Our consumption of illegal drugs is financing mansions and violence in Mexico
The rebellion in Michoacan, Mexico, has farmers and peasants ("vigilantes") at war with cartels. They want to drive the cartels out of their state. It has put President Pena-Nieto in a very tough place.
In other words, how do you criticize citizens who are defending themselves against criminal and ruthless elements terrorizing the country? How do you stop local priests from preaching sermons about the inhumanity of cartels?
This is from a recent news report:
"Armed vigilante groups who have risen up to combat the vicious Knights Templar drug cartel in the Mexican state of Michoacan were surrounding the city of Apatzingan, a main cartel stronghold, Monday morning and were threatening to invade the city, as Mexican government officials scrambled to defuse the situation.
"We have already circled Apatzingan," one of the self-defense leaders, Hipolito Mora, said in a radio interview Monday morning. "I don't know if we have the capacity [to take it] or not, but we are obligated to do it, and we are going to do it."
The security cabinet of President Enrique Peña Nieto was meeting with state officials, including Gov. Fausto Vallejo, late Monday morning.
The federal government has sent troops and police to the region in recent days as the self-defense groups have essentially gone on the offensive, seizing control of a number of towns surrounding Apatzingan. Federal officials have given a kind of tenuous, de facto approval to some of the groups, in some cases allowing troops and police to work alongside the armed peasant groups at checkpoints in the region."
Just recently, they found the home of a cartel leader. It reminds some of us of one of Saddam's mansions:
"Vigilante "self-defense" groups in the southern Mexican state of Michoacan have in recent days stepped up their campaign to seize control of small towns and cities in the area known as Tierra Caliente, or Hot Land. Their goal is to rid the area of the Knights Templar drug cartel.
But last week, just as the vigilantes were poised to bring their battle to the Knights Templars' most important regional stronghold, the city of Apatzingan, the Mexican government flooded the state with troops and federal police, averting what could have been a bloody battle for the city of more than 90,000 residents.
As of Saturday, an uneasy peace reigned in much of Michoacan. But the vigilantes had not ceded any of the territory they had gained, including the smaller city of Nueva Italia, which fell to them after a gun battle last weekend. Though cartel allies were believed to be lying low in the town, the vigilantes' control gave them the opportunity to see how at least one top cartel leader lives.
These photos, taken in the Nueva Italia home of Enrique "El Kike" Plancarte Solis, offer a glimpse of luxury that most of the vigilantes -- many of them are small farmers or agricultural workers -- would have seen only on television. Plancarte, a key Knights Templar boss, remains at large." (Here are the pictures from The LA Times.)
As we've posted before, our consumption of illegal drugs, recreation or otherwise, is driving these dollars south. These "narco dolares" build these mansions and finance all of this massive killing.
P. S. You can hear my chat with Allan Wall about Mexico & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.