The media have studiously avoided stories of Mexican drug cartels, but this one could not be ignored: a panel of prominent Latin Americans issued a blistering report on the disappearance and presumed murder of 43 college students in September 2014 and the government cover-up of the affair. Hundreds of thousands have turned out on the streets of Mexico City to protest government inaction under President Pena Nieto. Mexican crime, driven by drugs, has reached a crisis stage.
The government must act, say all the critics. Presidential candidate Donald Trump demands that it pay for a wall on the US border. But what exactly is the Mexican Government? Does it in fact exist in the normal sense of the word? Investigative reporter Anabel Hernandez says it doesn’t, and she should know since its disparate elements have been pursuing her with intent to kill after the publication of her book “Narcoland.”
Immensely profitable and ruthless drug cartels have virtually commandeered the government and combined with its military and police forces. “The Mexican government, the police, the military – they are the cartel,” asserts Guillermo Ramirez Peyro, a famed executioner who worked for all three. There is little safety or escape except across the border which accounts for much illegal immigration. Thus, federal and local police and military were complicit in the disappearance of the students who could not escape.
The panel report notes evidence of torture of the students, though their ultimate fate remains unknown. Frustrated panelists were unable to get pertinent documents and interviews because of government hindrance and indeed hostility. Understandably, their report is only half complete. As such, the violence it describes is just a fraction of what Mexico has endured over the last several years. As the cartels have battled over drug routes to the US, they have killed some eighty thousand people, mostly innocent bystanders who happened to get in the way or were easy targets. Murder feeds on itself. The cartels have developed a ravenous appetite for it, and there is nothing stopping them since they make the law of the land or rather lawlessness.
Given the myth of Mexican government, Americans can blame Mexico for the violence and avoid their own responsibility for purchasing 60 billion dollars a year in drugs from the cartels that would not exist without this convenient market. The current US Presidential campaign is an example of head in the sand. In all the verbal barrage, there’s scarcely a reference to the chaos across the border, only to the much lesser problem of illegal immigration. Give us all the drugs you want and the attendant violence, but please stop the people fleeing it. Mention, however, some Middle Eastern locale half a globe away, say Mosul in Iraq, and the candidates can discourse on it at length. But Iguala in Mexico, where the students disappeared? No way. Not in the playbook.
Americans are much preoccupied with homeland security these days, which indeed begins at home or right next door. Along with the drugs from Mexico comes all that money they earn, much of which stays in the US, accomplishing what? The United States is hardly immune to the corruption that has overtaken Mexico, and there are increasing signs of it and of the drug lords behind it making comfortable homes here. No one was quicker to intervene in other parts of the world than President Theodore Roosevelt, but he drew the line at getting involved in the Balkans .”Mexico,” he emphasized, “is our Balkan peninsula.” Let’s take his advice and look south for reasons of humanity and national security.