Monday, November 22, 2010

The Backdrop in Colima

The Pacific state of Colima is not typically mentioned along with Chihuahua and Tamaulipas as irrevocably drug-addled, and it was a bit surprising to see, of all places, that sleepy state as the setting for the murder of a former governor. Here's some context from Excélsior:
This year there have been 97 homicides, 95 percent of them related to the dispute for territory between the criminal groups the Michoacán Family, the Milenio cartel, and the Resistance.

The cities of Manzanillo, Tecomán, Villa de Álvarez, and Colima are the most affected by the crime and the climate of violance has impacted the revenues of local businesses.

Just this year, the American Consulate in Guadalajara has twice sent warnings to American citizens, telling them to be cautious about visiting the state of Colima because of the insecurity in the region.
I've never heard of the Resistance, and I wonder if they are a new gang or just a local offshoot of someone we already are familiar with. As far as the Milenios, they operated in Michoacán for a long time earlier this decade, but were said to be destroyed by La Familia. Yet you still here about them from time to time.

Update: Authorities say that the murder was not linked to drugs. As always, grain of salt, but that's a denial that they don't usually make these days.


Paul Roberts said...


I live about an hour north of Colima and know the city well.

There has been an increase in violence there, thankfully nothing like the cities in the north.

What sometimes worries me though is that the patterns of violence and extorsion are spreading throughout the country even in places like Colima which often wins surveys for having the best quality of life in Mexico.

And furthermore I can see no evidence of the situation improving. The only way I think it might get better is for some deal to be made with the drug cartels after the elections in 2012 but by then the situation may have become unrecoverable

pc said...

Hi Paul,

I'm afraid don't really see a deal with the big kingpins as being sustainable. I'll have more about that in a future piece, but basically I don't think it would hold because the industry seems so much more fractured. It's a bit depressing, far more so when you live in Mexico. Eventually it will get better though. Eventually.

Paul Roberts said...

Yes I agree that there is a problem with deal making because everything is so much more fractured and unstable now.

I have heard the view expressed that the Government is going after the other cartels so it can then make a deal with el Chapo who would then almost have a monopoly.....not unlike what happens with other businesses in Mexico :-)

PS one of the rumours about the killing of the ex-governor of Colima is that it was because of his links with el chapo and that now la familia are contesting the plaza

pc said...

That last bit would seem to square with the comments about the different groups fighting it out. Kind of odd that the state authorities were so quick to deny drugs as a motive.