Criminal Governance in Mexico
Yesterday The New York Times highlighted a lack of medical doctors in rural Mexico due to ongoing criminal violence. It describes how “doctors are being kidnapped to tend to gang members wounded in battle” and how medical staff were killed “because they transported enemy cartel members to a hospital.” Many doctors refuse to work under such hostile conditions. Rural Mexico now has around 50,000 openings for medical personnel. Lack of proper medial care has become yet another side effect of the ongoing criminal wars.
A few months ago the podcast featured Guillermo Trejo and Sandra Ley to discuss the criminal wars in Mexico. They are the authors of Votes, Drugs and Violence: The Political Logic of Criminal Wars in Mexico. In their book they note, “Although Mexico was technically considered to be a country at peace, the country’s criminal wars had surpassed the threshold of battle deaths that is typically used to define a civil war.” Indeed, Mexico’s National Search Commission has recorded more than 100,000 people missing in Mexico. Many are the victims of criminal gangs or even violence from the government itself. Still, the number continues to grow due to criminal wars over large stretches of the Mexican countryside.
Moisés Naím has also highlighted how the line between the state and criminal organizations is no longer clear. He argues some states have become more like “an organized criminal organization. An organization that essentially uses the structure, strategies, tactics, modalities of organized crime.” Naím views large states like Russia as criminal organizations. However, Trejo and Ley observe how actual criminal governance in Mexico is a reality in many communities. It’s a phenomenon academics and commentators largely ignore. Moreover, it is an important component to the global rise of authoritarianism today. Political oppression today takes many forms.