OPINION: Trump treads on Mexico despite American liability

Is Mexico to blame for the massive influence of its cartels?


NY Times

A member of the Mexican security forces standing guard outside City Hall in Villa Union last Tuesday.

Last Monday, three women and six children from a Mormon family were gunned down in northern Mexico by cartel gunmen — and Donald Trump has found the event useful for military intervention.

Mexico is in panic from record breaking violence this year, and the citizens are losing their faith in the government as the cartels terrorize civilians day after day. The government’s ineffectual strategies are being critiqued, especially after the government’s failure to detain a son of the notorious El Chapo.

The incident on Monday is not believed to be random — the women and children attacked hailed from the LeBarón family, a Mormon family which has spoken against gang influence for years. This terrifying instance of child homicide serves as a warning against the family to remain silent.

The President of Mexico, López Obrador, has commented that the place of the attack “has been a very violent area for many years.”

Fourteen police officers were just gunned down by cartel gunmen in the nearby Michoacán state last month, and it seems that these gangs of mercenaries are their very own militia. With El Chapo’s forces effectively locking down Culiacán to prevent the capture of one of the ganglord’s sons, the police massacres being committed across the country, and the recent murder of open dissenters, it seems that the cartel effectively rules Mexico. What could bring down this vicious uproar of crimes?

Donald Trump thought himself suited for the job when he offered last Tuesday to “wage war on the drug cartels–” in an attempt to eradicate the atrocities below the southern border. But Donald Trump’s authenticity is in question — is he seeking Mexico as an ally by promising to be tough on the cartels, or is this an attempt to seize power?

The notoriety of President Donald Trump’s to Mexico is second historically only to John Tyler and James K. Polk, the Presidents that signed the bill that allowed the annexation of Texas and held command over troops during the following Mexican-American War respectively. With massive plans for a wall to separate the countries, the detainment of Mexican children, and general disparaging of the peoples, Donald Trump has shown time and time again that, in his words, “Mexico is not our friend.”

Donald Trump is not well-liked by the Mexican people either, with only 32% of Mexicans approving of the United States as a whole (the third lowest, just ahead of Russia and Germany, PEW Research Center 2018). Understandably, many Latino people as a whole feel alienated by Donald Trump and the recent increasing infamy of ICE.

Donald Trump’s offering to wage war on the cartels is obviously a power play, as Trump having U.S. soldiers on Mexican soil could help enforce the staunch aversion Trump has for Hispanic immigration.

However, President López Obrador stated “We… thank very much President Trump and any foreign government that wants to help, but in these cases we have to act with independence,” firmly planting his foot down in the face of attempted American occupation.

If the U.S. government truly seeks to resolve bad blood between itself and Mexico, it will have to cut off the life fuel for Mexican cartels — narcotics and the flow of them from Mexico. Not just this, but its production of firearms and their ending up in Mexico only sustains the brutal gangs Trump seemingly seeks to cripple.

Frankly, it’s American guns and drug consumers which power Mexican cartels, and to truly lend a helping hand to our historical ally, we must offer to remove these rather than plant troops.