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State of Exception

20 July 2009

Via WW4 Report:

Some 5,500 federal police and army troops have been deployed to Michoacán to combat La Familia—a particularly violent cartel whose members study a “special Bible” and claim to be evangelical Christians. The bloc of the left-opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) in the Mexican Senate has issued a statement denouncing what it calls the illegal and unconstitutional “occupation” of Michoacán. The statement charged that Presient Felipe Calderón is attempting to “debilitate” the administration of the state’s PRD governor, Leonel Godoy Rangel. In its own statement, the PRD’s National Political Commission charged that there is a “state of exception” in Michoacán, and that the federal government is attempting to impose a “totalitarian state” there. (El Universal, The Telegraph, June 19; La Jornada, July 18)

Zetas having either disappeared or lost their cachet (you just don’t hear about them right now), there needs to be a “threat de jour” to keep the “War on Drugs” hopping.  Admittedly, La Familia is slightly different than other gangster clans, having their own religion and all, but it hardly — as The Guardian puts it — a “Drug ‘Taliban’.”

I’m not sure if it’s Jo Tuckman’s fault, or the Guardian’s editors, but Servando Gómez Martínez — the alleged leader of “La Familia” who spoke by telephone with a Morelia radio host last week following  coordinated attacks on police throughout the State of Michaocan last week, allegedly masterminded by his gang — is  not THE “leader of a cartel fighting a war that has claimed 11,000 lives in three years.”  La Familia is just one gang that nobody heard of back when it was all Zetas all the time, or when it was Chapo (or, rather, the Beltran Leyva gang, which had broken with Chapo).

As this “War” becomes more and more unpopular here, and as the Calderon Administration becomes more and more politically isolated, I expect they’ll keep ratcheting up the rhetoric… it sounds more dramatic to announce that a large number of mayors and officials have been arrested than — as was expected as soon as the elections were over — that several officials have already been released for lack of evidence.  Some may have “La Familia” connections, but then, it’s also a “family values” organization, which gives it support by all kinds of people (even Roman Catholic clerics) not suspected of any ties to the narcotics end of  things.

Gómez Martínez spoke of “negotiating” with the government, which no one — not the federal government, not the state government, not the political parties, not the Church, and not the Human Rights organziations — take seriously.  And La Familia’s only bargaining chip is an end to violence.  A “state of exception” doesn’t end the threat, but does set aside pesky impediments like civil rights and civilian oversight as the feds move in… until either “la familia” is neutralized (along with whomever the feds decide is also a threat and can be called “familia”) or there is a new threat de jour.

By the way, United Nations figures on marijuana production are out. Mexico’s production has plummeted from 25,800 tons in 2007 to only 15,800 in 2008.   Paraguay passed Mexico this year, to become the world’s second largest marijuana producer after Morocco.   However, the United States is rapidly moving up, now matching Colombia’s 4000 metric tons per year production levels.

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