Author Cites Migrant Abuse as Symptom of a Failing State

By Jerry Kammer and Jerry Kammer on October 5, 2010

The author of a new book that warns of threats to Mexico's governability says the deterioration of state power reflects the growing influence of long-established criminal organizations that are widening their activities.

"It seems to me that we have arrived at this point, first because of the corruption that has existed for many years, and the tolerance for these criminal organizations to initially traffic in drugs and then to begin with other criminal ventures, such as extortion, kidnapping, piracy, human trafficking, prostitution, etc.," Jose Antonio Ortega Sanchez said in an interview with the Mexican newspaper Reforma.

Ortega Sanchez is the author of Mexico: Rumbo al Estado Fallido? (Mexico: Heading Toward a Failed State?). As a symptom of the inability of government authorities to establish order, he cites the violence suffered by Central American migrants who are often robbed, beaten, or kidnapped as they ride trains northward toward the United States. Those abuses have been criticized by Mexican human rights activists who say government authorities often work with the criminals who prey upon the migrants.

Ortega Sanchez also said Mexico has three of the world's ten most violent cities: Juarez, Chihuahua, and Culiacan.