Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Mexico Problem Increases

Mexico’s Border Violence and the Security and Prosperity Partnership
Christopher S. BentleyJBSWednesday, May 21, 2008
A U.S. State Department alert, listed as “current as of today, Tue May 20 09:15:37 2008,” warns Americans that “foreign visitors and residents, including Americans, have been among the victims of homicides and kidnappings in the border region…. Armed robberies and carjackings, apparently unconnected to the narcotics-related violence, have increased in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez. Dozens of U.S. citizens were kidnapped and/or murdered in Tijuana in 2007.”
Follow this link to the original source: "Travel Alert"
Lou Dobbs reported yesterday on still more gangland-style executions along the border, one of them an American.
Because of the recent surge in violence, Newsweek interviewed “Roberto” (not his real name), an American living in San Diego, to recount his story while he was visiting family in Tijuana in the summer of 2005. “[A] group of approximately 20 masked [and armed] men burst in suddenly” in the home, claiming to be Mexican police. Grabbing “Roberto as well as another family member and a close friend,” they were blindfolded, tied up and thrown into a car, which sped away:
Later that day the kidnappers called his oldest daughter to demand payment using a number they had retrieved from Roberto's cell phone. For the following two weeks Roberto … was hogtied, left on a concrete floor and victimized by “constant” beatings…. His captors fed him three tortillas the entire time, and gave him very little water. They separated him from his fellow abductees; he wasn't sure where they were being held.
Roberto’s kidnappers broke three of his ribs and sliced off the tip of his tongue. He was let go after his family paid an undisclosed ransom, but Roberto’s relative has not turned up and is believed to be dead.
For those who comfort themselves with platitudes like, “thank goodness those kinds of things only happen over there,” Newsweek reports that “kidnappers have begun to seize their victims inside the U.S. and take them to Mexico.”
As kidnappings and other violent crimes rage along the border, even in such places as far from the border as Green Bay, Wisconsin, local news broadcasts increasingly report crimes committed by Mexican gangs. In Green Bay, local ABC affiliate WBAY reported on May 16: “southern Mexican gangs prevalent on the city's northeast side” are being arrested for various crimes against property. The reported identified "two separate gangs called SUR 13 and LMS," and noted that local detectives fear gang activity could escalate.
While Americans are becoming reluctant to travel across the border (tourism dropped in Tijuana by 50 percent in 2007), Mexican police are opting for new work — or new places to live — and in droves.
The Dallas Morning News recently reported: “Faced with cartel-sponsored assassinations that have claimed the lives of more than 25 officers since the start of May — including that of Edgar Millán Gómez, head of the federal police — and threats of further retaliation, some Mexican police are quitting their posts.”
Things have gotten so bad that last week three Mexican police chiefs sought asylum in the U.S. because they fear for their lives. One of the police chiefs, from “Puerto Palomas, a town bordering Columbus, N.M., west of El Paso, requested asylum in March when his entire force quit after receiving death threats from drug traffickers, reports show. Seven men were killed gangland-style in Palomas early Sunday in attacks attributed to local smugglers.”
The police chief of Ciudad Juarez, which is directly across the border from El Paso, Texas, was gunned down in a hail of 60 bullets as he arrived at his house. Also, a Federal Preventative Police official named Edgar Millan was also gunned down a couple of weeks ago in Mexico City.
The drug kingpin who allegedly ordered the hit, escaped during a police raid, but left behind were nine of his bodyguards who allegedly “had recently defected from the Mexican army.”
All of this violence, as we’re told by the mainstream media, is supposedly stemming from the Mexican government’s crack-down on the drug cartels.
Oh that it were so simple.
As author and journalist Charles Bowden commented in his gripping and well-documented book Down by the River, when the illicit drug industry began in Mexico, “[t]here [was] never a war between the drug business and government in Mexico. [There were] simply moments of friction caused by either the state’s desire to assert its power or by the governments’ need to mollify the United States. It resolve[d] conflict with a hard hand.”
