Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

What Mexico Will Look Like in 2012?

Friday, May 27, 2011 |

By Louis E.V. Nevaer
New America Media

In recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of Mexicans have taken to the streets in peaceful marches in scores of cities calling for an end to President Felipe Calderón’s war on drugs.

The protests reflect growing dissatisfaction among the public with Calderón’s drug war that has exacerbated rather than curtailed narco-violence.

This sentiment has been echoed by journalists as well. Jorge Ramos, the lead news anchor for Univision, has gone on record as saying, “Calderón’s strategy [against the drug cartels], which has cost more than 34,000 lives in the last four years, has been an utter failure.”

A failure to stem the violence has catapulted public safety to the top of the list of voters’ concerns ahead of next year’s elections in Mexico, trumping even the economy.Calderón will be termed out, but there is mounting pressure for would-be presidential hopefuls to declare that, if elected, they would call off the war on drugs.

But as 2012 nears, does Mexico have a choice?

It does not.

Is Calderón’s drug war working?

It’s one thing to criticize the war on drugs and another to offer a viable solution. To his credit, Calderón has recognized errors in his campaign against the drug cartels, and, of even more significance, he has, time and again, invited anyone anywhere to offer a viable alternative.

This modesty has been acknowledged by critics. Writing in Milenio newspaper, Hector Aguilar conceded that, “there is nobody proposing an alternative to Calderón's strategy."

By contrast, there are many who compare Mexico’s current campaign with that of Colombia’s more than a decade ago, and are optimistic. Mexican and U.S. officials, for instance, argue that Calderón’s policies are proving effective, as measured in drugs seized, money confiscated, drug lords arrested or slain and the constant disruption to the cartels’ organizations that has forced them to set up operations in the United States, Central America and as far away as Malaysia and West Africa.

This is how Katherine Corcoran of the Associated Press summed up the situation last month: “Mexican drug cartels now operate virtually uninhibited in their Central American backyard. U.S.-supported crackdowns in Mexico and Colombia have only pushed traffickers into a region where corruption is rampant, borders lack even minimal immigration control and local gangs provide a ready-made infrastructure for organized crime.” The price of this “success” has been, as Ramos points out with anguish -- violence.

But as Mexicans begin to think about next year’s elections, there is the sobering reality that no matter who is elected president, the war on drugs may be tweaked, but it won’t be abandoned.

Mexico pivotal to global drug trade

Why? Because in an increasingly interdependent world, Mexico has obligations to the international community to participate fully in stopping the global drug trade.

More importantly, Mexico has the United States as a neighbor – which is both the world’s largest consumer of illegal drugs, and a militaristic nation that, with impunity, takes actions against nations it deems a national security threat.

Quite simply, regardless of the sentiments of poets and journalists – and everyday citizens who march peacefully through the streets of Mexican cities – the government has no choice in the matter.

There are two fundamental reasons why Mexico’s next president will stay the course.

Foremost is the matter of national sovereignty. It is unthinkable for Mexico to establish a quid pro quo, where the military’s campaign stops and the cartels cease their violence. The idea of having the Mexican state co-exist with nebulous geographic regions under the control of organized criminal syndicates is not in the cards. The last time Mexico relinquished jurisdiction over its geography, it emboldened foreign settlers to establish a breakaway republic – the Republic of Texas.

In more practical terms, should Mexico’s next president want to reach an agreement in which there were no more kidnappings, in return for the army returning to their barracks, with whom would he negotiate? Most of the “most wanted” drug lords are dead, have been arrested, sent to the United States for trial, or have fled Mexico and set up shop in other countries.

Secondly, what would happen if in 2012, Mexico decided to turn a blind eye and allow cartels to operate with impunity in the northern states, in exchange for an end to kidnappings, shootouts and violence?

U.S. won’t stand for rogue state

The United States wouldn’t stand for a rogue state to coexist alongside Mexico’s legitimate government. The United States launches cruise missiles into the Sudan, occupies Iraq, and initiates war in Afghanistan. In addition, since 2001 financial laws have changed around the world – in a desperate bid to stop the flow of narco-dollars into the global banking system. All one has to do is recall that last March, Wachovia, now part of Wells Fargo, settled the biggest action brought under the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act and "deferred prosecution" by paying federal authorities $110 million in forfeitures. The DEA and IRS accused Wachovia of laundering billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels.

