Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

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Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

Mars220
When Enrique Peña Nieto became president of Mexico in December 2012, there was considerable hope that the violence that had roiled that country so badly over the previous six years might subside. Peña Nieto seemed determined to adopt a different approach than his predecessor, Felipe Calderón, to the problems of drug trafficking and organized crime. Calderón had used the military to wage open warfare on the country’s powerful drug cartels during his presidency, and the results were calamitous. More than 60,000 perished in drug-related violence during those years, and at least another 25,000 disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

Early in his presidency, Peña Nieto de-emphasized the confrontational strategy, returning to the more ambivalent posture toward drug trafficking that the Mexican government had maintained throughout the decades before Calderón’s escalation. And for a time, that lower-key approach seemed to work. Although violence between rival cartels—and between various cartels and the government—did not disappear, it did subside. That was especially true in Ciudad Juárez, Nuevo Laredo, Tijuana and other cities on the border with the United States, which had been the epicenters of bloodshed during Calderón’s administration.

But the encouraging trend has reversed in an alarming fashion in recent months. Although some once-dominant trafficking organizations, such as the Gulf Cartel and La Familia, have faded or disappeared entirely, new and equally ruthless competitors have taken their place. Among the latter are the Knights Templar and Los Viagras. Vigilante groups, which have been on the rise for several years as government forces seemed unable or unwilling to maintain order and defeat the cartels, have gained even greater prominence since mid-2014. The spike in vigilantism is especially troubling because it reflects a growing lack of public confidence in Mexico’s police and criminal-justice systems.

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Unfortunately, there are ample reasons for that lack of confidence. Mexico has long been afflicted by pervasive corruption, with drug cartels and other criminal organizations easily penetrating governmental institutions. But developments over the past few months suggest that some of those institutions do not merely exhibit mundane corruption, but may be compromised in horrific ways.

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The most troubling incident took place in September 2014, when students from a teachers college disappeared in the western state of Guerrero. The students had shown the temerity to conduct a protest demonstration against the mayor of Iguala and his wife. Evidence soon emerged that the students were likely murdered and their bodies burned. Worse, there are strong indications, including eyewitness accounts from two individuals who survived the attack, that elements of both the police and the army, along with enforcers from a local drug cartel, were responsible for the massacre.

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The ensuing scandal is rocking Peña Nieto’s administration, as angry demonstrators in several cities have demanded his resignation. Concerns that Mexico might become a “failed state”—which had gained traction during the most turbulent years of Calderón’s presidency—are again on the rise. Such concerns are excessive, since Mexico has an array of powerful institutions ranging from the Catholic Church to well-organized political parties to a significant (and growing) legal business community. Mexico is not Somalia, Bosnia, Yemen, Sudan or other failed states, where such stabilizing features are largely absent; nor is it fractured by bitter ideological or religious conflicts, as those countries have been.

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Nevertheless, the recent developments are worrisome. Overall, the drug cartels remain as powerful and ruthless as ever, and some of those organizations are branching out into human trafficking, the hijacking of oil shipments, extortion and other criminal activities to augment their income from the drug trade. Although the challenge they pose to the authority of the Mexican government may have become less blatant during Peña Nieto’s administration, such groups remain very powerful players, and in some areas of the country verge on constituting a “parallel government.”


http://nationalinterest.org/feature/watch-out-america-mexico-may-be-the-next-failed-state-12142
Mars Oner
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

Mars220
In my opinion Mexico is already a FAILED state.
Mars Oner
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

jlopez
In reply to this post by Mars220
As usual in the rhetorical questions posed by articles like this, "failed state" depends on who you ask. If you ask the vast majority of Mexicans, those who live well below poverty levels, even by Latin American standards, who cannot find jobs, who are trying to survive, who are daily harassed by cops and risk being disappeared, kidnapped or robbed by either the government or its partners in organized crime, these Mexicans, "los de a pie", are justified in believing that their country is a failed state.

