Observations by PCFR member Win Tompkins, a student at the Met School:
Irina Chindia gave a very engaging talk at the PCFR on Nov. 19 about drug cartels and how their relations with each other affect violence in Mexico. She concluded that when some gangs formed alliances against other cartels and the government, the number of homicides rises as a result.
Her conclusions are based on data showing the flux of the homicide rate in 2007-2013, when the rate rose as more cartels made “narco-alliances” with each other to stamp out competitors, as well as to control the routes into the highly lucrative U.S. market.
She displayed an an infographic that depicted the murder rate from the 1980s to 2013, showing a noticeable spike in 2007-2009.
Ms. Chindia also noted many other factors, such as foreign cash and weapons that flow intoMexico (and other nations with criminal cartels) in the violence. However, she focused on how, as the politics of the drug war changed, the level of violence changed corresponding to the ebb and flow of relations between groups and the authorities.
Ms. Chindea noted the effects of the Calderon administration’s emphasis on killing or capturing the most powerful drug-cartel leaders. The idea behind this policy was that the consequent chaos would greatly weaken the cartels. . But while this did happen for a while, it also led to surges in the murder rate and parts of large cartels breaking off and forming new ones, as we have seen in the past.