Monday, July 11, 2011

Open border spurs organized crime; detracts state control

By Fernando A. Chinchilla

In June 2011, the tortured bodies of 21 Mexican youth bearing written messages calling them “thieves and rapists” were dumped throughout the city of Morelia, in the Mexican state of Michoacán. It was reminiscent of the worst of the state terrorism that plagued Central America in the 1970s and 1980s. Even though Morelia is not located at the border, where violence linked to organized crime is commonplace, such an incident can only be understood within the general context of the dynamics typical of Mexico’s border areas, while bearing in mind its links to violence in Central America and the Andes. By studying the “hotspots” of transborder violence, it is possible to appreciate the full extent of the regional, national and individual threat posed by organized crime, which is weakening the rule of law by justifying repressive approaches and by rendering the idea of citizenship meaningless. Organized crime is even beginning to take its inspiration from ideologies in competition with state authority, thus becoming a factor of political instability in the Americas... Read more

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