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What is happening in Mexico is not normal. It goes far beyond the typical incompetence of Latin American authorities. It is not mere impunity (which in itself would be outrageous), but the open capture of the country by organized crime, in the face of what can only be understood as complicity from the officialism. Mexico’s government is therefore criminal.
How serious is the situation?
On June 5, a gang of criminals stole 20 containers from a maneuvering yard at the port of Manzanillo. And the crooks took their time, at least 8 hours opening and sorting the containers, presumably full of gold, silver and televisions. The value of the stolen goods? Up to $12 billion dollars, according to estimates reported in the national press.
On June 11 and 12, Mexico had 257 murders: the second most violent weekend of 2022. Since the López Obrador administration began, there have been more than 115,000 homicides and since 2000 nearly 450,000 Mexicans have been murdered, while at least 100,000 are officially “disappeared.”
Since June 11, the city of Chilpancingo has been without chicken in the markets. The reason? A group of criminals arrived at a chicken farm and killed 6 workers, while armed groups are now not only fighting for control of illicit businesses, but even of the “normal” economy.
On June 12, a video was published on networks showing a convoy of civilians with long guns, advancing in at least 25 pickup trucks, right in front of a group of Mexican army soldiers, who do not intervene; they simply, as mere witnesses, let them pass.
On June 14, close to 100 heavily armed delinquents terrorized the northern zone of San Cristobal de las Casas for hours, apparently as part of a struggle between two groups fighting for control of one of the city’s markets.
On June 19, El Universal published that the La Unión Tepito cartel is literally “drafting” young people in Mexico City, who are forced to participate in illegal activities.
That is what is known in the media, but there are many more examples that no longer even transcend the press, because in much of the country violence and the whim of organized crime have become routine, with the complicity of those in power and the resignation of society.
Criminals set up checkpoints at will, extort, rob, and kill. Imagine a tide of impunity and violence, initially limited to areas of difficult access, but now advancing unchecked, capturing towns, highways, and cities, dominating entire regions of the country. Only some of the most important cities remain as oasis, but even there the crime wave advances, as inevitable as it is tragic.
What does it mean to live in this captured Mexico?
It implies not being able to take even the country’s main highways with peace of mind, because (especially during the afternoon and at night) even the toll roads become the territory of criminals, to the extent that the only safe way to travel to more and more regions of the country is by plane.
Is that so much? Yes, it is. The most recent travel warning issued by the U.S. government calls for no travel, reconsider travel or exercise extra caution in 30 of Mexico’s 32 states, and even without official warnings, millions of Mexicans are subjected to a daily curfew, lest they be mistaken for members of a rival cartel.
The Mexican government with its arms crossed
The government is complicit. President López Obrador clings to the cynicism of his policy of “hugs, not bullets” that has tied up what is left of the forces of law and order, and turned the soldiers into an object of ridicule by the criminals they are supposed to confront.
Now, it is true that Mexico has always been a violent and cruel country, with corrupt governments and impunity; but never at this level. Never so much in broad daylight, never with such a passive attitude of the federation. What is happening is no longer normal, it is complicity; and through it, the Mexican government is criminal.
Gerardo Garibay Camarena, is a doctor of law, writer and political analyst with experience in the public and private sectors. His new book is "How to Play Chess Without Craps: A Guide to Reading Politics and Understanding Politicians" // Gerardo Garibay Camarena es doctor en derecho, escritor y analista político con experiencia en el sector público y privado. Su nuevo libro es “Cómo jugar al ajedrez Sin dados: Una guía para leer la política y entender a los políticos”