Just a few days before the anniversary of the attack at Iguala, the America’s Program had the opportunity to interview Carlos Beristain, one of the independent experts that participated in the investigation.
Despite recurrent pronouncements of death by some U.S. and Mexican officials, high-profile organized crime groups continue operating and shedding blood south of the border. Tijuana, where control of both the local and export drug business is the prize of contention, figures once again as a significant flashpoint of violence.
The Salvadoran state has closed off all possibility of any kind of negotiation with the gangs. The constitutional court’s August ruling, which stated that gang members will be considered as terrorists under Salvadoran law, will also affect the thousands of people who work with the gangs, all the way from family members to taxi drivers.
Now is a good time to examine a key question: Is Merida working? In light of the reality on the ground for many in Mexico (upwards of 130,000 have been killed in the country since December 2006, the year former President Felipé Calderón launched his drug war) the answer may seem obvious, and the question at best redundant, at worst perverse.
We are a group of social scientists with decades of research experience with the very populations targeted in Biden’s plan. We are painfully aware that Central America’s rural and urban poor need support. But Biden’s package is guaranteed to deepen—not alleviate—the problems faced by Central America’s poor majority.