The Best Thing We Can Do For Mexico

A photo of soldiers and civilians in Mihoacan Mexico

Mexico is a country of beautiful culture and intense stoicism which deserves our respect, and deserves to be treated like a sovereign nation — not like a source for slave-class non-citizens which benefit the wealthy and political elite on the Left and Right in the United States. That respect does not mean opening our borders to serve as a pressure release valve through which Mexicans can see their only hope, but rather completely doing away with the current policies, which make enormous profits for supposed religious groups and NGOs collecting hundreds of millions of dollars per year to support and care for economic migrants and refugees fleeing from the war most Americans know nothing about, and allowing Mexico to take their destiny into their own hands.

But that cannot happen while we treat the entire nation like naughty children, in the face of the nightmares which face them. Their horrors and atrocities are many, nonetheleast of which being the influence of US politics and the US hunger for cheap and easily-accessible drugs. There are three rather large umbrellas which can be used to describe the sources of the problem which have led Mexico to become an all-but-failed State, a “shithole” as it has been called: the Crime Syndicates, or drug cartels as we call them, US Involvement, and the Institutionalized Corruption which runs through Mexico from top to bottom. All three of these umbrellas are interrelated, but understanding them is the only way we can possibly understand why Mexico has become what it has become, and what we can do, as a neighbor and friend, to help them.

The Crime Syndicates

The Sinaloa Cartel

The Sinaloa Cartel began as a small contraband-smuggling gang in the Mexican state of Sinaloa in the late 60’s, which, through the 1970’s, branched out to begin growing their own marijuana and opium as well as becoming traffickers of cocaine for the Medellín Cartel under famed drug-lord, Pablo Escobar. Led by Joaquín Guzmán Loera, better known as “El Chapo” (or “Shorty” for those who don’t speak Spanish), the Sinaloa Cartel came to prominence through the 1970’s and 1980’s with such strength and sociopolitical influence, that “El Chapo” might as well have been the true King of Mexico, until his final arrest and extradition to the United States just last year, in 2017.

This crime syndicate waged war on everyone they could to build their drug production and trafficking empire, including the Guadalajara Cartel, the Juarez Cartel, the Los Zetas, and even the Mexican and US Federal Governments, and as of a 2010 report on cartel influence in Mexico, they had even infiltrated and grown to control the Mexican Federal government at nearly all levels, though their power had been held for a long time before that.

Los Zetas & MS-13

Originally a paramilitary group operating within the Gulf Cartel, made up of 37 retired members of the Mexican Army Special Forces (Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales, or GAFE), Los Zetas took the opportunity to apply their special training and skills and strike out on their own in 1999 after the arrest of Gulf Cartel leader, Osiel Guillen. Led by Heriberto Lazcano, the group applied their understanding of Mexican and US military tactics and strategy to build drug-trafficking, weapons-trafficking, and human-trafficking networks throughout Northeast Mexico and along the border of Texas.

Notorious for targeting civilians for no other reason than to show their innate cruelty and power, Los Zetas has become well-known for their ability to commit mass murder — such as the San Fernando Massacre of 2010. Not content to only do this, however, the Cartel and their Los Angeles-born counterparts in the United States, MS-13, rapidly expanded their operations to also include political and social extortion, the bootlegging of CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Rays, as well as taking over entire oil pipelines.

US Involvement

The sheer power of Los Zetas was no accident, however; the reason they are so terrifyingly efficient is that they were trained by none other than US Special Forces when they were part of GAFE. This has allowed them, despite being so much smaller in numbers than the Sinaloas, to apply and expand on their training, reinforcing strong paramilitary mindsets and strategies, which was further expanded upon within the last decade with the help of none other than our very own Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) under “Project Gunrunner” — better known these days as the Fast and Furious Scandal.