Or if you ask members of 'ejidos' (communal lands) and indigenous communities whose water, timber, mineral resources, shale oil, wildlife, fisheries, even their beaches--in short, their way of life--, are being looted by foreign multinationals in tandem with Mexican oligarchs, they will also tell you the state has failed them.

But if you ask the oligarchs themselves-- the Carlos Slims, the Atlacomulco gang, the Hank Rhon Gonzalez cartel, the Chinese, the Grupo Higa, not to mention the more conventional, garden variety organized crime cartels, who are amassing incredible fortunes and socking them away in tax free accounts overseas--, then their answer would be different. The 'failed state' is working very well for them.  

The article misses the point in other ways. When the writer points out that there are strong, stable and well organized  institutions that provide stability not found in countries that everybody agrees are failed states --Somalia, Bosnia, Yemen, etc.--, the article does not mention that these same institutions are, in many cases, the ones that are contributing to Mexico's failures. For example, I agree that Mexico's political parties are cohesive and well organized, but I also believe that they are the main obstacle to the creation of a true representative democracy in Mexico. The politicians' corruption, greed and impunity, which has infected all of the government, are the reason that Mexico's problems cannot be repaired under the current system. In that respect, Mexico is a failed state.      
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

elcienporcien
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

choco
In reply to this post by Mars220
Mexico IS a failed state and the US is well on its way.  Pretty soon it will be a failed world with the pluto-garchs controlling everything and the 99.9% trying to survive.  
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

eljalisquillo
In reply to this post by jlopez
Don't forget about the Azcarraga Cartel (Televisa), Grupo Salinas (TV Azteca), The Vergaras from Guadalajara and all the Cement Tycoons from Monterrey.
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

eljalisquillo
In reply to this post by choco
Could not agree more with you Choco. Mexico, as well as other countries are already failed states and countries like the US are on their way to becoming failed states. The middle class everywhere is becoming more narrow and pretty soon the whole world will be failed if something is not done immediately. This article's title should read, "Watch Out, America: The US and Europe May Be the Next Failed States"
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

Mars220
In reply to this post by Mars220
I agree that the USA seems to be going down the same path with our corrupt politicians sucking the life out of OUR great country. Everything they do here is to benefit the 1% or the those who below the poverty line by choice. The middle class though is disappearing faster than 8 ball of cocaine at a CDS party.
Mars Oner
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

canadiana
Administrator
That's why theres so many ex-pats in Mexico,cheaper to live although when I was in both states of Baja in May noticed from 2 years previously Mom and Pop motels in NON tourist areas were running about $65 a night were $40 a night before and food was more expensive.Dont know how the Mexicans do it honestly.
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

ArmChairIntellect
In reply to this post by choco
Not necessarily, the future for the poor is rather bright actually, in a global sense anyway.  The poor live better lives today than at any other point in our history.  
JMB
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

JMB
That would depend on whose history you are referring to, yes? The very concepts of rich and poor, pretty rocks having value,  owning land, paying for every darn thing, bills and such came to most lands with the Europeans. Wealth in the western world that we live in is based on coveting the mundane: pretty rocks and tree pulp.
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

aguiniga12
In reply to this post by ArmChairIntellect
Kleptocracy anyone?
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

ArmChairIntellect
In reply to this post by JMB
Of course I am referring global trends and not country by country analysis.  The has been a dramatic decline in child mortality, disease prevention is at an all time high, more people have moved out of  abject poverty than at any other time in our history, malnutrition and and famine are at all time low.  While I see and agree with the points you guys are making the poor live better today than at any other point in our existence.        
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

