23 December 2008

I want to be a junkie when I grow up?

News of pirate attacks and the Taliban's latest activities in Afghanistan have overshadowed an insurgency growing in America's back yard.  In Mexico, gangs of narco-terrorists have made massive gains in the country.  What we might be seeing in Mexico is an effect that is common among similar terror/insurgent organizations that slowly gain legitimacy.  

Terror organizations thrive in areas where central government is weak, ineffective or corrupt.  Organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah and even LET (from the Mumbai attacks) gain a certain degree of political legitimacy due to the fact that they are often the only organizations which can provide essential social services to people within their sphere of influence.

A similar phenomenon is now found in Mexico, where drug cartels are now seen as a romantic organization.  An article in Global Guerillas (which is based on an article from the Christian Science Monitor) noted that due to the rampant corruption of police and government officials in Mexico (those who are often in the pockets of drug cartels), the narco-traffickers are actually seen as a noble entity, with children as young as eight telling their teachers that they would like to work for drug cartels.


Bag Blog said...

My husband and I were just talking about this last night. We used to live in McAllen, TX, on the Mexican border where I taught high school. For a while now the drug gangs along the border have been out of control and very dangerous to anyone who crosses them. Recently in other South American countries war has pretty much broken out between the gangs and the people. People are now killing anyone whom they think is a gang member. Gangs are hired to kill other gangs. One ex-gang member said he had had his tattoos removed because it was too dangerous to even be thought of as a gang member. So, if the people in South America start killing and running out the gangs, where do you think they will go? I think they will come across the border where the law and the ACLU will protect them.

Murphy's Mom said...

We all need a dream.

Anonymous said...

I live in northern Mexico in the midst of these Drug Wars...this is the sea in which I swim. The SWJ folks as well as many others have correctly identified this situation in Mexico as a serious security threat to the United States. The answer, however, is not only the application of high tech gadgets with which the lion's share of the $300 million Mérida Initiative seeks to equip the Mexican army and security forces. The technology is important and certainly needed, however, the greater plane of victory in the Drug Wars lies on the moral plane. You can have the best technology possible but with the current state of corruption in Mexico it will be useless. Trust me - I've seen the tentacles of corruption almost everywhere.

I'm working this fight from a different angle. To me, the last, best hope for Mexico lies in the evangelical church (which has grown exponentially over the last 2 decades). This may come as a surprise to many that, for example, the evangelical church is to ONLY recognized solution to the mara (gang) problem and is the only way many of the maras will let gang members leave the gangs without killing them. This is something the post-Christian, secular American (or European) mindset will not understand. They're too often used to seeing the evangelicals in their own cultures (esp. in USA) not as revolutionaries but as the status quo of bland civil religion. COIN thinkers who don't factor in or understand the power and importance of RELIGION in the Developing World will never get it right. - and Mexico is just one example.

Greg in Mexico