Mafia in Mexico by Zuzana Hlubinová

27/11/2011 10:24

It was a piece of news about four lines long containing only bare facts accompanied by a more than shocking picture of two mutilated bodies—a man and a woman—hanging on a rope. Their death is another milestone in the history of the Mexican drug mafia’s rampage. For the first time, the mafia targeted bloggers, ordinary people who had the nerve to tell the truth about drug cartels publicly.


The situation in Mexico is really serious. The first time I heard about what was going on there was about a year ago from a Mexican immigrant who was trying to get permanent residency in Slovakia. I have always been wondering how all these people get to know about our miniature country. I asked him whether the difference between Slovakia and Mexico was not too big and whether he was not missing his home country. His answer puzzled me: “I have never regretted leaving Mexico. It hurts only to think about how wild and practically uncontrollable the country has become. The only laws that really count are those of drug barons and similar criminals.” I have never met him again nor do I know whether he really got his permission, but I know that at that time there was a blonde long-legged Slovak girl helping him to cure the pain in his heart.


Some time later, I found out more about the topic in an article by Neapolitan journalist Roberto Saviano. By the way, Saviano also belongs to the category of endangered species. He was so ‘rude’ as to write the names of the current bosses and key members of Camorra (mafia in Naples) in his book Gomorra, and, because of that, his name appeared on their black list. The way Camorra goes about eliminating troublesome individuals is very similar to that of the Mexican mafia. The only difference is that Mexicans act immediately while Camorrists wait for the right time to come (they are willing to wait patiently even for 10 – 20 years) and the victim gets a false feeling of security. They wait, but never forget.


Saviano in his article Caccia a El Chapo, invisibile boss dei narcos (Hunting El Chapo, the Invisible Boss of the Narcos) claims that there is no more dangerous job than that of a journalist in Mexico. No one is supposed to talk about mafia. Who dares to go against the flow can expect armed visitors, and their guns will be the last thing he will see. Any way of resistance to mafia is a battle lost before it even begins. We no longer talk about drug trafficking, but about a drug empire, and this expression is not exaggerated at all. Drug barons have become a kind of folk heroes because they oppose the despised and corrupt government. Every now and then, they help fund the construction of a school or a hospital and thus shut the mouth of any resister. Young men long for their way of life: money, power, women, and weapons. They choose the career of a criminal in spite of practically no chance to succeed. Most of them end up in prison or ‘six feet under’.


Since the Mexican president Felipe Calderon in 2006 declared war on the drug mafia, the conflict has caused more than 35,000 deaths. However, this time two bloggers have been killed, maybe anonymous, but they wrote something they shouldn’t have, and their words were read by the wrong eyes. Their death is a warning for all the others. For us Slovaks with the mouths bigger than our heads, it is almost impossible to imagine such a thing.

Illustration: Simon Howden /



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