Mentions one of La Familia’s leaders, Nazario Moreno González, who is also known as El Chayo, or El Más Loco (the Craziest). Writer discusses La Familia’s activities with a local politician and relates how the cartel has, in some places, filled the vacuum created by public distrust of the police and the courts.
The overwhelming growth of organized crime in Mexico in the past decade is often blamed on multiparty democracy. Until 2000, the country was basically a one-party state for seventy-one years under the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Drug trafficking flourished, but its practitioners enjoyed stable relations with officialdom. Describes how the election of Vicente Fox in 2000 changed the status quo between drug traffickers and government. Writer gives a survey of other significant Mexican drug cartels, including the Sinaloa cartel, and the Zetas, who had previously occupied Michoacán. Tells about the rise of La Familia in 2006 and its expansion into nearby states. Discusses U.S.-Mexico relations and the drug trade. Writer visits a drug-rehabilitation center in Zamora. Describes acts of kidnapping and extortion perpetrated by La Familia.
Links Connecting Police Corruption + Narcosphere + U.S. + North Mexico/Chihuahua/Juarez & Beyond:
+ In Ciudad Juarez alone, a key trafficking route on the U.S.-Mexico border, 1,200 people were murdered last year..as a comparison, consider that the entire coalition in Afghanistan has suffered 1,910 fatalities in nearly 10 years (source).
+ High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) — ICE agents who blew the whistle on fellow law enforcers’ fraud, waste and abuse faced swift retaliation from their agency LINK
+ Expertwitnessradio.org with Mike Levine: interview with Bill Conroy on the “House of Death”
+ Guatemala+Mexico gang influence (“We are becoming like Mexico, similar to when it was said that Mexico was becoming like Colombia”)
+ Making Sense of the Southbound Weapons Flow to Mexico
+ 5 things you didn’t know about Mexico’s drug war (note: gov data questioned for how many US weapons used in Mexico)
+ Silobreaker article: Arizona Governor proposal to Obama Admin for aircraft border hardware/manpower & PDF of proposal click here
+ “City Of Dead Girls” (10 min video clip from the Journeyman Films documentary)
+ “The City of Lost Girls – Mexico” (10 min video clip from the Journeyman Films documentary)
+ International Court Holds Mexico Accountable for Femicides
+ YouTube search: “Juarez”
+ It’s interesting and unfortunate that this Washington Post Mexico War blog is now dead/discontinued.
Note: Carlos “slim” Helu (world’s richest person) owns a stake in Tracfone, the wireless carrier that requires no identification. These phones are valuable to traffickers and were a main feature in the HBO series “The Wire” (“burner”/throw-away phones) about Baltimore drug dealing, law enforcement and politics. Getting such a wealthy and powerful person as Mr. Helu to provide statements about this connection and how he can contribute to helping reduce criminal stress is of worthy pursuit. A Mexican government stupid enough to allow willing officials implanted with VeriChip microchips (MSNBC 2004) that were later revealed to be linked to causing cancer does not show signs of hope at that level.
+ Bill Conroy postings at NarcoNews
+ Assassination of front-running candidate for governor Rodolfo Torre in Mexico border state Tamaulipas (June 29, 2010)
+ Banks Financing Mexico Gangs Admitted in Wells Fargo Deal (June 29, 2010)
+ Drug Cartel Dumps 72 Bodies At Mexican Ranch (Aug 26, 2010)
+ U.S. Border & Global Incident Alert Maps (Free & Pay)
+ Blog del Narco: Uncensored Web Journalism versus Violence of the Mexican Narcosphere
+ Audio: Tosh Plumlee (Flying drugs for CIA / Expert Witness Radio, wrote “I Ran Drugs for Uncle Sam”)
Part one | Part two | Part three | Part four | Part five
+ National Drug Intelligence Center
+ Reference: National Drug Threat Assessment 2010