Small Wars Journal

organized crime

Social Banditry and the Public Persona of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán

Mon, 04/29/2013 - 3:30am
This article reviews nine key insights into social banditry originally described by Eric Hobsbawm and examines their applicability regarding Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel. Because some of Mexico’s organized crime leaders aim to be viewed as social bandits, and visit Guatemala and the Mexico-Guatemala border region to evade authorities, the article focuses on particularities of those culture zones in the potential application of three primary strategies of information operations to contest a social bandit’s prestige: emphasizing distance between the social bandit and the local poor, portraying collusion of the social bandit with local authorities and opposition to federal authorities, and emphasizing closeness between federal power and the local poor. A criminal organization leader who desires the prestige of social banditry would have cause to oppose each strategy. The analysis predicts that the first two strategies are more realistic, potentially more important strategically, and are more likely to become intensely contested through Information Operations, within culture areas of Guatemala and the Mexico-Guatemala border region.

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Why Mexico's Zetas Expanded Faster than their Rivals

Wed, 04/24/2013 - 3:46pm
"Why Mexico's Zetas Expanded Faster than their Rivals" by Steven Dudley and Viridiana Rios 

Sunday 21 April 2013

The Zetas are not the only extremely violent, military-style criminal organization from Mexico. Yet, they are the only one that operates in 350 Mexican municipalities, as well as numerous others in Guatemala and Central America. Why have they been able to expand faster than their rivals?

Read it here.

Who is Targeting Texas Prosecutors? An Analysis

Thu, 04/04/2013 - 7:18pm

From the Baker Institute Blog:

Following the death of a Colorado prison official, two Texas prosecutors, and the killing of an intruder at the home of a Colorado prosecutor, speculation about the nature of the attacks has been rampant.  There have been three general theories about the attacks: (1) the attacks are the personal vendetta of an individual or individuals prosecuted by these officials, (2) the attacks are the work of the Texas Aryan Brotherhood, and (3) the attacks are the work of Mexican cartels.
Read it all here.

The Inaugural European Serious and Organised Crime Conference 2013

Mon, 03/25/2013 - 12:05am
The Inaugural European Serious and Organised Crime Conference 2013
February 28, 2013
Brussels, Belgium
Forum Europe
Europe faces serious security challenges that continue to grow in scale and sophistication. The activities of international organised crime rings are having an increasingly negative impact. Criminals are making enormous profits from counterfeit goods and contraband at the expense of taxpayers, legitimate industry and consumers. Co-hosted by Europol and the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium.
Presentations and conference documents:

Peña Nieto’s Piñata: The Promise and Pitfalls of Mexico’s New Security Policy Against Organized Crime

Sat, 02/23/2013 - 7:25am

Peña Nieto’s Piñata: The Promise and Pitfalls of Mexico’s New Security Policy Against Organized Crime

Vanda Felbab-Brown

The Brookings Institution

February 2013

Mexico’s new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has a tough year ahead of him. After six years of extraordinarily high homicide levels and gruesome brutality in Mexico, he has promised to prioritize social and economic issues and to refocus Mexico’s security policy on reducing violence. During its first months in office, his administration has eschewed talking about drug-related deaths or arrests. The Mexican public is exhausted by the bewildering intensity and violence of crime as well as by the state’s blunt assault on the drug trafficking groups. It expects the new president to deliver greater public safety, including from abuses committed by the Mexican military, which Mexico’s previous president, Felipe Calderón, deployed to the streets to tackle the drug cartels.