Monday, August 08, 2011

Relocate or die: Mexican entrepreneurs migrate to the interior fleeing violence, insecurity

Edgar N. ran a profitable business in the state of Michoacán during most of his adult life, but after falling victim to extortion by local organized crime groups five years ago, he closed his export business and relocated to the state of Querétaro. "Business was doing fine, 500,000 pesos of sales monthly; I was one of the most successful businesses in my area of the region," he says. Then everything changed. "It was around midyear in 2005 when we began to see the black pickups that nobody knew. They were a bad sign. By the end of the year rumor had it in the community that they were Zetas." Within two years, this gang was overrun in a bloody battle by an even more unstoppable group: La Familia Michoacana (The Michoacán Family), a kind of military and religious sect that today controls the whole region. Edgar, 45, said extortion in Michoacán became more frequent. First, a fire at a chicken farm. Two days later, an auto parts was burned, after that a shoe store. The message was clear -- if you don't cooperate, pay the consequences. "They demanded a very high quota that began with 10,000 pesos. As your business grew, they increased the amount. The risk map has expanded in these last two years. According to a poll by the Bank of Mexico of 1,100 businessmen in different regions of the country, it is now clear that two out of every three companies in the northern and northern-central areas of the country (where there is a concentration of manufacturing) have been hurt by the insecurity created by organized crime. Another collateral injury from the war against organized crime is its impact on family businesses, a tradition of Mexican industry. In northern Mexico, "businessmen feel safer if their children live out of the country," Jaramillo said...more

No comments: