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The Government Failed To Help Them So Drug Cartels Stepped In To Deliver Lifesaving Aid

In the aftermath of the tropical storm Priscilla, the Jalisco cartel has stepped in to provide humanitarian aid to victims. Fortunately, by the time Priscilla hit Mexico’s southwestern coast last week, it was downgraded to a tropical depression as it weakened after making landfall. 

The Jalisco New Generation Cartel was recorded on video using their organized crime infrastructure to distribute packages of food in Tomatlán. 

Cartel caught on video delivering aid to victims.

“Here we are with all the people giving them aid. The people are very grateful for this support. . .” a suspected CJNG gunman says in a video. 

Another man in the footage says the aid comes courtesy of Señor Mencho also known as Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes. 

“This aid . . . comes from the boss, our boss, the señor Mencho,” the man says. “[I’m telling you] so that you know where it comes from, so that you don’t think that it’s from the [family services agency] DIF or another company.” 

In the video, two pickup trucks filled with packages of food and aid arrive. Residents of the community in Morelos are seen taking the package. 

This isn’t the first time the Jalisco cartel has done social work. 

According to Mexico News Daily, children in 15 municipalities in the Veracruz’s mountainous region received toys from the cartel on Children’s Day this summer. 

Each gift came with a card that read, “the CJNG wishes you a happy Children’s Day.” The cartel said on social media that it would deliver gifts to the “towns most forgotten by the authorities.” 

“We bring a moment of joy and happiness to the children. The Jalisco New Generation Cartel not only looks after the safety of the people of Veracruz, it also seeks to give support to those who need it the most,” they said. 

The cartel claims its job is, “is to look after and defend the rights of the working people.” As far as being up for the task? “We are here, steadfast and ready,” they wrote. 

Mexico News Daily says the cartel’s humanitarian efforts are really just recruitment methods to groom young children into trusting them. 

“The practice appears to be a part of efforts by organized crime to recruit new people. Security Secretary Alfredo Durazo said last September, before he took up his post, that at least 460,000 young people were employed by criminal gangs, according to estimates by various civil organizations,” the newspaper wrote. 

Cartels have provided emergency aid in Mexico before. 

In 2013, according to Mercury News, the Gulf Cartel which controls the country’s northeast, provided food, water, and medical supplies to a rural town effected by Hurricane Ingrid in Tamaulipas state. 

Mercury News notes that it is a common practice for cartels to present themselves as a positive force in society. 

“The powerful drug gangs strive to present themselves as the ‘good bad guys,’ interested only in smuggling narcotics to consumers in the United States while leaving Mexican communities in peace,” they wrote. 

In a 2014 video, the Gulf Cartel shared a YouTube video of members handing out cakes traditionally eaten by Catholics before Epiphany. The cartel members visited schools, hospitals, poor neighborhoods, and nursing homes. 

“We take care of our people and always help,” the video caption read, according to Newsweek. 

Cartels use social media to change their public image just like anyone else.

Newsweek suggests that as cartels used more inhumane tactics including throwing human heads into busy dance floors, sewing the face of a victim onto a soccer ball, and hanging bodies off bridges — they’ve also sought to rehab their public image. 

The public relations helps the public to “not see them as enemies but rather, as people who can help, so that when there is a police operation, the community does not report them,” says Jorge Chabat, a drug and security expert, told Newsweek

The practice was also used by Pablo Escobar, who built soccer fields and public housing in Colombia during the 1980s. However, with the rise of social media cartels have taken to YouTube and Facebook to create positive reputations. 

In a 2011 YouTube video, cartel members dressed in black with their faces obscured, holding rifles delivered a message.

“Since 2006, we have been fighting for the tranquility and safety of each and every one of our compatriots in the state,” a voice-over said. 

Like the social outreach initiatives of American gangs, cartel public service in Mexico exists in a morally grey area. As social services fail the poor, sometimes the more nefarious members of society are the only groups willing to help the most vulnerable. However, the help of the cartel will always come at a price if not for the individuals who face future recruitment than for the society at large.

One Of ‘El Chapo’s’ Sons Threw A Lavish Christmas Party For The Sinaloa Community And Even Gave Out Free Cars

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One Of ‘El Chapo’s’ Sons Threw A Lavish Christmas Party For The Sinaloa Community And Even Gave Out Free Cars

Noticias Telemundo / YouTube

Since the mid 1980s, when the Guadalajara Cartel became the prime exporter of cannabis to the United States first, and then acted as intermediary between the Colombian cartels and the US market, illegal trafficking organizations have become an important yet controversial institution in many parts of Mexico. We use the word “institution” a bit ironically, but there is some truth to it. Because state and federal governments often fail to provide even the most basic services to rural communities, drug kingpins, often of origen humilde themselves, are famous for giving back to their people, and then some. 

Not only in Mexico, but also in Colombia drug lords have built houses, churches, roads, clean water, schools and all sorts of basic amenities for marginalized communities. Pablo Escobar is famous for building houses for the most impoverished sections of his native Medellin. As the Daily Mail reminds us: “The Colombian drug lord once ordered the construction of more than 200 homes for poor families living in the Medellin slum of Moravia, and also built more than 50 soccer pitches. He also made his henchmen delivers loads of gifts ahead of Christmas.”

In Sinaloa, Mexico, El Chapo is revered and famous for his generosity, perhaps on par with the infamous violence he has unleashed for years. State governments often stay out of cartel territory as the population itself has chosen sides a long, long time ago. All of this comes with a prize, of course, and that often comes in the guise of social disruption and turf wars among the cartels and between cartels and the military, which results in death and anguish. 

In many regions of Mexico, cartel kingpins are basically Oprahs, and so much more.

Yes, cartel leaders love to display their wealth and their generosity. They often fulfill roles that the government is just disinterested in when it comes to taking care of the population.

As this author stated on an academic paper, drug kingpins have become mythical figures that have become fascinating to people and the entertainment industry: “Because the federal government has failed to provide basic services for large segments of the population, Mexican narcos are immortalised in popular lore as modern day Robin Hoods who distribute wealth in a more just, if unlawful, manner. The celebre Joaquín “Chapo” Guzmán, for example, has been the subject of movies and documentaries (Chapo: el escape del siglo (Axel Uriegas, 2016); El Chapo: CEO of Crime, 2013), as well as a 2017 quality TV show coproduced by Univisión and Netlix, El Chapo”. 

This is Ivan Archivaldo Guzmán, son of El Chapo and allegedly one of the current bosses of the almighty Sinaloa Cartel.

We all know that El Chapo is currently behind bars and will remain there for the rest of his life. There are conflicting reports on who runs the Sinaloa organization today. Some accounts claim that Mayo Zambada, El Chapo’s compadre, has always been the true boss. He has been elusive and has never been caught by the authorities. Other’s say that it is El Chapo’s son, Ivan Archivaldo, who truly runs the cartel and that there are sometimes conflicts in the highest spheres of the organization. 

As shown on a video leaked online, Ivan Archivaldo threw a lavish Christmas party for his town.

Credit: Daily Mail UK / YouTube

What has become clear, however, is that the cartel remains powerful even in the face of the competition from the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion, CJNG, which has conquered plenty of territory in recent years. The recent find and then release of Ovidio, Ivan Archivaldo’s brother, demonstrated both the firepower and social influence that the Sinaloa Cartel holds in their home state, and the support it is still getting from the population in all corners of the state.

This event also demonstrated that the AMLO government is perhaps as incapable of asserting its authority over the cartels as previous administrations. The cartel had a lot of reasons to celebrate and they threw la casa por la ventana with music acts and dance, drink and music. 

He even gave away cars, complete with Mexican pinatas on top.

Credit: Daily Mail UK / YouTube

As the Daily Mail UK reports: “Videos uploaded across several Mexican social media accounts showed a row of at least 10 cars and SUVs lined up at the event at an unidentified town in Mexico.”

Ivan Arcvhivaldo remains at large, so the use of social media is often discouraged in these type of gatherings. But there are always a few videos that record these parties. 

And the kids got toys, and there were electronics galore as well.

