Strong opinions, weakly held

Our drug war feeds Mexico’s civil war

For the past six months or so, I’ve noticed a smattering stories that paint a very grim picture of goings on in Mexico. This morning’s news is that Mexico’s national police chief was assassinated in his home yesterday.

Last year the Washington Post reported on murders of Mexican musicians by drug cartels.

For more background, read about Los Zetas, a group of former special forces soldiers who hired themselves out to a Mexican drug cartel.

These ultraviolent drug cartels are all competing for shares of the US drug market. As violent as America’s drug trade is, it doesn’t hold a candle to places like Mexico and Colombia.

1 Comment

  1. the situation with the drug cartels in Mexico is truly sad. in travelling around Mexico, i’ve encountered several places where the defacto government is the locally dominant drug cartel–places outside of which, the police and soldiers sometimes set up checkpoints to warn those who pass that they will be on their own once they enter (though it’s not really that far from the case in rest of Mexico anyhow). in the villages of those areas, funerals and memorial ceremonies seem like incredibly frequent events. everyone has lost a friend or a relative within the past few years to the violence. the teenage boys that volunteer to help out at schools often carry guns. i don’t know if that’s to “protect” the schoolchildren or to project some visibility to the crime bosses for future opportunities in the only real career path on offer. of course the cartel members are easily identifiable. in places that are impoverished even by Mexican standards, they drive around in brand new SUV’s doling out favors that the Mexican government can’t (and probably wouldn’t anyway) to their “subjects”. As a bunch of gringos in their domain, they actually tracked our progress from pueblo to pueblo. within minutes of our arrival in every town, we’d inevitably encounter a very well-dressed man who’d insist in a way that was clearly not optional that we must explain to him what exactly brought us to the town and where exactly we’d be staying for the night–though we usually had no choice on the latter point. they’d typically “recommend” a motel to stay at and escort us there. if we attempted to rent a room at any other motel in town, we were always denied. needless to say, there were several instances where i was scared shitless, but ultimately, they never harmed us or interfered with our work–though it left me with a profoundly greater appreciation for the concept of “rule of law”.

    anyway, i think the situation in Mexico with the drug lords is intractable given the current state of the government and the culture. there will have to be some radical changes in the economics, the laws, and the will of the peoples of Mexico (as well as the US–which is an even more distant prospect) to dent these cartels.

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