Extortion in Mexico has become an illegal feudal regime, reports WSJ

Extortion is a problem in Mexico
Extortion is a problem in Mexico

The extortions to companies in Mexico have caused an illegal feudal regime to live in the country, according to people interviewed for a report by the American newspaper The Wall Street Journal.

The media highlights the story of a transportation entrepreneur in Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán, who until recently negotiated bus fares with members of organized crime, as he was obligated to pay them a percentage.

"We call the other government gangs, and it's basically a feudal regime," the businessman told the newspaper.

The WSJ highlights that there were 6.6 million cases of personal extortion in 2017 and more than 525,000 cases of extortion against companies, according to Mexican government statistics.

The strategy of atomizing the organized crime cartels caused other minor gangs to diversify their crimes towards extortion, the report says.

"The arrests of the great leaders of the drug cartels altered the incentives of the criminal organizations, their structures were broken and smaller groups began to commit other types of crimes," he told the newspaper Beatriz Magaloni, co-author of a recent study Stanford University on extortion in Mexico.

According to migration experts consulted by the media, of the 11,000 applications filed in the United States, at least three quarters would be related to people fleeing extortion in the country.

The media highlights the city of Lázaro Cárdenas as a significant point of extortion, as the steelmaker ArcelorMittal, since some of its employees have been killed or have suffered the kidnapping of relatives to obtain information about the company.

In addition, the newspaper mentions as examples the cases of extortion to farmers in Michoacán, taxi drivers in Acapulco, and places and restaurants in Mexico City.