"In that moment , Escobar has two problems in his life: for the public it's obviously extradition; but for those well informed it's money. Following the collapse of his Cuban connection, Escobar confronts the emergency of massive liquid funds for a war that is polarizing all of his enemies...with the goal of obtaining more resources, Escobar will increasingly fall back on kidnapping and to bring the state to its knees, he will cut Bogotá to pieces and will be increasingly cold in his use of the press...And the megalomaniac obsessed with fame, the extortionist that knows like no one else the price of a president, learns how to manipulate them (the media and the politicians) to sell an image of that each becomes more terrifying, precisely because each hour he becomes more vulnerable and less rich."I've tried to emphasize this point many times this year, so it seems a proper note with which to close 2008: it's extremely difficult to interpret the meaning of the leaps in violence in Mexico. Is it a sign that, like Colombia with Escobar, the cartels are becoming weaker and weaker, and the nation's drug trade is on the verge of a fundamental shift away from ultra-powerful cartels? Or is such a shift still a long way off? Mexico is, relatively speaking, much safer than was Colombia at Escobar's apogee, so it presumably get a lot worse, but Fernández is pretty convincing in making the opposite case.
[The Sinaloa gangs] are fighting each other, fighting their rivals from the Gulf across almost the entire country and maintaining a real war against a state set against them, which unlike in the past, which focused on searching for and detaining kingpins, now it is striking [the gangs'] territorial and operational structure, trying to weaken them from their base. If we add to that that the same quantity of cocaine is not arriving from South America, nor the same quantity of methamphetamine from the Far East, we have a picture, for these organizations, of a lack of resources and vulnerability that it seeks to balance with hit men and societal intimidation. There is the root of the violence that we are living. Of course, aside from that, corruption, infiltration, grave deficiencies in the security systems, and a lack of commitment from many areas of government will continue to exist, coupled with a lack of understanding from many politicians and media outlets about what is really happening in this war.
Unless I'm mistaken, Fernández's column reappeared as an undesignated "best-of" compilation of his work in 2008, which many publications do to close out the year. It may be a predictable and less than fascinating technique from a reader's standpoint, but Gancho wants in on the action. So, without further ado, click here for Gancho's worst post of 2008. Zero analysis, boring topic, and uninspired writing. May Gancho never sink to such depths again.
Happy New Year to everyone, and I'll see you in 2009. Thanks for reading!