Mexican President: Gov't Does Not Control Areas on US Border
This warrants your undivided attention, and you will have to read beyond the rather innocuous Washington Post headline (Mexican Leader Vows to Press Fight Against Cartels) to get to what was really said by Mexico's President Filipe Calderon. Mexico's president acknowledged that the Mexican government does not have control of its most dangerous areas, which happen to be along the US borders in the regions of Juarez (El Paso, Tucson and the Texas and Arizona borders) and Tijuana (San Diego's southern California border). I will emphasize the most important parts below.
MEXICO CITY, Feb. 19 -- Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Thursday defended the deployment of the military in his fight against drug cartels, vowing that the army would continue to patrol cities until the country's weakened and often-corrupt police forces were retrained and able to do the job themselves.
In a speech commemorating the founding of the Mexican army, Calderon suggested that drug bosses had paid marchers who took to the streets this week to protest the army's presence in a dozen cities, where soldiers man roadblocks, search houses and make frequent arrests.
Calderon, who has sent more than 45,000 troops to fight the cartels [Note: For context, this is more than we have deployed in Afghanistan.], said the military would remain on patrol until the government had control of the most violent parts of the country and civil authorities were fully able "to confront this evil." Only then, he said, "will the army have completed its mission."Turf battles involving the drug traffickers, who are fighting the army, police and one another in order to secure billion-dollar smuggling routes into the United States, took the lives of more than 6,000 people in Mexico last year. The pace of killing has continued in 2009, with more than 650 dead, most in the violent border cities of Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana. In the past few days, a running gun battle between soldiers and gunmen through the streets of the northern city of Reynosa, captured live on television, left five people dead. In Ciudad Juarez, the assistant chief of the city police department was ambushed Tuesday and assassinated with three other officers.
Language acknowledging a government's inability to control and extend its writ to its border regions is what we have come to expect from Pakistani leaders regarding the Federally Administered Tribal Areas dominated by al-Qaeda and the Taliban along the Afghanistan border. Folks, this is the president of Mexico essentially saying the same thing about Mexico's regions on the American border, dominated by Mexican drug cartels - narco-terrorism that brings its violence (and drugs) into our cities and towns.
To give you an idea of just how serious the situation is, and to put this into perspective, consider the numbers presented in the Washington Post article to those in the Afghanistan war.
Mexico: 6,000+ killed in 2008 narco war
Afghanistan: 8,600 killed in 2008 (UN figure)
Mexico: 45,000 Mexican troops deployed
Afghanistan: 38,000 US troops deployed
That should get your attention.
Mexico is a serious problem, transitioning from an immigration problem to a significant physical security threat - one which will only exacerbate the immigration crisis, which contributes to the economic crisis, which impacts budgets, which impacts (always first before all other governmental departments) defense and security. You see where this is going.
With all of the millions and millions of jobs supposedly being created with the recent massive 'stimulus' bill, I'll give you one guess at how many additional Border Patrol agent billets were created. (Hint: It's less than 1.)
Pay attention to Mexico and America's southern border. It should not be an after-thought, even if your government often dismisses the severity of the crisis and risk.
NOTE: Readers may also want to see Jay Fraser's recent posts: