Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Good day to all fellow global citizens!
In a previous article, I wrote about the possibility of mafia states rising to power. As tackled, Belarus could very well be the start of such a mafia state should it get entrenched for long, so the events there are worth watching. Meantime, a drug war ensues in Mexico, and so let us do some reflections about that war.
Over 36,000 were already declared dead due to the drug war in the country of patriot Emiliano Zapata. The war that was declared by then president Calderon ensues ceaselessly, deaths thus rising in seemingly exponential fashion by the year. That war is proving too tragic for the NAFTA country, and bodes ill for the entire North America as both the USA and Canada are experiencing their own hotfires of economic malaise.
To recall, Colombia was the nest of drug cartels’ power just about a decade ago. With the effective clipping of the powers of drug lords there, drug lords’ lairs became more diffused thereafter, no longer to be ever concentrated in just one country in Latin America.
Mexico, Jamaica, Brazil, and other countries are now experiencing the growing powers of mafia lords in Latin America. Mexico seems to be the most vulnerable to entrenchment by the drug cartels since the country is just a step away from the United States that is the main drug market in the Americas.
Americans indeed are the most voracious drug users, so that one may wonder whether Americans are still holding own to their nature as humans—that they haven’t already tipped over to their demonic side. A research done in the early 1980s yet showed that as much as 40% of high school students admitted to having used a narcotic at least once, with 20% admitting to having used narcotics repeatedly.
That was the 1980s cited, and it is now 2011 or the 2nd decade of the 21st century. Drug use there has been growing steadily, and so it is safe to infer that over half of Americans are hooked into narcotics. Those heavy users of drugs may be less than 10%, but that still counts around 25 to 29 millions of Americans forever dependent on narcotics.
Next to America would be the European Union or EU. Nobody knows exactly the level and frequency of drug use there. But given the huge 450 million population, even just a 5% heavy usage would translate to 22.5 millions of Europeans heavily dependent on narcotics. At least over a hundred millions more are moderate or non-dependent users.
So it isn’t difficult to see why drug trade is so lucrative a business. In my country alone, drug production and trade is a whopping $10 Billion industry, and that estimate could well be under-estimated. Drug user count here is moving up the ladder too, while the Asian and American markets are also active destinations of drug exports.
Going back to Mexico, it may not be accurate to just cite the American market as the sole impetus for drug production and trade there. Mexico itself has a large population, enough to absorb a very large portion of locally produced narcotics. And there is South America that very well serves as a huge backyard in the Latino world for any salivating drug lord to flood with low prized narcotics, thus ensuring big bucks to the criminal honchos’ pockets.
With a string of conservative governments installed from the late 90s through the present, the paranoia towards drug cartels is understandable. The same conservatives unleashed the sword of a crusade versus the drug lords who are now being hunted down in the same way that heretics were tracked down and massacred by the Church during the infamous Inquisitions around the globe.
Insurgents used to be top national security threats in Mexico, but that fizzled out much later. The last insurgent group Zapatistas were a ragtag peasant group in an erstwhile urban-led Mexico, and that group’s potency fizzled out as soon as its uprisings were mounted.
Now the drug mafias comprise the major national security threat to Mexico, or that is what the Inquisitionist conservatives want Mexicans to believe. So huge is the anti-drug Crusade that the entire machineries of military and police are engaged in large-scale offensive operations that are akin to facing men-at-war in a conventional war between conflicting nations.
Keen observers are noticeably irked at the rather excessive force being used to stump out drug mafias in the country. The paranoia is simply too much, the force is excessive, and so expectedly the ‘collateral damage’ of the war is proving too much for ordinary citizens caught in between the violent fireworks.
Mexicans should better exert efforts to bring down that paranoia and bring back the Mexican central government to reality. Mafia groups ought to be stumped out all right, but the war need not be in the vogue of a full-scale war akin to engagement in a world war.
[Philippines, 03 February 2011]
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