Monday 18 June 2018

In Nayarit, Tepic is caught in the fight between the Sinaloa Cartel and Los Mazatlecos, enforcers for the Beltrán Leyva Cartel

La politica es la politica has posted 32 articles - one for each state in Mexico, including Mexico City - in advance of the July 1, 2018, presidential election. For links to all 32 articles, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Nayarit is a small state in Western Mexico with a population of 1.2 million. Its capital is the inland city of Tepic. Nayarit has a significant shoreline on the Pacific Coast and popular tourist areas along the "Riviera Nayarit". The state is bordered by Sinaloa to the northwest, Durango to the north, Zacatecas to the northeast and Jalisco to the south.

The political representation in Nayarit is diverse. The governor is Antonio Echevarría García from the National Action Party (PAN). Echevarría is a business man and political neophyte who defeated the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate by 11 points, garnering 38% of the total.
Of the three federal senators, two are with the PRI, and one is with the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).

Nayarit is known for its tranquility, particularly in the resort areas – the tourism industry is estimated to be worth $200 million annually. However, Nayarit is unfortunately located along a major transit point for drugs, and is squeezed between competing territories of two major cartels: the Sinaloa Cartel and the Beltrán Leyva Cartel. It is estimated that 600 people are missing in Nayarit, with the number perhaps much higher, given the fear some people feel in reporting to the authorities.
Tepic leads the country in % murder increase in 2018

The capital city Tepic, which has about half a million people, has been affected by this turmoil, especially recently.  Among the 30 municipalities with the most violent indexes for the first four months of 2018, Tepic registered the highest percent increase, at 555%. Between January and April of 2018, the authorities recorded only nine murders with firearms. In the first four months of 2018 there were 59 cases.

This ongoing violence likely the result of continued fallout from the death of “H2”, also known as “El Chico”, the leader of the Beltrán Leyva, who was killed by the armed forces, along with 15 other people, in a confrontation in Tepic in February, 2017. Los Mazatlecos, an enforcer gang of the Beltrán Leyva Cartel, is still battling it out with the Sinaloa Cartel. Seeking opportunity, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) is also actively trying to take control of the "plaza" (territory).

There has been some pressure on journalists in Nayarit. Leading up to the drug war –  which began in December, 2006 – there was one reporter killed in the state, in 1957. However, since the start of the drug war two journalists have been killed, both in 2015.

During this election cycle, Nayarit has also faced fairly typical accusations of corruption, with the local National Action Party allegedly offering $1,500 pesos (about US $75) in exchange for electoral cards.

And what does it mean at the federal level? It would be surprising if there’d be much support for federal PRI candidate José Antonio Meade, given the unpopularity of the sitting PRI president Enrique Peña Nieto. However, the PRI has a solid ground game, with party representatives at virtually every poll, thus increasing their ability to counter corrupt practices from other parties – and at times promote their own.
Party presence at ballot boxes in four states, including Nayarit

The PAN candidate Ricardo Anaya will also have his fair share of support. Given the success of governor Antonio Echevarría García, those citizens of Nayarit that fear the perceived leftism of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) will happily park their vote with the PAN.

And AMLO himself? He’ll do as well here as elsewhere – which is to say he’ll win the plurality – particularly given the emerging crisis in Tepic.

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