Credit: Daily Mail UK / YouTube

Allegiance to the cartels starts at a young age, and kids shouted “Gracias, Don Ivan” as they got toys and pinatas fat with treats. 

Things between the cartels and the population are not black and white, there are many shades of gray (much more than 50!)

Credit: Daily Mail UK / YouTube

From a Global North perspective it might be easy to blame the population for being complicit with the cartels, but things are not that simple. In places like Sinaloa, which is a rural state crossed by impenetrable mountain ranges, government aid is hard to come by. So what would anyone do if someone brings mild prosperity to a godforsaken land? See? Not that easy to see it in terms of “good guys versus bad guys” is it?

Drug Cartel Invades A Mexican City And The Resulting Gun Battle Has Left At Least 21 Dead

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Drug Cartel Invades A Mexican City And The Resulting Gun Battle Has Left At Least 21 Dead

Gerardo Sanchez / Getty

Mexico continues to be rattled by drug cartel violence and this latest attack, in the north of the country, has Mexicans particularly shocked. So far, 2019 has already seen record violence and homicides. Despite plans from the current federal government, headed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), the violence situation across the country has only deteriorated.

A Mexican cartel gun battle near the Texas border leaves 21 dead.

Armed gunmen stormed Villa Union, a town near the Texas border with Coahuila state, on Saturday and attacked local government offices, including that of the mayor. Security forces responded, and 10 gunmen and four policemen were killed during the resulting shootout in the village. Seven additional cartel members were killed by security forces after the attackers fled.

The gunmen peppered the Villa Unión’s mayor’s office with bullets and state police pursued the gang members after they fled the town, killing seven more in the early hours of Sunday, the Coahuila government said in a statement.

The events in Villa Union add to a series of recent security lapses that have raised doubts about the containment strategy of the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office a year ago pledging to get a grip on chronic gang violence.

Cartels have been contending for control of smuggling routes in northern Mexico, but there was no immediate evidence that a rival cartel had been targeted in Villa Union.

Credit: Gerardo Sanchez

The Coahuila state government said in a statement that lawmen aided by helicopters were still chasing remnants of the force that arrived in a convoy of pickup trucks and attacked the city hall of Villa Union on Saturday.
Governor Miguel Angel Riquelme said late Sunday afternoon that authorities had determined the casualty count from the gunbattles stood at 14 gunmen dead and four police officers killed. He said two civilians also were slain by gunmen after being abducted. The governor said six more officers were wounded as were four young people who had been taken by the attackers.

Francisco Contreras, an official in the state security agency, said later that the two slain civilians were a firefighter and an engineer who worked for the municipality. He said a second firefighter was missing. The reason for the military-style attack remained unclear.

The attack comes days after President Trump announced he wants to label Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.

The attack will likely fuel Trump’s argument for categorizing drug cartels as “foreign terrorist organizations,” just as groups like al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram are classified. He has a history of seeing drug cartels as a major threat and often cites the cartels in stump speeches about the need to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. Trump’s latest position on the cartels, however, has alarmed a number of experts because it could give the president license to use US military force against the groups without authorization from the Mexican government. 

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has made it clear that he will not allow foreign intervention, and has offered to increase cooperation with the US on fighting drug gangs instead, according to Al Jazeera. His government already works with the US intelligence community and drug and law enforcement officials from the State Department to combat cartel violence. 

“Since 1914, there hasn’t been a foreign intervention in Mexico and we cannot permit that,” López Obrador said at a news conference on Friday. “Armed foreigners cannot intervene in our territory.”

One thing is clear, Mexico is facing extreme violence and its citizens are paying the ultimate price.

Mexico’s homicide rate has increased to historically high levels, inching up by 2 per cent in the first 10 months of the presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Federal officials said recently that there have been 29,414 homicides so far in 2019, compared to 28,869 in the same period of 2018.

The November slaughter by Mexican drug cartel gunmen of three women who held US citizenship and six of their children focused world attention on the rising violence.

Saturday’s attack also showed cartels again resorting to quasi-military operations in a brazen challenge to state authority.