Monday, April 11, 2011

Behind the Murder of Sicilia's Son, and Sicilia's Plea

Javier Sicilia's son, whose death with six friends and he subsequent plea for peace from Sicilia sparked the protests last week, was killed by the Pacific South Cartel, according to Morelos authorities. The initial reports were that it was the Gulf Cartel.

Also, Sicilia issued a statement directed at the drug gangs:
Return to your honor codes, I want you to tell us if you are willing to respect us as a population; if you are not going to kill us, you are not going to screw with us, you are not going to sow terror in the nation, you are not going to kill our children. Let us not in a decent way, if you like with mantas, but not with corpses, through networks on the web, with calls to the press, however you want, but let us know if you are willing, as we ask the army to protect us.
This could be interesting, because many gangs have not been entirely unresponsive to public shaming. That's why many of the mantas seek to shift blame for particularly provocative crimes to other groups. And eventually, if Mexico is to become safer, the gangs will have to adopt a more defensive MO with regard to the society at large, much like what Sicilia is laying out here. However, it seems unlikely that there will be a sudden shift on the part of organized crime. While individual gangs do seem to pay attention to public opinion in spurts, in the long term, the industry as a whole seems largely immune to public scorn. I suspect it won't be a sudden decision on the part of the underworld, which is far to diverse to make collective decisions about behavioral norms, that drives the change in the criminal behavior, but rather a gradual shift over many years.

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