Drug Cartels Destabilizing Mexico

Mexico is in a losing battle with drug cartels whose escalating violence is providing cover for Marxist insurgents to become active. The newest cartel offensive raises troubling questions about the ability of the Mexican government to provide safety and security for its citizens, and heralds a future of bloody anarchy if officials cannot regain control of the streets. From WaPo:

MEXICO CITY, May 8 — Gunmen assassinated Mexico’s national police chief Thursday, blasting him with nine bullets outside his home in the capital and dealing a significant setback to the government’s campaign against drug cartels.

Edgar Eusebio Millán Gómez, the public face of Mexico’s offensive against drug cartels, became the highest-ranking law enforcement official to be killed since the launch of the effort 17 months ago. The assassination could give new confidence to drug cartels blamed for 6,000 killings in the past 2 1/2 years, and embolden other anti-government groups in this violence-plagued nation.

“This could have a snowball effect, even leading to the risk of ungovernability,” Luís Astorga, a Mexico City-based sociologist and drug expert, said in an interview. “It indicates terrible things, a level of weakness in our institutions — they can’t even protect themselves.

Mexico’s drug and violence problem now engulfs the entire country, swamping cities along the U.S.-Mexico border and rugged drug cartel redoubts in the western mountains, and piercing into the heart of national power in Mexico City. The capital, once relatively immune to such brazen drug killings, has been the scene of four assassinations of high-ranking federal police officials in about a week.


The capital is also on edge because the once-dormant People’s Revolutionary Army, a rebel group that bombed oil pipelines last year, has been demanding the release of several jailed members. The rebels could see the killing of Millán Gómez as a sign of weakness, Astorga, the sociologist, said.

Federal police forces are stretched thin across Mexico, chasing an ever-growing number of suspects in drug killings. Last week, for instance, at least 17 people were killed in an attack on a ranch in the western state of Guerrero. This week, the military was engaged in a major battle with suspected cartel assassins in the central state of Zacatecas. That incident left three dead.

Fingers are pointing at the powerful Sinaloa Cartel which has its own military wing and has been known to contract MS-13 and Mexican Mafia to kill rivals. The Sinaloa Cartel has pushed well into the American southwest and has increasingly shown a willingness to engage Mexican forces and rival cartels in open firefights on the streets.

Mexico’s inability to maintain order has direct implications for American security, and this violence will spill into our country eventually. It’s only a matter of time.