Via Boz, La Familia, reaffirming its position as the weirdest gang in Mexico, has evidently offered to disband, with the caveat that the government increase security in Michoacán. The offer came via narcomanta and in an email to El Blog del Narco.
The government's reaction was, We cannot make deals with criminals. I understand and support that predisposition, but I think that was the wrong response here. Assuming the offer was genuine, it should have been something like, "Michoacán's security is very important to us, and we are always examining ways to improve security there, as across the nation. Former criminals who renounce their criminal groups run much less risk of being arrested or killed by security forces." After all, if you want the gang to disappear (which maybe the government doesn't, at least not in this way, because of the vacuum that would result), you have to give them some sort of olive branch.
Also, if they do break up, I wonder if they'd get back together for a reunion tour of bloodshed in like 15 years, when all of their solo efforts turned out to be less satisfying than they'd expected.
Update: Upon rereading, yesterday's reaction comes across as extremely credulous. I'd like to clarify that I don't think that all of the gang will demobilize, though I do think there's a possibility that the top level of gangsters really does want to retire. I also think there's a good chance that the offer was hooey. But I don't think the government loses anything with something like the response I outlined, and many big-time traffickers have historically sought an easy, non-violent way out of the trap their life has become. If there is a chance that this message is legitimate and sincere, the government can and should subtly encourage their retirement without sitting down to negotiate.