The United States of Mexico is one of the first countries that spring to mind when drug smuggling is mentioned. The country’s very name immediately puts drug cartels, murders, kidnappings, theft, robbery, corruption and arms smuggling in the mind of the public.
Due to the drug mafia having infiltrated the administrative and political systems so deeply, countries such as Mexico, Columbia and Peru are referred to as ‘narco-democracies’ by the Americans. The cartels in these countries are described as “shadow administrations.”
THE DRUGS CARTELS HAVE TAKEN OVER ALL STATES
Mexico consists of 31 states and a federal region, and almost every single one is in the hands of drug cartels. Power struggles between cartels are taking place in several states.
Some 200,000 people work for the drug cartels in the country. These cartels, which also engage in arms smuggling from America, are continuing to spread terror in the country. One difference between the Mexican and other countries’ mafias is that the former have armored vehicles, helicopters, generals in their pay in the armed forces and their own military units. Like the separatist terror organization PKK in Turkey, these cartels have set up their own courts and tax collecting system in their states.
They represent a state within the state.
One of the largest cartels is the Sinola Cartel,
which is active in the drugs trade, including the USA, Great Britain and Europe. The cartel is active in 17 states in Mexico. Between 2008 and 2012 alone it killed 10,000 people in order to take control of the town of Juarez in the state of Chihuahua on the U.S. border. The town is therefore known as the ‘murder capital of the world.’ The Zetas Cartel,
which is active in 11 states, was founded when members of the military resigned and entered the drug trade. The cartel is described by the U.S. as ‘the most technologically advanced, sophisticated and dangerous cartel in Mexico.’ Mexico is under the control of such criminal organizations, both large and small. There is no doubt that politicians and members of the judiciary the media and the military are also involved behind this power. While ISIL’s beheadings attracted widespread horror across the world, the ruthless methods of intimidation used by the Mexican drug cartels, such as beheading or skinning people alive, rarely appear in the global media.
Mexico attracted wide notice worldwide with the kidnapping of 43 students in September 2014, and their murder the following November. Claims to the effect that the students were first detained at a rest stop while passing through the town of Igula in the state of Guerrero and then handed over to a drug cartel by the wife of the mayor issued from an important source, the Mexican Chief Prosecutor’s Office. According to the indictment, the ‘first lady’ of the state thought that the students had come to protest against her and she wanted the cartel to “teach them a lesson”. The result was the death of the 43 students. Protests spread across the country, as a result of which 22 police officers and then Mayor Abarca were arrested.
This and similar incidents reveal the difficulty in governing states with different congresses and constitutions. States’ elected governors serve for six years. That serves the interests of the drug cartels. Using powerful officials is an important method employed by the mafia that controls state institutions.
Governors with broad powers on the one hand and autonomous municipalities within states on the other can always create problems in the country. For example, the state of Oaxaca in the south of the country has been faced by revolts led by teachers’ unions ever since 1995; 418 of the state’s 570 municipalities are autonomous. The new governor’s use of repressive measures to make the region attractive to tourism in 2006 exacerbated the uprisings. The governor banned protests, but that simply aggravated them even further.
One particularly troubled part of Mexico is the poorest state of all, Chiapas, home to the armed Zapatista Army of National Liberation. Since this group lacks the strength to demand independence, they are striving for greater concessions and autonomy. They began an uprising in 1994, and have occupied municipalities from time to time. Mexican federal government recognized the movement in 1996 and came to an agreement with it.
VIOLENCE CANNOT BE PREVENTED IN MEXICO
According to research figures from the BBC’s ‘Mexico, Crime and Violence in Numbers’ report, the estimated number of kidnappings in 2013 was 123,470. According to the same research, no investigation takes place into 94% of the crimes committed in the country. According to official figures, the number of people who have ‘disappeared’ since 2006 is 22,322: To that we need to add the 70,000 people killed in the fight against the drug cartels initiated by President Calderon in 2006-2012. The number of households subjected to at least one criminal action is 10.7 million.
According to U.N. Inter Parliamentary Union Committee's report "Human Rights Abuses of Mps-2014", 11 deputies were killed during that year. One of those has occurred in Mexico, another has occurred in Venezuela, another country in Latin America.
