Saturday, November 10, 2012

The 'Mexicanization' of Colombia?

A lot has been written during recent years about the supposed 'Colomobianization of Mexico,' by which observers mean the shifting of Colombia's violence north to Mexico and Central America. There is something to that: While violence has declined here, it's soared to the north, as Mexican cartels battle each other over the drug sales routes which they've wrested from Colombian cartels. But nevertheless, Mexico's violence has been different: Unlike Colombia's left-wing guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries, Mexico's narcos are non-political organizations out to make money.

But now, after the massacre Wednesday of 10 campesinos in the town of Santa Rosa de Osos, Antioquia, some observers are talking about the opposite: the possible Mexicanization of Colombia. It's far too early to say, and let's all pray that it doesn't happen. But with the demobilization of most of the paramilitaries and the weakening of guerrilla groups, there's the danger that plain old criminal organizations, like Colombia's bacrims, will take over the industry. It's a grim observation that, while Colombia has suffered many massacres, they have 'at least' generally had a political character and have in some way been deliberated and controlled by the conflicting groups. The fear is that the wholesale and gruesome Mexico-type massacres, whose killers seem to have no compunction or moral law except vengeance, could become more frequent here.
The nine men and one woman were killed Wednesday on a farm, targeted apparently because of whom they worked for. Authorities suspected that the killings were committed in retaliation for the arrest a week ago of criminal band leader Jorge 18. Officials blamed the murders on the Rastrojos - succesors of disbanded paramilitary groups.

President Santos vowed to capture the killers and the government offered a 150 million peso reward for information.

A more fundamental solution? Legalize the drugs these groups fight over and finance themselves with.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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