Friday, May 27, 2016

Organized crime epidemic in Mexico succeeds because of corruption at all levels of government and economy. Illegal drug trade isn't cause of problems, nor will NAFTA style legalized marijuana trade help them-NY Times Letter to Editor

May 25, 2016, "Mexico and Marijuana," NY Times opinion pages

"To the Editor:

"Re “Legal Pot, Free Trade” (Op-Ed, May 21): Ioan Grillo’s proposal for a Nafta-style market in legal marijuana mistakes a symptom of the organized crime epidemic in Mexico-the illegal drug trade-for an underlying cause.  

Rather, the major driver appears to be the corruption infecting all levels of the Mexican state and economy.

Otherwise, it is hard to explain the Mexican government’s chronic inability to keep organized crime from dominating so many legal businesses, like casino gambling, cigarettes and even something as banal as mining.

As late as 2014, the top three revenue streams of one cartel, the notorious Knights Templar, were mining, logging and garden-variety extortion. And the trend continues, with a 2016 Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime report detailing how cartels are now a significant presence in gold mining in Mexico and across Latin America.

Legalizing an industry in Mexico therefore does not necessarily push the cartels out. Or in other words, how can one expect the Mexican state to keep legalized pot out of the hands of cartels if it cannot keep mining out of those very same hands?
Alexandria, Va."

"The writer is executive vice president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana a nonpartisan group, and a senior fellow at the University of Florida’s Drug Policy Institute."


Added: Marijuana and opium poppy crops increased in Mexico after NAFTA when subsistence farmers could no longer survive growing food crops: April 2008 article:

April 1, 2008, "Calderón, NAFTA, and Mexico’s Campesinos in 2008," Council on Hemispheric Affairs,
"The rise in poverty amongst peasant farmers also has led to an increase in a phenomenon known as illicit farming....Farmers who cannot survive by growing maize or corn, have turned to “illicit” farming. Farms that once grew crops shipped to other parts of Mexico as well as for subsistence living have been displaced, and now must turn to producing illegal agricultural goods, such as marijuana and opium, in order to survive....With Colombian cocaine trafficking; increase of illicit farming; and NAFTA’s free movement of goods, the Mexican government will see much more difficulty curbing drug cartel influence." (subhead, "The Rise of “Illicit” Farming")


"Mexico now tolerates...subsidized U.S. agriculture, and the steady abolishment of the ejido [communal lands farmed by indigenous peasants], are the increasing rates of poverty in rural parts of Mexico. Consequently, this has led to a rise in immigration to the United States....In terms of migration to the U.S, Mexico’s rural areas comprise a quarter of its population, but accounts for 44 percent of migration (usually illegal) into the United States." (subhead, "Campsinos after NAFTA")


Added: NAFTA rule required Mexico to eliminate longstanding aid to indigenous, subsistence farmers:

June 2006 article

June 2006, "Mexico Leftist Presidential Candidate Says He'll Protect Farmers from NAFTA," AP, via
"Tariffs on all agricultural products must be removed in 2008 under NAFTA. But Mexican farmers said hefty agricultural subsidies in the United States give that country's white corn and beans an unfair advantage over the Mexican market, which depends in large part on small-scale and mostly subsistence farmers.

Mexicans worry if these farmers can't sell the country's signature crops at a price that competes with trucked-in produce from the United States, they'll go out of business altogether. That could severely damage Mexico's agricultural economy, which farmers said has already suffered since the trade deal went into effect in 1994, forcing many to migrate to the United States.

Mexico's agriculture minister pleaded with Canada and the United States this month to reconsider removal of the corn and bean tariffs but U.S. undersecretary for agriculture J.B. Penn flatly rejected the appeal, saying: "We have no interest in renegotiating any parts of the agreement."

Despite the concern, the administration of outgoing Mexican president Vicente Fox has stood by NAFTA, saying Mexico honours its trade commitments."...


Added: Shipping Mexican citizens to the US for use as cheap labor was Mexican Pres. Vicente Fox's (2000-2006) priority: 

Feb. 8, 2005, "Vicente Fox, Labor Pimp," Human Events, Mac Johnson
"Vicente Fox has made increasing the flow of his people out of Mexico and into America his highest priority in his relationship with the US. His expressed desire is that the border should pretty much cease to exist — at least for Northbound traffic. He would prefer that America voluntarily acquiesce to his desire to depopulate his nation’s poorest neighborhoods, but he is also prepared to achieve this depopulation unilaterally."... 


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