THERE IS AN ‘IMPERIAL PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM’ IN MEXICO
Mexico has a presidential system with wider powers than that in the U.S.; there is no Prime Minister and no Vice-President. Presidents are elected for six year terms and cannot be removed during that time. One of the weakest aspects of the system is that the individual receiving the most votes in the one-round electoral process becomes president.
Enrique Pena Nieto won the election in July 2012 with 38% of the vote. Nieto will be in full charge for six years despite not receiving the votes of 62% of the people. The grave nature of the situation becomes more apparent bearing in mind that the president has the power to appoint ministers, Constitutional Court judges, the chief prosecutor, the head of the security department, the chiefs of the armed forces and ambassadors. The president’s powers go even further than that; he can veto laws passed by Parliament and even the budget, and can propose draft bills to Parliament. Not even the president of the U.S. has the power to propose draft legislation that the president of Mexico possesses. In addition, he has the power to select his party representatives and his own successor as a future presidential candidate. He can also negotiate international agreements.
Some 36% of the Mexican people think that the election in 2006 was dubious, an opinion supported by the Washington DC-based research institution Center for Economic and Policy Research. That figure also applies to the 2102 election. Mutual accusations regarding the improper use of drug money are made in almost every election.
As a matter of fact, drug barons assumed responsibility for the financing of the government’s electoral campaigns during the time of former President Carlos Salinas (1988-1994). The Mexican chief prosecutor’s office says that $30 billion was laundered through the stock market and privatization schemes at that time. The next president, Ernosta Zedilla, said in a statement in 1996 that "Some people in the government may have served the interests of drug smugglers."
Politicians requiring powerful backing can gradually become part of this system in Mexico, where 10 to 12 wealthy families are part of the drug cartels and dominate the economy.
The one-round of voting and excessive powers invested in the president make the system in Mexico an ‘Imperial Presidency.’
Jose Miguel Vivanco of Human Rights Watch interprets the human rights violations in Mexico as ‘the justice system not working.’
The organization’s reports state that ‘unsolved killings’
are used as a ‘tool of violence’
to shape political and social life. Vivanco summarizes the state of affairs in Mexico by saying that the judicial system works very slowly, making it susceptible to blatant corruption, oppression and threats. He said that violations are covered up, and torture and unsolved killings therefore become unstoppable.
The fact that the president is also the head of the judiciary and the security forces creates a ‘concentration of powers’
rather than a division of powers and mean that the presidential system in the country is not a democratic one.
INJUSTICE IN INCOME DISTRIBUTION IN MEXICO
Mexico is one of those countries where the middle and upper classes benefit the most from economic progress. Two-thirds of exports go to America. It is the world’s 7th largest oil producer and its 11th largest exporter. Nonetheless, following the crisis in 1994, its private banks came to the brink of collapse in 1995. In exchange for rescuing these banks, America obtained a kind of veto power over Mexico’s economic policies. Although the country is also wealthy in terms of tourism and natural resources such as copper, per capita income in Mexico is only around the $14,000 level.
Inequalities in income distribution are worsened by the drug cartels’ crime revenues in the country as a whole. The cartels are estimated to have annual profits of $6.5 billion in the US market alone. Sixty percent of the drugs market in America is supplied through Mexico.
Mexico is well-known to be one of the leading global money laundering centers. In 2011, President Calderon asked for help from the American administration to stop the flow of black money coming to Mexico from arms and drugs. While the great portion of the Mexican people are poor, Mexican Carlos Slim is in first place on the list of the world's richest people.
The only thing that should be done to purify Mexico from the endless downward spiral of violence and high crime rates is to have policies of love rule in the country. The lack of love and education prevails behind all illegal activities that drag people into hatred and violence. To overcome this, the antidote of love should be administered .
Countries such as Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Brazil - all of which are governed under presidential systems - perceive the fight against crime as a fight against the mafia alone, and therefore end up failing in it. Mosquitoes can only be eliminated by drying up the swamps where they breed. That is only possible through educating people and raising awareness in society first and then conducting an international struggle against the drug mafia worldwide. All the people need to back their leaders in such a campaign. Policies of love are the only option that can bring that solidarity about.
On the other hand, countries escaping narco-democracy status or imperial presidential systems and adopting progressive and pluralistic democratic systems will prevent fractures in society. All opinions in society, being protected by the executive and the legislature, will increase domestic peace within the country. Otherwise, the perception that distrust towards rulers cannot be rectified for years – if ever - will make all of society uneasy.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Jefferson Corner: