Laundering drug cartel funds fattens the investments and operations of private businesses, the pocketbooks of government officials at all levels, at same as it costs countries – Mexico for instance – large portions of their GDP.
Thus the much-used 1960s adjective, “counterintuitive,” presently reigns supreme in discussions of the vast multi-national empire of both drug cartels and their foes.
It seems to some that if, say, Mexican cartels are pouring truck loads of cash into this economy – by investing vast swaths of “innocent” business operations and “donating” to the campaigns of politicians – then the net gain would be, for instance, the sudden growth of a financially secure middle class economy. This is exactly what the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto noisily boasted was occurring in this country the moment he took office in 2012. That dream was eagerly embraced by most sectors of Mexican society – particularly by most of the media.
There were some scholars, sharp-eyed economists, cultural analysts and even media skeptics. Gradually growing numbers of people, once they thought carefully about what was evidently fueling this sudden, new middle-class Mexico, were comfortable with that windfall. It is literally blood money. Cartelistas have a penchant for killing people they don’t like or that they suspect of having long conversations with security folks. Sometimes they kill at random, for no reason at all. And it isn’t just killing; they and/or their subordinates have a sickening reputation for becoming creative in various modes of torture.