Requiem for Mexico; Thoughts on NAFTA, the US, and The Narco-State

Yesterday, my family and I attended a rally for the 43 missing student teachers, likely massacred, from the southern city of Iguala. The state, including the Mayor and his wife, have been implicated, along with the drug cartels. We stood in the bitter, cold, breathing incense, and broken-hearted by a poet’s words describing the torture and mutilation of one of the student’s killed.

I couldn’t help think about the hundreds of women dumped like garbage in a field outside Mexico City, or the hundreds of women killed in Ciudad Juarez. From a Reuter’s article: “With 22.7 murders for every 100,000 women in 2012, Chihuahua is still Mexico’s most dangerous state for women.” There is much to say about misogyny and why this outcry over 43 students rather than the 1000’s of women killed. But I think that some of the outrage is over the blatant government collusion, the peeling back of the curtain to reveal a Narco-Military state, created and funded by US trade and military policy.

For me, this latest atrocity, is just continuing reminder of the devastation that Mexico has suffered since the passage of NAFTA (the North American Freed Trade Agreement). NAFTA has ravaged the economy of Mexico, driving Mexican farmers out of business as cheap, American, subsidized food products flooded the market. As Mexican farmer explains, in David Bacon’s article in the Nation:

“Roberto Ortega tried to make a living slaughtering pigs in Veracruz, Mexico.“In my town, Las Choapas, after I killed a pig, I would cut it up to sell the meat,” he recalls. But in the late 1990s, after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) opened up Mexican markets to massive pork imports from US companies like Smithfield Foods, Ortega and other small-scale butchers in Mexico were devastated by the drop in prices.”

Mexico, under the weight of global capital, cannot sustain itself. One of the only ways to survive in Mexico is to enter the drug trade or work for the cartels for protection from other cartels. The US accelerated this through supplying of weapons and military funding under the guise of the War on Drugs. Today, the drug cartels, the State, and the US supported-military are barely distinguishable.

The thing is – Our government knows this! The world knows this, yet the world has turned it’s back on Mexico. Or rather, the US and Canada have decided that Trade is more important that human rights. Or rather Mexico is the final outcome of the global neoliberal regime  – An economy destroyed by free trade agreements, unregulated manufacturing profits for 1st world nations’ corporations, a supplier of cheap, exploited labor, a militarized border providing military and defense contractors a deluge of profit streams.

In-Requiem for Mexico.