Recently there has been an influx in drug related killings in Mexico, where often innocent civilians and police officers are sprayed down with AK-47s. On March 7th 2011, 18 people were killed in the city Culiacan, which was the result of a feud between the Zetas and Gulf cartels. Because of the institutionalized corruption, there is usually very little the police force can or will do in terms of retaliation or bringing justice. The four major cartels, known as the Zetas, Juarez, Beltran Leyva, and Arellano Felix, control everything from the towns to the provinces. As for the economy, these gangs probably inject more money into the economy than the government. For reasons such as that, these gangs are tolerated by the masses because they pervade all levels of society.
When I was traveling in Mexico for spring break, I was on the lookout for these gang members and mass murderers. I was very disappointed. Sure I saw a few police officers and security officers carrying M-16s, but nothing that the media addresses as widespread. Not say it isn’t there but just that I was never in any gunfire running for my life. Nevertheless, this did not stop me from asking questions and one local waiter was willing to spill the beans. After a few coronas and walks down sketchy streets, I asked about the marijuana drug trade. He said that they grow it right up in the mountains, which were in the horizon about 15 miles off. This instantly provoked the question of what prevents others from discovering, stealing, or confiscating it. He responded, “No one fucks with anybody’s weed up there because they do not know exactly who it belongs to, if it’s the mafia, the will blow your head off on the spot.” This was the only way he could describe the retaliation for messing with the mafia’s supply, your head is going to be blown off.
Hearing this from such a first hand account had quite the impact on me compared to a CNBC special. These acts of violence happen frequently and are a common ordeal for the typical citizen, something that I cannot comprehend. I have enough time dealing with Ithaca parking tickets rather than worry about being caught in gunfire or stumbling upon the wrong neck of the woods. It’s a shame that kids in Mexico can’t simply enjoy Lucha libre as there only form of violence.