Tuesday, February 22, 2011

On the Operational Variation among Different Gangs and the Use of "Insurgency"

From Jorge Fernández Menéndez, written a couple of weeks ago but still relevant:
The Mexican cartels aren't a narcoinsurgency, they aren't seeking power: of course they se the spaces of power the want to have, because they need to, sufficient territorial control so as to be able to operate and, some of them, particularly the Zetas because of their origin and formation, tend to use extreme violence and terrorist methods to achieve that goal, which can make them seem, in a hyper-ideological vision that certain groups in the US tend to have, like a narco-insurgency.

In reality, there are two groups that have carried out activities that could be confused with an insurgency: one is the Zetas, which originated at its roots from groups trained militarily in counterinsurgency and that, therefore, applies the methods learned from the groups that the were supposed to combat: they are the ones who have detonated car-bombs, those who began the narco-posters and narco-videos. They are the ones that openly mixed activities of drug-trafficking with others that directly strike against the population such as kidnapping, extortion, and immigrant trafficking.

The other organization with these characteristics, perhaps the only one with an ideological veneer, is La Familia. Its leaders are from Tierra Caliente where for decades groups dedicated to growing marijuana and opium have had relations with distinct armed groups. Some of them were rural teachers, such as Servando Gómez, La Tuta, and all have worked with a religious rhetoric that gives their activities a different appearance.
I agree with most of this, but it should be pointed that groups aside from the Zetas and La Familia have used terrorist tactics and car bombs.

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