HomeNewsBriefMexico Mayors Pay 'Interest' to Organized Crime
BRIEF

Mexico Mayors Pay 'Interest' to Organized Crime

MEXICO / 12 FEB 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

A mayor from the Mexican state of Michoacan told a prominent Mexican news organization that extortion payments are part of local politics in the country giving a brief window into a dark corner of Mexico's war against organized crime.

In an interview with Aristegui Noticias, Ignacio Lopez Mendoza, the mayor of the municipality of Santa Ana Maya and a politician with the leftist Partido de Trabajo (PT), said: "Insecurity is something that is affecting us, something that everyone knows, but nobody says. Why? Because we have to deal with organized crime, we have to pay them 'interest,' and this is something nobody talks about."

Lopez refused to give more details about just how much "interest" he and others paid, or to whom.

Lopez also blamed the links between the authorities and organized crime for the rise of vigilante self-defense groups throughout Mexico.

"This is why our people are rising up in arms," he said, referring the increasing number of these groups in his state and others.

InSight Crime Analysis

Lopez’s comments draw attention to a situation which, as he says, is widely known but rarely acknowledged. Local politicians in areas affected by organized crime often have little choice but to bow to the demands of powerful criminal organizations such as the Knights Templar, the group that operates in Lopez's area, a fact brutally demonstrated by the high number of murders of public officials. According to National Federation of Mexican Municipalities, over the last six years, 31 local mayors and over 1,200 municipal officials have been murdered.

However, in many cases, it is hard to define which politicians may be complicit in this collusion and which are innocent victims. In 2009, in what became known as the “Michoacanazo,” the federal prosecutors arrested 35 municipal mayors for working with organized crime; the charges were later dropped on every mayor.

The line between victim and accomplice is further complicated by the “plata o plomo” -- bribes or bullets -- dilemma many public officials in these areas face. In these cases, there is no easy choice.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

KIDNAPPING / 29 JAN 2014

Mexico has created a new unit to combat rising kidnapping in the country, but the question remains of whether this…

MEXICO / 23 MAY 2017

A subsidiary of one of the largest banking corporations in the United States has admitted to engaging in criminal behavior…

DRUG POLICY / 27 OCT 2011

Blog del Narco, a site with explicit reporting on Mexico's drug violence, has allegedly been forced to change domain names…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…