Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Read it and Tear your Hair Out

Weeping is simply not enough. In this week's New Yorker there is an excellent, devastating article by William Finnegan on the drug cartels in Mexico.
What a disaster.
Mexicans are finally going to finish destroying what they have been picking at for two centuries (right on time for their Bicentennial, no less). A wonderful country, turned to shit mainly because of their dangerously cynical, lazy, irresponsible and benevolent attitude towards corruption, their racist caste system, the exploitation of millions of impoverished, uneducated people by a few who thrive through corruption because they can afford it.
Plus, Mexico has the misfortune of living next to the US.  To wit: 90% of Mexican drugs are consumed in the US.  80% of illegal weapons in Mexico are imported from the US.
As Porfirio Díaz said: "Poor Mexico, so far from God; so close to the United States".
In a nutshell, Mexico is fucked. Fucked because it has displayed what amounts to genius in fucking itself over and because no one in this spoiled, fat assed country (the US) wants to take responsibility for the American drug feeding frenzy. They expect Mexico to deal with the problem. And no one wants to do what makes most sense, which is to repel prohibition and legalize at least marihuana. Cripple some of those profits.

I have always protested when I hear people say that Mexico is a failed state, but this article introduces the more accurate concept of a captured state. Although Mexico has not yet been captured in its entirety, some of the Mexican drug mafias basically take over every single aspect of life in a state -- including law enforcement -- through fear, intimidation and money. They build schools, they give better paying jobs to people. They bring a prosperity that the Mexican government and society have always denied its own people, through greed, mismanagement, incompetence and contempt. This is happening in several states in Mexico. They are like occupying armies.

Why has this war has been such an utter failure (no matter what Obama or Calderón say. They are both full of pompous, useless shit)? The article contends, quite logically, that it is being waged with the wrong strategy. The narcos will always have the upper hand when it comes to violence, since their rules of engagement are brutal and their capacity for buying arms seems inextinguishable. Plus, they terrorize and intimidate everyone, buy off everyone and kill whoever doesn't toe the line. They can do things states and armies can't, just like terrorists.
The way to attack them is by confiscating property, assets and accounts -- by strangling them financially. Why is this not being done? Finnegan says that cleaning house is impossible because Mexico is a thoroughly corrupt country. Real rule of law did not really exist before this debacle, so it's not going to show up now. The legal and judicial institutions are archaic, byzantine, kafkaesque and utterly incapable of dealing with the most inconspicuous legal problem, plus they are up to their necks in corruption.
So my dear Mexican countrymen, the chickens have come to roost. The cynicism and the comfort with which Mexicans have lived for decades aiding, abetting, suffering, and tolerating corruption and impunity has reached maximum capacity. If people thought that corruption was sustainable for the long run as long as they paid the bribes and looked the other way, they are now being violently disabused of the notion. There are no solid, trustworthy, respectable institutions. Nobody respects the law. So now that the thugs are taking over, you should not be so surprised. It was bound to happen.

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