Immigration: The Colombianization of Mexico

Published by: on Monday July 2nd, 2012

In the last few years, there has been a long standing debate about Mexico becoming a “failed state” and so I asked a senior drug enforcement agent about the influence the drug cartels were having on Mexican society in general, compared to the drug lords of the past. His answer was simple “Mexico may not be Colombia yet, but you can damn sure see it from here.”  

That was over five years ago.

Since I started documenting the major drug cartels operating in Mexico and the U.S, levels of violence in the drug war have escalated beyond astounding. In fact we passed astounding about “five exits” back. But violence is not the sole barometer to gauge the phenomenon of Colombianization.

Let’s start with what we know—for the past five years running the U.S. Department of Justice has designated the Mexican cartels (Transnational Criminal Organizations TCO’s) to be the most prevalent, organized threat to the national security of our country. (I’m not sure about you, but that just sounds bad to me.) My career as a producer/journalist has been focused mainly on the men and women that make-up these TCO’s and the consequences of allowing their insurgency thru-out the United States to gain momentum.  

For Mexico, comes a much more serious consequence that merits deep concern. Some of the things we take for granted in our country are the very basics lacking in Mexican society today due to the presence of the drug cartels. A safe, secure living environment is just one of the basic needs that have virtually disappeared in large portions of Mexico. There are entire cities that have been abandoned by the government, allowing the cartels to have their way with the local citizens. In fact, in many places all over Mexico, the government either cannot, or will not, protect its citizens against the narco-terrorists—leaving these people with little choice other than to literally flee for their lives.

The blood and death spilling into the streets has surpassed anything and everything ever predicted. The violence includes beheadings, record numbers of assassinations and the killing of innocent people just to get to the one guy they want. 

Another undeniable truth is that the U.S. depends heavily on a strong Mexican democracy for trade, for oil, for labor and the enforcement of the rule of law. The simple fact is, Mexico’s fragile democracy is continuing down the path of destruction at break-neck speed.

Still, there are some of the U.S. officials I have spoken to, that dismiss the “Colombianization” analogy and assert that Colombia doesn’t share a two-thousand-mile border with the United States and that because Mexico does, we will somehow never let it get that bad.

The fact that Mexico is next door to the United States should not lull anyone into an “it will never happen” mind-set. Indeed, Mexico’s proximity should make the whole thing that much more alarming. Geographical proximity to a battle zone is hardly a basis for optimism.

Even Hillary Clinton (and you’ll almost never see me agree with her) understands this phenomena very well and she publicly stated it in a speech she delivered to the press last year. But she was shut-down immediately by her boss in the White-House. Obama came out the following day to directly contradict Clinton’s Colombianization characterization.

 “Colombianization” is not measured solely by violence. It is a cultural indoctrination that causes the subtle and consistent deterioration of the host country’s democracy. That deterioration eventually makes hostages out of the citizenry until it nearly suspends all of the benefits of a free society. Out of control murder rates are just one of the consequences of that.

Elections have been altered and even suspended in parts of Mexico. In the state of Tamaulipas, elections were suspended due to the influence of the narcos. Tamaulipas is one of the hardest hit states in all of Mexico for cartel corruption. They have killed numerous mayors, police chiefs and even the front runner in the race for governor in that state.

Finger pointing reached a fever-pitch, when last year, from the floor of the U.S. congress, President Calderon blamed the United States for Mexico’s drug violence contending that the U.S. was not only responsible for the demand of drugs but we were also the main supplier of weapons. Adding insult to injury, the Obama administration agreed wholeheartedly with Calderon, by telling this “half truth.” Someone once told me that “a half-truth is still a whole lie.”

The truth is, the demand for dope does largely rest on the shoulders of American society—but the fairy tale Obama and Calderon are telling about how 90% of the weapons the drug cartels are using, come from the U.S.—is 90% B.S.

There has never been a more crucial time than now to make a strategic change in the game plan in this fight. We need to move from playing the “blame game” and start bringing our “A-game” to the border and turn the tables on these narco-thug-insurgents. Because from my perspective I see the next step in the Colombianization of Mexico is the Mexicanization of America. With the most serious consequence being that the next generations coming of age in America are being immersed into a culture that minimizes and accepts this culture and allows them to not just be customers of the cartels but be their soldiers right here in our backyard.