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Ismael "el Mayo" Zambada, the right hand man of Mexico's most notorious drug lord, Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, blamed the government for surging drug violence and said President Felipe Calderon was being duped by his advisors into thinking he was making progress.
"One day I will decide to turn myself in to the government so they can shoot me. ... They will shoot me and euphoria will break out. But at the end of days we'll all know that nothing changed," Zambada told the investigative newsmagazine Proceso.
"Millions of people are wrapped up in the narco problem.
Millions of people are wrapped up in the narco problem. How can they be overcome? For all the bosses jailed, dead or extradited their replacements are already there.
Initially, the American Maria was a prominent supplier of bootlegged liquor. That required good connections with the local police department and political machines. Paying off the local beat cop provided a speakeasy, with its conspicuous and regular flow of traffic, little effective protection. Instead, it was necessary to guard against any cop who might be on that beat; the efficient solution was buying the whole department, if it was for sale. In many cities it was. Frequently, that also meant connections with urban political machines.
Analysts struggle to describe Mexico’s cartel war. To what paradigm(s) does it belong, and what historical analogies apply?
The problem of drug cartels in Mexican society is definitely a criminal problem, a struggle with organized crime, complicated by corruption within Mexican police forces.
On the other hand, since the Mexican military is involved it can also be analyzed as a series of military operations.
Some have gone so far as to call it a civil war. To be sure, it does share some aspects of a civil war, but in some ways it’s even more complicated.
Violent actions of Mexican drug cartels can also be seen as a form of terrorism.
Another historical parallel is the Sicilian Mafia, a powerful organization that security forces struggled to contain. A recent article in The New York Times makes a case that the U.S. and Mexico can defeat the drug cartels like the U.S. and Italy defeated the Mafia. There may be lessons to be learned from that example, though once again, it’s not a perfect fit either. For one thing, Mafia organizations were more stable than Mexico narco cartels.
The issue recalls another historical parallel – the American prohibition of alcohol from 1920-1933. During alcohol prohibition there were powerful gangsters, such as Al Capone and Bugs Moran, who distributed the prohibited substances, and fought with each other and with the U.S. government.
For the desperately poor, maybe a son sends money home, for the wealthy there are kickbacks and for the average Jose there is the fear of your entire family being murdered.