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Alfredo Bosco Project II


Forgotten Guerrero




This reportage documents the current social and political situation in the Mexican state of Guerrero, a unique player for violence and disorder in the country’s drug war.
Guerrero hosts the largest poppy cultivation in the country but, unlike any other state under the control of a single organisation. Guerrero is hostage to more non-state armed groups than any other region. Forty cartels and self-proclaimed defence groups (autodefensas) fight
each other for control over drug production and trafficking heroin for the U.S. market.
In larger urban centres such as Chilpancingo, Chilapa de Alvarez and the once famous Acapulco,
brutal internal fights for territorial control spread terror among the locals. Cartels and other criminal groups adopt the so called necropolitics: by consolidating fear and assuming the
role of death judges for those who live in their territory, they show and gain power. Anyone can become a victim and the violence is terrible.
The chronic lack of basic security often forces inhabitants of smaller towns to abandon their homes in search for safety.
A consequence is the increasing number of pueblos fantasma, villages that have been either abandoned in a hurry or whose people seem to have disturbingly vanished in thin air. It’s easy to die in Guerrero but even easier to disappear, as the 2014 disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa showed to the international press.
In 2019 President López Obrador founded the National Guard, a security initiative meant to reduce killings and crime. This operation, having no budget of its own and deriving most of its personnel and hardware from the armed forces, has proved little to date.
To draw a line between some of the autodefensas and criminal organisations has become increasingly difficult as the State has shown deep collusion and complicity with both and several autodefensas have gained political and social influence.
And while in January 2020 Guerrero surfaced in international media for an autodefensa recruiting children, much suggests that several nominal autodefensas have strayed far beyond citizen protection.
According to a recent study, the national impunity rate for murder is 89%, 96% in Guerrero. Police are also poorly trained: 32% of Guerrero’s officers in late 2018 had received no training at all.
Additionally, the state suffers from a lack of police having 0.9 police officers per 1,000 inhabitants, a ratio half of what Mexico's federal government defines as the "minimum standard".

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