The smoking guns; drug users, weapons smuggling, and money laundering that are behind many of the border problems illustrates that Mexico isn’t the only country with a border crisis in its homeland. The above issues illustrate the growing problem Mexico has from her Northern neighbor, the U.S., in combating the drug cartels and the violence associated along both country’s borders.
The Mexican States where the majority of the violence takes place are marked in Red, Cancun is located in the State of Quintana Roo, SE of the Yucatan State and located on the East Coast of Mexico, mid center left on the map in Green, just NW of Isla Cozumel.
The American public has been told with quite some zeal that Mexico represents a threat as a failed State due to the drug cartels by the military wing of the U.S. Federal Government. They’ve been told, by special interest groups, that illegal immigration is stealing jobs, hurting social programs and creating two Americas; one English speaking and one Spanish speaking. While the U.S. press has latched on to the anti Mexican wave in an advertising and ratings chase, launching countless media attacks bordering on scare tactics that have influenced tens of thousands of Americans to avoid visiting Mexico. This, despite the fact that the U.S. State Department Travel Advisory upon which they have based their view, has been relatively unchanged for over a year, and was updated only to further advise Americans of the dangers on the border, and a handful of other Mexican towns.
While it wouldn’t be unfair to label Mexico as part of the problem, it would be unfair to label Mexico as the only problem, as it is at once both misleading and pretentious. The truth be told, the Mexican drug cartels are warring amongst themselves, and both the Mexican and U.S governments seeking to stop them, for control of the lucrative drug trade into the U.S. markets.
If the U.S. continues to allow the arming of the drug cartels via retail arms sales in the U.S. with weapons purchased by American Citizens as straw buyers, and then smuggled into Mexico illegally, America is just as responsible for the gun related killings and violence in Mexico. These gun sales not only arm the cartels but spread to drug related gangs all over the U.S. Law enforcement officials in both countries frequently find themselves out gunned by these organizations in both countries due to legally purchased firearms bought over the counter in U.S. gun stores while the store owners trade profit for a blind eye to their purchasers.
If the U.S continues to allow money to flow in and out of banks and other monetary institutions with U.S. ties with little oversight and enforcement of existing law, the drug cartels will continue to launder money in huge sums to feed their organizations, their foot soldiers, and bribe both Mexican and American authorities where able, and to produce the funds for arming their members.
And, if the American consumer cannot break its continued habit of drug use whether it be marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine or other illicit forms coming from south of the border, there’s little doubt to where the crisis is. The U.S. citizen is the end consumer, spending millions if not billions a year on recreational and habitual drug use fueling legions of internal criminal cartels, mafias, gangs and like activities. Much of this money flowing back into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels who use it to get rich, ply authorities, buy weapons, lawyers, banks and widen their distribution networks.
As such, this months meetings of State between US and Mexican officials including Mexico’s President Calderon and U.S. President Obama are important steps to gaining a joint initiative firmly established but minimally funded in reality by the 2007 Merida Initiative. Releasing those funds originally allocated and working cooperatively as agreed upon is a key to fighting the cartels from both sides as President Calderon has made defeating and criminally prosecuting the cartels leaders and their minions a priority of his administration.
On the American side, the Obama Administration needs to rein in the gun sale market, halt the illegal smuggling of weapons into Mexico, step up enforcement on institutions allowing money laundering and come up with a satisfactory plan to hinder drug abuse in the U.S. and its subsequent use or face the reality of a partial legalization.
Hence the smoking gun(s) stands on both sides of the border and the issue isn’t about whose problem it is but rather how both Mexico and the U.S. need to work bilaterally in providing a solution.