Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Mexico's Calderon sends 5,000 cops and soldiers to fight Michoacan drug smugglers

Reports Beyond the Border blog:
While few would expect the overwhelmingly military operation to radically change the tide of the drug war, what it more likely do is limit some of the lawless and killings in the region - basically force drug gangsters and other organized-crime figures to temporarily climb back under their rocks until things cool down.


800 pound gorilla said...

Or it could cause a bidding war for their services among the drug gangs. Take a page out of US diplomacy where we often take sides in other countries' gang warfare. They already use police to arrest rival drug dealers. Why should the military be any harder to manipulate?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

That's a really good point. It's possible Calderon's goal isn't to wipe out drug trafficking but to pick winners and losers in the cartel wars to stop the fighting.

That might even be a sage tactic if the short term political goal is to reduce the carnage. There's no evidence for that yet, though - more likely it's a response to US demands that Calderon show he's tough. The dumping of 5 decapitated heads in the middle of a Michoacan disco made the region a symbolic centerpiece in the Mexican drug interdiction debate. This could just be an equally symbolic response. Certainly it will take more than a temporary troop surge to resolve the problem.

It's my understanding that the Gulf Cartel is the one most dominant in Michoacan. If that "picking winners" theory were correct, one would speculate Calderon might be siding with the Sinaloa cartel. No way to tell - it's impossible from here to know what's happening on the ground.