This is surely one of the most remarkable infographics we've ever posted. Created by social scientist Eduardo Salcedo-Albarán, it documents the organizational structure and almost limitless influence of Mexico's Michoacan drug family. And it teaches you a great deal about why, exactly, the family is so hard to combat -- and why its power seems so pervasive. The infographic itself details various wings of the Michoacan cartel -- or La Familia as it's better known -- alongside various government agencies. (The short hand for the acronyms: Anything starting with "FUN" is a Michoacan drug cell; those starting with "NAR" are government drug agencies.) The arrows show links between each one, meaning they're sharing information. But what's most interesting is that the size of the bubbles shows how much information each cell of the organization is able to share...
We're not quite sure how accurate the information is or how it was gathered, but what strikes you is that the group is far from centralized. Instead, it's extraordinarily diffuse, much like Al Qaeda, for example. And that in turn surely contributes to the fear the organization sows -- it's power must seem limitless in Mexico precisely because its influence, even when small, is always very close at hand, due to the prevalence of tiny, semi-autonomous cells everywhere you look.
Click on the link to see the infographic.