From Foreign Policy:
Rarely has a publication been so close to the front lines of Mexico’s ongoing turmoil than El Diario, the 35-year-old daily newspaper published in one of the hubs of the violence, Ciudad Juárez. Three journalists have so far been murdered, their cases unsolved. On Dec. 7, the publication’s editor and publisher, Osvaldo Rodríguez Borunda, released this letter. Excerpts are published below, edited for space and clarity. [I’ve cut them even further.]
Originally conceived as a transitory part of the productive sector, which would eventually give way to the development of a national industrial sector, the maquiladora industry never made that qualitative jump. And, unfortunately for Juárez, it never progressed past being an industry of assembly for large U.S. companies. The maquiladora industry became a gold mine for a small number of local businessmen and unethical politicians who took advantage of its existence not only for their own monetary enrichment, but also in order to steer the growth of the city toward large tracts of land that they owned, leading to the disorderly and corrupt expansion of the city.
. . .
Certainly, the maquila sector brought an economic boom to the city, but this turned into a treasure for only a few and did not favor human and social development crucial for harmonious growth.
. . .
We are not accusing the military institution as such, but rather pointing out that for years, we in the media have publicized cases of military personnel, including officers, accused of collaborating with organized crime.
What is certain is that in México, and in particular in Ciudad Juárez, we are facing a situation that is so complicated that, over the last four years since President Felipe Calderón declared war on organized crime, both the police force and the military have demonstrated that they are not prepared to confront an enemy whose size and strength they knew little about.
. . .
Some North American journalists are of the opinion that if the U.S. Army were to intervene in México, the drug cartels could be stopped. Nothing could be further from the truth. If the U.S. military were to directly interfere in our national territory, it would give organized crime organizations the tools they need to convert their members into guerrillas. Criminals would be converted into soldiers, while their leaders could appeal to nationalism and to the historic yoke that the United States has held over México. This type of solution would be the most dangerous possible because our country would be totally devastated. It is not because of a false sense of nationalism that we are opposed to this alternative; rather, we simply do not believe that it would work.
No. The solution must come from México and from its society — though it’s clear that the U.S. government should participate, because the problem has two sides.
The measures adopted by both countries are insufficient. The United States has gotten involved by crafting programs such as the Mérida Initiative, with its rickety scope, and by pressuring the Mexican state to detain the heads of the various organized crime groups — without helping to fix the grave social problems this causes in our country. These measures actually do very little to decrease its internal market: the largest consumer market for drugs in the world. So long as the United States refuses to recognize that the majority of the problems can be found there, as can most of the solutions, it is highly doubtful that the scenario we now face in Mexico will change.
This is what consistently pisses me off about this issue (and I’m no hawk on the immigration debate either). It’s always the gringos’ fault.
What does the editor suggest we do? Close the assembly plants (laying off more Mexican workers to join the cartels), legalize drugs in the U.S., and solve their corrupt, unequal society? I have a suggestion: Do it yourselves. How far back does one have to go to find a not corrupt Mexican government? Certainly before the PRI. Oh, I know: A long fucking time.
Yes, “the solution must come from México and from its society.” No buts. No thoughs. That’s where it has to come from. The Mexican people have to hold their own politicians, armed forces, police force, postal service (for God’s sake!) accountable for their corruption. It isn’t something we can do for you.
So stop bitching and get to work — before we do have to send a real Army in.
*** UPDATE 12 DEC 2010:
From the Texas Tribune:
So much for the economic impact of headline-making violence. Despite being on track to exceed 3,000 homicides this year, Juárez has seen its manufacturing sector flourish, regaining since July 2009 a quarter of the jobs lost during the height of the recession. More than $42 billion in trade value moved through the ports that the city shares with El Paso last year, and that number should be higher in 2010. And the amount of of tractor-trailer traffic hauling goods through the region was 22 percent greater in the first six months of this year than it was in the same period last year
Yeah. So, nyah.