FavelasThere are some reasonably high intensity clashes between govs and Other Guys [gangs, drug cartels, insurgents, terrorist groups — RW] going on in Rio and Michoacán right now. Be interesting to see how they play out over time.

My guess is one of two primary ‘possible futures’ emerge in these and similar situations that I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the near future.

One, the gov stays, actually deals with the disenfranchisement of the local citizens, and the OGs are history. (In that environment – successful OGs will relocate and reinvent themselves.)

Two, the gov doesn’t stay (or doesn’t sufficiently address residents’ Maslovian realities) and the OGs will be back running the favelas / state. May be the same crews, may be different. (I’d guess the latter in Rio, because the present crop has pretty well demonstrated their non-adaptiveness, and are seen by the people as parasitic. La Familia has been more adaptive and community serving, but has lost some senior leadership of late.) But in either case, they’ll have to adapt, reinvent and offer themselves as social benefit orgs, providing a reasonable level of security / stability / livelihood, or they’ll go away again.

I suspect in Brazil, the gov will stay, and Dilma (channeling Lula) will see this as a must win and reallocate resources to pull it off. If not, the loss of face and cred will undermine her and the gov in round 2.

My guess would be the opposite in Mexico, however, especially since Calderon seems mostly to channel the DEA, and gets only the fighting part, not the services bit, which is the key one. Michoacán is his home state, however, so that could influence the outcome.

How do Focal Points readers see it? Let us know in the comments section.