Mexico: The Reality

Few of us really understand Mexico. I’ve been there several times and each time I went, the problems were worse than the last. Back in the ’90s, places like Monterrey and most of Baja were pretty safe. Tijuana was even fairly safe compared to today. What is life like for the average Mexican? It’s mostly one of working around the government and taking matters into your own hands.

Consider the crime and gun laws in Mexico. Despite the laws, there are plenty of guns in Mexico. They may be illegal, but you will not be punished for having one since impunity levels in Mexico are close to 99%. Most Mexicans probably won’t use one since they’re expensive and Mexicans are poor. They usually use a knife even when they have access to all the guns they could imagine as is the case for this cartel hitman.

Just four months earlier, my girlfriend and I had been robbed at gunpoint in the same city, just two blocks away from the U.S embassy in Guadalajara. We never bothered reporting the crime to the police because it is a simple waste of time ( It is a well-documented fact that only a tiny fraction of crimes committed in Mexico result in a conviction. The exact number as to this country’s exact impunity rate varies between 93 and 99 percent, but no serious analyst believes that it could be lower than 90 percent. Only about seven percent of all crimes are reported because it is an extraordinarily arduous and an exceedingly time-consuming process. On average, the victims report having to visit between three to five offices in order to report even a relatively insignificant crime such as petty theft and the entire ordeal often takes an entire work-day, roughly between 9am and 4pm. Yet, many of such offices close between noon and 1:30, which means that if the petitioners have the resolve to continue, they must plan on turning this endeavor into a two or a three-day affair.

It’s really too late for the Mexicans to establish a legitimate state because the Cartels have grown so powerful and govern more effectively than the government. On a local level, the Mexicans have managed to expel the cartels from some places only for those who did the expulsion to create cartels of their own. I think the average Mexican, despite his problems with the government and cartels, is part of the problem. The culture – composed of Average Mexicans – simply can’t sustain anything better. We could take some of the pressure off them by executing drug dealers and traffickers and getting users off drugs, but there is simply too much money to be made in the Drug War. Expect these problems to spill over into the United States more and more.

Ed Calderon explains:

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