The Free Trade Agreement: The Sparks that lit the Inferno
In the late 1980’s, Mexico was in crisis, but the people chose a legal way out: they elected a President, Cuahtemoc Cardenas, on the basis of his national program to promote the economic revitalization of agriculture and industry. The Mexican elite, led by Carlos Salinas of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) chose otherwise and subverted the election: The electorate was denied its victory; the peaceful mass protests were ignored. Salinas and subsequent Mexican presidents vigorously pursued a free trade agreement (NAFTA) with the US and Canada, which rapidly drove millions of Mexican farmers, ranchers and small business people into bankruptcy. Devastation led to the flight of millions of immigrant workers. Rural movements of debtors flourished and ebbed, were co-opted or repressed. The misery of the legal economy contrasted with the burgeoning wealth of the traffickers of drugs and people, which generated a growing demand for well-paid armed auxiliaries as soldiers for the cartels. The regional drug syndicates emerged out of the local affluence.
In the new millennium, popular movements and a new electoral hope arose: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). By 2006 a vast peaceful electoral movement promised substantial social and economic reforms to ‘integrate millions of disaffected youth’. In the parallel economy, the drug cartels were expanding and benefiting from the misery of millions of workers and peasants marginalized by the Mexican elite, who had plundered the public treasury, speculated in real estate, robbed the oil industry and created enormous privatized monopolies in the communication and banking sectors.
In 2006, millions of Mexican voters were once again denied their electoral victory: The last best hope for a peaceful transformation was dashed. Backed by the US Administration, Felipe Calderon stole the election and proceeded to launch the “War on Drug Traffickers” strategy dictated by Washington.
The War Strategy Escalates the Drug War: The Banking Crises Deepens the Ties with Drug Traffickers
The massive escalation of homicides and violence in Mexico began with the declaration of a war on the drug cartels by the fraudulently elected President Calderon, a policy pushed initially by the Bush Administration and subsequently strongly backed by the Obama – Clinton regime. Over 40,000 Mexican soldiers filled the streets, towns and barrios – violently assaulting citizens - especially young people.
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