Justice in Mexico

“La Raíz de la Violencia” Offers Alternative Strategy to Combat Drug Traffickers

06/04/11 – An essay written by Eduardo Guerrero Gutiérrez titled “La Raiz de la Violencia,” which has been published in the most recent issue of Nexos, has been gaining much attention due to a unique strategy Gutiérrez developed aimed at reducing violence in Mexico.   Gutiérrez has stated that although the Mexican government has succeeded in fragmenting drug cartels by capturing leaders found on the “most wanted” list, negative consequences, such as a dramatic increase in violence, has erupted as a result of smaller drug cartels forming and fighting for control over trafficking routes.  Actions such as extortion, kidnappings, human trafficking, and burglary have also become more and more common as the smaller organized crime groups have diversified their criminal activities.

In “La Raiz de la Violencia,” Gutiérrez explains how in addition to civil society being proactive towards reducing violence, their are 4 main ways that can be used to reduce drug violence.  The first point calls for the Mexican government to act on the basis of priorities, targeting the illicit activities that are actually threatening society.  The second calls on federal authorities to considerably fortify their intelligence capacities, to actively promote the robustness of these capacities within the state and local levels, and to act with urgency.  The third point calls on authorities to identify a series of  “dissuasive levers” that are capable of modifying criminal behavior in order to reduce the harm it can cause.  The last point  calls on police forces, including the military in some cases, to be equipped with the ability to operate “dissuasive interventions” in various parts of the country.

Gutiérrez supports what he calls a “dissuasive strategy” instead of a “punitive strategy.”  The objectives of this strategy are to reduce violence and crime, to set priorities based on resources and capacities, and to maximize the effects of punishments so that they are able to positively change the criminal behavior of individuals.  In addition, this strategy calls for actions such as selectively detaining members of criminal organizations based on their behavior, for punishments to be enacted in a rapid manner so that the time that lapses between the moment the crime is committed and the punishment is given is shortened, and for an increased investment in intelligence resources and capacity.

To read the full essay, click here.


Gutiérrez, Eduardo Guerrero.  “La raíz de la violencia.”  Nexos.  June 1, 2011.

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