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Criminal money in Mexico remains untouched


 translated from Spanish to English
Ciudad Juarez, one of the epicenters of the narco war. In the background you can see the lights of El Paso, the neighboring U.S. city.
Credit: Daniela Pastrana / IPS
 
By Emilio Godoy

“You can not close a bank teller stopping.” The phrase, the Argentine specialist Edgardo Buscaglia, illustrates combating money from illegal activities in Mexico. government inaction in this sector enables criminal organizations in Mexico and abroad continue with activities such as trafficking in drugs and people, the extortion and smuggling, experts say.
 
“On one hand, they have become more powerful, because they have touched the wealth, and on the other, have diversified, have placed capital in various sectors to diversify risk and higher returns,” said Buscaglia, president of the non Citizen Action governmental Institute for Justice and Democracy, told IPS.  This doctorate in economics and a post doctorate in jurisprudence and social policy studied 22 clandestine business like drug trafficking and alien smuggling, human trafficking, the smuggling, kidnapping and extortion, and concluded that the illegal trade of psychoactive substances has decreased in recent years. 
 
 Since 2006, Mexican authorities seized almost 1,000 million dollars in cash, a tiny figure if is compared with the amounts estimated by consultants and international organizations. The report “Mexico: Illicit Financial Flows, Macroeconomic imbalances and the Informal Economy”, published in January,
Gfi Mexico Report English-web
 
 
concluded that these
movements, due to corruption, kickbacks, criminal activities and efforts to conceal wealth, totaled 5.2 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product between 1970 and 2010. 
 
The document prepared by Global Financial Integrity (GIF), a program of the American Center for International Policy that promotes better controls on illegal capital, indicates that in the 1970s the annual amount of illicit money coming out of Mexico was 3,000 million.  In the 80 climbed to 10,400 million dollars in the 1990s to 17,400 million. Starting in 2000, left the country some 49,600 million dollars per year in these illegal flows.  Meanwhile, U.S. consultancy Stratfor figure at 40,000 million dollars annually from the amount of drugs entering the U.S. economy.
 
 ” The more hopes are usually put in measures on money (laundering) is less successful because it is having on the fight against drugs, “said IPS academic Carlos Resa, Autonomous University of Madrid, who has studied the drug in Mexico for the past decade.  drug policy of conservative President Felipe Calderon favors the use of force on other measures, such as the dismantling of financial backers key to weaken the corrupting power of gangs, experts say.
 
 Barely invested in December 2006, Calderón ordered the deployment of thousands of soldiers and police to confront drug trafficking organizations. In that war has killed more than 50,000 people, according to press accounts.  since 2007 the Attorney (prosecutor) General’s Office opened 1376 investigations for money laundering, but managed only 79 sentences.  Mexico is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Economic Development, which brings together all industrial countries, and the Group of 20 rich and emerging states, two areas that promote fiscal and financial transparency and the fight against money laundering. But it has never been penalized.  Mexico also integrates the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organization dedicated to combating economic crime and cross-border tax, which has 40 recommendations on money laundering and terrorist financing nine over.  The country meets only a few, but the FATF has not placed in any of its greylisting. And in a 2008 report said that made unprecedented efforts to combat these crimes.  laundering is a criminal offense in Mexico and punishable by three to nine years in prison. But there is no specific legislation.  ’s why the government introduced a bill that tightens controls on purchases of property, vehicles, jewelry and cash transactions, setting stops, creates a specific unit in the PGR laundering and criminalizes the laundering promotion , the use of straw buyers and falsified documents to cover up an entity.  toughens penalties also to cover and make the equivalent figure of forfeiture to apply when the goods taken away with illicit funds.However, the project could not be approved in this term.  Secretariat (ministry) of Federal Public Security estimates that seven posters in this country that dispute the distribution of drugs to the United States, the main market, while operating here 17 bands international.
 
No reliable figures for drug production.  The 2011 report of the International Narcotics Control United Nations (INCB), said the confiscation of marijuana shipments increased, but decreased the cocaine, which comes on all of Colombia.  Seizures of marijuana increased from 2109 tonnes in 2009 to over 2248 in 2010, while that of cocaine fell from 21.4 tons in 2009 to 9.4 tons the following year. According to Resa, nobody monitors whether these figures are real. “There are many possible causes for this increase, including a notable lack of public scrutiny of such seizures of marijuana,” he said.  ”Decreased cocaine seizures may mean that there is less traffic, the authorities are incompetent or drug transporters are getting more skilled, “he said in Spanish.  laboratories dismantled the 712 since 2007, 592 were on the Pacific coast, a strategic corridor for the movement of methamphetamine to the U.S. market.  Such drugs were made in the United States itself, until a 2005 law hindered obtaining precursor chemicals such as ephedrine. Since then, Mexico has become the factory of such substances and raw materials from countries like China and India.  According to the INCB, in 2009 only 14 hectares were eradicated poppy crop (poppy), which is obtained opium and heroin, and the latter drug seizures fell from 450 kilograms in 2005 to 369 kilos in 2010.  ”All three countries of origin for the raw material of the heroin consumed in North America in 2009 continued to be Afghanistan, Colombia and Mexico, “said INCB.
 
This Latin American country contributes nine percent of world production of heroin. production of marijuana (cannabis) and opium are concentrated in the states of northern and western Mexico.  In these regions, the impoverished village economy revolves around these crops in the entire peasant families who work, even children, described in his book “The drug lords” journalist Anabel Hernandez.  This is a portion of the real economy, but informal, of drug trafficking.  ”Nobody covers the economy real buildings, warehouses, trucks, tangible distribution systems, “Buscaglia said.  ”There is an institutional vacuum … Each state should have an equity research unit. Washing is only a bit. The real part is identifying who owns and if such factory has alliances with illegal groups, “he said.  ”The financial and economic part is not being addressed, because when you start playing, legal firms that finance campaigns of all parties are protected,” he said. “If you dismantle them paste campaigns” electoral said.  Indeed, under the current competition for presidential and legislative elections of July, parliament refused to pass the bill against money laundering, which is pending for the next legislature.


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