News comes that the cartels in Ciudad Juarez have finally started targeting U.S. nationals, murdering three last night. One was a pregnant consulate worker and her husband, the other was the husband of another consulate employee. I’m suprised only that it took so long (and that only now is the violence in Mexico “provoking an angry reaction from the White House”).
If we don’t end the War on Drugs, the impetus and justification for organized crime and narcotics trafficking will only increase, as will the profitability of murder. As the Times reminds us, “more than 2,000 people were killed there last year, giving it one of the highest murder rates in the world.” American students are arriving in Acupulco now for spring break. And for the cartels, the risk-reward benefit right now is too large to ignore.
But violence itself isn’t the only thing to fear here. The cartels and gangs (this particular shooting was blamed on Los Aztecas, who only get more impudent) have effective control over much of northern Mexico. The crippling government weakness is now affecting the very legitimacy of the Mexican state. The catastrophic death toll has:
prompted the government to shift course after three years of its military-led crackdown on drug cartels and acknowledge that it has to involve citizens in the fight and deal with the social breakdown fueling the violence. [emphasis mine]
For now, those efforts will be government-coordinated. But in the future, who’s to say that the citizenry won’t take matters into their own hands, like in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro? Chirol thinks that the future of the border patrol will be a similiar, civilian, militia-style solution, at least on this side of the border. The key, though, is probably fixing that whole ‘social breakdown’ thing. Restore faith, restore legitimacy.
At least the problem is finally back on the radar again.
Indeed, the only effective way to patrol the US side of the border is a combination of government services bolstered by responsible citizens. It is not unreasonable to expect that Mexico will only get worse over time and using citizen help on the border will help both protect Americans from spillover and Mexicans from the proceeds of smuggling (guns, drugs, people).