Sunday, October 10, 2010

Another Mayoral Killing

The latest was actually the murder of a mayoral-elect in Oaxaca. This disturbing trend seems to be expanding to more far-flung areas. Leo Zuckermann addressed the targeting of mayors in a column a couple of weeks ago.
What's going on? Why is organized crime assassinating more mayors? A pair of hypotheses occur to me.

The first is a method of organized crime sending a message to the governors they are confronting: "There are no untouchables; today, we kill mayors; tomorrow it could be higher-level authorities; better for you to cut it out before it's your turn."

The second hypothesis has more to do with the vulnerabilities of the mayors. The municipal police that don't have training or funds, but they are still an important element for organized crime's operations. It's common to hear stories from criminals that they go before mayors and offer them "silver or lead" so that they directly control the police command. If the mayors accept, they have to fulfill their compromise or, otherwise, they are killed. And if they don't accept, then they are killed, and maybe their families too.
These two hypothesis don't appear mutually exclusive. One odd thing about this rash of killings has been its lack of a geographic pattern. A lot of have been in the Northeast, but there have also been killings in Michoacán, and now Oaxaca, which isn't typically referred to as a hotbed of organized crime activity.

No comments: