InSight Crime 11/23/2015
Five Colombians were found dead in Veracruz, Mexico, in what initially appeared to be an organized crime-style killing, although one theory holds that they were targeted for participating in a loan collection scheme.
It remains unclear why these Colombians were in Mexico, much less why they were murdered, and by whom. Given the history and dynamics of Latin America’s regional drug trade, the criminal economies of Colombia and Mexico are inextricably linked, creating numerous possibilities for what these men were doing in Mexico.
According to El Tiempo, however, the five men were possibly involved in informal loan sharking schemes, and may have been debt collectors. This theory is not without precedent, with recent evidence suggesting Colombian loan sharks are expanding operations throughout Latin America. In this practice — known as “gota a gota” or “drop by drop” — creditors offer high-interest loans to poor and working class people with little or no access to formal banking services. A debtor’s inability to repay creditors can lead to violence, even death.