Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Two Contradictions

First: Since last August, according to Mitofsky, the percentage of people who view the economic realm as the source of Mexico's principal problem has basically grown steadily (from 43 percent to 50 percent), while the proportion of those polled pointing to security issues as Mexico's biggest problem has shrunk from 51 to 44 percent. August seems to have been an outlier month, which exaggerates the scope of the switch, but the trend is clear. Nonetheless, the economy is significantly safer now than it was six months ago, and its performance is light years better than it was two years ago. At the same time, Mexico's rates of violence have been leveling off or even declining in recent months, but more people were killed in incidents linked to organized crime in 2011 than ever before.

Second: One of the principal changes in the Mexican underworld over the past five years is criminal gangs' mobility. Whether you attribute it to the government pursuit or a vicious cycle of violence that is largely isolated from government policy, there is little debate that gangs have been uprooted (or have voluntarily uprooted themselves) with greater frequency than in the past. However, at the same time, criminal activities relying on extraction profits from the civilian population have increased. Among the most important of these activities is extortion, which is based on the gang being a long-term and semi-open part of the local landscape, rather than a hidden and temporary actor, which would be more the case in smuggling drugs.

No comments: