Will Mexican cartels turn into insurgent groups?

In 2019, violent incidents such as Culiacán, the LeBarón massacre, and other crimes shocked Mexico

Will Mexican cartels turn into insurgent groups?
Mexico has been sunk into crime and violence since it launched a war on drugs - Photo: Jorge Dan López/REUTERS
English 28/01/2020 09:18 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 14:23
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In 2019, criminal organizations confirmed their strength, power, and impunity levels in Mexico after a series of crimes and attacks that had been witnessed very few times before, including the violent attacks that took place in Culiacán and which forced the Mexican government to released Ovidio Guzmán, one of the sons of "El Chapo" Guzmán; the massacre of three women and six children from the LeBarón family in Sonora, and the shooting registered in Villa Unión, Coahuila.

Throughout the country, these incidents sparked criticism as the federal government has failed to contain, investigate, and punish violence. The international stage was worried about the situation in the country. Fears have been confirmed by the report released by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) in regards to the 10 most worrying conflicts in 2020,

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The research project, financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, studies armed conflicts around the world. Its reports are used by academic institutions, research centers, and organizations such as the UN, the European Union, and the Red Cross.

In its most recent study, the ACLED alerts about the risk of drug cartels transforming into insurgent groups: “While the killings of journalists and government officials, beheadings, disappearances, and public hangings of corpses recurrently make headlines in Mexico, several particularly brutal attacks have raised concerns that the cartels are increasingly adopting insurgent techniques.”

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Is the report excessive? Many would say it is but we shouldn’t forget that organized crime imposes candidates or kills others in several communities. In several states, it also extorts people and has forced local media outlets to stop publishing information about their criminal groups.

For the ACLED, structural violence requires a long-term response such as the strengthening of security forces, justice system, and prisons, as experts have suggested for years. Hopefully, Mexican authorities will analyze this report.

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