Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, June 05, 2009

Corruption of the system in Mexico

Mexico drug traffickers corrupt politics
There are few places in Mexico that better illustrate the way traffickers have corrupted the political system from its very foundation than Michoacan, the home state of President Felipe Calderon.

A relatively new and particularly violent group, La Familia Michoacana, is undermining the electoral system and day-to-day governance of this south-central state, pushing an agenda that goes beyond the usual money-only interests of drug cartels.

Whether by intimidation, purchase or direct order, drug gangs can sometimes dictate who is a candidate and who is not, and put some of their own people in races -- a perversion, critics say, of democracy itself.

Just last week it became clear how deeply embedded La Familia is. Federal authorities detained 10 mayors and 20 other local officials as part of a drug investigation...

Dozens of mayors, city hall officials and politicians have been killed or abducted in Michoacan as La Familia has extended its control in the last couple of years...

Unlike some drug syndicates, La Familia goes beyond the production and transport of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine and seeks political and social standing. It has created a cult-like mystique and developed pseudo-evangelical recruitment techniques that experts and law enforcement authorities say are unique in Mexico...

At least 83 of Michoacan's 113 municipalities are compromised by narcos, said a Mexican intelligence source speaking on condition of anonymity...


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