South of the Border, Part One

24.09.09

Categorie: Conflict Briefs, Police, Reality Check, Zach Rosenberg |

mexico-violence.jpg

By ZACH ROSENBERG

One day after a shootout closed the U.S.-Mexico border crossing at San Ysidro, two days after Mexican troops raided a house and discovered $5 million in bribes organized into “police” and “press,” less than a week after grenades and assault rifles were used to attack a drug rehabilitation clinic in Ciudad Juarez (only the latest in a series), comes the latest Mexico report from the Pew Global Attitudes Project. The report is full of interesting statistics, including that a full third of Mexicans would move to the U.S. given the means, and that half again of those would do so illegally. That means Americans could expect roughly 18 million more potential illegal immigrants from Mexico alone, and keep in mind that Mexico has fared relatively well during the economic crisis. Though a reporter from Germany’s Der Spiegel wrote a short but fascinating profile, it’s only the latest illustration doesn’t contain much that those following Mexico don’t already know.

As critics point out, the violence is largely an American problem — the guns are smuggled from the U.S., where they’re easy to obtain, and bought using proceeds from American drug users — but many Americans are either unaware or simply don’t care. Drug traffic and violence are oft-discussed in the abstract, but so long as they are both remain contained among certain areas and demographics, the general public is happy enough to stay away from specifics.

In the meantime, people are seriously discussing the possibility of Mexico as a failed state. While jumping to that conclusion seems a bit hasty, stories from northern Mexico almost make Colombia sound like a pretty nice place to be.

(Photo: Flickr user Manoso)

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6 Responses to “South of the Border, Part One”

  1. Bryan William Jones says:

    I’ve actually not seen any compelling data that the majority of the weapons being used in Mexico are coming from the US. Particularly the NFA weapons like the grenades, rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons. Those are not available commonly through US gun suppliers and are likely being obtained through sources internal to Mexico.

    Other than that, excellent article and I am looking forward to subsequent entries.

  2. David says:

    How can “people” be seriously discussing Mexico becoming a “failed state” when the violence is “largely an American problem?” Huh?

    I’d say the violence is quite the problem for Mexicans. Just ask this year’s 1800 dead Juarenses among whome are the 18 addicts that were gunned down in El Aliviane drug rehab center in Juarez. Or maybe not. If they could talk, they’d probably say violence was a personal problem.

    I also don’t agree that Mexico has escaped the financial disaster. So far this year, Mexico’s economy has contracted just over 9%. Pemex has lost nearly half its production since the begining of this decade. And a drought of biblical proportions has put much of Mexico’s farmers out of business. Probably for good. There’s a reason cartel sponsored pot farms are springing up in US national parks.

  3. Hawke says:

    Yeah, I’d defitintely like to see some data from a reputable source that the weapons are truly American in nature. I know I’ve heard “majority of assault rifles in Mexico” thrown around specifically as well as “majority of weapons” in general. I’d be curious to see some data on either category.

  4. ajay says:

    David: I think that “the violence is largely an American problem” means “its causes are American”, rather than “it is a problem for Americans”.

    Hawke: “Let me express to you that we’ve seized in this last two years more than 25,000 weapons and guns, and more than 90 percent of them came from United States, and I’m talking from missiles launchers to machine guns and grenades”. President Calderon, March this year.

  5. aubrey says:

    That idea comes from a report that 90% of the guns sent to the FBI to trace from Mexico are american. However! They only send the guns that they think are from America, (ie have serial numbers, appear to be of american manufacture, etc.) The hundreds of ak-47 knock offs and so forth that are obviously from China or South America are not sent to the FBI and thus are not in the stats.

  6. Prohibition, refugees and violence in Mexico…

    By Dave Anderson: Via War is Boring: the latest Mexico report from the Pew Global Attitudes Project. The report is full of interesting statistics, including that a full third of Mexicans would move to the U.S. given the means, and that half again of th…

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