Despite arrest of Mexican cartel leader, drugs to flow
MEXICO CITY — The capture of the top leader of a savage Mexican cartel will likely have little effect on the trafficking of cocaine and other illicit substances to the United States, or on the violence that has claimed tens of thousands of lives here in recent years.
If anything, the violence, at least in the short term, could surge as rivals and potential successors of Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, alias Z-40, battle to take his place or his turf.
But for President Enrique Pena Nieto, the capture is a small coup. His 7-month-old government, marking its first major strike against organized crime, probably hopes the early Monday arrest in the border town of Nuevo Laredo will score points in the theater of public opinion and especially among skeptics who doubt the new leader's vague and sporadic security policy.
The elimination of Trevino “will seriously complicate ... the ability of these groups to exercise their criminal activities,” said the government's security affairs spokesman, Eduardo Sanchez. Like many in the government, he had something of a deer-in-headlights aspect to his remarks, reflecting Pena Nieto's insistence on downplaying the drug war.
In marked contrast to his predecessor, President Felipe Calderon — whose military-led, U.S.-backed war on powerful cartels claimed more than 70,000 lives in six years, decapitated many organizations but ultimately did not make a significant dent in trafficking — Pena Nieto has told American advisers to stand down and, to his public, has instead emphasized a more mundane fight against murder, kidnapping and extortion.
“It does not sit badly at all that the capture comes when around the world doubts are surfacing about (Pena Nieto's) reform agenda,” the hallmark of his administration, Carlos Puig, a journalist and political analyst, wrote in a column Tuesday in the Milenio newspaper.
Officially, Washington congratulated the Mexican government, and notably the well-regarded navy special forces that caught Trevino as he moved before dawn with two lieutenants in a pickup truck loaded with guns and $2 million in cash.
Other American officials, not accustomed in recent years to being shut out of Mexican planning, were more circumspect.
“This is good,” a senior official said of the arrest. “But if this is all they are doing, it's not enough.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ban of flights to and from Israel feared to bolster Hamas
- Islamists gain foothold in few British schools
- 11 parents of abducted Nigerian girls die
- Putin’s stance on Ukraine is bad for business, Russian billionaires say
- Russian-made Buk missile main suspect in downing of airliner
- New Ebola cases, deaths climb in West Africa
- Pakistan’s violence keeps bomb disposal expert busy
- Israeli death toll climbs to 25 in Gaza ground offensive
- U.S., EU strengthen sanctions against Russia over Ukraine conflict
- Defiant and smug, Assad begins 3rd term as Syrian president
- Half-million in Philippines flee Typhoon Rammasun