Thursday, June 28, 2012

What's In Store For Mexico?

I read with horror William Finnegan's New Yorker article on the Mexican war on drugs in the city of Guadalajara. In general, it seemed to me a good description of the chaos and lawlessness that Mexicans have always boasted they can live with and that now has completely engulfed the country. My big beef with the piece is that it barely mentions the source of all this satanic trouble: the insatiable drug consumption in the US and the cynical, bullying, hypocritical, and idiotic policy of the American government on the issue. Basically, the US is watching how Mexico descends into chaos fighting a problem that resides mostly within American borders, without sullying its own hands, or even trying to come up with viable solutions to curb demand.
Mexico used to be a place where one marveled at how the degree of chaos, corruption and improvisation coexisted with a relatively functioning, peaceful society. Not anymore. The drug business has put the coup de grace on the country and the upcoming elections are not reassuring, no matter who wins. I am extremely curious and anxious, as is every Mexican, I'm sure, to find out what happens at the transfer of power to a different party. I suspect it's not going to be pretty, no matter how you slice it.
Enrique Peña Nieto, the embarrassing candidate for the PRI, our old dictatorial party, is widely ridiculed, but he is on top of "polls" (if you can believe those in a country where rumor is the main source of information and the media has been bought wholesale). Mexicans are disenchanted by the ruling party, the PAN, which has been in power for 12 years and seems to want to call it a day by having chosen a cipher of a woman who has no presidential qualifications to speak of. The Mexican economy is not doing that badly, but the violence of the proxy war president Calderón is losing, will make people vote against the PAN. So the fight is between the old style corruption of the PRI, with an idiot puppet at the helm, and the PRD, the party of the left, and of disenchanted youth, led by an old PRI dinosaur, demagogue and sore loser, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Many Mexicans think he is the "useful vote", the vote that will ensure against the return of the PRI and its monopolistic, corrupt mafia. Compared to the other two bozos, he seems more of an elder statesman. But how would AMLO fare with the Zetas and the cartels? What compromises would he make? And if he loses, will he again throw a massive tantrum and pay for thousands of people to camp out in protest for months as he did last time around? If he doesn't win, will the I Am #132 youth movement take to the streets and protest? Will there be violence?
I would never vote for the PRI. I never did. But I can understand Mexicans who think that it is the only chance of restoring order, because it is simply going to get a cut of the drug profits in exchange for peace. They pine for the era when the cartels were quietly going about their business with the complicity and partnership of the government. But I'm not sure that even the PRI and its dirty tactics can deal with a paramilitary group like the Zetas, which effectively rules the country by fear and uses atrocity as a profit maximizer. Calderón opened Pandora's box and now there is no going back. The narcos are simply taking advantage of a system where the law is pathetic, and virtually non-existent. As long as Mexico has the antiquated, unfair, corrupt and inefficient judicial system that it has, mayhem will rule. 
When I read about the terror the narcos are sowing, I wonder how Mexican children live today. How do you explain to your kids decapitations, the endemic fear of kidnapping, arson in nightclubs teeming with people, shootouts at kindergartens?
How can we expect anyone to continue coming to Mexico when cops are killed at THE AIRPORT? I wonder if in their quest for money and power the narcos have any conscience of the destruction they are inflicting on the country at all levels, economically, psychologically, morally. I bet they are all deeply patriotic, and I bet they love their country as we all do. Then why annihilate it like this? Will it ever stop?

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