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Cleaning up our side of the street

16 November 2009

Patrick, at “Gancho Blog” picked up on this first, but I swear I was intending to write something about it.

Edgardo Buscaglia, a law and economics professor at ITAM (Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México), the private university that provides much of the technical and intellectual support for PAN administrations, complains of a fatal flaw in the Administation’s “War on (some) Narcotics (Exporters)”.  According to Professor Buscaglia — an internationally recognized expert on organized crime — the administration’s “strategy” used to fight the cartels ignores their financial structure, making it inevitable that there will be more deaths and corruption.

Patrick writes:

He also said that 78 percent of the sectors of the Mexican economy have been invaded by drug money, which is an interesting stat, although it provokes more questions than it answers (What constitutes a sector? What impact does the drug money being there have on the law-abiding portion of the sector?). Whatever the case, it’s true that you used to hear a lot about Calderón taking aim at the financial backers of drug traffickers, whereas today that kind of talk is rather rare. I don’t know if that’s because such efforts have petered out, but it definitely seems from the outside to occupy a smaller part of Calderón’s strategy.

Not having seen the Professor’s research, I’m not sure what a “sector” is, nor how he derived this estimate.  My feeling is that “dirty”money — no more or less fungible than any other kind — would be in every economic sector imaginable.   There have been complaints (and legitimate ones) that the United States does nothing to control its own money laundering, but one can almost pinpoint the date the Calderón administration stopped talking about “cleaning up” the financial situation on the Mexican side… about the same day Zen Ye Gon alleged his mega-million dollar meth lab was laundering money for PAN.

As it is, Buscaglia is suggesting that simplying throwing more firepower at organized crime is fruitless.  Mexico was one of the signatories of the 2000 “Palermo Accords”, a United Nations sponsored agreement that outline judicial and criminal code reforms — things harder to achieve, and perhaps less in the interest of the Calderón Administration than supplying a market for U.S. built helicopters or U.S. based “training programs” paid for by the Merida initiative funding.

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