Mexico's corrupt, failing government that covers up official mass murders by attacking journalists and dissidents with cyberweapons is locked in a stalemate with the country's horrific, mass-murdering gangs, and the Mexican people are caught in the crossfire.
The weak Mexican state has made it possible for cities across the country to effectively secede, abandoning the political parties, the state-funded police, and even the rule of law in a bid to find stability.
The New York Times profiles three of these semi-autonomous cities: Tancítaro (exporter of $1m/day in avocados, where the rich agri-barons replaced the police with private militias who exile and kill locals they believe to be involved in the drug trade); Monterrey (where the local 1%ers simply took over the government, writing the laws, replacing elected officials with CEOs, and degraded into a crony-capitalist ministate where violence is surging); and Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl (an outlying Mexico City area where party politics have been abolished and a utopian police chief tries to stem corruption by fostering a sense of civic duty in the police).
Mr. Amador was free to experiment — and his successes stuck — because Neza's government is not normal, either. It has seceded from a part of the state that Joy Langston, a political scientist, called Mexico's key point of failure: its party system.
Neza inverted Monterrey's model: Rather than establishing an independent police force and co-opting the political system, Neza established an independent political system and co-opted the police.
Mexico's establishment parties are more than parties. They are the state. Loyalists, not civil servants, run institutions. Officials have little freedom to stretch and little incentive to investigate corruption that might implicate fellow party members. Most are shuffled between offices every few years, cutting any successes short.
Neza, run by a third party, the left-wing P.R.D., exists outside of this system. Its leaders are free to gut local institutions and cut out the state authorities.
Mr. Amador is doing both. He fired one in eight police officers and changed every commanding officer. He shuffled assignments to disrupt patronage networks. Those who remain are under constant scrutiny. Every car is equipped with a GPS unit, tracked by dozens of internal affairs officers.
Losing Faith in the State, Some Mexican Towns Quietly Break Away [Max Fisher, Amanda Taub and Dalia Martínez/New York Times]
(via WELL State of the World)