Will Mexico cease to exist as a self governing nation state?
That is a question that we might all be asking ourselves considering recent developments in that country and a growing likelihood of the outbreak of some kind of civil war.
Not a day goes by without a news item revealing yet another outrage perpetrated against a judge, a prosecutor, a political leader or a major business figure. Kidnappings and killings have reached into such formerly safe enclaves as Acapulco, Cancun and Monterrey.
Today’s Los Angeles Times reveals how even the country’s most important national enterprise, PEMEX – a natural gas exploration and refining giant, has been cowed and intimidated by the drug lords. Tracy Wilkinson reports that 30 employees of the corporation have gone missing for a month, with no word from them or their supposed kidnappers. No one wants to talk about the abductions – not the familys’ relatives, not the government investigators and not even the government itself. Why? For fear of reprisals from the drug cartels who seem to have penetrated and intimidated every echelon in Mexican society.
Wilkinson reports this frightening reality:
“The capacity of the traffickers to exert influence over a company as mighty as Pemex only solidifies the widely held perception that the cartels are growing in size and strength despite the government’s crackdown.” “How is it,” asked a relative of a kidnapped worker, “that Pemex, supposedly the backbone of the nation, can be made to bow down like this?”
Despite the capture of the drug kingpin ‘Le Barbie’ last week, the view that the country is slowly falling apart due to increasing fear and an ensuing collaboration by ordinary citizens with criminal elements is gaining increasing currency.
That is because the public trust that should exist in police and government forces are actually working to protect Mexican society rather than collaborating with the Cartels, has substantially eroded. Last month it was discovered the murdererers of the popular mayor of Monterrey were actually city policemen and included his own bodyguards. It sent a sobering message of what has happened to Mexican society – you can’t trust anyone, any time. Its everyone for themselves in a Mexican War of Survial.
The increasing opinion of Mexican editorialists is that President Calderon’s four year struggle with the Cartels is not succeeding and as Wilkinson reports, may be leading to a growing assumption that the country is headed towards break up. Feuding cartels will battle it out over huge swathes of territory, making local elected government an anachronism.
The consequences of a potential Mexican collapse for the United States are underplayed and simply underreported in this country. Such an eventuality would produce a refugee crisis that would make the South Asian crisis of the late 70s look like a family picnic. It would cause untold hardship and violence in our own border towns and it would create a humanitarian crisis of unparalleled duration.
For years I have called for United States intervention in the mess that is Mexico – a devotion of our resources to destroying the cartels. We MUST pay more attention if we are going to prevent this war from spilling into our southern cities and border towns and becoming not only Mexico’s War for Survival, but something of our own.