A counterculture will always be a subculture that instead of following the larger society’s norms they refuse to have the same belief and value set as the larger society. This group establishes their own set of norms and beliefs (Thomas 39). Countercultures have existed for hundreds of years all over the world. Some have been a complete failure while others have managed to carry on and lead their movement worldwide. It is no doubt that these countercultures are considered rebels in the eyes of the larger society. One of Mexico’s most well-known countercultures is the Juarez Drug Cartel.
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The Juarez Drug Cartel is a criminal organization in charge of some of the drug trade in Mexico. In recent years, this cartel has expanded its criminal offenses from not only drug trafficking but to also conducting kidnapping and human trafficking operations (Unknown). All as a means to continue revolutionizing their movement. The Juarez Drug Cartel which may also be referred to as the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Organization in honor of its leader, is mainly located in the city of Juarez which is in the state of Chihuahua. It began to develop in the 1980s after the Guadalajara’s cartel leader, Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo was arrested. Rafael Aguilar Guajardo, the individual who was an associate of the Guadalajara’s cartel, presumed the authority to control Ciudad Juarez (city of Juarez) after the notorious arrest. Shortly after for unknown circumstances, Aguilar Guajardo was killed in 1993 and one of his right hand men, Amado Carrillo Fuentes, aka “El Senor de los Cielos” (Lord of the Skies), undertook control of the beginnings of the cartel. Under his control, half of Mexican trafficking took place and his trafficking expanded to Central America and South America. (Unknown). The Juarez Cartel had quite an operational system going on. It was in charge of moving tons of cocaine from Colombia into Mexico by means of air and then disbursing it into the United States by land. Carrillo Fuentes died in 1997 and his brothers, Vicente and Rodolfo took control. Part of the reason as to why this cartel developed into a well-established criminal organization was because they worked closely with corrupt local and state law enforcement. These municipal forces have allowed not only the Juarez Cartel, but many other cartels to continue their criminal misdemeanors. The cartel was able to use small armies of their own to protect themselves and their territories. One of the cartel’s “small” army is the Linces, which consists of former individuals from the Army’s Special Forces. In October 9, 2014 Vicente Carrillo Fuentes was arrested by Mexican government officials (Unknown). It is reasonable to say that this cartel has weakened its powers due to new criminal organizations developing but still to this day it has remained in Mexico’s territories still carrying on criminal operations of their own.
Upon researching any counterculture, it is important to understand two main terms in order to properly analyze the information. Sociological perspective is a term that is basically used to inform an individual that they must be able to understand the outlook of others and the meanings behind their actions, all in effort to broaden one’s views (Thomas 4).Â The sociological perspective can also help one understand how they as an individual are shaped by their social environment (Thomas 5). With this said, one can attempt to understand that the Juarez Cartel’s actions have significantly affected one’s views. For example, whenever one mentions the drug trade most people think about drug trafficking coming into the United States from Mexican drug cartels, which of course all ties into our understanding of the sociological perspective. The sociological perspective is another term used in sociology which attempts to make it be known that an individual has the ability to see how their personal life is in a sense attached to the larger world (Thomas 5). With this being said, the Juarez Drug Cartel has significantly deteriorated the Mexican republic. Mexican officials have had a long term drug war against the cartels. Since 2009, more than 7,000 people have fallen victim to this long going war. The cartels have attempted to force the government to end this drug war once and for all by literally terrorizing the citizens. The cartel is even attacking corporations. Pemex, which is a state-owned petroleum company has had many kidnapping and theft coming from not only the cartels but also from employees who work alongside the cartels. The cartels are terrorizing the nation to the point where the amount of vehicle armoring production has increased due to security measures that individuals are seeking. In Mexico City alone there has been a 25% increase of armored cars whereas in the rest of the country there has been 60% which of course signifies how great of a fear the cartels are causing (Duff). It has been noticeable how the perception of Mexico has been viewed negatively in the most recent years. The problem is so severe that foreign direct investment is not the same anymore. AmCham surveyed a questionnaire where 27% of correspondents noted that for security issues in Mexico they would think twice on whether investing in Mexico (Duff). Their actions have greatly affect Mexico’s society and economic progress.
