Cartel Violence Continues


Jaclyn Fabing

Recently, a location scouter for the Netflix series ‘Narcos,’ Carlos Muñoz Portal, was found dead near one of the most violent areas in Mexico.  While the details of his death are unknown, many believe it to be the work of a cartel, whether purposefully or accidentally.

This would not be anything out of the ordinary; in the first seven months of the year, there have been 14,190 homicide investigations opened in the country. Many of these are blamed on cartels, especially following the power vacuum that was created after Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s arrest and extradition to the US.

Mexico is not alone in the cartel violence, either—the cartels exist across Latin America, including Colombia and Argentina. This is made worse by the most dangerous cartels, typically in Mexico, having reaches that far extend their own borders. 

As the violence continues in Mexico and the other Latin American countries, it is ultimately no surprise why so many people flee the violence by coming to America.

Many would call them immigrants, but perhaps we should change the word to ‘refugee’ and acknowledge that many are not simply coming to find jobs and the American Dream, but to escape violence and mass-corruption.

This is not a small issue, either: a 2014 Pew Research Center study found that a third of all Mexicans would migrate to the US if given the chance.

Sadly, many Americans conflate cartel violence with migrant violence, and assume the border violence caused by cartel actions are actually caused by immigrants- even though immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.

Earlier this year, a Mexican journalist named Javier Valdez was murdered in broad daylight by cartels for daring to report on their crimes.

“Let them kill us all, if that is the death sentence for reporting this hell,” he had written in a tweet earlier in the year, following the murder of another reporter, “No to silence,” he said.

Even more horrendously, last March, 250 bodies were found in a mass grave in Mexico.

Why focus on ISIS, when we have the Latin American equivalent just below us?

As this happens right under our noses, Americans are more willing to bury the problem other than occasionally gasp in outrage. The 2014 Iguala mass-kidnapping was a horror reported worldwide, though we seemingly overlooked the corruption it underlines.

It is unethical to continue to deport the people fleeing, and unethical to plug our ears to the horrors below us. In order to solve violence at our borders and the mass immigration problem, the solution is to help fight the cause: Cartels.