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The wild west… mayhem after arrest of Ovido Guzmán

7 January 2023

One needs to ask whether something else wasn’t at work in bringing down onlly-relatively-important narco Ovidio Guzmán. Coming as it did the weekend before US President Joe Biden (always a fanboy of military solutions … in other countries… to his own country’s “drug problem”) . As it was, the Sinaloa Cartel… whose leader, Ovido’s dad, Juaquín (aka, “Chapo”) was briefy the US’s favorite evil mastermind, following the death of the previous title-holder, Osama Bin Laden, and a position now held by Vladimir Putin. Apparently, Chapo could do about anything (evil) though Ovidio is — at most — a minor figure in what was once the favored cartel of previous Mexican administrations.

The latter bit of snark (the “favored cartel” bit) seemed obvious (at least to Mexfiles during its time in Mazatlan) but as long as it appeared the Mexican administration was “doing something” about narcotics exports, the US government (and Biden, even when he was merely a Senator in the opposition party) was more than happy to finance, as long as it meant the “right people” (ie., the neo-liberal Caldeón and Peña Nieto adminstrations) kept the lefties at bay. Never mind the bloodshed, the disappearces, the extrajudicial killings, the economic lossses to agriculture and tourism… it boosted funding for “security” (for the increasingly corrupt governments) and played well with the US public… and — as a bonus — put the onus for undesirable consumer habits in the United States — on Mexico.

Of course, with the need to appear to be “doing something”, but understanding very well that the “industry” was immensely profitable and US consumers were not about to eschew the product, to leave at least one “cartel” in operation… more or less consolidate the (well, not means of production), but the means of distribution. And, Chapo at least was punctillious in paying his bribes.

Becoming perhaps a tad too obvious, and with the US media focused on Chapo and the “drug war” making it more and more difficult for the Mexicans to conduct other lucrative businesses in the United States — not to mention Chapo slowing down, and the inevitable infighting you find in any major business operation — he was disposable. But the name still resolates… at least with old pols like Biden. Thus, the trophy arrest of Ovidio, just in time for the Biden-Trudeau-AMLO sit-down this week.

Not that it much matters as far as the narcotics trade goes, although Ovido’s scalp gives AMLO more leverage when arguing that Mexico is “doing its part” to resolve what is, at it’s base, a US and Canadian user problem.

But WHAT THE HELL! AMLO’s “abrazos no balazos” (badly translated in US media as “hugs not bullets”) approach to lawlessness was derided after the aborted attempt to arrest Ovidio the first time ended in a fire-fight that was about to spill over into a miltiary housing complex … just as schools were letting out for the day… and was wisely called off, although both in the foreign and domestic media, it was seen as a sign of weakness in the new administration, and AMLO derided as a utopian dreamer, not ready for prime time.

However, the foreign media (and much of the national media) paid no attention to the crackdown on the criminal enterprises that more affect Mexicans than foreigners… the gasoline and timber thefts, rampant corruption, tax evasion, the wholesale 8″legal”) looting of natural resources. As it is, the domestic market for narcotics is not all that large, and as an export crop, marijuana isn’t all that profitable any more (although the opium derivatives sector is holding strong), and the exporters are having to adjust to foreign consumer demands.

All of which makes me wonder what led to this particular outbreak of mayhem over Ovidio’s arrest. Either he is more powerful within the gangster fraternity than we imagine, or… coupled with the dramatic prison break in Juarez… gangsters in general have — independently, or collegially — realize they have lost the “ally” in state tolerance, and are mounting a desperate counter-offensive, hoping that it will force the state to back off, or come to some sort of truce.

But, it’s silly to think there’s some Moriarity type running “Gangster Inc.” out there…a super-capo that if he (or she) is “taken out” the whole industry will collapse. Gansters tend to be “libertarian” Capitalists, whose mantra is “greed is good”. Even if, as some would like to believe, there is some “key figure” in the various gangs, all that happens when the head is out of the picture is the rest of them fight over the scraps… as Laura Carlsen tells Deutche-Welle’s English news service.

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