Thursday, September 15, 2011
Poor Mexico: so far from God, so close to the United States.
If he only knew how prescient his words would become...
Today is Mexico's birthday and the country is in a drug violence-infested funk. I heard that people were trying to organize a boycott of the traditional festivities at the Zócalo, as if Mexicans are going to obey an injunction not to party. It's a meaningful gesture, but I doubt it's going to work. The people who go to the Zócalo tend to be the ones with less reason to celebrate. It's not Carlos Slim and his family, it's the eternally penurious working-class Mexican who is super proud of his country even if it keeps him forever relegated to the dumps.
Believe me, today I'd like to say Viva Mexico! as much as anybody. But it rings bitter and hollow when my sister tells me that a corpse appeared hanging from a bridge in her neighborhood and two more have been found in the trés chic Santa Fe business district; meaning, nothing is sacred any more.
It really hurts to hear about decapitated heads bobbing about in the sandy beaches of Acapulco. Or of the horrifying arson in a casino in Monterrey. This kind of histrionic, revolting violence is gross and depraved and I wonder about Mexican children and their fragile little psyches. How do parents deal with this, I don't know.
I remember the time when we Mexicans used to look at Colombia and feel superior to it. We were convinced no such thing would ever happen to our country and it was okay with us if our drug dealers just wanted to do business outside our borders. They were not that interested in the local market, or so we thought. Oh, well.
Mexico has much to be proud of, but what it has to be ashamed of ends up strangling all the progress, the achievements, the painfully slow road to prosperity. It makes us look like a backwater, instead of the phenomenal country we are.
We can blame the gringos all we want about their insatiable appetite for drugs, their hypocritical puritanism, and their firearms export business, but it is Mexico who does not have a legal and judicial system that belongs in the modern era. Corruption is the oil that greases the wheels of society, and as long as these two things remain, we cannot expect the war against drugs to be won. I'm sure I am not the only one who thinks this war would be better waged non-violently instead of in a who is más macho contest. The way to cripple the cartels is cybernetic: by freezing assets, hacking internet accounts, disrupting communications, using intelligence and arresting everybody and their mother, including those in the high reaches of power who are abetting the cartels (that will be the day). Because Mexican jails and the legal system are not to be trusted, I propose that every drug dealer arrested, from the biggest capo to the pettiest ones, be extradited to be tried, sentenced and put away in the US. I don't believe in capital punishment, but for these savages I think it is warranted. Send them all to Rick Perry in Texas. And let the U.S. foot the bill.
Mexico should eventually get fed up of fighting this costly proxy war for the United States, and what do we get in return? Ni las gracias. Not even a thank you note. Compared to the billions of dollars other countries get, Pakistan for instance, who seems to spend it all in aiding and abetting Islamic fundamentalists, Mexico, the next door neighbor, gets bubkes from the US. This is a stupid policy, and it's Mexico that is paying for it with flowing rivers of blood.
So this Mexican Independence Day I hope that the violence abates, that laws are reformed, and that the country heals.
And by the way, while we are at it, let's scuttle stupid Cinco de Mayo in the US, an American marketing ploy, which to add insult to injury is not even the right Mexican holiday, and from now on celebrate September 15 as the real Mexican fiesta.