Drug warriors keep telling us that we’ve had big successes in Colombia â€” that we’re winning the drug war there by dismantling the top cartels, and working with Uribe to extradite them to the U.S.
And if we have patience with Calderone’s efforts in Mexico and just realize that increased violence is a sign that we’re winning, we’ll dismantle those cartels as well.
But what happens when you dismantle the large organizations without eliminating demand or removing drugs from the black market (or repealing the laws of economics)?
Medellin [Colombia] is once again in the grip of a vicious drug war. In January to September this year, city authorities say the murder rate has more than doubled with almost 2,000 killings. […]
That makes Medellin as dangerous as Ciudad Juarez, the frontier town dubbed Mexico’s most dangerous city as a result of the ongoing cartel war there. Authorities in Juarez say killings are up from last year and are hitting record highs. […]
Until earlier this year, Medellin’s drug underworld was ruled by the so-called “Office of Envigado,” named after a district of the Medellin metropolitan area. The “office” was a syndicate of the top cocaine bosses who agreed on the basic rules of doing business in the area. They shared smuggling routes and acted as the ultimate enforcers if cartel members reneged on deals or debts.
But the “office” has been ripped apart by infighting. Some senior members were arrested, some of those already in jail were extradited and others cut cooperation deals with U.S. authorities. That left the lower ranks fighting to fill the power vacuum.
It’s an internal battle that is still raging.
“The ones fueling this war are the ones from the other side. They’ve f***ed up Medellin,” Chief says. “They’re from Medellin but they’re traitors.”
“They want to get control of all Medellin so they’re shooting up one gang then another. They’re getting paid to fight. These are wars between the big capos and we’re paying the price out here on the streets,” he adds.
I don’t think we can survive too many more drug war “successes.”