Showing posts with label Adios Prince. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Adios Prince. Show all posts

Friday, April 22, 2016

Executions Spiral - But Does Anyone Even Care and Is Democracy in Mexico At Risk?: Professor Andreas Schedler....Nothing to do with this subject, but damn adios Prince !!!

Freida finally went to sleep so I have a little extra time here. We think she is trying like crazy to hang in there, but she is going downhill. Above is the map on the front page of Zeta's printed edition from last week as promised, and the link to their coverage of the drug war homicides in Tijuana.

El Sol de Tijuana put their total at 232, and since the last blog, the number has increased by at least eighteen more (including one across the road at Real Del Mar); most likely the number will be even more by the morning.  Keep in mind, these are the totals for Tijuana only.  At this moment , El Sol reports we are close to 250 in Tijuana since the beginning of the year. The executions  also extend down through Rosarito to San Quintin, over to Tecate and Mexicali.*  Additionally in Tijuana it is the Zona Centro which leads in car theft, home robberies, business robberies including robberies with violence (in public) and homicides.  Taking second place is the Zona Urbana Rio Tijuana.

Problem is, does anyone care ?  It was last November when Andreas Schedler, (enclosed in link are his other writings, some of which can be accessed via pdf) Professor of Political Science presented his book, "En la niebla de la guerra: Los ciudadenos ante la violencia criminal organizada" at the International Book Fair in Guadalajara.

Synopses of his work followed shortly after noting what he views through his research is the lack of solidarity of the general population of Mexico against the violence of the drug war in this nation.  Although he believes their are structural obstacles to solidarity such as the lack of adequate and sufficient information and a sense of injustice, according to his studies only 10 % of Mexicans feel empathy for the victims of violence.

Proyecto Diez
Solo 10 por ciento de los Mexicanos siente empatia hacia las victimas de la violencia

Does this make you tilt your head just a little bit or raise your eyebrows?  After all, from this blog (one of these days I swear I am going to get those hacked blogs back up) alone since 2007 you have been hearing how horrible the violence is here, and it is - we hate it, we hate the violence, no one should have to live under these conditions, it is unnatural.  Then of course you have other publication(s) where it seems a million people are all commenting as "anonymous" discussing the tribes, or gangs or cartels.  I am always grateful when English speaking big guns like AP or The Guardian report events, even BBC. Recently, one seasoned journalist eloquently wrote how terribly cruel and sad the situation is, and it is. But do the majority of Mexicans actually living here think it is sad and cruel?

In Mexico according to Professor Schedler the violence has been systematized, aired daily it has stopped generating amazement where people do not care about the victims, and are no longer amazed.  From his National Survey of Organized Violence he also has found that some people believe that if a person is not involved with organized crime they will not become a victim of violence (wow, sounds just like the mantra of the promoters).  From these earlier synopses we learn that Professor Schedler considers the drug war as being a civil war.

  -  From Mexico Voices, Rebecca Nannery translates to English parts of Jose Woldenberg's report on what exactly Schedler means by "civil war" and importantly what we are witnessing in Mexico is "...the normalization of violence and citizen's passitivity to it":

Reforma: José Woldenberg*
Translated by Rebecca Nannery

Andreas Schedler has written a must-read book to clear the air about the war that engulfs our country. In the Fog of War: Citizens and Organized Criminal Violence in Mexico (CIDE, 2015), provides a conceptual framework to better understand the phenomenon through an acute and in-depth analysis of the National Survey on Organized Violence and present the reactions of that massive and contradictory universe we call citizens.

The starting point of the book could not be more relevant. It says, 
“In the last two decades of the 20th Century, Mexico moved slowly and peacefully towards democracy. In the first decade of the 21st Century, it rapidly slid into civil war.” 
When I heard the use of the term ‘civil war’ for the first time to describe what was going on in Mexico, I had my reservations. In my eyes, a civil war was when the conflicting sides embodied opposing political ideologies and projects, with the ultimate goal of taking over the country. 
However, Schedler convincingly offers four arguments to support why he calls it a civil war: 
a) conceptually, “it coincides with the use of concept in the studies of civil wars in international political sciences… (It is) a confrontation between armed groups within a State or between one armed group and the actual State itself, which causes a minimum of 1,000 deaths per year,”
b) empirically, the ideological motives “are not an essential part of the definition… there can be wars with or without ideology. The so called ‘new’ civil wars, such as the one in Mexico, do not have a political agenda,”
c) theoretically, “there are many things that we can learn from the literature written about civil wars… because the armed factions face similar challenges of organized violence, have to mobilize resources, get weapons, recruit, train, establish a division of labour and impose hierarchies… They exert violence in an opaque context and under uncertainty as to the identity of the actors. Who is who? Who is on which side?”
d) politically, “the war is not external, but internal,” “it is our war.”
However, regardless of the conceptualization, what worried Schedler most, and is confirmed by his findings, is a deficit of intervention by what we like to call “the public opinion”. He notes that wherever you can exercise political rights and civil freedom, wherever you can vote between different options, wherever you can “be a member of political parties or civil associations and take to the streets and raise your voice,” citizens have, in theory, three ways to have an influence, a) in the discussion of policies, b) on organized crime itself, as it needs “personnel and silence” and finally, c) in civil society through protest movements or victims associations. 
Nonetheless, this “string of beautiful possibilities,” except for virtuous and colourful examples, is more of a possibility than a reality. We are witnessing “the normalization of violence and citizen’s passivity to it.”

Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles to the active involvement of civil society is precisely the “fog” in which the war itself takes place. Schedler tells us that, ideally, the alliance against crime would place the State, the victims and civil society on common ground: confronting, of course, these violent actors. Most unfortunately however, in reality the actors are mixed “and the lines between the world of violent crimes and spheres of State and civil society have become blurred.” 
This puts in place two mechanisms: a) the violent crime organizations need external allies both in the State and civil society, so they try to infiltrate public agencies, local communities and civil associations” and b) “it is almost inevitable that members of government agencies and civil society are becoming victims, but also perpetrators of violent crime.”

This dichotomy notoriously stems from at least four failures of the State: institutional weakness, collusion of officials with crime, abuse of power and “indifference towards victims.” Consequently the mist thickens. We then find ourselves in 
“a democracy in civil war,” in “a political system whose regime meets the minimum levels of democracy, while the State is not capable of… containing the organization and exercise of private violence.”
But… why don’t you read the book instead?
Reforma only allows subscribers to access its articles online.

*José Woldenberg holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology and a masters in Latin American Studies from UNAM, where he is a professor in the Faculty of Political and Social Science. He was the first president of the Federal Electoral Institute. His most recent books are "Disenchantment", "Noblesse oblige", "Politics, Crime and Delirium" (Cal y Arena), "A Minimum History of the Mexican Democratic Transition" (El Colegio de Mexico) and "Mexico: the Difficult Democracy" (Taurus).