In January 2012, Edgardo Buscaglia, a professor at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México in Mexico City told El Universal that through corruption of local officials, criminal gangs were in control of 71.5 percent of Mexico’s cities and towns.
“They are operating notoriously in front of the noses of the police, the politicians, and the authorities of all stripes, and for this there has to be some type of tolerance from the state and it can be at a political or a police level. This is telling us that this type of co-opting is on the rise and now we are seeing greater competence between criminal groups to place themselves in these municipal jurisdictions and this competition generates violence”
Buscaglia has served as an adviser to both the World Bank and the United Nations.
In January 2012, arrest orders were issued for 33 former mayors in the Mexican state of Veracruz on suspicion of corruption charges. Leonardo Mendoza, former mayor of Benito Juarez was the first taken into custody.
Veracruz Deputy Attorney General Reynaldo Escobar told the Associated Press the ex-mayors were among 115 government employees in the state charged with corruption between 2004 and 2008.
Corruption among government officials is of course, the key to the rise of the cartels.
In May 2010, Mexican police arrested the mayor of Cancun, Gregorio Sanchez, and charged him with a money laundering and association with drug smugglers.Sanchez, was apparently feeding information to the Beltran Leyva and Los Zetas cartels.
That same month, former governor of Quintana Roo, Mario Villanueva Madrid, was extradited to the United States, after he was indicted on charges of corruption and aiding cocaine smugglers.
-In May 2009 alone, Mexican authorities arrested 10 mayors and 20 local officials after they were implicated through an investigation into the ultra-violent La Familia Cartel.
If La Familia cannot buy-off a politician (Often, because they have already accepted bribes from arival organization.), they simply kill him.
In April 2009, congressional candidate Gustavo Bucio Rodriguez was shot to death at the gas station he owned. Only days earlier, the body of Lazaro Cardenas Mayor Nicolas Leon was discovered. Leon had been tortured and shot to death, with the initials “FM” (Familia Michoacana) left on his body.
An example of the tolerance Mexican authorities have for the cartels, came in April 2011, when The Dallas Morning News printed a letter to the editor from the Arturo Sarukhan, the Mexican ambassador to the United States, who wrote in response to an editorial which appeared in paper entitled “Let’s call Mexico’s drug cartels what they are: terrorists.”
The editorial was written in support of U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul’s (R-TX) proposal to designate Mexico’s drug cartels as terrorist organizations.
The ambassador took issue with that opinion.
Ambassador Sarukhán wrote:
These transnational criminal organizations, which operate in both our countries, are not terrorist organizations. They are very violent criminal groups that are well structured and well financed. They pursue a single goal. They want to maximize their profits and do what most business do: hostile takeovers and pursue mergers and acquisitions. They use violence to protect their business from other competitors as well as from our two governments’ efforts to roll them back. There is no political motivation or agenda whatsoever beyond their attempt to defend their illegal business.
Misunderstanding the challenge we face leads to wrong policies and bad policy making. If you label these organizations as terrorist, you will have to start calling drug consumers in the U.S. “financiers of terrorist organizations” and gun dealers “providers of material support to terrorists.” Otherwise, you really sound as if you want to have your cake and eat it too. That’s why I would underscore that the editorial page should be careful what it advocates for.
And, since the July 2012 election of Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Enrique Pena Nieto, Mexico’s efforts against the cartels have been dramatically reduced.
The PRI controlled Mexico for more than 70 years, until 2000 when the more conservative National Action Party won the presidency.
Throughout his campaign, Pena vowed to stop focusing his nation’s resources on apprehending drug cartel leaders and attempting to stop the flow of drugs into the United States.
In May 2012, Pena’s campaign coordinator, Luis Videgaray, told the AP: “Each administration chooses its operational objectives, and the objective per se is not the extradition or capture of big bosses, or the burning of seized drugs.”
It has long been alleged that the PRI made deals with the drug cartels which ultimately led to their rise in power.
Unfortunately, this country controlled by the cartels shares a very porous border with the United States…which now seems to have a presidential administration as corrupt as that of any bananarepublic on the planet.