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September 09, 2010


Jose Arredondo

Interesting report.

I still think Hillary Clinton went too far when she compared Mexico´s current situation with Colombia´s.

Mexico has many more resources than Colombia, we are the 11th economy in the world and the US second trading partner, we buy nearly 10% of all american exports to the world.

So we do have more budget, a lot more than Colombia´s. Just compare our GDP´s: Colombia 400 billion, Mexico 1.5 trillion.

Colombia has a guerrilla that controls large chunks of their territories, control, completeley, and the police or the colombian army could not go in. Our Mexican police and army can go anywhere in our territory. When analyst say that some cartels control some communities, not regions, neither states, they cannot control so much in Mexico and by controlling they refer to the cartels bribing some authorities in those small communities. Bribing is not controlling.

Mexico spends billions in defense and Calderon´s administration has increased the defense and security budget and the Mexican army is acquiring radars, detectors, helicopters, aircraft, etc. to monitor borders and control and stop de narcos. Mexico spent last year nearly 20 billion dollars in defense and security budget, our dollars, not the "help" we were promised by the US (around 500 million USD) and which we never asked in the first place.

The cartels in Mexico are already going down, Mexico has caught many drug cartel leaders and has hit their organizations bad taking down many criminals and arresting hundreds of them and seizing tons of drugs and millions of dollars from them. The Obama administration has admitted in their report this year that mexican cartels are moving out of Mexico into central and south america looking for weaker states, this is also confirmed by authorities from those countries and specialists and analysts as well. they are leaving and we are getting rid of them. Pretty soon this will be all over. Monterrey has seen violence come down recently after many criminals were arrested and-or killed by our federal forces. In the past two weeks our soldiers killed more than fifty drug dealers in tamaulipas. The drug cartesl are taking a beating here in Mexico. That is a fact.


I don't agree with the Colombia comparison, and that will be a subject for a separate post. I think people do it simply to be analytically lazy because Colombia in is the only other similar case they are familiar with. It is the same with the idea of the "failed state," which also betrays a very narrow view of the modern state.

However, drug seizures, arrests, encounter killings and alone are not meaningful indicators of progress. Additionally, the notion of political control is very complex. At the height of the violence in Iraq, US soldiers had enough firepower to enter any part of the country--but it would be a stretch to say that they controlled certain regions. Likewise, if drug money buys political leaders or creates a balance of fear to cement political control on the local level, how much money is spent on radar and helicopters is meaningless.

Finally, the chief problem of the debate is that it attempts to a cast something in between crime and insurgency as a kind of traditional (i.e FARC-style) insurgency. This does not mesh with the limited objectives of those involved or their lack of an explicit ideology. Hence the confusion when US analysts compare it to Colombia.

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