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Monday, November 3, 2014

Dios Ayuda Mexico.........(Part 2)

Links: A. What Is Happening In Mexico
           B. Mexico's Own Black Widow?

We all have certain phrases that really touch a nerve.  One that really gets my eggs boiling is, "if it weren't for Americans taking drugs, then poor farmers in South America would be growing something else."  Bullshit.  The next time someone gives you that crap, ask them if they've ever seen an addict.  Addicts in America keep the drug trade alive, not the swinging 1970's Studio 54 crowd.  They're all dead.  I prefer to reverse that particular argument.  If narco-traffickers and drug growers in Afghanistan and South America were all dead, our children wouldn't have the temptation of easy drugs, and early addicts would find it easier to quit than to find another hit.  A ready supply of cheap drugs makes it too easy to become an addict in America, and difficult to stop.  I'm not a junkie, and you probably aren't either, so if we disagree, that's fine.  Either way, the reality is that illegal narcotics remains big business and is a powerful force in the corrupt society that is modern Mexico.

In yesterday's post, we were discussing how the discovery of oil in Mexico led to an economic boom that created a true middle class for the first time in the country's history.  Interestingly enough, at about the same time the middle-class was on the rise, and the nacro-traffickers were establishing a presence, the Mexicans decided to experiment with multi-party Democracy.  They elected as President, the business-friendly Partido Accion Nacional: National Action Party (PAN) candidate, Vicente Fox.  Both Fox and his PAN
Vicente Fox
55th President of Mexico
successor Felipe Calderon made very public attempts at combating the presence of narco-traffickers in Mexico.  But the government was impotent.  The local police, the state police, the Mexican FBI, the Mexican DEA, all became poisoned with corruption.  Most people in Mexico, including law enforcement officers, don't make a heck of a lot of money.  It is hard to turn down cash; especially when you know that everyone else is on the take.  Eventually the narcotics gangs began to fight with each other over territory (the Sinaloa Cartel, the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel are a few nasty examples).  If it weren't so tragic and the human cost so high, it would be ironically amusing.  One Law Enforcement Agency that was on the narco-gang payroll would attack another law Enforcement Agency that was being bribed by the competition.  This type of warfare ended up shutting down the large tourist district of Nuevo Laredo.  And the military was certainly no exception, as numerous Army Generals ended up on the take as well.  No joke: an Army General ordered his troops to disrupt the smuggling of a large shipment of marijuana across the river by a rival organization.  This organization had the Federal Police on the payroll, so before the night was up, the cops were shooting at the soldiers!  But just as it appeared that the situation was about to explode, everything seemed to die down.  The shootings in border cities became less frequent, the tossing of bags of heads into wedding parties seldom occurred, and the PRI retook control of the Presidency.

The current PRI president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, was elected on a platform of reform.  Unless the NY Times or Washington Post were in the room, he seldom discussed
Current President of Mexico,
Enrique Peña Nieto
the issue of the narco-trafficking gangs that veined throughout Mexico, and instead he addressed the never-ending issue of sharing the resources of Mexico with all Mexicans.  This message resonated with many Mexicans, who began to see the problem with the drug traffickers as a Norteño or Gringo headache.  Nieto tells a good story, and he promised the Mexican people that the PRI crooks of the past had been reformed.  The people of Mexico, longing for the peace and consistency of the past, bought it hook, line and sinker.  Although stories like the one detailed in the links continue to happen, they do seem to be less frequent.  An elderly Mexican woman told me last month that, "all the drug smugglers are in Sinaloa, Guerrero and the Distrito Federal", and that traveling in Mexico was safe again.  I'm from South Texas; I speak border Spanish, know good Mexican food when I smell it, and know the value of a hard day's work to the average Mexican.  I'm forced to agree with the elderly lady.  I don't know if its because the Mexican police finally caught the worst of the bad guys (I thought he was caught last week, or the month before, or last May, or.......) or its because all the blood-letting was bad for business.  I'm not stupid enough to believe for a second that the narcotics gangs are leaving town.  I could never understand why the 10 to 15 percent (and the new and growing middle class) did not come to some arrangement with the cartels: you do your work at night, and we'll keep the trains running on time during the day.  Nieto has promised all sorts of reforms that no doubt will cut into the profits for the 10 to 15 percent, but maybe they've decided to share a bit more than usual.  It's human nature to find resolution when everyone's paycheck is on the line.  I'm going to give real consideration to the idea that the 10 to 15 percent, the middle class as represented by Nieto, and the narcotics gangs have come to some understanding.  If it means peace, most Mexicans won't ask any questions.  Hell, at this point, neither will I.            

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