Mexico's Narco Wars: Stolen Elections, FBI-Cartel Ties, and Why US Banks Don't Want to End the Drug War
CANNABIS CULTURE - Last year's chilling book El Sicario: The Autobiography of a Mexican Assassin details the outright corruption of the Mexican government and its shady alliances with drug cartels.
The book highlights not only the failure of America's War on Drugs but also the unstated reason it continues year after year: money and power.
The author, an anonymous ex-hitman trained by the FBI and hired by both cartels and the government at different times, describes the gruesome beheadings, kidnappings, and torture he and many others were hired to commit in order to assure civilian and media silence.
Although penned over a year before the July 1, 2012 presidential elections, El Sicario is an inside look at the violent political culture of Mexico.
The identities of the nearly 60,000 dead of cartel violence in the last six years are rarely exposed on television. Televisa, one of two companies that together hold an all-encompassing news monopoly in Mexico, is an ally to newly elected president Enrique Peña Nieto and his PRI party.
Televisa has been accused by critics of presenting stories to convince the public the bodies belong to defeated cartel members, not ordinary citizens, so that the US-led Drug War looks to be a success.
During the recent presidential campaign, the issue of the mass disappearances, beheadings and public hangings wasn't addressed other than how a militarized national police force will help "keep the streets safe."
After the election, students took to the streets of Mexico City by the thousands to protest Peña Nieto and Televisa. Documents acquired by The Guardian newspaper show the network sold favorable coverage to Nieto and devised a strategy to smear and discredit opposition candidate, PRD's Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Protesting students claim Televisa gave Nieto millions in free advertising on top of the millions more he spent on his campaign, already exceeding the legal limit of $26 million.
To add to the fire of the student protests, Nieto has been accused of directly buying 5 million votes through bribery – something Mexicans saw happen in 1988 when Carlos Salinas took power in a fraudulent election. After being run out of the country, Salinas has since returned to have a hand in Peña Nieto's campaign.
Nieto, like Salinas, believes in consolidation with the Narco gangs as well as alliances with the economic and oil interests of the US. Although his rhetoric is filled with lofty ambitions of strategy changes, Nieto will surely continue president Felipe Calderón's violent drug war and complete subordination to the US government's mandates. By appointing Colombia's former president Alvaro Uribe's police-chief, Oscar Naranjo, Nieto has sent a strong statement that there will be no strategy change.
Left-wing candidate López Obrador, Nieto's popular political opponent, has worked to bring these facts to light by campaigning against US influence as a means to protect Mexico's oil from foreign interests. He also advocates alternatives to Calderón and Obama's failed Drug War as a solution to the country's cartel-related chaos.
Currently Mexico receives billions in aid from the US to 'help fight the narco traffickers' – the FBI and DEA have offices all over Mexico and offer support and training to Mexican authorities. The private military firm Xe Services, formerly known as Blackwater – the controversial American company responsible for illegal torture practices carried out in Iraq – has been hired to fight the cartels.
Mexican Human Rights activists, policy experts, and many citizens know that despite what Televisa, PRI, and Peña Nieto might say, these mercenaries, the US-backed military, and the police force are not there to protect citizens from the brutal kidnappings and torture, but rather are there to assure demonstrations against the government or it's monopolized media don't get out of hand, and that journalists don't report the real story.
Sometimes the real story does make the papers: HSBC has just been put on trial for acting as a conduit for drug money and for disguising the source of funds. In 2007 and 2008 the bank's Mexican arm sent $7 billion in cash now known to have belonged to Mexican Cartels to its American unit.
As well, a UN commission against drugs and crime report has disclosed that the majority of narco funds are laundered by America's six most powerful banks. The $7 billion, laundered after the infamous collapse of many major banks in '08, was only a small portion of the billions more in narco funds that helped bail-out the distraught banks. Money from narco trafficking is deeply intrinsic to the survival of US banks, and acts as a life support system for the failing US economy.
In essence, Mexico, the US, and the elite class in control need the drug trade to exist to maintain their power, and when Mexican citizens begin to realize the police in their cities aren't there to protect them from the cartels but are there to assure the flow of drugs can continue unabated, those forces will work to quash dissent.
That's why the actions of protesting students hold such a huge importance. These passionate people are risking their lives and the lives of their families to speak out against what's happening in the US and Mexico. They are not only up against Televisa and PRI, but stand against US mercenaries, Heads of State, and the powerful cartels working behind it all in the shadows.
Hopefully the protests persist and gain in numbers to expose the real story. Hopefully it will be enough to keep Peña Nieto in check.
To borrow the hopes of noted Mexican Journalist and Professor John Ackerman, "The good news is that the students are still in the streets [which will] hopefully bring Mexico back onto the path of institutional development and strengthen its democracy."
El Sicario has also been turned into a documentary film. Watch the trailer for El Sicario, Room 164 below.