sábado, abril 11, 2009

A Less Ethnocentric View of Violence in Mexico

A public collection for a kidnap victim in Tecpan, Gro.
Some folks accuse those of us who reside in Mexico of "being in denial" or "playing down" the recent US media reports of violence. It is not those of us who live here who are in denial of any violence but rather some folks who don't live here who don't understand the nature of everyday life in Mexico. Not just now but as it has been for centuries, and especially here in the state of Guerrero.

While we certainly are a violent country and have been further back than history records, that is simply in keeping with human nature. Mexico in general and Zihuatanejo in particular are no more violent now than they have been for decades, the recently reported deaths of narcos and police notwithstanding. No one minds narcos killing each other off, and many police are also on their payroll, so most folks aren't too alarmed when narco violence affects them.

Many folks from so-called "first-world" countries appear to have been successfully acculturated into believing the society they live in is some kind of "normal order" or "best way of life". What that shows is that they are basically ignoring everyday life in MOST of the rest of the world. We have our problems in Mexico, for sure, but we feel very fortunate in comparison to the sickness and depravation that manifests itself in so many other countries and regions and cultures. We haven't had the frequency or type of really sick crimes that seem to have become commonplace in some more modern industrialized "first-world" cultures. I'm sure somewhere in Mexico we've had a school shooting, but I can't recall it. While in the USA I've lost track of the school shootings, the Ted Bundy's, the John Wayne Gacy's, Son of Sam's, the shooting rampages, the homegrown terrorists, etc. The world has always been a violent place, and humans have always been one of the most extremely and irrationally violent animals. But to us here in Mexico and to many other folks around the world the USA seems to be much more dangerously violent than Mexico. Of course someone will respond "then why is everyone trying so hard to get into the USA?", which is an ethnocentric if not egocentric question. Not everyone is. And the question simply ignores the problem by attempting to dismiss it.

In Mexico the police and military and population at large outnumber the narcos immensely. There isn't ANY way we're going to allow them to cause our government to fall, as has been suggested in some hyped up media reports. What the narcos have done that perhaps we should be thankful for is to demonstrate the urgency in professionalizing and modernizing our police forces, as well as purging them and our government agencies of corrupt elements: a process in which we currently find ourselves and in which substantial progress has been made. Obviously we still have much more work to do in this regard.

We urgently need to purge the criminal elements from our police forces because for as long as most folks can remember too many of our police have been perceived to be criminals with badges, so if there's a lot of killing between police and narcos and corrupt politicians we really aren't too alarmed. We figure the number of bad guys is being reduced. It'll be a while before the police forces earn the trust and confidence of most Mexicans.

The only reason folks abroad are hearing about all this violence now is because the US media has been using fear to sell its "products". And with the economic crisis it is certainly in US interests to keep US tourists spending their money within the US economy.

Apparently many US folks are missing the glaring fact that US "illegal drugs" sales create a multi-billion dollar market with its associated mafias (remember the lessons of Prohibition) that arms itself with weapons also mainly manufactured and sold from the USA. So there is this gigantic incentive to keep those "drugs" illegal because it's good for the military-industrial complex, it's good for police and military budgets, and it's good for various other bureaucratic budgets. It's also good for illegal enrichment by corrupt public servants, and the funding of all kinds of "special interests" from investment development to running black ops to running small governments. It is no accident or coincidence that poppy production increased in Afghanistan after the US and "Coalition" invasion.

The violence in Mexico as reported by the US media has not affected our everyday lives. We have long lived with the spectre of violent crime, sometimes perpetrated by government forces as well as organized criminals, and we have long been accustomed to taking certain precautions to stay safe. Nothing has changed in that regard in recent years, though we are comforted to a certain degree by the increased military presence: something we have been clamoring for for many years.

A No Brainer
Obviously the lessons of Prohibition dictate that Mexico and the USA need to legalize or decriminalize certain "recreational drugs" in order to reduce the violence and diminish the power of organized criminals. If legalization or decriminalization doesn't happen then it will mean the pharmaceutical companies, alcohol companies, and military-industrialists win along with the corrupt public servants on both sides of the border.

It's a no brainer... unless you're brainwashed.

There isn't one person who wants to do "recreational drugs" who is prevented from doing so by laws or "the war on drugs". There is, however, a considerable profit motive for the special interests mentioned above by keeping up the stupid war. And perhaps the best part for them is the more drugs they bust, the more the prices for those drugs go up, the more crimes are committed by junkies and lowlifes to get their drugs, and they cause the very crimes they claim to be combatting, feeding the monster of their own creation, getting more budgets, more kickbacks, and more payoffs.

What gives anyone the right to tell anyone else what they can or can't do with their bodies as long as they don't violate anyone else's rights? Is not the USA a nation based on the concept of personal liberty? What's up with that?

Mexicans who provide what the market demands are entrepreneurs. It's a multi-billion dollar a year market that is stupid for a country with so much poverty as Mexico to simply overlook and pass up on. Narco money has allowed many forgotten and impoverished regions of Mexico and other Latin American countries to prosper. Heck, it's done a lot of good in the good ol' US of A, too where it's helped families who deal a little dope on the side to make ends meet and put food on the table and put kids through college! It's time to take this lemon and make lemonade.