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Digging up old grievances (Cd. Juarez)

15 March 2008

I’m not much worried about violence in Mexico, when it just involved gangsters offing each other.   A well written article in the L.A. Times on the latest discovery of a gangster graveyard includes this observation:

“If you have a problem with a distributor or someone who’s selling the drugs, you don’t file a lawsuit against him. You just kill him,” said Jorge Chabat, a security expert at the Center for Economic Research and Teaching in Mexico City. “It’s a way of establishing discipline.”

What seems a little dubious to me is that these particular dead gangsters were buried about five years ago, long before the bally-hooed “War on (Some) Drug (Distributors)” got underway:

Organized crime’s violent reaction shows that the latest crackdown is working, experts say.

“I’m inclined to believe that they are sticking with a confrontational policy that leads to these kinds of gun battles and high-profile shootouts,” said Robert Donnelly, the coordinator of the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute. In contrast, experts said the 42 bodies unearthed at the two locations recently in Ciudad Juarez didn’t appear to be part of the recent campaign of retribution, but a clandestine, almost routine, effort on the part of drug traffickers to reprimand members in their ranks.

That was the “good old days” of Organized Crime.   I can remember how shocking it was when one gangster’s “last supper” was a Big Mac and fries in the middle-class Mexico City colonia del Valle.  The old Italian Mafia sometimes rubbed out inconvenient business associates at restaurants, but they usually had enough consideration for the soon-to-be departed to let him at least get a decent meal.  And, it wasn’t that there were gangsters in Del Valle that shocked us.  It was doing it in public.  That was tacky.

Seasoned observers of Ciudad Juarez’s drug wars said the latest discovery had a decidedly old-school flavor, if only because the killers took the trouble to bury the bodies. Since the 1990s, drug enforcers have evolved from dumping bodies in shallow graves to hiding them in car trunks to wrapping them in blankets to simply leaving them where they drop, said Louie Gilot, who writes about border affairs for the El Paso Times.

“In the past they’d be somewhat discreet, but they’re getting bolder and bolder,” Gilot said. “Now they just kill them in front of people in broad daylight.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. 15 March 2008 5:47 pm

    I love your take on “death squad” etiquette.

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