zenpundit.com » Blog Archive » The Colombianization of Mexico

The Colombianization of Mexico

One of my Twitteramigas pointed this out. A re-post from STRATFOR:

Mexico: The Third War

….Then there is a third war being waged in Mexico, though because of its nature it is a bit more subdued. It does not get the same degree of international media attention generated by the running gun battles and grenade and RPG attacks. However, it is no less real, and in many ways it is more dangerous to innocent civilians (as well as foreign tourists and business travelers) than the pitched battles between the cartels and the Mexican government. This third war is the war being waged on the Mexican population by criminals who may or may not be involved with the cartels. Unlike the other battles, where cartel members or government forces are the primary targets and civilians are only killed as collateral damage, on this battlefront, civilians are squarely in the crosshairs.

There are many different shapes and sizes of criminal gangs in Mexico. While many of them are in some way related to the drug cartels, others have various types of connections to law enforcement – indeed, some criminal groups are composed of active and retired cops. These various types of criminal gangs target civilians in a number of ways, including, robbery, burglary, carjacking, extortion, fraud and counterfeiting. But of all the crimes committed by these gangs, perhaps the one that creates the most widespread psychological and emotional damage is kidnapping, which also is one of the most underreported crimes. There is no accurate figure for the number of kidnappings that occur in Mexico each year. All of the data regarding kidnapping is based on partial crime statistics and anecdotal accounts and, in the end, can produce only best-guess estimates. Despite this lack of hard data, however, there is little doubt – based even on the low end of these estimates – that Mexico has become the kidnapping capital of the world.

….Between these extremes there is a wide range of groups that fall somewhere in the middle. These are the groups that might target a bank vice president or branch manager rather than the bank’s CEO, or that might kidnap the owner of a restaurant or other small business rather than a wealthy industrialist. The presence of such a broad spectrum of kidnapping groups ensures that almost no segment of the population is immune from the kidnapping threat.

Colombia went through a similar cycle, opportunistic criminal gangs taking advantage of the accelerating civil war between the Colombian government, FARC and ELN in order to kidnap 25,000 + people per year. We can speculate that this state of affairs, where the civilian population was being chronically terrorized, was a precursor to the formation of the AUC Loyalist paramilitaries by the small businessmen and big landowner class, and promptly began clearing rural areas and small towns of rebels, rebel sympathizers, habitual criminals and family members of the same by savagely killing them off.

I will wager that Mexico is going to hit this phase in less than a year.

8 Responses to “The Colombianization of Mexico”

  1. Seerov Says:

    I will wager that Mexico is going to hit this phase in less than a year. (Zen)
    And how long unitl the Southwest United States hits this phase? 

  2. Interessantes woanders (2009.04.13) › Immersion I/O Says:

    […] The Colombianization of Mexico […]

  3. zen Says:

    "And how long until the Southwest United States hits this phase? "
    Good question. There are natural incentives in place that will delay a normal progression across the border, for a while – notably a lot of narco-traffickers keep their families and safe houses on the U.S. side, plus a desire not to mess up lucrative drug transshipment networks by bringing massive Federal attention to a border county. ( If your Texas border town is eerily quiet and the Mexican side is a shooting gallery, your side isn’t quiet just by chance).
    However, eventually, someone in the narco-trafficking community will be angry enough or ruthless enough to break the ice and slaughter their rivals on our side on a massive scale and then all hell will break loose.

  4. Stratfor writes about “the third war” in Mexico « Fabius Maximus Says:

    […] important geopolitical dangers to America.  Hat tip on this from Zenpundit’s post on “The Colombianization of Mexico” (11 April 2009) — Excerpt: Colombia went through a similar cycle, opportunistic […]

  5. fabius.maximus.cunctator Says:


    Compare that to the Italian Mafia using the quiet, law abiding south of Germany as a withdrawal / rest area. Been going on for several decades now. There was some trouble (a mafia murder with lots of media attention) more to the north last year though. Caveat: I d say the mafia are not as bloodthirsty / gruesome as what I have seen in re mexico/colombia etc. so your prediction may be correct.

  6. zen Says:

    Hi fmc,
    I wasn’t aware that Bavaria was for the Italian-Sicilian mafia what Florida is for their American cousins. I agree, the old line mafia is more economical with applying violence, having realized that attention-attracting behavior of any kind, in the long run, is self-defeating for their revenue flows. The Mexican cartels, while not exactly new, do not have a century of experience behind them and are still carving up and defending territories. They are also far more "open" orgs than La Cosa Nostra ever has been, even in Chicago where "the Outfit" admits non-Italians.

  7. fabius.maximus.cunctator Says:

    Hi Zen,

    didn t have much time yesterday, so I didn`t look the "trouble" up as I should have. In August 07 6 Italians were shot dead in Duisburg (North Germany) in an attack during which 70 shots were fired. That is highly unusual btw. and attracted a lot of attention. The main suspect is one Strangio, an Italian who was arrested in Amsterdam in Feb 09. Trial is still ongoing I suppose.
    Apparently the connection was to the`Ndrangheta which is supposed to be the most dangerous Italian organized crime group in Germany. While the connection to the German South is most obvious, they are present in the whole of Germany and mostly keep quiet.
    Germans just love Italian food, meaning that even small villages have at least one "Ristorante Da Toni" and the large Italian community in Germany is numerous, generally law abiding and reasonably popular. Guess where to hide a chap wanted for murder in Italy ? Because they keep quiet, OC groups from Italy are not a top priority with German cops and pols which angers the Italians somewhat.
    Apparently the German FBI has issued a report in the 1st quarter of 09 pointing out how dangerous this thing is, but it has only been hinted at in the German press.
    Parallel to US-Mex: the Northerners, who belive "it can`t happen here", remain complacent too long while the Southerners have to face the problem.

    PS: There is an interesting film, "Il Divo" about the former Italian PM Andreotti where the Mafia plays a large role. Just being screened in Germany now. Is it out in the US?

  8. Jay Says:

    Just fyi, guys, the Zetas and their trainees are now accompanying the mules bringing in drugs.  They are in a second car, well armed, and very ready to stop anybody (cop or otherwise) who messes with their shipment.  In addition, they are telling the mules (who normally just run at the first sign of trouble since they have no vested interest in what they are carrying ) that they will kill them if they lose their load, so now the mules are starting to carry guns and fight.  If they are willing to take on armed and trained cops, how safe are the rest of us?  We are only safe because they don’t "feel like" bothering us — that is really wrong.  What can/will we do about it?

Switch to our mobile site