This interview was originally published on voiceofrussia.com on April 9, 2014.
Violence and murder is on the rise around Mexico City. It traces back to the drug trade, but does the story end with the gangs? Peter Watt, NACLA blogger and co-author of “Drug War Mexico,” told Voice of Russia that violence is the “result of a climate of impunity in which violent crime goes largely unpunished.”
That may sound contradictory, as U.S. counter-drug policy often makes international headlines. The recent capture of Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquín Guzmán Loera, known as “El Chapo,” is one example. But Watt stresses that the gangs are only one layer in depths of corruption.
Watt says that solving the violence in Mexico is larger than capturing the next “El Chapo.” But Watt thinks governments are unwilling to address the major structural problems that contribute to the drug trade, like unemployment, poverty, and corruption in the major institutions including police forces, government, and the army. And perhaps most significantly, they’re unwilling to tackle the big banks that make money off the drug trade.
Interview by Molly Seder. Photo by Thinkstock/Christine Williams. Peter Watt teaches Latin American Studies at the University of Sheffield. He is co-author of the book, Drug War Mexico: Politics, Violence and Neoliberalism in the New Narcoeconomy (Zed Books 2012).