Thursday, November 3, 2011

Why Mexico May Turn Into Afghanistan with Better Music

By Fred Reed

Things change, usually for the worse, and always against the innocent. (This truth is a principle of curmudgeonry.) When I came to Mexico some eight years ago, it was a peaceful, moderately successful upper-Third-World country – middle-class, barely, literate, though often barely, and as democratic as the United States, which is to say barely. Things were improving, though often they had a long way to go. The young were visibly healthier than preceding generations. The birth rate was in sharp decline. Women entered the professions in substantial and growing numbers.

And it was safe. Expats sat over coffee at the plaza laughing at people back in the States, insular, fearful, ignorant of the world outside their borders. (For recent college graduates, Mexico is a country south of the United States. “South” is down on maps.) Mexico, they believed, was most astonishing perilous. Don't drink the water, avoid ice. Salads were thought especially lethal. The Federales would kill you for sport, like squirrels. On any given day, you would probably be shot several times by bandidos. It was nonsense.

Then Vicente Fox left office, and Felipe Calderon came in. He declared war on the narcotraficantes. Why he did this, I don't know, since Mexico didn't have a drug problem. My guess is that Washington pushed him into it, but I don't know.

Unfortunately Mexico, which neither produces nor uses a lot of drugs, lies between Colombia, which produces vast amounts of drugs, and Americans, who want vast amounts of drugs. Washington does not want Americans to have vast amounts of drugs. Neither did it want to lose votes by imprisoning white users of drugs, such as college students, high-school students, professors, Congressmen, lawyers, and blue-collar guys driving bulldozers. The answer was to make Mexico fight Washington's wars.

Read the rest here.


  1. This is absolute nonsense. I have family and friends that had an attempted mugging at knife point (the friend was armed with a pistol), one was chased by a gang with machetes, there used to be assassins for hire in the market of a large city down there (no this is not a joke, assassins for hire at the market!), we know that there are lots of drug gangs that have members which include rogue Mexican soldiers. Mexico has never been a great place. To say these problems didn't exist until recently is absolutely false! It may have gotten worse with Calderon but it was never as problem free as this article claims.

    I do not disagree with the charges of corruption of the American government (Fast and Furious), but to say that Mexico didn't have any problems before Calderon is absolute nonsense.

  2. I wouldn't say, "absolute nonsense" I felt safer down there in the 1990's than I did up here. Mexico, the parts I was in, Was as problem free as this article claims! It was an absolutely great place.
    There certainly wasn't widespread criminal stuff going on like what was described in this article.

    After enacting alcohol Prohibition I imagine there were People who claimed the streets of Chicago were the same afterwards too.

  3. There were assassins for hire in the market as far back as the 1970's! This was Guadalajara. Back then, in Puerto Vallarta, it was well known to stay in at night. I know someone who saw a dead body being dragged to the beach by a gang when he was walking along the beach at night. Point is Mexico was never "safer" than America. I never heard of people staying away from American beaches at night because you might run into gangs that would try to kill you in the 70's in America. Their history of extreme violence and corruption goes back a long way. America isn't great, but the kind of violence that existed in Mexico back then wasn't even close to what was happening in America.

    And I don't think the drug war does any favors, but Mexico has a long history of corruption. We have corruption here but it has always been the culture in Mexico. It was always customary to bribe police, and the traffic cops used to bribe their bosses for the position so they could extort money from the drivers they pulled over. That is their real problem. This kind of stuff is embedded in their culture so is it any real surprise that people there would rather fight for the cartels and get paid a lot instead of fight for the police?