AMLO outside the Senate, Monday, October 26

Worker's Party Deputy Mario di Costanzo Tears Apart Carstens Economic Plan

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Deconstructing Mexico (Literally)

Suddenly, the word "Mexico" is on everyone's lips - drug-infested narco Mexico, that is, the shadowy projection of America's sunny, white, What-me-bomb? ego consciousness. Defense Secretary Robert Gates goes on Meet the Press to discuss putting aside some of the "old biases" against "cooperation with our - between our miliaries and so on." Joint Chiefs Chairman Michael Mullen briefs Obama on what his own Pentagon has conscpicuously labeled as a future failed state, and suggests borrowing from U.S. tactics in the war against terrorism to help Mexico in its drug fight, including the prospect of joint miliary operations; President Obama was reported to be "very interested in what kind of military capabilities could be applied." The governor of Texas calls for the border with Mexico to be militarized, with the military, the National Guard, Customs Agents, whoever. At a ceremony to name a new drug czar, and in the context of bringing about "the demise of the Mexican drug cartels," Vice President Biden suggests that "we've done this before. We did it in Cartagena -- I mean, excuse me, not Cartagena, we did it in Colombia, in Medellin." It has gotten to the point where little Don Lipe, the man who considers himself to be the President of Mexico, has felt it necessary to deny imminent US military involvement in Mexico. Alleging the existence of an international smear campaign designed to make Mexico look bad, Don Lipe goes on to deny that any part of the Federal Government is not in control of certain parts of its territory: "I'll take you there myself," he says with tremulous bravado at a business forum.

US policy towards Mexico is the moral, psychological and practical equivalent of forcing medieval Jews into money-lending, then blaming them for being usurers. The US needs its drug fix just like medieval Christians needed their money lent; better, however, to let a series of faceless Shylocks in their locked-away ghetto take care of the actual grubby business of lending, or in this case, a series of faceless Juans, shipping their merchandise past the borders of their locked-away nation so that a legion of doctors' sons can slip off and do a few lines behind the prep school gymansium.

And would that it stopped at mere demand for drugs. In fact, it is the United States that is arming Mexico to the teeth, either officially, through the Plan Mexico, the first $400 million dollars of which have just been disbursed for the purchase of "Bell helicopters, CASA maritime patrol planes, surveillance software, and other goods and services produced by US private defense contractors," or illegally through arms bought at US gun shops, often by US citizens, and smuggled into Mexico, undercutting Mexico's laudably stiff restrictions on the purchase of firearms. Both Mexican and US officials agree that over 90% of the weapons being used by Mexican drug cartels, including high-powered assault weapons, come straight from gun dealers in Texas, California and Arizona, thanks in large part, as ABC news put it, to "lenient American gun laws." John Smith provides the arms; Juan Pérez dies.

And if any further reminder is needed as to why American military intervention (disguised as "joint operations") in Mexico would be an unmitigated disaster, just have a look at the plan that Plan Mexico was based on: Plan Colombia. At a price tag of $6 billion dollars so far, Plan Colombia doesn't have much to recommend itself. As Robert Naiman reports, "an October report from the Government Accountability Office found that coca-leaf production in Colombia had increased by 15 percent and cocaine production had increased by 4 percent between 2000 and 2006." Human rights have fallen by the wayside: "Washington supports the Colombian government, and therefore the Colombian government can do whatever it wants without restraint." And does, from sending a bombing raid into neighboring Ecuador (Colombian President Uribe as a Latin American Nixon in Cambodia) to tarnishing human rights critics as members of an international guerrilla bloc, causing even members of the US Congress to fear openly for the human rights workers' lives. Result: following El Salvador's election last Sunday, the two remaining Latin American countries with propped up right-wing governments are...well yes, Colombia and Mexico.

But, as a certain Fr. Tothus reminds us in the comments string at the bottom of Robert Naiman's piece (, it is difficult to be too cynical about what the real motives for Plan Colombia were. He writes:

Stop the drug flow? Human rights? This was never the intent. Plan Columbia's farcical premise was quite successful in providing cover for the actual US corporate aims, however. It provides a cover for US military "training" of quislings ready to overthrow a populist regime. It destroys native farmers and resistance to US Agro imports, impoverishes and starves the already poor. The cash generated keeps Wall Street busy laundering it, and provides funds for further US covert ops against official enemies. The drugs then find their way into American inner cities courtesy of our very own CIA. Meanwhile (surprise) it turns out that it is really a war on only certain drugs. Certainly not the world's deadliest - tobacco - which Columbia (among others) is forced to import and forced to allow advertising for, or US corporate Big Pharma. By US standards, Columbia ought to have the right to fund militant anti-US government groups, bomb our corn fields, and defoliate the Carolinas at the very least.

Mexico is teetering on the edge of this same fate, and Uncle Sam is its enabling accomplice.

1 comment:

Alan said...

Kurt, I think your blogs are insightful but they don't deal with the acutual issues. The U.S. was in the drug importation business long before Mexico had a constitution. It's about money, power and wealth and how to keep the peace between the rich and the rich at the expense of the poor and soon to be poor. So, dealing with the issus as reported by the news and even so called, Investigative Journalism, will not solve nor make these go away. Until Americans stop using, selling and transporting the drugs routed to the US and Canada, there is really no flag to rally 'round.
As you know I am researchng this to the max for my novel, A Place We Ought Not to Be and there is NO bottom to this barrel. Researching Alfred McCoy’s book, The Politics of Heroin and the CIA, Terry Reed’s book, Compromise and especially Gary Webb’s Dark Alliance (to mention a few) all show that arms, drugs and wars are usually about money, oil, food, water and geography and has nothing to do with morals, ethics or “Save the children, polar bears, trees, etc.”
We are giving Mexico (one country of a hundred examples) guns, tanks, bullets and bullet proof vests, and it's not to stop drugs, but rather to arm the side that supports US policy, Capitalism and intervention. There is no Drug War. There is a war between competing drug dealers for the US and Canadian markest and the Right Wing Conservatives (one group) in America and Canada know who they support. They support those who pay the 'right' prices. It's simply business, the same as prostitution isn't about sex at the cash register. It's about money. It’s a little like the movie, Charlie Wilson’s War. Everyone I spoke to seem to think that was a comedy. There was nothing funny about that movie and Obama is going into Afghanistan and will do about the same things the Russians did: Leave. Alan