Mexico — Drug Cartels and the American Market
By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent – THE SEOUL TIMES
|Mexican President Felipe Calderon|
Another day passes in Mexico, and once more it is another bloody day because five more beheadings have just taken place. This is modern day Mexico, it is a nation in crisis and the drug cartels are causing carnage and mayhem in Mexico, and in other regional nations. Therefore, how can President Felipe Calderon prevent this chaos from spreading?
Before pointing the finger at Mexico, it must be stated once more (like I reported last year) that America is also the cause of this mayhem. After all, it is the lucrative illegal drug market which is the cause of this problem. This is often overlooked by other nations, but sadly America is the biggest consumer of illegal drugs in the world, therefore, Mexico, and other regional nations, are faced by this reality.
So it is apparent that Mexico is in a weak position because of external factors. Therefore, because of geography and the major illegal drug market in America, this crisis is now growing out of control. When we add this to abject poverty in parts of Mexico alongside weak centralization in parts of this nation, then it is apparent that drug cartels can manipulate the situation to their own advantage.
The American factor is a serious issue because drug cartels in Mexico are fighting over the control of this lucrative trade route. If America could put “its own house in order” then clearly Mexico would be in a much more stronger position. Therefore, you have to have some sympathy for the leader of Mexico because President Calderon is not in control of the narcotic crisis in America.
Given this, it is vital that America spends more money on launching an internal crackdown against the usage of drugs in America. At the same time, the border between America and Mexico must be brought under control because illegal immigration is a major problem. This applies to poverty within America, which in turn means that drug cartels can manipulate this situation to their own respective advantage. Also, drug cartels can move between both nations and this is a real problem.
The four main drug cartels are the Sinaloa cartel, the Gulf cartel, the Juarez cartel, and the Tijuana cartel. However, you have many other drug cartels and a power vacuum is also causing mayhem, for ironically, every time a major leader is killed or put in chains, then others try to take over and internal and external violence is unleashed. Therefore, the size of the problem is enormous and police corruption is also a major issue, because it is apparent that Calderon fully trusts the armed forces.
In recent times, the US anti-narcotic drive in the Caribbean and Florida was stepped up and this led to some success. However, for the drug cartels in Mexico, this meant that the flow of drugs would increase through their territory and again it was boom time. After all, we are talking about a drug business which is estimated to be between $12 billion dollars to $14 billion dollars a year.
So clearly, Mexico is blighted by geography and the illegal drug consumer culture of America. Mexico is therefore caught in the middle and the lucrative illegal drug market which flows between the suppliers in South America and the consumers in the United States is a nightmare. Therefore, it is apparent that the government of Mexico does face real problems, but these problems are both internal and external.
The internal factors are weak central government in parts of Mexico, police corruption, geography, poverty, the infrastructure, and limited control over the border area with America. Yet the external factors appear even more problematic and clearly these problems are out of the control of Mexico. These apply to drug cartels throughout South America which use Mexico in order to export their illegal drugs, the enormous consumer market in America, the failure of America to solve their own drug problems, geography, and the lack of transparency amongst regional drug agencies and national governments.
Currently, around 40,000 troops from the Mexican army are trying to stem the tide of this crisis and in time they hope to crush the drug cartels. Yet since the armed forces entered the fray, it is apparent that the situation is still ongoing. Of course, Calderon is doing is best to defeat “this terrible cancer” which is eating away at parts of Mexico.
However, until the domestic illegal drug market is brought under control in America, I believe that Calderon and Mexico are merely banging their head against a brick wall. So it is vital that America and Mexico work hand-in-hand in order to fight against this growing menace. At the same time, other regional governments, for example in Colombia, must also forge a joint strategy because the problem in Mexico is not made in this nation, but it belongs to both the suppliers and consumers.
America also must stop being so complacent and the enormous drug culture of this nation needs to be tackled. Also, genuine action is needed and it is needed now. This applies to law enforcement agencies throughout the region, numerous national governments working together, the military, and other organizations, must all try to solve this enormous crisis. Another major area applies to poverty reduction measures. Yet will collective policies be implemented or will the emphasis be just put on the armed forces of Mexico?
THE SEOUL TIMES