Fast & Furious

From 2006 to 2011, right up until the moment American citizens and Border Patrol agents were found dead at crime scenes along the US-Mexico border in which shootouts between US Border Patrol agents and cartel members, who were using weapons provided by the ATF, took place, the US Government purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers in the United States to sell weapons to members of Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel, both, in what was supposed to be a means to track the guns back to the cartel leaders in hopes of arresting them. However, after the sale of more than 2000 rifles, shotguns, sidearms, and countless rounds of ammunition, it was discovered in Congressional investigations that only 700 weapons could actually be accounted for and tracked — while the rest remained in the hands of the crime syndicates, which used them to terrorize rival gangs/cartels, politicians, and civilians alike.

Drug Market Clientele

The shootouts which take place along the US-Mexico Border occur because the cartels make 80–90% of their profits from selling their trafficked drugs and prostitutes to the United States, which, as a nation, is the single largest consumer of illegal drugs in the world. Demand for cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, not to mention human-trafficking into the United States, is a multi-billion dollar per year industry. But these shootouts don’t only occur at direct points of entry for drug- and human-trafficking operations; often, the cartels will stage a battle in one place along the border to serve as a distraction while coyotes, or people whose job is to smuggle humans across the border for prices ranging between $5000 and $20,000 (depending how much heroin or cocaine you’re willing to carry in your stomach), are able to move people en masse into the United States with nary a Border Patrol agent to be found.

Washington’s “Safety Valve”

But all of this is allowed to continue for one simple reason: it has been the policy of the United States Government, since the early 90’s, to maintain a nearly-open border, or “safety valve” as George W Bush had called it, which allows those Mexican citizens who would otherwise remain home to defend what is theirs and become real revolutionaries capable of bringing much-needed change to their nation, to find hope and jobs regardless of legal status within the United States, and keep a corrupt government stable and in-power, to say nothing of in debt to the United States and International banks.

As cruel as it might sound at first glance, doing this is, in the long run, one of the greatest contributors to the problems Mexico has, as it prevents Mexico from completely failing and breaking down into the grassroots revolution it so desperately needs to strengthen itself and regain its sovereignty from the crime syndicates. Instead, those who would otherwise be the heroes of Mexico are disenfranchised and stripped of hope so long as they live within their home country, and are encouraged by incentivization to leave their country and even their families to illegally enter the US and let Mexico remain in the throes of an ongoing war with these crime syndicates which, under current circumstances, has no end in sight.

Institutionalized Corruption

And if the crime syndicates and drug cartels weren’t enough, corruption runs from the President of Mexico all the way down almost by design. Up until the year 2000, Mexico was politically dominated by a single party, the ironically-named Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), a member party of the greater Socialist International which, as far back as even the 1970’s were influenced by bribes and fear to the point where they became more corrupt than the Catholic Churches to whom they were so tightly connected. For more than 40 years, the PRI used vote-buying and other voter-fraud tactics to maintain their hold on power — and the money required to do this was provided through their relationships with the Medellín Cartel, and later the Sinaloa Cartel.

When the Medellín Cartel began losing power in the 90’s, so did the PRI, and in the year 2000 a new party, the Party for National Action (PAN) was finally able to break the 71-year PRI dominance over politics and replace the PRI. And, just like their predecessors, the pockets of these politicians had already been lined by the cartels, reinforcing the strength of, more than anyone else, the Sinaloa Cartel. In the last 40 years, there has not been one Mexican President who has not been subject to serious corruption investigations, up to and including current President Enrique Peña Nieto whose incestuous relationship with the Mexican mainstream media was fictionalized in a recent film.

However, in 2006, with the election of Felipe Calderón, after two decades of ignoring rising murders, cartel turf wars taking place on a state-scale, and legal impunity of the Cartels through the inability to punish any more than 1% of crimes, the first real actions against the Cartels began, with the declaration of war against the cartels — better known as the Mexican Drug War.

It was the 11th of December, 2006, that Calderón deployed 6,500 Mexican Army soldiers to the state of Michoacán, in the rather plainly-named “Operation Michoacán”, which would, over the five years following, grow into 24,000 troops deployed on Mexican soil in all the states of Mexico (and more than 45,000 troops to this day) serving alongside Federal Police personnel and operating in both offensive and martial law-enforcing statuses. These operations and escalations have led to the capture and arrest of over 11,500 people connected to organized crime in Mexico, but also resulting in casualties estimated to be between 165,000 and 200,000 dead.

