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I can imagine that the socio-economic issues around the cartels in Mexico are much like the issues with inner-city gangs in the US: They provide a feeling of "belonging" for groups of people who haven't felt that; and they provide a possibility of being lifted out of the poor masses. Of course, your life is on the line, but if one's quality of life is poor enough, that may not be much of a consideration.

I agree that, even if the drug factor completely disappeared, it is unlikely the problems would disappear. On the other hand, having huge amounts of drug money flowing through can only massively exacerbate the problem.

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