Oct 28, 2019
On October 14 in Culiacan, forces from the Mexican police and army arrested Ovidio Guzman, heir apparent to the Sinaloa cartel and son of Joaquin Guzman Loera, “El Chapo.” Immediately, dozens of gunmen appeared, surrounding the police and army. They had heavy weapons, including machine guns and anti-tank missiles. In the ensuing gun battle, at least 13 people were killed, and the army and police were forced to release Guzman.
In the last three weeks, dozens of other Mexican police and troops have been killed in battles with the cartels in the Mexican states of Michoacan and Guerrero in addition to Sinaloa, not to mention all of the ordinary people caught up in the accelerating violence across the country.
Opposition politicians blame the current Mexican president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, for not going after the cartels aggressively enough. But when President Calderon tried to carry out a more aggressive policy in 2012, declaring war on the cartels and sending in the Mexican army, the result was a bloodbath that lasted for years.
These cartels are deeply rooted in Mexican society. They command the allegiance of thousands of people. They go much deeper than the policies of any Mexican president.
While the government might sometimes arrest one or another cartel leader, in fact, the cartels are linked to all levels of the Mexican state. In addition to corruption, they offer their services to politicians—for instance, when cartels murdered 43 student protestors in the state of Guerrero in 2014, it turned out they were asked to do so by the local mayor, who got the federal police to arrest the students and then hand them over to the gang for execution. One of the most brutal cartels even came out of the Mexican military.
They are also linked to the U.S. government, which has used them to fund covert operations against social movements throughout Latin America.
More deeply, they are a product of the U.S. and its economic domination of Mexico. The cartels get their money by selling their drugs to the U.S. drug market. They buy their weapons from U.S. gun makers. They launder their money through the international financial system, which is centered in the U.S.
At base, the problem is the lack of jobs and opportunity in Mexico—also a result of U.S. domination of the country. This makes it very easy for the cartels to find recruits, who have no other future. Instead of getting an education in a useful skill, the cartel “educates” its members in brutality, and gives them a way to make money.
Mexico today is approaching the highest yearly number of murders in its history. While gunmen for the cartels may be pulling the triggers, U.S. imperialism is responsible for these murders.