MEXICO CITY, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Rising drug cartel lawlessness is threatening to push Mexico into "narco-state" status, such as 1990s-era Colombia, analysts warn.
"We are approaching that red zone," Edgardo Buscaglia, an expert on organized crime at the Autonomous Technological University of Mexico, told Sunday's Arizona Republic. "There are pockets of ungovernability in the country, and they will expand."
Buscaglia told the newspaper that parts of Mexico are more and more resembling Colombia of 15 years ago, characterized by a slide toward rule in some interiors sections by drug traffickers and left-wing rebels, financed by bribery of officials and the threat of violence.
The Republic said examples include the canceling of primary elections in the northern state of Tamaulipas because cartels had infiltrated politics and the redeployment of troops in Chihuahua from Juarez to the countryside due to worries that traffickers are consolidating their control of smaller border towns.
Novolato City Council secretary Juan Manuel Bautista told the newspaper, "In these small-town governments, everyone knows your business and who you are. If they want to take revenge on you, it's easy."