Friday, April 22, 2011

On Violence

Leo Zuckermann talks to drug-policy expert Eduardo Guerrero on why the violence is rising in Mexico:
His argument is simple: insofar as the government has arrested or killed capos, the cartels have fragmented and more organizations have appeared; this, in turn, have caused a greater amount of violence in the cities.

In 2006 there were six cartels. In 2010, there were already 12, smaller and with less access to the transfer of drugs to the US. This obligated them to traffic here in Mexico, aside from kidnapping and extorting. To this we have to add the institutional weakness of the states and municipalities to attack this phenomenon.

It seems incredible but precisely what the Calderón government shows off as grand successes in this war is what produces the violence. The graphics of Guerrero are eloquent: homicides grow when the government seizes great quantities of drugs or when cartel leaders are arrested/killed. The number compiled by Guerrero demonstrate, in contrast, that the violence lowers when the arrests are of leaders of hit men and with seizures of guns or money.
Interesting stuff, but that last part doesn't make sense. Stopping the flow of drugs makes violence go up, but stopping the flow of money doesn't? Money is essentially the end state of those drugs; anyone willing to kill for a stopped shipment of meth would surely be willing to kill from an equivalent seizure of profits.

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