2008 May 16 Friday
Endangered Mexican Police Chiefs Seek Asylum In United States

On the southern border of the United States lies country we are expected to respect. But Mexico is a monumentally messed up place.

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico -- The job offer was tempting.

It was printed on a 16-foot-wide banner and strung above one of the busiest roads here, calling out to any "soldier or ex-soldier."

"We're offering you a good salary, food and medical care for your families," it said in block letters.

But there was a catch: The employer was Los Zetas, a notorious Gulf cartel hit squad formed by elite Mexican army deserters. The group even included a phone number for job seekers that linked to a voice mailbox.

Our elites resist creating a formidable border barrier to stop illegal entries from this country.

The article reports that Mexico's military has suffered over 100,000 desertions in the last 8 years. Some of those deserters who signed up with the cartels were trained at Fort Benning Georgia.

WASHINGTON As many as 200 U.S.-trained Mexican security personnel have defected to drug cartels to carry out killings on both sides of the border and as far north as Dallas, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, told Congress on Wednesday.

The renegade members of Mexico's elite counter-narcotics teams trained at Fort Benning, Ga., have switched sides, contributing to a wave of violence that has claimed some 6,000 victims over the past 30 months, including prominent law enforcement leaders, the Houston-area Republican told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Your tax dollars help to raise the level of professionalism in the private drug armies. When those forces cross over into the United States on protection details or other operations they operate more efficiently and competently because the US Army trained them.

Police chiefs in Mexican cities have begun seeking asylum in the United States as their police forces abandon them.

MEXICO CITY With the U.S. Congress debating whether to send hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for Mexico's crackdown on drug cartels, American officials said Wednesday that three Mexican police chiefs have sought asylum north of the border in fear for their lives.

Jayson Ahern, the deputy commissioner for Customs and Border Enforcement, told the Associated Press that the officials had sought asylum "in the past few months."

Citing privacy issues, Ahern did not identify the police. A senior Homeland Security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the asylum requests to the Houston Chronicle but provided no details. "They're basically abandoned by their police officers or police departments in many cases," Ahern said in Washington.

The police chief in Puerto Palomas, a town bordering Columbus, N.M., west of El Paso, requested asylum in March when his entire force quit after receiving death threats from drug traffickers, reports show. Seven men were killed gangland-style in Palomas early Sunday in attacks attributed to local smugglers.

Mexico is so dangerous for police that Mexican police chiefs (at least those not owned by organized crime organizations) can make a very credible claim when they seek asylum to escape death. The BBC notes how unusual it is that government officials seek asylum to get away from non-government actors.

Seeking political asylum is, of course, usually associated with individuals fleeing persecution from governments and their forces of law and order, but in Mexico it seems it is the forces of law and order that are being persecuted.

In recent weeks, at least six senior police chiefs have been murdered.

The most prominent murder was that of Mr Millan, the acting head of Mexico's Federal Police Force (PFP).

You can drive from the United States over a border into a country with massive government corruption, private armies, and where top law enforcement officials are getting assassinated and police chiefs are crossing over to ask for asylum after their staffs abandon their posts. Congress resists protecting us from all of this.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 May 16 06:22 PM  Mexico

kurt9 said at May 16, 2008 8:17 PM:

Is it reasonable to say that Mexico is becoming a "failed state"?

Jerry Martinson said at May 17, 2008 1:49 AM:

We've all heard the crazy conspiracy theories about the CIA importing drugs into the US. When you hear stories like these about how much the drug trade is distorting Mexico's political and legal system, it almost makes me wonder (although not seriously) if maybe it would be a good idea for the CIA to short circuit the economic incentives of the drug cartels by importing drugs and undercutting the cartels on price. At least that way uncle sam would be making all the money and calling the shots instead of a large pan-border criminal network. I wonder if we did this if Mexico's political system could substantially improve if the cartels weren't such a part of it. I know that there are serious ethical and legal reasons why this couldn't and shouldn't be done but its interesting to contemplate how much undercutting the cartels would drain the swamp.

Greg said at May 17, 2008 7:07 AM:

I live in Houston. I had some business in Laredo this past week. I took a look
around while I was there. I hadn't been in Laredo in 15 years, so the changes
were noticeable. Some observations: 1) I got the sense that I wasn't in America,
but in a foriegn country. In the seventies, you got a strong sense that you were
in the United States, but now, I don't get that feeling. For example, people on
the American side speak English, but not as well as they should. It's something
of a barrier, but I didn't get that sense when I was in Laredo before. I didn't
cross the border this time, but in the past, people on the Mexican side spoke
English. If I went this time, I would wonder if anybody on the Mexican side
spoke English at all. 2) I don't remember seeing so many foreign exchange
places on the American side back then as compared to now. People back then
wanted dollars, especially on the Mexican side. But why would anyone want pesos
on the American side today? 3) It's a lot bigger place today than before. Thus,
the contrast between decay and growth. I think its symbolic of something. While
there's plenty of growth, the decay appears to me to be overshadowing the growth.
Growth, but at what price? At the loss of sovereignty? At the loss of our

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