There are three main elements to the drug-war raging south of America’s border: drug cartels, local/state governments and the federal government. When they’re not killing each other for control of lucrative drug routes, the drug cartels are busy subverting local and state governmental functionaries—the police, courts, politicians and the media. This they do the old-fashioned way: bribery, intimidation and murder. Unfortunately, there’s no love lost between these local governments and the Mexican federal government—which sees the drug war as an opportunity to increase their power. In 2006, Mexican President Felipe Calderon sent the Army into Mexico’s northern territories. And so the drug wars became a bi-furcated struggle, with the populace caught between two fundamentally undemocratic forces . . .
Just like the drug lords, the feds are pushing aside the local police. Here’s the latest update from laht.com:
President Felipe Calderon ordered the creation of four new army battalions in northeastern Mexico, a region that has experienced a surge in drug-related violence in the past few years.
In light of the irresponsible actions of the criminals from different groups,” orders have been given “to establish, in this region, four additional battalions with the goal of supporting with sufficient numbers and instruments the work of the armed forces,” Calderon said during a Day of the Army event.
“It will be made even clearer yet that here in Mexico there is no other force and no greater force than the armed forces,” Calderon said.
See what I mean? Drug cartel, corrupted local police or unaccountable Army forces, who stand accused of their own atrocities? It’s the devil’s own choice. But make no mistake about it: Calderon is grabbing power with both hands.
The army “arrested or killed in combat a dozen leaders of the main criminal organizations operating in the country” in the past few months, Calderon said.
Army troops also arrested “thousands of people linked to criminal activities” and prevented “more than 1 billion doses (of drugs) from reaching young Mexicans,” the president said.
Mexican soldiers have seized 100,000 arms since 2006, helping reduce “the firepower and operational capabilities of criminal groups,” Calderon said.
As long as American drug money flows south, the cartels’ firepower and operational capabilities will be virtually limitless. Anyway, for some reason, the federales aren’t talking about the source of those guns. Still, it’s an interesting stat . . .
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires) recently claimed to have confiscated 10,000 guns during that same time period. So even if ALL of these guns were headed straight to the Mexican drug cartels, it would still represent only 10 percent of the total.
So ninety-percent of confiscated drug cartel weapons came from some other source. Which makes the ATF like the drunk looking for his keys underneath a streetlamp because the light’s better. Or the guy that finds the drunk, gives him a credit card and guides him to a nearby liquor store. Cough Gunwalker cough.
Anyway, check this: the “we’ve confiscated 100k weapons from the bad guy” claim is a mirror image of the number of weapons requested by Mexico’s state governments to fight the drug lords. According to impreso.milenio.com, state LEOs are asking for some heavy shit.
On the one hand, the governors want larger caliber rifles, more bullets and grenades now to tackle crime. On the other, dozens of weapons to the police in the states, bought with public funds are missing and disappeared from police arsenals in recent years to complete, allegedly at the hands of organized crime.
According to data from the Department of Arms and Ammunition Marketing, since 2009 the state governments have asked the Army a record number of permits to acquire more than 100,000 automatic weapons, including assault rifles, machine guns and pistols. The aim is to equip its officers with heavy weapons and reduce the disadvantage they have against organized crime.
Not to mention earning a bit of spare cash from the drug cartels’ quartermasters.
No matter how you slice it, the Mexican drug wars have trashed any idea of “true” democracy in the northern regions of our southern neighbor. Obviously, the U.S. government must side with the federales, if only because there is no longer any other choice. We must help Mexico’s central government defeat the drug lords, so that genuine democracy has even a chance of survival.
The ATF’s entirely dubious effort to interdict guns headed south is not the answer. Convincing Americans not to use drugs is not the answer. Sealing the border is the only possible “solution” to the mounting chaos in Mexico, and its inevitable migration north. That’s it. That’s all we’ve got. And it’s way past time we did it.