FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Blood for Money on the Border

by

In the fall of 2007, I met Barack Obama at Arizona State University. I shook his hand, snapping what folks today call a ‘selfie’ with him. The biggest story to precede Obama’s borderland arrival was that he quit smoking. None seemed to know much more about him than that. Yet apart from the strident group of Ron Paul outliers folded into the bunch, the crowd of several hundred spectators was all but wooed by his surefire speech and organizer polish. Change was coming.

That same semester at ASU, I learned that one of my good high school friends had returned to Chihuahua, Mexico for a funeral. A major drug cartel there had beheaded his cousin and fixed it firmly in the middle of a park for all to see. His cousin, who had just lost his factory job, had done nothing more than comment to a reporter for the evening news. My friend speculates that the cartel felt his words disparaged them just enough to warrant a beheading. Paralyzed by my inability to rationalize the desolate event, and thinking of my own distant cousins there, I had no answer as to why.

Some seven years and perhaps 80,000 deaths later, Mexico’s internal strife has metastasized. Obama is now president. The connection between the two is neither hard to see nor does it require a magnifying glass: By funneling thousands of dollars into Mexican coffers so as to ensure a militarized crackdown on drug cartel expansion, the US has unofficially funded a state-sponsored drug war all throughout a neighboring democracy. The results are terrifying and human rights violations have, of course, exponentially skyrocketed. Undeniably, Obama’s policy has turned a troublesome, intra-gang rivalry into a national threat to Mexico’s security.

We are left to ask why the US, a country which claims to be an experiment in democracy itself, would so blatantly sustain a state-sponsored drug war just beyond its own border. The truth approaches the ugliness of any beheading to date. The fact is that human rights abuses and the loss of innocent life within Mexico’s borders is largely unimportant to the White House when compared to the marginal gains that fascist US firms stand to lose by competing with Mexican drug cartels. This hideous truth is so pointed that the Obama administration has pushed the Mexican government to topple any and all figure heads, including the most recent, Joaquín “el Chapo” Guzmán Loera—the most wanted man following Osama bin Laden’s extra-juridical execution. But because this tactic serves no other purpose than to de-industrialize the powerful organization of illicit drug market forces, Obama has funded terror and not justice.

Drug cartel expansion should be stopped. But the methods which are now in practice have cost the lives of thousands of innocent Mexicans. Mexico, as a country, has not benefited or profited since the influx of millions of USD into its government caches, all for the sake of eradicating drug cartels—which has not happened, by the way. Ultimately, the further militarization of the Mexican state is not for the benefit of the Mexican people; is an unabashed part of US statecraft. Furthermore, drug cartel expansion within the last decade is not some aberrant, sinful phenomenon, but rather it is simply the industrialization of one of the most lucrative facets of the informal economy.

Ultimately, fascism will not stand competition that drug cartels present. Therefore, funding the Mexican drug war is but a small investment with appealing returns. By decreasing the profitability of drugs as a substitute product to whatever Americans are allowed to consume (with 70% of the US economy predicated on consumption alone), the drug cartels will no longer compete, as they once did, with American firms for so much market share. Notice how the increase in funds to Mexico’s drug war and the increase in loss of Mexican life varies indirectly throughout the Obama administration, marked especially by the outset of our “recovery” from the Great Recession. There is no coincidence here, only design.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, some persist in thinking the problem at the very heart of the matter consists in whether or not the US has fronted enough money to fix the problem, or whether US government agencies have enough cooperation from the Mexican government to fix the problem. But this does not bespeak the real left-handedness at play. Moreover, it is not addressing the problem at all. Adeptly, popular media and the White House present the foregoing apologies and others like them precisely because these red herrings let us think we get to sleep each night with an easy conscience. Nevertheless, the definitive result is that the American public remains distracted, diverted from the fact that its government has monetarily incentivized an military, state-sponsored repression of drug cartels in a neighboring democracy, effectively costing Mexico tens of thousands of lives and with no end in mind. Even though this is not the kind of change on which Obama stumped, and even though my friend’s cousin is not the only victim of these ghastly wars, it is still sad to think that US imperialism and its economic legerdemain is nothing new. Truly, for all its seemingly new efforts to address the issues wrought by illicit drug profitability at home and abroad, the US has merely retooled an age-old niche in the market of foreign aid: money for blood.

Mateo Pimentel lives on the Mexican-US border.

Mateo Pimentel lives on the Mexican-US border. You can follow him on Twitter @mateo_pimentel.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 28, 2017
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
A Paradigm Shift in the Middle East: Iran as the Solution, Not the Problem
stclair
Big Brother Capitalism Strikes Back
Stephen Cooper
Trump’s Pusillanimous Immigration Policy Imperils the Public and the Police
Vincent Emanuele
The Madness of U.S. Empire
Michael Sainato and Chelsea Skojec
We Need the Endangered Species Act Now More Than Ever
David Underhill
Oops, They Did It Again: Crowd Bowls Over Rep in Beery Alley
John Eskow
Jimmy Kimmel is a Total Dick and Other Reflections on the Oscars
Steve Horn
Trump’s Top Energy Aide, Mike Catanzaro Peddled Climate Change Denial
Jack Random
The Trump Diaries: Week Five
Robert Fisk
The Education of Marine Le Pen
Pauline Murphy
Felicia Browne’s Fight Against Fascism
Mary Lynn Cramer
Fearing the Trump Impeachment
Mel Gurtov
While Our Attention is Elsewhere, Climate Change Worsens
Dan Bacher
Extinction 2017: California Edition
Abel Cohen
The Trojan President: America Never Saw It Coming
February 27, 2017
Anthony DiMaggio
Media Ban! Making Sense of the War Between Trump and the Press
Dave Lindorff
Resume Inflation at the NSC: Lt. General McMaster’s Silver Star Was Essentially Earned for Target Practice
Conn Hallinan
Is Trump Moderating US Foreign Policy? Hardly
Norman Pollack
Political Castration of State: Militarization of Government
Kenneth Surin
Inside Dharavi, a Mumbai Slum
Lawrence Davidson
Truth vs. Trump
Binoy Kampmark
The Extradition Saga of Kim Dotcom
Robert Fisk
Why a Victory Over ISIS in Mosul Might Spell Defeat in Deir Ezzor
David Swanson
Open Guantanamo!
Ted Rall
The Republicans May Impeach Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Why Should Trump―or Anyone―Be Able to Launch a Nuclear War?
Andrew Stewart
Down with Obamacare, Up with Single Payer!
Colin Todhunter
Message to John Beddington and the Oxford Martin Commission
David Macaray
UFOs: The Myth That Won’t Die?
Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail