2006 May 17 Wednesday
Mexicans Fear Political Chaos

When El Presidente Jorge W. Bush advocates for the Reconquista consider what sort of society we will become. Proponents of Open Borders with Mexico advance the argument that the huge Hispanic immigrant influx is stabilizing Mexico. That means it needs stabilization. Half the people in Mexico think Mexico is on the brink of chaos with drug lords and revolutionaries threatening government sovereignty.

A poll published Friday in Excelsior newspaper found 50 percent of respondents feared the government was on the brink of losing control. The polling company Parametria conducted face-to-face interviews at 1,000 homes across Mexico. The poll had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

The conflicts are "a warning sign," said Yamel Nares, Parametria's research director.

Security is the top concern for Mexicans, and Fox has struggled to reform Mexico's notoriously corrupt police. Meanwhile, drug-related bloodshed has accelerated, with some cities seeing killings almost daily.

In April, suspected drug lords posted the heads of two police officers on a wall outside a government building where four drug traffickers died in a Jan. 27 shootout with officers in the Pacific resort of Acapulco.

A sign nearby read: "So that you learn to respect."

This is nature's way of telling us we need to build a big buffer that will protect ourselves from the political events in Mexico. We've let in tens of millions of Mexicans who send tens of billions of dollars per year south of the border. But this has not bought stability in Mexico. We can not control the events in Mexico. Instead we should protect ourselves from those events.

The argument that we need stability in Mexico seems wrong to me. We can isolate ourselves from the political events if we build a sufficiently formidable border barrier. Our biggest risk would be a potential cut off of oil production if revolution erupted. But in Nigeria the challenge to the central authorities so far has cut production only 20%. The offshore oil fields of Mexico could probably continue to operate even if part of the country erupted in fighting.

Police in Sal Salvador Atenco Mexico escalated a dispute with flower vendors in a town that just a few years ago challenged government authority over a plan for an airport.

SAN SALVADOR ATENCO, Mexico - It started as a dispute between eight flower vendors and local police over where they could sell their goods. By the next day, it had escalated into a massive raid by 3,000 state and federal police officers that left one dead and 200 arrested.

Now, more than a week later, the events of May 4 in the farming town of San Salvador Atenco 15 miles northeast of Mexico City are sending waves across the country's political system, highlighting the tension Mexicans feel just weeks before they select a new president July 2.

Police say the raid was necessary to quell danger when supporters of the flower vendors seized as many as nine local officers and severely beat and slashed two with machetes.

But there's a bigger context for these events. In 2002 in this same town a rebel group ousted the local government and took over.

For many, the town of 10,000 was already a flash point even before this month's police raid. In 2002, a peasant revolt led by a rebel group known as the Community Front in Defense of the Land stopped a plan pushed by Fox to build an international airport on their farmland. The Community Front also organized the defense of the flower vendors.

After the farmers' 2002 victory, Community Front leader Ignacio del Valle took over the town and ousted the municipal government, much in the manner of the 1994 Zapatista uprising Subcomandante Marcos led in Chiapas.

Imagine rebel groups overthrowing governments in towns in the United States.

A barrier on the US border with Mexico might increase the power of the Mexican central government by cutting back on the power of the drug smugglers. The money the drug lords make from smuggling finances their private armies and bribery of local and national police and politicians. Take away a big chunk of that revenue and they'd become weaker vis a vis the Mexican government.

Yankee dollars corrupt Mexico because the amounts of money Mexicans can make in illegal activities across the border are so much larger than what they can make legally within their country. They basically do not have the culture, political system, and character to handle the side effects of living next to such a wealthier society.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 May 17 09:51 PM  Immigration Border Control

John S Bolton said at May 18, 2006 2:27 AM:

When something bad is spreading, the first consideration should be to limit the spread of damage.
When a problem area is allowed to spill over, it loses the natural constraints on becoming more damaging.
Mexico needs to suffer the consequences of its own negative qualities, otherwise, those who provide an outlet, actually worsen the problems.
Basically the situation there is like parasite infestation; allowing the infestation to spread its reach, to a larger pool of victims, allows the infestation to intensify. It doesn't get the feedback
that it has become too virulent for its host to support, so long as the outlet is open.

Derek Copold said at May 18, 2006 6:46 AM:

Your point about the barrier helping Mexico is spot on. It will give law and order a significant boost by impeding criminals who flee across the border (either way) to evade capture.

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