Going after drug lords does not stop violence, according to experts

Experts assure that the plan to combat organized crime and drug cartels have not been significant in the light of violence numbers
Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
Astrid Sánchez
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The arrest of 107 major targets proposed at the beginning of Enrique Peña Nieto's administration has not shown positive results in the country's levels of violence since it has created fragmentation within the drug cartels, which in their internal fight for control cause crime waves, assured specialists consulted by EL UNIVERAL.

The federal government proposed a list of 122 main targets which included leaders and operators of all the country's cartels, and only 15 remain to be caught; however, the results have not influenced the numbers of intentional homicides and 2017 is bound to be the most violent year for the past 20 years.

“In order to attack organized crime, one of the strategies which is not the most successful is trying to arrest the leaders, but that can lead to a reproduction. Instead of having an organization, it fragments in more. Internal fights are created, which obviously affects the levels of violence,” said Corina Giacomello, a researcher at the National Institute of Criminal Sciences (INACIPE.)

Giacomello states that the list of 122 targets “corresponds to other international goals and commitments” and that in order to show positive results in security issues, we must fight against corruption and impunity. She also assures that the list of names of the 122 targets was never opened to the public and they were known as the detentions took place.

In the first year of Peña's administration, there was a report of 18.332 assassinations at a national level. Since January to April 2017, 7.727 open cases of intentional homicides were reported. This last number exceeds the one registered during the first 4 months of 2011, designated as the most violent year in the last two decades, when 7.335 homicides were reported.

Zara Snapp, a consultant on drug politics, said that the list of drug lords who can be caught is endless since when an arrest is carried out, new leaders emerge.

José Antonio Newman Aguilar, a specialist on national security, asserts that the detention of the targets does not mean an achievement for the federal government because it is not ending with the problem of organized crime.

“It does not matter if just 15 drug lords are missing [from the list] and they are detained, the organized crime phenomenon and the homicide rates show a clear defeat concerning security strategies,” said Newman.

The specialists agreed that not only a security strategy which focuses on the detention of drug lord is needed, but it also must center its attention on social programs that prevent Mexicans from incorporating to the lines of organized crime.

The strategy of the list is not concerned about the construction of peace within the country and has maintained “a war approach,” said Zara Snapp.


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