Another in a series describing the decline of the Mexican State, and what this means for America.
“Drug cartels ‘threaten’ Mexican democracy“, Financial Times, 13 July 2008 — Excerpt:
The head of Mexico’s intelligence service has warned that the country’s democratic institutions, including the national Congress, are under threat from powerful drugs cartels.
In one of the frankest admissions yet from a leading authority of the scale of the problem confronting Mexico, Guillermo Valdés, head of Cisen, the government’s intelligence organisation, told the FinancialTimes and a small group of foreign media recently: “Drug traffickers have become the principal threat because they are trying to take over the power of the state.”
Mr Valdés said the gangs, which have grown wealthy from the multibillion-dollar drugs trade, had co-opted many members of localpolice forces, the judiciary and government entities in their efforts to create local structures to protect their business.
Those efforts, he said, could now also be targeting federal institutions such as Congress itself. “Congress is not exempt . . . we do not rule out the possibility that drug money is involved in the campaigns [of some legislators],” said Mr Valdés.
This is a revelation of the blindingly obvious. Large scale criminal activity always requires political support — whether in prohibition-era America, today’s drugged-out America (both legal and illegal drugs requiring payments to politicos in exchange for their support), or Mexico.
William Lind sums up the situation:
From the perspective of 4GW theory, it is beginning to look as if the drug traffickers/Hezbollah model may be more sophisticated and more successful than the al Qaeda model. Al Qaedaseemingly is on the ropes in Iraq, not because of the “surge” but because of its own blunders. To at least some extent those blunders proceed from its strategy, which faces the state with a life-or-death struggle. In contrast, all Hezbollah and the Mexican drug gangs demand is a deal with the state: we’ll leave you alone if you leave us alone. The state’s real sovereignty bleeds away, but the structures remain, allowing the politicians to do what they want, i.e. continue to line their own pockets.
The key question for Mexico — of great importance to America — is the extent of the drug cartels’ ambition. Will they be content to carve-out a large niche in Mexico (as the Yakuza have done in Mexico and organized crime in the US). Or are hungry enough to go for more, leveraging their wealth and power into control of the Mexican state? The answer will tell us much about the role of 4GW in 21st century history.
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Other articles about Mexico
- Is Mexico unraveling? (28 April 2008) — summary of Stratfor’s warnings about Mexico.
- “High Stakes South of the Border” (13 May 2008)
- “Mexico: On the Road to a Failed State?“, George Friedman, Stratfor (13 May 2008)
- “Mexico: Examining Cartel War Violence Through a Protective Intelligence Lens“, Stratfor (14 May 2008)
- “Crime and Punishment in Mexico: The big picture beyond drug cartel violence“, posted at Grits for Breakfast (18 May 2008)
- Stratfor: the Mexican cartels stike at Phoenix, AZ (6 July 2008)