Thursday, December 17, 2009

Stratfor Annual Report: Mexican Drug Cartels - Two Wars and a Look Southward

In this report on Mexico’s drug cartels, we assess the most significant developments of 2009 and provide an updated description of the country’s powerful drug-trafficking organizations, as well as a forecast for 2010. This annual report is a product of the coverage we maintain on a weekly basis through our Mexico Security Memo as well as the other analyses we produce throughout the year.

Two cartel wars in Mexico combined to produce record levels of violence in 2009. The first war is the struggle between the government of Mexico and the drug cartels. In a parallel war, cartels compete with one another for control of lucrative supply routes. Shortly after his inauguration in 2006, President Felipe Calderon launched a major campaign targeting the cartels, which he viewed as a major threat to Mexico’s security and stability. Over the past three years, the government has weakened and fragmented some of the major cartels (namely the Gulf and Sinaloa cartels), but in the progress has upset the balance of cartel power. The result has been an increase in violence as formerly allied cartels have been pitted against each other in battles of attrition, as they fight for control of lucrative smuggling routes.

The turbulence within individual Mexican cartels that was seen in 2008 was absent in 2009, although the changes created by that turbulence have persisted, along with the divisions in previous alliances caused by Calderon’s 2008 campaign against the cartels. With these continued divisions came a continuation of Calderon’s strategy, and a continuation of high levels of violence. With the success experienced in 2008, Calderon continued to pursue his strategy of deploying Mexican military personnel and federal police against the cartels. Calderon has vowed to pursue this strategy into 2010 despite mounting public criticism and issues with rising violence.



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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