When society sides with criminals

07/03/2019
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09:09
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When society sides with criminals
Entire communities support and protect cartels - Photo: Sergio Maldonado/REUTERS

When society sides with criminals

07/03/2019
09:09
Mexico City
Editorial
-A +A
In Tamaulipas and Coahuila, the Gulf Cartel organized parties to celebrate Children's day every year

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In the so-called Huachicol Triangle, in the southern area of the state of Guanajuato, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and tires were set on fire along different roads in the last 48 hours. The purpose was to prevent the federal forces from acting against the Santa Rosa de Lima cartel, the criminal group considered as the main fuel thief.

Many of the perpetrators of these actions against the authorities were civilians, which is nothing new, as the state authorities have registered cases where entire communities blocked the police from taking action against the criminals and even sent women to form a blockade and prevent the access of police officers.

This isn't the first time that something like this happens in Mexico. There are similar cases in communities in Sinaloa, where drug lords were protected by the inhabitants; in communities in Tamaulipas, and Coahuila, the Gulf Cartel organized parties to celebrate Children's Day every year.

Society's support to criminals didn't develop overnight, it's a long and complex process that is the result of certain social and economic issues in the area, and organized crime takes advantage of them.

In the majority of the cases, the communities that support criminals lack basic services and have other needs that authorities never solved. Then criminals fulfill those needs that municipal and state governments didn't.

Besides having the support of groups of civilians, criminal bands require the protection of the authorities. In the state of Guanajuato, which is occupied by federal forces, the mayor of Villagrán's family is part of the criminal structure of the Santa Rosa de Lima cartel, according to information obtained by the Federal Police. This is the beginning of a dangerous relationship that rots the social fabric, the best example are the entire families dedicated to criminal activities, children who aspire to be part of criminal groups or authorities who join the criminal ranks.

At the end of the operation, whether they arrest the criminal or not, the authorities will have a difficult task ahead of them: offering alternatives to families and communities to promote a different relationship. The government can't keep on avoiding its responsibility.

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