Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rising Costs

Last September figures were released as to the cost of Calderónś war to the economy of Mexico as well as the individual. In El Universal, in the front page news headline on September 29, the Business Industry Council of Mexico estimated that the violence and related security costs in Mexico cost nearly 800 US dollars for each person in Mexico. The next day, September 30, the front page news headline was that businesses in the affected areas are losing, on average, 36% of their business. However, it was the headline on the front page of El Universal today that reflects the real cost to Mexican society “Nueva masacre de jóvenes en Juárez” “New massacre of the young in Juárez” (El Universal Oct 24, 2010 A1) where 14 young people were murdered and 15 more wounded, the majority of them teenagers although there was a 9 nine old child killed as well.

This latest horror updates a recent trend of multiple killings of innocents in the northern states of Mexico by gunmen: Sept 2, 2009 - 17 clients of a drug rehabilitation centre in Juárez, Chihuahua; Sept. 15 2009 - 9 men and 1 woman in another drug rehabilitation center in Juárez; Jan 30, 2010 - 16 youth were murdered at a private house party in Juárez; March 12, 2010 - gunmen kill 8 people between the ages of 16 and 28; June 10, 2010 - 19 more clients are murdered at a rehabilitation center in Juárez; and, July 18, 2010 - 17 youths are gunned down in Torreón, Durango.

Mexican columnists (an endangered profession itself) are now starting to write about what people have been whispering among themselves for the last few months, that the patterns of killings is more and more resembling social cleansing by self-appointed vigilantes and political interests who back death squads. Mexico has millions of young people without education, work or opportunity who are being recruited by the cartels (who offer what the state does not, a chance to work and get ahead regardless of the risk). The death squads, under the cover of the indiscriminate slaughter that plagues this country, are removing those “troublesome” elements with little or no fear of being apprehended. Or so it is whispered.

The veil that there is justice in Mexico, the Rule of Law, has been brutally torn away by Calderón’s War. His deployment of the military and its ineffectiveness combined with the broken judicial system (police, prosecutors and judges all) that cannot put a halt to more than 30,000 killings, wholesale slaughter, death squads and rampant vigilantism has revealed the hollow shell of security that covers Mexico. One can see the police, security guards and military forces deployed throughout the country, constantly patrolling but the narcos have shown that it is all just for show. There is no security, not for the poor, nor the rich, nor even the powerful (the recent kidnapping of power-broker and ex-senator, Diego Fernández de Cevallos as well as the 12 mayors that have been killed in 2010 alone illustrate this) and people are starting to resort to their own measures.

This is the real cost, it is not the lost business or cost of maintaining the security forces rather it is the breakdown of the state and the lack of faith of its existence/relevance by its citizens. Mexico is not a failed state, but it is definitely failing and only the politicians seem to be oblivious to this fact.

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  1. Proximate yes, but Calderon's war isn't the root cause of the mess you describe. What do you think is the root cause, or root causes?

    Do you see any reason for hope? Any good reason for hope, that is?

  2. Good to hear from you Walter, glad you're still alive. But I'm afraid every time you write that Mexico is not a failed state I write that the USA is a failed state!

    Just like Isaiah, etc… slammed the ancient Jews for paying lip-service to God but not following God's rules, this is where we are now in our secular society. Some people praise the Founding Fathers to the heavens, but my sense is if those same people who designed the country were alive today, they would be appalled by many of those who praise hem so highly. "Why do you praise us so much, but then don't do what we advised and wrote?!"


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