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Media appearances: Mexico, Venezuela

A couple quick media spots. I talked to The Guardian‘s reporter David Agren about Mexican presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s proposal of an “amnesty” for organized criminal bosses, and whether that was likely to reduce violence. In short, I have my doubts. In full, I said, “I am sure some punished narcos would appreciate an amnesty, but it would not do much to stop the ongoing violence. The market and the rewards would continue to exist, and different groups would continue to compete — often violently — over that market.

“Even if a Pax mafiosa were the intention, it is probably not feasible today. First, the organized criminal groups are much more fragmented. Second, they are involved in crimes beyond drug trafficking, and I doubt the Mexican population would stand for official tolerance of extortion, kidnapping, oil theft, and human trafficking. Those revenue streams would remain in the event of an amnesty. Third, the state is much different. It is less hierarchical, with different parties governing at different levels. Often, the local and state levels are most relevant for organized crime. There is evidence that the party of local government, and changes in party, matter to levels of violence in Mexico. It also means that not everyone would be on board with a proposed pax or even an amnesty.”

I also talked earlier in the day with Gerhard Elfers, the impeccably dressed Business News Anchor for DW News, regarding Venezuela’s economic crisis and President Maduro’s proposal for a crypto-currency as a way out of the crisis (or at least around US sanctions.

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