Ethnocentrism is the belief that everyone else’s culture is inferior and that one’s culture is superior above all (Thomas 35). The Juarez Drug cartel is considered a counterculture because it is not something that everyone wishes to do. There are individuals in Mexico living in a state of poverty who under no circumstances would ever consider turning to the criminal organization. There are others who are desperately trying to make ends meet and feel as if they have no other option. Either way, the larger society does not agree with a criminal organization killing, kidnapping, or terrorizing the public. It is something that is not considered acceptable mostly when cartels are doing it for money and drugs. The Juarez Drug cartel and other cartels are giving a message to the youth of Mexico that anyone can leave the poverty state and have it all, which of course violates the views of the citizens.
Cultural relativism is the belief that a culture should not be judged by one’s standards but by the counterculture’s instead (Thomas 36). One must be able to understand why a counterculture group behaves in the manner in which they do. The Juarez Drug Cartel continues to do what they do because they find themselves in competition against other cartels in the control of narcotics and territories (Cartels at War: Mexico’s Drug-Fueled Violence and the Threat to U.S. National Security ). One of the most prestigious men in the drug organization, Joaquin Guzman Loera, mentioned that poverty was what drove him to turn to the drug trade industry. He mentioned that there were never any job opportunities even today, so for money to be acquired for food, one had to turn to growing marijuana. He mentioned that there was not and there still is not a way that exists that can help individuals survive or contribute to the economy (Lombardi). Of course these are words coming from a drug lord, but it puts into perspective how the Mexican government has yet to counterattack these words with actions. Young adolescents living in poverty are now being recruited by drug trafficking organizations due to such a great lack of opportunity in the country (Ramsey). It is estimated that there was an increase of poverty in Mexico between 2012 and 2014 by two million (Rama). People are becoming more and more desperate and the cartels are simply trying to do something that the government is not doing (jobs) even if it their reasons are morally wrong. In rural communities, the drug industry has been able to recruit many in joining the criminal organization. It is estimated that the majority of laborers are employed by no other than by the narcotics industry (Jones). The Juarez Drug Cartel is a counterculture that has revolutionized into an escape for many citizens.
Based on research found on the Juarez Drug Cartel, the majority of individuals would agree that the Juarez Drug Cartel’s philosophy is not right and that it should not continue. This drug organization is giving false hopes to many of Mexico’s impoverished individuals who do not seem to notice that the instant in which they are agreeing to join the drug trade, they are signing up for a life or death situation every day. Since the 1980s, the Juarez Drug Cartel has been terrorizing the nation with its drug trade. Its practices have established them as a counterculture. They have grown their organization to the point where so much corruptness exists that even local and state police are being a part of this counterculture’s wrongfully practices.
Kan, Paul. Cartels at War: Mexico’s Drug-Fueled Violence and the Threat to U.S. National Security . Washington D.C. : Potomac Book, 2012. 27. Book.
Duff, Devon and Rygler, Jen. “Drug Trafficking, Violence and Mexico.” 26 January 2011. Knowledge at Wharton University of Pennsylvania. Web. 08 03 2017.
Jones, Michael K E. “The Effects of the Mexican Drug Trade over the Past Sixty Years.” 05 October 2014. E-INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS STUDENTS. Web. 06 March 2017.
Lombardi, Daniel. “Does poverty lead to drug trafficking? The world’s notorious trafficker says yes.” 14 January 2016. Desert News U.S. & World. Web. 09 March 2017.
Rama, Anahi and Yukhananov, Anna. “Mexican government says poverty rate rose to 46.2 percent in 2014.” 23 July 2015. Reuters. Web. 08 March 2017.
Ramsey, Geoffrey. “Poverty a Recruitment Tool for Mexico’s Criminal Gangs.” 20 July 2011. InSight Crime. Web. 08 March 2017.
Thomas, W. LaVerne. “Sociology: The Study of Human Relationships.” Austin: Hull, Rinehart, Winston, 2003. Textbook.
Unknown. “Juarez Cartel.” 17 November 2015. InSight Crime. Web. 06 March 2017.
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