If federal officials are this relentless in prosecuting American corporations linked with drug traffickers, think of the retaliatory actions that the U.S. government would pursue should it conclude that Mexico represents a “national security threat.” In other words, if Mexico’s next president abandons Calderón’s drug war, as Ramos suggests, then Mexico could easily be declared a “rogue state” that threatens the “national security interests” of the United States, always a precursor to economic and military actions.

In the best-case scenario, Mexico would then be subjected to financial havoc as American authorities move to seize bank accounts used by the drug cartels to launder their money, paralyzing Mexico’s financial system. In a worst-case scenario, Mexico may itself be occupied militarily by the United States.

No one in Mexico likes waking up to horrible news about violence, slayings and the relentless viciousness that’s going on every day. Then again, I suspect everyone in the United States is tired of waking up and hearing about Guantanamo detainees, car bombs in Iraq and the never-ending pursuit of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Indeed, critics like Ramos are naïvely offering an absurd alternative: That Mexico pursue a policy that will surrender its sovereignty to rogue criminal organizations, force the United States to declare it a rogue nation that threatens its national security interests, subject Mexico to economic sanctions and the possibility of being occupied (once more) by the United States. In the same way that Barack Obama has found it impossible to close down Guantanamo, so will Mexico’s next president find it impossible to end the war on drugs.

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13 Borderland Beat Comments:

'lito'brito said...

or just turn the parts of Mexico they want over to the narcos and withdraw into the unwanted areas...sort of two Mexicos...kinda like it is now ..but make it official

just kidding

now it has started the gob de Mexico has no alternative but to fight on..if they give it up...talk about reprisals...the 34+ mils will not be drop in the bucket compared to the blood bath that would be unleashed ...and then the real one when the USA has to invade to keep it from coming here in strength

a few thousand people protesting dosen't reflect the majority... for better or worse ...no choice but to fight on

Anonymous said...

Citizen's of Mexico be strong because even though drug cartels are using violence and death, the people, government, and justice will prevailed at the end. It might take awhile, but violence against the good citizens of Mexico will be meet with violence against the offenders (drug cartels). History had taught us for a group of an individual that uses violence as a tool, they themselves will be destroy by violence, either by the government or by the people. I pray for the citizen's of Mexico affected by the drug cartels. Lets us thanks the non corrupt government, military and police that are fighting this war against the drug cartels.

Anonymous said...

The biggest lie is that U.S. is the good guy.

Anonymous said...

So they want the war on the cartels to stop? so what other plan do they propose??? what else can Calderon do here?

People are against this drug war but seem to fail to see that things would be much MUCH worse without some effort by the federal forces and military.

If Calderon announced he was ending the war on the cartels tommorow then everyone would be calling for him back after a short time after the cartel violence gets worse.

Fuckin ridicilous situation I mean Calderon just can't win no matter what he does!!! the citizens need to think more!!!!

Anonymous said...

If Mexico is to have any CREDABILITY it Must clean up CRIME in Mexico NOT JUST NARCO CRIME. We all know exactly what I am talking about,the total corruption govt and private every son of a bitch is looking for a cut a payoff. I do business in Mexico every month ,there are some really fine people there,BUT permits,taxes,fees, all padded with Mordeda. Do the Mexican people think that NARCOS will stop kidnapping,murders,robberys,protection,if the govt leaves the criminals alone??? If so Mexico will be a sure enough Failed State WITH FAILED CITIZENS TO GO ALONG WITH IT!!!

Anonymous said...

You posts are so far off, you think cartels launder much of their money? They KEEP and invest it. The U.S. will get raped to shreds if they invade, which they won't cause there is no oil, no places to actually bomb and these paramilitary cartels can take on any army. Go try them youself brave blogger troll.

Ardent said...

All these weepy Right Wing articles FOR FeCal Calderon and the Made in US by the US government Latin American 'drug war' are so damn dishonest!

The following passage is a total crock of baloney...

.Calderón will be termed out, but there is mounting pressure for would-be presidential hopefuls to declare that, if elected, they would call off the war on drugs.

'But as 2012 nears, does Mexico have a choice? It does not. Is Calderón’s drug war working?

It’s one thing to criticize the war on drugs and another to offer a viable solution. To his credit, Calderón has recognized errors in his campaign against the drug cartels, and, of even more significance, he has, time and again, invited anyone anywhere to offer a viable alternative.'


