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Soldiers on patrol in Acapulco. Soldiers on patrol in Acapulco.

Military strategy won’t stop cartel violence

Links between authorities and crime gangs must be addressed as well

Arresting drug cartel bosses isn’t enough to rein in organized crime, members of the Guerrero state Congress were told Thursday, because nothing will change as long as there are links between authorities and crime gangs.

Ina Zoon of the Open Society Justice Initiative said as well that impunity must also be addressed, because it allows officials to commit excesses while fighting crime and the collusion of officials with criminal organizations.

Zoon was presenting state lawmakers with the initiative’s June report on possible war crimes by the Mexican government and the Zetas cartel, the result of a three-year study that found security forces and cartels were responsible for committing crimes against humanity.

Guerrero was an appropriate venue for such a presentation. As legislator Ricardo Mejía Berdeja pointed out, the state’s homicide rate is now 67 per 100,000 residents, well over the national average of 17.

It was also the state where 43 college students disappeared in 2014, allegedly because of collusion between municipal officials and drug cartels.

Zoon said the government’s strategy of a military assault on crime gangs is not enough to reduce violence, that corrupt officials must also be targeted.

An analysis by the crime research organization InSight Crime suggested that military intervention in Mexico’s domestic security has failed to control criminal violence and might have been counterproductive, and that corruption and impunity have made matters worse.

“As Zoon noted, simply going after top criminals is unlikely to stop Guerrero’s spiral into violence.”

Source: InSight Crime (en)

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