The 2011 Geography of the Mexican Drug War

STRATFOR has a status update on the Mexican drug cartel wars, with an interesting animated map on developments over the past year.

The full report is only for subscribers, but the most important point in the summary report is: all cartels are suffering except one — the Sinaloa Federation. Although they may soon dominate the drug trade, the situation is likely to become more violent until the Sinaloa hegemony is complete.

STRATFOR reports that:

In order to reduce the violence, compromise with the lead cartel — once unspeakable — now looks like a real option for the Mexican government, which is incapable of eliminating cartels completely.

But that’s very inaccurate. Allegations of collusion between the Mexican government and the Sinaloa are at least two years old. More insidious is the fear that the favoritism towards the Sinaloa is because the Sinaloa have and continue to further their infiltration of the military and the police.

(See the map as of 2007 at a previous post here.)

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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7 Responses to The 2011 Geography of the Mexican Drug War

  1. Scott says:

    I am impressed that some one took the time and effort to follow who owns what, and also worried at how power these cartels now seem to be

  2. Curzon says:

    I think it’s much less of a secret as to who owns what when you’re on the ground. Interesting also that, as the post from 2007 shows, the Sinaloa Federation (and its predecessor(s)) has long been the dominant cartel, and what we are seeing now is in many ways a return to 4-5 years ago.

  3. Chirol says:

    The solution is simple. America must legalize all drugs. This is the sole reason for the violence. Prohibition didn’t work the first time and led to the exact same thing. Prohibition still doesn’t work.

  4. ElamBend says:

    I thought this article made for good companion reading to this post. In particular this paragraph stood out:
    The harder lesson here, however, is that there are no quick fixes in a drug war, and two steps forward are often followed by one step back. After bottoming out in 2007, Medellín’s homicide rate has since doubled (though it is still one-fifth of what it was at the city’s early-1990s nadir). Nearly everyone in the city agrees that the uptick in violence was the result of the Colombian government’s 2008 decision to extradite to the United States former paramilitary leader turned crime boss Diego Murillo Bejarano, locally known as Don Berna. What that meant, in effect, was that the critics had been correct: The Colombian government hadn’t actually successfully demobilized the drug-trafficking paramilitaries. Instead, by seriously crippling the competing guerrillas, the government had given a monopoly to Don Berna. It was peace achieved through market dominance, not demilitarization</strong. — and when Don Berna's extradition decapitated his organization and prompted a violent scramble for power among lower-ranking lieutenants, the peace fell apart.

    - Until there is substantial dominance by one cartel the civil war will likely rage (thought the peace will be Pyrrhic)

  5. Curzon says:

    Written by Francis Fukuyama as well…

  6. ElamBend says:

    I hadn’t even caught that

  7. Jose Angel says:

    In reality the drug lords aren’t that powerful as these maps purport to show. The drugs lords do not live in big residential homes, they are hiding away in rat-hole obscure little places, hiding away from the army, all of them, including the Sinaloa cartel, they have been hit hard by the Mexican authorities.
    The days when those drug lords used to live in huge mansions with elephants and lions in their gardens are long gone, ever since Calderon took office the authorities have seized hundreds of homes, have killed and arrested thousands of criminals and have already neutralized many drug cartels, like the Michoacan family, shown in the map but almost non-existant, their leaders killed by Mexican federal police, or the Linea in Cd. Juarez, or several other, and the authorities have also killed or arrested many big drug lords like Tony Tormenta, Beltran Leyva and others.

    But there’s a lot of exaggeration going on. Nobody, for instance, explain how is it that the partners of these mexican narco gangs are free to sell, ship, distribute and spread all these drugs in each american city, where millions and millions of drug addicted americans get their daily dose of poison under the very eyes of their police officers, their security institutions. Why is it that you can’t enter a heavily armed poor district of L.A. or New York or Chicago, where they sell drugs in broad daylight? Why is it that we don’t see any american officers getting killed in the fight against drugs in the US, but in Mexico, our allegedly corrupted police and army is getting killed by the hundreds per year in the hands of these narco gangs? Why?