Mexico: Children Take Up Arms to Fend Off Drug Cartels

    Mexico: Children Take Up Arms to Fend Off Drug Cartels
    Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • A rural Mexican village has reportedly resorted to recruiting minors to reinforce a volunteer police force battling organized crime, including kidnappings by drug cartels.

    • The community police of Ayahualtempa in the state of Guerrero has reportedly inducted schoolchildren — girls and boys as young as 12 — and armed them with rifles.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    It's dangerous to recruit vulnerable children, who can barely carry a rifle, to fight extraordinarily dangerous cartels. Exposure to guns, violence, and criminality at an early age could make joining criminal gangs their next logical step during adulthood. Having schoolchildren join paramilitary groups is a horrific human rights violation.

    Narrative B

    It is disheartening to witness children standing up against organized criminal organizations to defend their parents, homes, and livestock from drone attacks and bombs. However, rising violence in a state plagued by drug cartels leaves the community with no choice, especially in the absence of government intervention. This shows the horrific consequences of the systemic violence plaguing much of Mexico.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 3% chance that the US will deploy military force in Mexico without the cooperation of the Mexican government before 2029, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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