Policies aimed at dismantling the so-called cartels can notch success after success, as they have done, but produce no overall reduction in violence. Violence is spinning off from the major syndicates, becoming more decentralized, with varying objectives. Roving gangs solicit hits starting at $20, their violence uncoordinated by a kingpin’s decree. And in resolving this problem Castañeda and Bowden are both right: the Mexican army is ill suited to be a police force.This is a big reason why thinking about public security in Mexico as a war between the government and a handful of super-powerful cartels is unhelpful.
I also learned that Bowden has a new book about Juárez coming out.