Criminal insurgency takes corruption to new level in Mexico

LA Times:


Unlike some drug syndicates, La Familia goes beyond the production and transport of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine and seeks political and social standing. It has created a cult-like mystique and developed pseudo-evangelical recruitment techniques that experts and law enforcement authorities say are unique in Mexico.

No party has been spared its influence or interference, politicians of all stripes said in a series of interviews conducted before the arrests of the mayors.

"It is a way to win power with fear, where the authorities either don't have the capability to fight it, or have the capability but not the inclination," said German Tena, president of the Michoacan branch of the country's ruling National Action Party.

"There are mayors and politicians who 'let things happen,' and there are some who have sold their soul to the devil," said a high-ranking Michoacan state official who agreed to discuss the sensitive topic of corruption in exchange for anonymity.

Generally, though, traffickers' political influence in Michoacan has less to do with winning office and more with controlling officeholders, to create a buffer of protection that allows their business to proceed unimpeded, said a security advisor to Calderon.

Several political leaders said they tell candidates to keep a low profile and counsel supporters not to be too public about their endorsements. And they rarely publicize the illegalities they see.

"If we know or hear that a candidate is mixed up with narcos, we are not going to denounce it," said Fabiola Alanis, who heads the Democratic Revolution Party in Michoacan. "It is not my job. It would put my candidates in danger. There is nothing to guarantee that they would wake up alive."

The Obama administration recently added La Familia to its "kingpin" list, a designation that makes it easier for U.S. authorities to go after its assets, including any money in U.S.-owned banks.

"La Familia is absolutely a priority," a senior U.S. law enforcement official said. With its swift rise to the short list of dangerous cartels, La Familia is "a modern success story in Mexican narcotics trafficking," the official added.

And with similar speed, La Familia has established footholds in the United States. The organization has drug-running operations in 20 to 30 cities and towns across the country, including Los Angeles, the official said.

This area of Mexico has become a mafia state where the criminals are seizing control of the apparatus of the state and not just renting it as in the past. The arrest of the mayors and other officials are important in resisting this criminal insurgency.

Calderon has not back down from the fight and he does our support.


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