ArmChairIntellect
In reply to this post by aguiniga12
Even though this makes things harder on the poor, it still does not change any of the facts about the improving outlooks for the poor round the world.
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

aguiniga12
That's a given I'd think, but I think it makes it that much harder to escape poverty since improving one's socioeconomic status becomes next to impossible. And thats why there are so many youngsters involved in organized crime because it's not like they can just study their way to a better life.
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

canadiana
Administrator
In reply to this post by aguiniga12
That's a good 1.
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

canadiana
Administrator
In reply to this post by ArmChairIntellect
Do you think it might be due to the global economy,free trades?Where you been lately Arm Chair?
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

aguiniga12
@ Canadiana - Check this baby out http://www.thenation.com/article/168627/nafta-steroids# This will make NAFTA look like chump change.
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

Mexico-Watcher
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by jlopez
jlopez wrote
As usual in the rhetorical questions posed by articles like this, "failed state" depends on who you ask. If you ask the vast majority of Mexicans, those who live well below poverty levels, even by Latin American standards, who cannot find jobs, who are trying to survive, who are daily harassed by cops and risk being disappeared, kidnapped or robbed by either the government or its partners in organized crime, these Mexicans, "los de a pie", are justified in believing that their country is a failed state.

Or if you ask members of 'ejidos' (communal lands) and indigenous communities whose water, timber, mineral resources, shale oil, wildlife, fisheries, even their beaches--in short, their way of life--, are being looted by foreign multinationals in tandem with Mexican oligarchs, they will also tell you the state has failed them.

But if you ask the oligarchs themselves-- the Carlos Slims, the Atlacomulco gang, the Hank Rhon Gonzalez cartel, the Chinese, the Grupo Higa, not to mention the more conventional, garden variety organized crime cartels, who are amassing incredible fortunes and socking them away in tax free accounts overseas--, then their answer would be different. The 'failed state' is working very well for them.  

The article misses the point in other ways. When the writer points out that there are strong, stable and well organized  institutions that provide stability not found in countries that everybody agrees are failed states --Somalia, Bosnia, Yemen, etc.--, the article does not mention that these same institutions are, in many cases, the ones that are contributing to Mexico's failures. For example, I agree that Mexico's political parties are cohesive and well organized, but I also believe that they are the main obstacle to the creation of a true representative democracy in Mexico. The politicians' corruption, greed and impunity, which has infected all of the government, are the reason that Mexico's problems cannot be repaired under the current system. In that respect, Mexico is a failed state.
JLopez:  Very well put!!! ... Your post is spot on and worth re-reading.  

You covered things I hadn't thought about.  

To me, one of the most disturbing symptom of Mexico as a failed State, is Mexicans "fear" and "distrust" law enforcement (you said "cops"), and everything that would fall under the "Criminal Justice System (CJS)."  Mexico, has a very long history of corrupt and ruthless municipal and State "cops" and I also include the "Federales" and "Rurales" of long times past. Rape, robbery, torture, theft, extortion, and murder are criminal staples of Mexican "cops" behaviors.  Many Mexicans "fear" and distrust the CJS with good reason.  This is one reason Mexicans take justice into their own hands or just give up in quiet submission to reality.  

Within the CJS, I include corrupt courts, judges, lawyers, and court functionaries down to lowly sectaries and clerks.   I also include Mexican jail and prison systems as part of the corrupt Mexican CJS.  Of course, we are well apprised of the fact that criminal organization (cartels) often infiltrate and compromise from the lowest  to the highest levels of government ... including the military ( a separate topic).  

A few days ago, I saw a video of the brave journalist, Anabel Hernandez on a panel in which she talked about her new book "Mejico en Llamas" ( I have not read the book as yet).  Anabel made many statements based on facts from her research.  She openly stated that she fears for her life.  The video is in Spanish and I wish it could be translated into English for our BB audience. After hearing her revelations on corrupt and dangerous Mexico, I came away more convinced than ever that Mexico "is" a failed State. Here is the link to the Anabel Hernandez video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_ixUQBQxsc   


 Mexico-Watcher
JMB
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Re: Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

JMB
Wow!!! That was powerful commentary. I hope she stays safe.