John Ackerman, our co-lead researcher in Mexico for the Global Integrity Report: 2007, analyzes the longevity of the Mexican government in relation to the heavy and increasing drug influence in the country. In his piece published in the Guardian last week, Ackerman argues that the Mexican government must better address the rise in drug-related crime and corruption; however, he disagrees that these issues will propel Mexico to become a “failed state” anytime soon.
“The Mexican drug cartels have no interest in taking over the government. Mexico is fundamentally different from Colombia or Afghanistan, where politics and ideology are at the centre of the agenda. Mexican drug traffickers are not terrorists or radical leftists, but savvy (and heavily armed) businessmen who corrupt government officials in order to maintain a positive ‘investment climate’.”
As long as drug lords can continue to successfully maintain their markets and influence through police bribes and campaign donations to politicians, there is no incentive for these “businessmen” to directly seek government positions. These corrupt patronage networks provide drug cartels with their own sphere within which they can work without the restraints of government regulation. Why bother taking over government when you already have all the freedom you need to operate?
— Norah Mallaney