Systematic Violence of Organized Crime in México: Consequences for Personal Development in Youth's Narrative

Systematic Violence of Organized Crime in México: Consequences for Personal Development in Youth's Narrative

Reyna Faride Peña Castillo, Rocio Quintal López, Javier Martin-Peña
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1286-9.ch012
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This chapter has the aim to present an analysis of narrative in youths in the context of systematic violence as a product of organized crime, an expression that constitutes a negative indicator of their personal development, starting from the experiences of whom have lived through that violence in their environment. This is an exploratory analysis, accomplished through a discussion group made up of five youths from three states (Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and Estado de México), between ages of 21 and 23 years old, all social sciences university students. The results identified the explicit recognition of violence as a phenomenon distinct from relational or socio-political violence. Discussion emphasizes that through the application of community interventions that consider the citizen, especially youth, participation is necessary to reclaim peace and social equilibrium to aspire for a better regional and national development.
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To speak of systematic violence derived from organized crime and the personal development of those who lives in violent environments includes identify different interconnected dimensions at social, psychological and legal levels, and at the system as a Nation-State. Among them, we could mention that the selected topic refers to different aspects on the individual’s, as violence generates damaging effects through finding oneself in a situation that risks suffering it (Heinle, Molzahn & Shirk, 2014). Among the damages, one can find psychological and social damages suffered by victims, which frequently overrun victim’s capacity to confront and adapt (Echeburúa, 2004).

The negative impact on the quality of life exacerbates as the situations that risk violence and the continuous threat usually carry with them an uncertainty component. This experience tends to encompass what happened in the past, what happens in the present, and what could happen in the future. Experiences derived from this exposure can be especially severe in contexts where this violence is extreme and reaches the rule of law, generating a deterioration in local and national development, creating crippled entities and communities.

An important link to this idea is that people’s wellness compromises before the lack of positive indicators on the societies’ wellness, thus the different inequities are worrying, especially those that refer to topics of security and justice (Lerner, 2015; Rice & Stewart, 2008). One of the macro efforts on a global scale is the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals Declaration (UN, 2015, 2017) which emphasis on the search for social justice (Ekmeci & Arda, 2015; Freiman, 2012) for different societies advocating development.

Of particular attention, the interest to study violence’s impact on wellness is indicated as a life or death topic (Buttler, 2011), not only on terms of vulnerability conditions as its consequence, but also for the high cost of human lives that it has brought. At the same time, it constitutes great costs that equate to the 1,92 gross domestic product in Mexico, being the second country with the greatest cost before crime and violence between 17 Latin American countries analyzed according to the Inter-American Development Bank, with an annual cost of 41,295 millions of dollars (Jaitman, 2017). To recapitulate, the purely economic development of organized crime tends to be inversely proportional to the levels of rule of law and safety.

With this, the priority topic linked to organized crime’s violence would rest on the capacity to mitigate and repair the damage on the social cohesion and human capital, through the betterment of public policies that emphasize civil participation on networks, the promotion of civilized citizenship, along with the respect to legality and human rights. This would achieve through interventions directed to promote what would be the “human development indicators”, as the background on the topic of violence and insecurity; considering that the impact has been polygonal and has represented significant problems to social dynamics with great costs for our communities and societies’. It is thus, estimated that violence and insecurity, associated to personal and human development, represent some of the fundamental aspects observed as linked to different inequities on human beings (Sen, 1985) and should be reflected upon and attended, considering direct experiences of people that live in contexts where this type of violence has been growing.

Thus, the experience linked to these settings are analyzed in the present work with an exploratory approach, and with a special interest in youths and their narratives, endeavoring to reflect upon how the effects of this violence have led to social uncertainties and affected the everyday quality of life of those who live exposed to it in México. For this, the text includes some considerations and notions to contextualize the analysis as a framework.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Strongly Violent Acts: Violent acts such as murder, mutilation or torture, which may or may not be used as a message to inflict fear on the population.

Systematic Violence: The use of various manifestations of violence to achieve the same goal.

Socio-Political Violence: Indirect violence characterized because the structures of the state and society, violate the rights and development of certain vulnerable groups of the population.

Violence Generated by Organized Crime: Any type of violence used by organized crime to achieve its objectives (such as the control of territories, people, state institutions, etc.).

Falcons (“Halcones”): Spies or watchers paid by organized crime to provide information to facilitate the work of criminals.

Levantón: Type of kidnapping where there is usually no negotiation, and usually ends in the murder of the victim.

Organized Crime: Type of crime that is characterized because three or more people are organized to perform repeated or permanent behaviors that help the performance of other crimes. Organized crime is characterized by its trans nationality, its linking with the state, its hierarchical structure, the fight for territories, its specialty, and the use of systematic violence as a medium.

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