Gradually, the political “hard hand” changed and extended outward to a gesture of economic partnership. On June 11, 1993, a lawyer named Luis Javier Garrido published an article, entitled “the Narco System,” in a major Mexico City paper called La Jornada, detailing how former Mexican president Miguel de la Madrid made a bargain with the drug cartels in the 1980s to shore up the country de la Madrid himself had led to economic ruin. Garrido concluded the article, stating:
The production and sale of narcotics has been, as we know and as many studies have shown, a ‘lifesaver’ for the Mexican economy. As a result, the most recent governments have tolerated and even sponsored it....
In an interview not long after that article was published, “President Salinas himself admitted that the annual flow of cocaine and other illicit drugs through Mexico totals some $100 billion annually.”
No one really knows how much the business is, but one thing is for certain, it hasn’t gotten any smaller. With a documented history of clandestine promotion of the illicit drug trade, can anybody really believe Mexico is going to shut it down?
Which is why whenever the U.S. government pressures Mexico to clean up its drug-trafficking problem, we can be sure that our leaders are ready to throw more political kerosene on the black market fire, and Mexico’s ruling elite will gladly play along with the charade.
To combat Mexico’s seemingly uncontrollable narcotics-trafficking problem, “The Bush administration has petitioned Congress for a $1.4 billion, three-year package to send anti-narcotics aid to Mexico and Central America. All but $50 million of the package is earmarked for the Calderon government.”
For average Americans struggling just to make their mortgages, fill up their gas tanks and buy groceries, our political leaders’ continued generosity with their constituents’ money must be puzzling.
For those who understand the politics of the system that actually governs Mexico, it is an unmitigated outrage.
The Juarez city government is now attempting to hire police officers with a bonus (about $721) and pay (about $942 per month), which is lucrative in comparison to the average local wage.
But given the realities of the vicious drug war that starry-eyed recruits might face, the city might as well advertise: “hey, for a whopping $942 per month, you can join us to fight the multi-billion dollar drug cartels, which are unofficially protected, sanctioned, and collaborated with by the Mexican federal government. Notwithstanding the dismal odds, and the fact that you could end up dead real quick, your city wants to hire you to combat this problem.” It's not hard to see why so many police are so easily corruptible and brought into working on behalf of the cartels.
Against that backdrop, consider the ramifications of the goals of those who seek to push NAFTA to the next level, through the Security and Prosperity Partnership.
In its “Myths vs. Facts,” page, the SPP makes several straw men claims and then effortlessly knocks them over. In the interest of space, let's look at two, which are demonstrably false.
In one myth, that “the SPP infringes on the sovereignty of the United States,” the SPP responds: “The SPP respects and leaves the unique cultural and legal framework of each of the three countries intact. Nothing in the SPP undermines the U.S. Constitution. In no way does the SPP infringe upon the sovereignty of the United States.”
Judicial Watch, which obtained several reports through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), culled out several proposals that put this lie to rest. One proposal by a “working group” was “a conceptual agreement for a ‘One Card’ to facilitate cross-border movement between Mexico, the United States and Canada.”
Will the “One Card” invite many more people like these to be a part of that “cross-border movement”?
Another myth the government entity claims to slay is that “the SPP will cost U.S. taxpayers money.” It claims: “the SPP is being implemented with existing budget resources. Over the long-term, it will save U.S. taxpayers money by cutting through costly red tape and reducing redundant paperwork. This initiative will benefit the taxpayers through economic gain and increased security, thereby enhancing the competitiveness and quality of life in our countries.”
In another FOIA request, Judicial Watch uncovered a “deliverable” to “Improve North America’s competitiveness by enhancing Mexico’s competitive position through the establishment of a grant fund for development with U.S. and Canadian resources to finance the development of physical infrastructure in Mexico.”
Yes, while Mexico is wallowing is unfathomable corruption, our leaders are preparing to tax Americans to build up its infrastructure.
Roberto vowed to “never return to Mexico.” Given his experience, who can fault him?
However, Americans who don’t want to ever experience what Roberto did must come to the realization that if our “North American” political elites have their way, the horrific crimes Roberto seeks to avoid in Mexico will come to us.

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