Mexico: the Next Colombia?
By Andrew Walden
FrontPageMagazine.com | 9/6/2007
Will Mexico go the way of Colombia? Drug gangs are terrorizing Mexican cities. Severed heads show up on the doorstep of police stations and newspapers—often with warnings from drug gangs targeting officials by name. Over 370 young women have been murdered in Ciudad Juarez. Eleven journalists have been murdered in the last year making Mexico the second most dangerous country for journalists—after Iraq.
Hoping to stem the tide, Mexico’s new President Felipe Calderon has ordered federal takeover of corrupt local police departments in cities including Tijuana and Monterrey and several States. In Tijuana, Tabasco, and Oaxaca local and state police were disarmed and their weapons are being checked against evidence from recent murders by ballistics experts. Authorities have announced the arrest of over 1,000 drug suspects and the confiscation of tons of drugs destined mostly for the US market. In late June Calderon’s administration sacked over 300 federal police commanders in an effort to root out corruption.
Calderon and the Bush administration in early August were reported close to signing a new $7 billion cooperation pact with the US which officials went out of their way to claim is not modeled on “Plan Colombia”—the ongoing somewhat successful decade-long effort to beat back Colombia’s notorious narco-guerrillas and the drug trade they protect. According to the Washington Post, US aid would include: “telephone tapping equipment, radar to track traffickers’ shipments by air, aircraft to transport Mexican anti-drug teams and assorted training….”
The refusal of US authorities to close off illegal crossings of the US-Mexican border and more thoroughly inspect legal crossings has allowed the creation of a millions-strong class of illegal persons in the US. At the same time the open border has provided an incentive for Mexican drug gangs to open up shop south of the border in order to flood the US with narcotics. Drug use is now on the increase in Mexico as well.
With Mexican drug gangs corrupting police and terrorizing Mexicans, they also provide a possible conduit for terrorist infiltration of the US. Mexico has long been a way station for “OTMs”—Other Than Mexicans—intending to sneak into the US. The human smuggling business is intrinsically linked to the drug smuggling business. With narco-terrorists borrowing a page from al-Qaeda’s playbook—videotaping executions and beheading their victims, there is little reason to think they would hesitate at assisting Islamist terrorists—if the price was right.
Drugs can be a very powerful weapon against a nation. British opium pushers in the 19th century are partly responsible for the collapse of the powerful Chinese empire. The result was decades of chaos and war eventually followed by the genocidal communist dictatorship of Mao Zedong.
In a 20th century parallel to the Opium Wars, Cuba is partly responsible for the formation of the Colombian narco-guerilla gangs and their choice to finance themselves though drug trafficking. In addition to shipping through Cuba to Florida, the Colombians in turn hired Mexican gangs to transship cocaine into Texas and California. Eventually the Mexican gangs began producing, shipping, and selling their own drugs.
Drug violence in Mexico creates one more reason for Mexicans to head north–and about 10% of all Mexicans are now estimated to be illegally in the US with millions more here legally. Drug use already severely marks the entry-level US labor pool which in turn creates greater demand for illegal alien workers. The porous border and the human smuggling expertise created by the crossing of million of illegal aliens create ripe conditions for the drug trade. The drug gangs in turn corrupt Mexican society and create more reasons for Mexicans to leave—and they cycle continues.
A Gallup poll released July 2 measures a hypothetical Clinton vs Giuliani 2008 Presidential race. The poll shows 78% support for Hillary in 2008 among Hispanics without a college education. Among college educated Hispanics, 50% would vote for Rudy. Legal immigration quotas are heavily weighted towards educated persons. This sharp dichotomy between educated and uneducated Hispanic voters would explain why so-called immigration reform efforts are so heavily weighted towards making illegals more comfortable and then granting them amnesty rather than increasing the number of legal immigrants.
Manipulating policy to bring in Democrat voters is not the only political angle in the human smuggling/drug smuggling nexus. Heavy drug use on American campuses makes students more amenable to the paranoid ministrations and anti-American conspiracy theories of leftist professors. The drug trade finances guerilla movements, aids Fidel Castro’s communist regime and destabilizes Latin American countries.
With the effects of the open border now being felt strongly on both sides, Bush and Calderon were expected to announce their plan at a two-day North American summit with conservative Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Quebec August 20 and 21. It didn’t happen, but at least one Democrat jumped the gun and began griping. According to the LA Times, “An aide to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the subcommittee controlling foreign aid expenditures, complained that his office had heard nothing from the White House about a deal.
“’Sen. Leahy believes that in Iraq and beyond, this administration is accustomed to writing checks for hundreds of millions of dollars and expecting Congress to cash them without consultation or question,’ aide David Carle said.”
Other Democrats, notably Rep Henry Cuellar—whose Texas district is hard-hit by the illicit cross-border traffic–back the plan. Cuellar tells the Times, “We finally have a Mexican president who’s willing to take brave steps. But if we lose that opportunity, the window will close.”