For John, BLUF: Don't book a vacation in Mexico for the next few years. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Thursday The Beeb had an article on the situation in Mexico, "Mexico missing students fury rocks President Pena Nieto". As you will recall, some 43 Freshmen at a Teacher's College in the Mexican State of Guerrero are missing and presumed dead. This event has taken the Presidency of President Enrique Pena Nieto from one of hope for the future (and a Time Magazine cover) to one where some are talking of incipient revolution. One of the factors playing is the drug trade:
It is worth bearing in mind that the illegal drug trade in Mexico is worth anywhere between $30bn to $40bn a year to the cartels, generated by huge quantities of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marihuana heading north to the United States.Note the money is generated here in these United States and fuels the drug industry in Mexico. While it is only 0.24% of our Economy here in the US, it is 1.87% of the economy of Mexico. Enough to allow corruption to creep into the economy and the government.
Here is how the story ends:
With that kind of money and firepower at their disposal, the cartels have long been able to simply pay for political and institutional support or take it at gunpoint.The two points I take away from this are:
I am nearing the end of my posting in Mexico but an oft-repeated phrase on social media about Iguala - "#fueelestado" meaning "it was the state" - reminds me of a woman I met near the start of my time in the country.
We had travelled to the drug-war-ravaged state of Tamaulipas, where we interviewed then-presidential candidate, Enrique Pena Nieto, with days to go before the votes were cast.
Once he left, we travelled deeper into the state to meet a contact. After several furtive phone calls and changes of time and location, we eventually met "Susana" in a darkened hotel room.
For many years, she had been the girlfriend of a member of the feared Los Zetas cartel.
After showing us a series of gruesome videos of Zetas-led massacres, too violent to broadcast, I asked her just how close the relationship between the cartel and the security forces was in Tamaulipas.
"The relationship isn't just close", she explained - surprised that something so basic about the Mexican drug trade wasn't glaringly obvious.
"It's the very same people."
- It is US drug use (and I think we can add Canada) that is creating the conditions for large scale illegal operations and for corruption in Mexico.
- The corruption in Mexico could well lead to the conditions that could result in revolution.
Regards — Cliff