Fox News Ticker

Friday, August 20, 2010

Destroying cartels not in Mexico's best interest

Tens of thousands of people have died in Mexico since the end of 2006 as the Mexican government supposedly tries to crack down on the drug cartels to which it has more or less ceded control of it’s northern states.
According to Fox News, nearly 30,000 people have been killed.
Last week, former Mexican President Vicente Fox criticized the military-led, U.S.-backed war on the cartels.
Instead, according to a report by AOL news, Fox said Mexico should consider legalizing the production, distribution and sale of drugs.
"Legalizing in this sense doesn't mean that drugs are good or don't hurt those who consume. Rather, we have to see it as a strategy to strike and break the economic structure that allows the mafias to generate huge profits in their business," Fox wrote on his blog.
The dirty little secret here is that it is not in Mexico’s interest to end the drug trade any more that it is in its interest to end illegal immigration.
The billions of dollars generated each year by the cartels are a large part of Mexico’s economy — somewhere between $35 and $40 billion each year.
As intelligence firm STRATFOR pointed out earlier this year: “From Mexico’s point of view, interrupting the flow of drugs to the United States is not clearly in the national interest or in that of the economic elite. Observers often dwell on the warfare between smuggling organizations in the northern borderland but rarely on the flow of American money into Mexico. Certainly, that money could corrupt the Mexican state, but it also behaves as money does. It is accumulated and invested, where it generates wealth and jobs.
“For the Mexican government to become willing to shut off this flow of money, the violence would have to become far more geographically widespread. And given the difficulty of ending the traffic anyway — and that many in the state security and military apparatus benefit from it — an obvious conclusion can be drawn: Namely, it is difficult to foresee scenarios in which the Mexican government could or would stop the drug trade. Instead, Mexico will accept both the pain and the benefits of the drug trade.”
Mexico is cracking down on the cartels, not to end the trade, but to pare back organizations which pose a threat to the Mexican government. Also in order to be seen to be Doing Something by the American government.
It is possible as well, that Vicente Fox’s proposal is being seriously considered. Which would mean that the Mexican government is behaving as the other cartels do — namely attempting to take over the supply chain of the rival cartels.
This is to some degree likely. It’s well known the Mexican army is involved in drugs and human trafficking. Corruption is rampant within the Mexican military. One of the cartels — Los Zetas — started as a unit of the Mexican army, trained and equipped by American special forces.
In the mean time, swaths of American land are no go zones along the border. Border residents are murdered and the cartels are striking hundreds of miles north in major American cities like Phoenix, Ariz. where people have been killed and kidnapped.
The border remains aflame. The Mexican government is unlikely to take action which is not in it’s national interest.
There are no easy solutions to the problem, but closing the border is a first step it is long past time we take.
All IMHO of course.

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