CARTEL COVID RELIEF: A STUDY INTO CRIMINAL GOVERNANCE AND MEXICO’S DRUG TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATIONS
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractMexico’s drug trafficking groups are some of the world’s most violent organizations, killing journalists, public figures, and everyday people who stand in their way. However, during the early months of the pandemic, these same organizations were seen delivering COVID-19 relief, with packages that provided food, and personal protective equipment in several locations, to crowds in need. Why would criminal organizations, known to be predatory and violent, provide COVID-19 relief assistance? This paper seeks to analyze the cause of the provision of COVID-19 relief with a theoretical framework based on criminal governance, explaining the motivations of DTOs to provide public goods like COVID-19 relief. The study also aims to use a small database of newspaper articles detailing cases of COVID-19 relief, looking for commonalities in DTO behavior that may explain the phenomenon. Overall the goal of this study is to provide an explanation, although varied, to this anomaly, of relief by Mexico’s drug trafficking organizations. The study finds that DTOs distribute relief in order to engage in criminal governance from the bottom up, to gain consensual permission and approval from the public to favor the organization. DTOs also distribute relief to cultivate loyalty, in populations both large and small by employing wide reaching public relations strategies, not to mention DTOs handing out relief place them in competition with local state authorities, and law enforcement, who in some cases, prevent DTOs from distributing relief.
Degree ProgramPhilosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law