Failed State Watch: How Much Longer for Mexico? (Part One)

As the violence increases and the drug lords gain control of more cities, the Mexican government finds itself struggling to defeat an enemy that seems to grow stronger with each passing day. This reality calls into the question the stability of the country itself: how much longer can the government of Mexico continue to hold power while it continues to lose control?

A nation sharing a border with the U.S. descending into anarchy is a frightful thought for Americans, and the obvious implications of such an event should be causing concern throughout the halls of the White House and the State Department. To complicate matters further, consider that Mexico is home to over 112,000,000 people and is an important trading partner to the U.S. And in spite of the corruption and mismanagement, the country is one of the world’s top producers of petroleum with an impressive trillion-dollar economy. A collapse of the government there would not only cause a security threat on our southern border, it would also send harmful shockwaves through the American economy and the world economy as well. And that would only be the beginning.

The corruption within Mexico does not only manifest itself in the drug trade, it is apparent in society as well. With its trillion-dollar economy and petroleum production, Mexico still manages to have 47% of its population living below the poverty line according to 2008 figures. This makes the narcotics trade not only a viable and acceptable option for many Mexicans, but in some cases an unavoidable one.

Nothing illustrates the societal shift away from the rule of law that appears to be taking place south of the border better than the latest trend among Mexican children. Instead of emulating superheroes and sports stars during playtime, children are now emulating drug cartel assassins.

In another report from Blog del Narco, we learn that Mexican children have given up playing typical children’s games such as soccer, and have traded in their soccer balls for toy weapons in order to play “assassins”:

It may seem incredible to some that the children no longer play soccer on the streets as before. Now they pretend to be assassins. They form teams, just as before, but now they arm their mini commando units to engage in imaginary battles that perhaps in the future will be their reality.

The girls too form part of this game, leaving their dolls to the side to turn themselves into assassins. Some are even the commanders in these play groups of children.

The situation with the Mexican children has gotten so out of hand that parents have begun prohibiting their children from having plastic guns and weapons. Even the Mexican government’s consumer protection agency, PROFECO, launched a campaign during the Christmas season exhorting retailers to remove plastic guns, rifles, and machine guns from their toy shelves.

The drug war taking place in Mexico deserves the coverage it has received, but the corruption within the Mexican government and its inability to effectively combat the drug cartels merits as much or more of that coverage. It is a deadly combination that threatens to destabilize a nation with 112 million inhabitants to the point of anarchy. A nation bordering the U.S. with an out-of-control drug war is a serious threat. A nation bordering the U.S. in a state of anarchy, with the only authority being well-funded and well-armed drug kingpins, is a clear and present danger.