28 May 2015

A drug war made in Mexico?

Al Jazeera English

In February 2013, the New York Times' Thomas Friedman made a curious prediction: that Mexico would beat out India and China as "the more dominant economic power in the 21st century".

Descending briefly upon the city of Monterrey, "Mexico's industrial/innovation centre", Friedman determined that, despite prevailing problems involving "drug cartels, crime syndicates, government corruption and weak rule of law", something remarkable had happened: "It's as if Mexicans subconsciously decided that their drug-related violence is a condition to be lived with and combated but not something to define them any longer."

According to Friedman's unique access to the Mexican psyche, the new national self-identity involved free trade agreements (Mexico had signed "more than any country in the world"!) and attendant phenomena such as dismally low wages (phrased more euphemistically, of course).
Never mind that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which came into effect in 1994, has played a crucial role in fuelling not one but all of the problems listed by Friedman - which would seem to hint that his fit of neoliberal ecstasy was perhaps a tad out of place.
'Free trade'
In a new book called A Narco History: How the United States and Mexico Jointly Created the "Mexican Drug War", Mexican novelist Carmen Boullosa and Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Mike Wallace document NAFTA's passage as an essential godsend for the drug trade, the lucrativeness of which has greatly exacerbated official corruption. READ MORE AT AL JAZEERA ENGLISH.