In Mexico, Crime Is Bigger Than a Crime Boss

*I’m always searching for analysis that says something new, or that has a point of view different from what everyone else seems to be saying and writing on both sides of the political divide. This Stratfor piece dives as deep as possible in less than 600 words and puts the Chapo Guzman escape in good context. The escape itself, it says, is of little significance for organized crime in Mexico. VL


stratforBy Sratfor

Summary

The July 11 escape of the notorious Sinaloa crime boss, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, from a maximum-security prison in Mexico has drawn considerable Mexican and international media attention. While the brazen and elaborate nature of the escape will add to the lore already surrounding Guzman, the escape itself carries little significance for organized crime in Mexico — though it will place a momentary strain on coordination between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement. The forces that drive the evolution of organized crime and their impact on society in Mexico are simply greater than any single crime boss.

Analysis

Mexico’s geography enabled drug traffickers like Guzman to operate on a global scale. As international law enforcement effectively dismantled the powerful Colombian cartels and stymied their maritime trafficking routes through the Caribbean in the 1980s and 1990s, Mexico became the lynchpin of new smuggling routes into the United States. This evolution took place just as the Mexican criminal networks that trafficked drugs broke down into smaller groups. Though crime bosses like Guzman rose in stature relative to others, all organized crime groups in Mexico are the result of a systematic decentralization in cartel structure that continues today.

[pullquote]Groups that operated in areas that were once part of El Chapo’s criminal network — were already acting autonomously.[/pullquote]

In fact, by the time Guzman was arrested in February 2014, the Sinaloa Cartel was already fragmenting. Groups that operated in areas such as Chihuahua, Sonora, Sinaloa and Baja California states — areas that were once part of El Chapo’s criminal network — were already acting autonomously. Some of them were even fighting one another. The arrest of Guzman and the subsequent capture of some of his lieutenants only accelerated this trend. Now, geographic domains that were controlled by Sinaloa-based crime bosses for decades are now controlled by other groups, including the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion, which expanded from the Tierra Caliente region, and La Linea, which was once the enforcement group for the Juarez cartel.

Among the myths surrounding El Chapo were tales pertaining to his purported role as an arbiter of organized crime in Mexico. According to some of those myths, his organization preferred to expand its business operations through negotiation, rather than through violent conflict. But Guzman, in fact, was party to some of the most violent turf wars in Mexico, introducing rampant insecurity in places such as Tijuana, Nuevo Laredo and Ciudad Juarez. These conflicts had subsided by the time he was arrested but not before nationwide turf wars devolved into more localized conflicts. Guzman may attempt to re-consolidate the control he once had over Mexico’s organized crime activities, but his previous efforts to do so failed, and the task would be even tougher now that his network has become even thinner.

[pullquote]Guzman may attempt to re-consolidate the control he once had over Mexico’s organized crime activities, but his previous efforts to do so failed.[/pullquote]

Since 2012, Mexican organized crime has become increasingly balkanized amid government efforts to revamp public security institutions, and nationwide levels of organized crime-related violence have gradually diminished. Though having more crime groups means there are more bosses, these leaders have not been able to sustain violent offensives against their rivals and fend off the state as well as their predecessors did. And while waves of extreme violence can still emerge in places like Tamaulipas, they typically weaken as soon as security forces move in — in contrast to past conflicts in places like Juarez, where violence continued to climb despite repeated deployments of federal troops.

In Mexico, Crime Is Bigger Than a Crime Boss is republished with permission of Stratfor.


[Photo courtesy of Day Donaldson/Flickr]
CLICK HERE
Subscribe to the Latino daily

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

U.S. citizen detained overnight by ICE – they thought he was undocumented

Victor Landa July 6, 2017

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (1.5 minute read)  This is startling news. Up until last night at a dinner conversation I believed that the idea that an American citizen would be […]

Willie Velásquez documentary is a lesson for Latinos on the importance of voting

NewsTaco May 9, 2017

*Why you should read this: Because today is Willie Velasquez day and a quick search of his name turned up no news stories. This piece, by Mercedes Olivera, is from […]

DIECIOCHO Podcast: Texas Rep. Rafael Anchia – Trump, Gerrymandering and Money

NewsTaco June 8, 2017

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (1 minute read, 34 minute listen)  It’s safe to say that the just-ended Texas legislative session was the most acrimonious in memory. We can talk for […]

Ted Cruz gets an earful in McAllen for July 4

Victor Landa July 5, 2017

*I’m posting this because it was mostly Latinos, organizing, protesting, making their voices heard. Everyone needs to know that Latinos in deep South Texas are standing up. VL By Patrick […]

Pence will host White House Cinco de Mayo party

NewsTaco May 4, 2017

*Why you should read this: Because there’ll be no Cinco de Mayo celebration at the White House (I know, big deal – we’ll be spared the taco-bowl). VL By Hadas […]

Castro will not run for U.S. Senate

NewsTaco May 1, 2017

By Victor Laneda, NewsTaco (i.5 minute read)    Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) says he will not be running for the U.S. Senate against Ted Cruz. Castro had promised to make […]

Vietnam War veteran fears he could be deported

Victor Landa July 7, 2017

*This Vietnam veteran, born in Mexico, was awarded two Purple Hearts and given U.S. citizenship after his service. He’s misplaced his documents and after paying $345 the government wants more […]

Henry Cisneros: Why Can’t Americans See Latinos Are Country’s ‘Saving Grace’?

Victor Landa

*Good question. I think it’s because we’re not the ones telling our story. We need to fight for our narrative. VL By Suzanne Gamboa, NBC News (1.5 minute read)  SAN […]