Drugs cover a map of North America.

15 Oct How Cartels Affect Life in Mexico Part 3


This article is a continuation in a series about the effects that cartels have to the lives of the Mexican people, and how the violence of these criminal institutions creates an unstable environment throughout the entire country. This series looks at the lasting effects that the drug trade has made possible by fueling the rise of organizations that are responsible for billions of dollars in drugs being funneled into the United States, as well as the deaths and disappearances of thousands of people in North America.

High rates of missing people

As we’ve stated in this series before, there are thousands of people who vanish in Mexico, every single year, due to activity from the cartels. As of 2014, many analysts put the number of people who have gone missing in the Mexican cartels’ drug war at 26,000. This doesn’t include thousands of others who have already been pronounced dead, even in the absence of a body, nor does it include the 60,000 who have been killed in retaliation for government action. Perhaps most shockingly of all, 40% of these missing person cases have never even been opened for investigation. These numbers create a sharp tone of distrust and unease in a country that is often known for being incredibly hospitable.

Who are these cartels?

There are five major cartels that have stayed in power, as of 2014. Los Zetas, who are a coalition of military special forces deserters that disbanded in the 1990’s to take up criminal enterprise. Caballeros Templarios, a gang that has an intense code of ethics that is based on honor codes of medieval knights. Cartel de Sinaloa, the most powerful cartel in the world who fuels the distribution of cocaine and heroin, and has revenue through major gas chains in the country. The Jalisco New Generation, who are a gang dedicated to murdering the Zetas. And finally the Gulf Cartel, who control most of the weapons trafficking between North and South America, as well as around the entire world.

What can be done?

Although there are still high levels of corruption, the Mexican government has made plenty of progress in trying to take down the leadership of the strongest cartels in the country. However, there will always be another to take their place. However, fighting these cartels at the source isn’t the only way to stop them. By combatting addiction in the United States, we can end their largest source of revenue, and starve them out, financially. The sad truth is that the epidemic of addiction in America is the largest fuel to these cartels, and they will not stop until we have dealt with it.

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