Since the beginning of the war, five years ago, 40,000 people have died and 9,000 unsolved disappearances have been reported. Every day local TV news reports mutilated bodies abandoned inside cars on remote , rural roads. Three weeks ago 35 bodies were left on a busy highway in an attempt to frighten government and civilians. No, this is not happening in Afghanistan, Pakistan nor Syria. This is happening right next door, in Mexico. How did this happen, and why?
Crime in Mexico is a function of an illegal industry worth billions of dollars. Three mayor criminal organizations, the Juarez, Sinaloa and Gulf cartels, introduced drugs illegally into the United States, generating annual earnings estimated at 25 billion dollars. In 2005 the drug cartels started a war for control of the Mexico-US border and the drug business. Violence related to the drug war expanded from Juarez to all border states in only one year. After the arrest of some cartel members by the Mexican Army, murders exploded in number and degree of violence. The cartels dumped the mutilated bodies of authorities and civilians with notes that read, "This is for the arrests of our comrades. Do you still want to come after us?" Given their economical power and the fear they inflicted, the cartels infiltrated the government and police. The cartels obtained protection by paying, or threatening with killing policemen and politicians and their families if they refuse to protect the cartels. Who is paying the price of the drug war?
The drug war has brought poverty for many Mexicans, living in and out of the border states. Many small business owners have been forced to closed their business after being extorted by cartel members who charged them a tax for "protection." Though the drug war is taking place in the border states, tourism has decreased in popular places like Cancun, Cabo San Lucas or Puerto Vallarta. Warnings to avoid visiting Mexico issued by the US State Department, and some European countries have scared tourist away. Samsung and Volkswagen had announced expansions in their operations in Mexico, including a new Volkswagen assembling plant in Torreon, and a Samsung factory in Mexicali. Given the increase of violence, both companies decided to move their inversions to other Latin American countries that could provide security to their inversions. 135,000 jobs have been lost in the small business sector and hospitality industry; additionally, 120,000 new potential jobs were lost after Samsung, Volkswagen and other companies decided not to invest in Mexico. What is life like for people in the border states?
Though they try to continue with their routines, the drug war has changed the lives of many people who, do not live, but survive in a place that resembles more a conflict zone in the Middle East. While people can go have a coffee or take a walk anytime and anywhere in central and south Mexico, people in the border states cannot even take their children…