I put a link to a youtube video of a speech made by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador less than a year ago, and it had outlined a complete alternative to Caldron's strategy for militarizing Mexico, but I guess it was not allowed on BB due to the link??? Never the less, it is a complete falsehood to say that others are somehow unable to come up with any other political program than that of Calderon and his US backers. It is a lie.

It was this type of lying analysis that got the US public to back going into Iraq and Afghanistan with troops, and it is a shame to see this sort of dishonesty once again being used to push for this murderous policy of further militarizing much of Latin America by the US government and Pentagon.

Anonymous said...

The New America Media article by Louis Nevaer is a very disappointing "mere" outline of speculative blather ... I had lots of trouble the high school level description of the war against drug cartels.

The writer totally ignore the huge gorillas sitting in the room.

The 800# gorilla scotoma is the 12-20 millions of illegal Mexican and CA immigrants in the USA...many of these immigrants are deeply implicated in cartel criminality and fluidly interface functionally with both the legitimate and illegitimate economic infrastructure in Mexico and CA.

The second 800# gorilla is the American people and the coming elections of 2012. Border issues and amnesty are increasingly entering the electorate mind...despite the MSM efforts to minimize the actual horrors going on in Mexico. Americans are not too happy with the fact that Mexican cartels are operating freely killing people, trashing the border some 60 or more miles into the US.

The third 800# "narco-cultura" gorilla sitting in the room is the huge allied industries associated with the narco-cultura (movies, narco-corridos, lifestyle goods, Santa Muerte, Malverde, etc.).

And the last of 800# gorillas is the fact that Mexican culture is "corrupt" through and through ... from the little taco vendor to the highest politician ... right through complicit Catholic Church priests and higher.

There are other huge gorillas... but I don't want to belabor the point that the writer is missing many important elements in what is a very complicated problem.

Despite my criticisms. I commend BorderLand Beat for publishing it.

Utah-Reader

Anonymous said...

I still say that to arm the populations in the small towns that are being wiped out by the cartels that send their thugs in Suv's armed with AK-47's to shoot up the towns to keep them living in fear or running away. No matter what anyone says this is the right way to go. One small town a few months ago did this. The towns people were fed up so they went in mass to the local police department and took their guns. The police didn't try to stop them. When the cartel thugs rolled into town guns blazing they were caught in a cross fire and were running for their cowardly lives. A number of them were killed and the rest ran and left their cars behind which the townspeople burned. I doubt the crooks came back. This is whats needed. These people have no way to defend themselves unlike the US population which is one of the most heavily armed countries in the world. We have the police here to handle something like this but the police in Mexico are corrupt and the people are left with nothing.

'lito'brito said...

@ ardent

ardent said:
"It’s one thing to criticize the war on drugs and another to offer a viable solution. To his credit, Calderón has recognized errors in his campaign against the drug cartels, and, of even more significance, he has, time and again, invited anyone anywhere to offer a viable alternative."

good post ...i enjoy your insight when you demonstrate an ability to see past the US agenda...we are only a small player ...and mostly a pawn of the real screw criminals..

not to excuse our greedy unprincipled politicians who sell out to the screws ..and are complicit in every way...but they are only tools, fools and pawns of the real puppet masters

and any American politician or statesman who actually tries to stand up for what is right is soon discredited or dead

who really knows about Calderon...it seems strange that he is still alive if he is a real enemy of the DTO's..and if he is a real enemy of the ZOG USA..his death is guaranteed ...

are the DTO's and the ZOG USA in cahoots? ...very possibly...

usually this formula ends in whatever country that is targeted by this type of violence being a police state..complete with a national debt being borne by a taxed to death populace who is also in debt

and then you have the USA...owned by foreign debt...herded by police..a nice safe pasture full of fat sheep

all i really give a shit about is the good people of Mexico who every day have to scurry about in fear of both the corrupt authoritys and the narco gangs

i know i care about Mexico...i think you and everyone else on BB cares ...

why else would we be here?

Anonymous said...

to eradicate or minimize the cartels we have to start here in the usa
how much people you know sniff some powder tweak some meth shoot up heroin smoke shitty mexican weed smoke some crack
Can you guess who is getting rich of this?????

Anonymous said...

The U.S will go broke, so it will not have money to occupy Mexico.

Anonymous said...

dude if mexico gets invaded by the u.s. sorry america even though i was born here but il move to mexico and fight for mexico

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