On a yearly basis, between 50 and 400 Federal officials in Mexico are either fired, for corruption, or killed for not taking part in the corrupt system.

Despite the extremely high body count, which exceeds the body counts of the Iraq War and Afghanistan War combined between the years of 2001 and 2008, Mexico is still considered to be mostly under the control of one of the two major cartels discussed here, depending on the region. Every time a lieutenant or leader within these syndicates is killed, they are rapidly replaced without much, if any, effect to the syndicated cartels as a whole, though, and the war continues to rage. Even with figures like “El Chapo” extradited to the United States, these cartels are able to maintain power over their regions, as well as over police chiefs, politicians, the television media, and even units and regiments within the Mexican Armed Forces — leaving the Federal government in a state where it can barely trust its own employees.

Where is Mexico Now?

As of 2016, from reports published by the Center for Impunity and Justice Studies, less than 10% of crimes in Mexico are even reported, with only 1% of crimes ever being punished within the nation. This is for multiple reasons, but the overwhelming factor is a complete lack of faith by the people in the Federal government, with more Mexicans having faith in the “government” imposed on them by the leaders and middle management of the Cartels who live and control the cities in which these citizens live. Out of the 202 nations in the world rated by the Corruption Perception Index, Mexico ranks 131st — tied with the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Iran and Russia.

Mexico’s National Debt is $10 trillion Pesos ($500 billion USD), with those debts being guaranteed by the United States government and, in turn, making Mexico wholly dependent on the United States in order to take out loans from International Banks or form trade agreements of any variety.

The cartels hold most of the power, despite the might of the Mexican Federal Police and Armed Forces — to the point where you cannot even speak against the cartel or individual members of the cartel on social media (let alone television) without retribution being executed against you. And it is no hyperbole, when I use the word “executed”. Mexico is essentially a failed state, being held barely aloft by NAFTA and the United States acting as a guarantor for international monetary loans, and the United States has aided and abetted in making in that way.

What Can Be Done?

I must stress again what I addressed at the beginning of this article: the situation in Mexico, and the Mexican people, must be treated with respect and honour for their stoicism and familial strength. We cannot continue tearing apart families — not at the border but in their own homes, through the incentivization of abandoning their country to illegally enter the United States for a chance at a slave-labour job, nor can we continue making decisions for Mexico as though we know better.

We must build the wall along our Southern border. This will severely limit the means by which Mexicans can be smuggled into the country over-land, making it much easier to strategically design means by which to handle attempts at smuggling people and drugs into the country and remove the incentivization of a so-called “better life” of slavery to both the wealthy elite on the Left and Right alike, as well as indentured servitude through debt to the cartels and coyotes who got them here in the first place. Mexicans must decide for themselves whether their nation should be allowed to live or die, and should be given the respect to trust their ability to hold a real revolution. This will inevitably lead to the complete failure of the Mexican state — but only in the event of the Mexico failing as a nation can we even begin to consider bringing in American troops to surgically destroy the cartels which have turned Mexico into their private highway for drugs and trafficked humans.

But if we do this, we must do one other thing: forgive Mexico’s debt, or otherwise pay it off for them in order to wipe the slate clean, allowing them a fresh start without the vulnerabilities of debt which could be used to re-corrupt a new Mexican government. As the guarantors of Mexico’s debt, we have the power, and the wealth, to do so, and doing so would be the only respectful response to how we’ve abused and enslaved Mexicans across the last 4 decades. If we continue treating Mexico as a child, as a third-world country, ignoring their natural resources and beautiful culture as something to be respected on a sovereign level, they will never be able to take their destiny into their own hands.

And if they’re never able to take their destiny into their own hands, then even if the Cartels were carpet-bombed out of existence tomorrow, they would still be an un-occupied slave state for the United States. These people deserve our love. These people deserve our respect. Mexico deserves to take its proper geopolitical place in the world without the influence of crime and corruption, within or without.

This article was originally published on Medium on 25 June 2018, as a summation of my show notes for a stream on the same topic.