Sunday, January 15, 2012

"If cartel violence is not contained in Mexico, the drug war could threaten U.S. national security and even survival of the Mexican state" - CNN, January 15, 2012

CNN has a special feature report today on Mexico's drug war -- they refer to it as an "essay" -- with the above subtitle. I won't try to summarize it, but I recommend it to my readers. I was pleased to see that everything it says confirms in detail the now almost 500 posts I have filed on this Blog since I opened it Sept. 5, 2011. There are also some excellent photos in the piece, which is in English. Here's the link:

The suggestion that Mexico is on the brink of being a failed state has been stated before by others, but it is extreme hyperbole, in my opinion. Mexico is not involved in a civil war, its internal political institutions are alive and well, and 80 million citizens will go to the polls on July 1 to select their next president. A post I filed just last week points out that almost half of the organized crime executions in 2011 occurred in just 2.4% of Mexico's national territory ( Yes, in regions Mexico is very dangerous, but the drug war is highly localized and does not directly threaten most of the country, at least in a physical sense.

Endemic poverty, a national economy far too dependent on the United States and profound social and economic inequality with little chance for upward mobility present greater threats to Mexico than drug traffickers brandishing AK-47s and AR-15s. Mexico is a nation of about 110 million people, of whom 50 million live in poverty. That factor, coupled with the intractable government corruption still found at so many levels, is far more dangerous to Mexican security in the long run than cartel boss El Chapo Guzmán. Indeed, poverty and the hopelessness of Mexican youth directly foster and drive the drug trade. The cartels capitalize on the conviction that nothing really is ever going to change. In a country where the median age is 26, there are millions of ready recruits who view government as the betrayer of promises, and politicians of every stripe as self-promoters.

Still, there's no denying that Mexico has a very serious domestic crime problem, as do nearby Guatemala and Honduras (see posts below). And the reality is that it's the United States' problem as well. The insatiable demand for drugs is north of the border, as are the cash and weapons which are now fueling nightmarish conditions in at least a half dozen Latin American nations.

Mexico's Continuing Agony:
U.S. is "9% stoned," say senators:
Mérida summit tells U.S. to reduce drug usage, check weapons flow:
Obama: U.S. drug demand responsible for damage done to Latin America:
Guatemala asks for U.S. help in fighting drug cartels:
Honduran drug traffickers ship 100 tons of cocaine annually to U.S., "where the consumers are":
Mexican drug cartels expand operations to Peru and Bolivia:

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