In case you’re one of the three people in North America who hasn’t noticed, Mexico is a real mess. Excerpt:
More than 135,000 people have been killed since 2012. More than 1,300 clandestine graves have turned up since 2007. More than 37,000 people are reported missing. More than 600 soldiers have been killed in the drug war. At least 130 politicians and nine journalists were killed preceding the elections in July. And the violence is indeed spreading. Murder rates have risen in 26 of the country’s 32 states. In 2014, 152 municipalities accounting for 43 percent of Mexico’s population reported at least one execution-style murder per month; in 2017, the number grew to 262 municipalities and 57 percent of the population. Villages have become worse than cities: 40 percent of the population lives outside metropolitan areas but suffers 48 percent of homicides.
Most killings remain tied to the drug wars, but a growing share comes from robbery, assault, extortion, and kidnapping. “Mexico is no longer a world of cartels and capos,” says Alejandro Hope, a security specialist based near Mexico City. Organized crime networks control territory to varying degrees in 19 states and the capital, but much less of their profits comes from the U.S. drug market, which has become more competitive. The biggest new business is stealing oil from the state-owned energy company, Pemex. Mexico has the largest, most efficient black-market fuel-distribution network in the world, Hope says. In Puebla, reported thefts from pipelines spiked from 15 in 2000 to 1,533 in 2016. Guanajuato—emblematic of the good and bad Mexico—ranks third among states in job creation, thanks to its auto industry, and first in homicides, due to murders tied to fuel thefts from refineries.
Train robberies and carjackings are more frequent. Robbery of cargo trucks has jumped 180 percent in two years. Coca-Cola and Pepsi refuse to send delivery trucks into parts of Acapulco because so many have wound up stolen and burned. The rate of reported house robberies reached an all-time high of 179.4 per 100,000 homes in 2017. More than 80,000 people were reported kidnapped. Some 5,000 children have been abducted between 2007 and 2018, 40 percent from the states of Puebla and Mexico, where human-trafficking bands are known to operate.
And honestly, anyone who thinks we don’t need to completely control our southern border needs to take a good hard look at this; in fact, they should have their damn noses rubbed in it. It’s not only likely that this crap could spill over our border, violence and corruption already is; one of the most horrific examples is the rise of MS-13 in our borders, and while their origins aren’t in Mexico, almost all of them transit Mexico on the way here. And if you think that Mexican criminal organizations won’t eventually start to look harder at their wealthy northern neighbor, you’re probably drinking too much of your bong water.
But note the line above: “…but much less of their profits comes from the U.S. drug market, which has become more competitive.” It would be interesting to know some of the metrics here, which are not presented in this article. Specifically; how much has the ongoing trend of marijuana legalization affected these profits?
I don’t know the answer to that. And, to be honest, while I’ve long been a critic of the War on Drugs, I don’t think that our changes in drug policy are going to help Mexico all that much; they have systemic issues that go beyond that. The Mexican criminal gangs will just turn to other malpractices if completely deprived of drug income, and you can see some examples in the article; kidnapping, robbery, theft, hijacking.
While this is a problem Mexico needs to address, it’s a significant issue that speaks to our inadequate border security.