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Courage under fire
May 30, 2011 12:43 PM   Subscribe

A kindergarten teacher in La Estanzuela, a neighborhood in Monterrey Mexico, sings with her students as gunfire can be heard outside.

Both the teacher and her video gained popularity on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter, and teacher Martha was honored today by the Government of Nuevo Leon for her outstanding civic courage.
posted by CrazyLemonade (95 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
jesus christ what is wrong with this world
posted by clockworkjoe at 12:50 PM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I live in Monterrey. I'm overwhelmed by sadness. It's incredible what has happened to this city in barely over two years. Just last Saturday I had dinner near a street where, not 10 minutes after I had left, 4 people were gunned down. :(
posted by Omon Ra at 12:51 PM on May 30, 2011 [30 favorites]


It looked like this was a regular occurrence. Man, we Americans have it good.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:51 PM on May 30, 2011


Man, we Americans have it good.
Eh. Outsourcing your War on (some) Drugs does have its benefits.
posted by vivelame at 12:55 PM on May 30, 2011 [16 favorites]


It looked like this was a regular occurrence. Man, we Americans have it good.
Not entirely unrelated
posted by fullerine at 12:56 PM on May 30, 2011 [33 favorites]


In 2005, Monterrey was ranked as the safest city in Latin America, now we average around 30 drug related murders per week.
posted by Omon Ra at 12:56 PM on May 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


My brother worked on an exchange programme in a factory in Monterrey, as a safety engineer. He loved it, a place where a six foot tall skinny gringo from Edinburgh could live and work safely and happily. Of course, that was in 2003.

Incredible bravery from that teacher. No doubt this same scene has been and will be repeated wherever children are surrounded by violence and no doubt mothers, fathers, teachers and decent adults will continue to do their best to shield children from that violence. Heartbreaking.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:00 PM on May 30, 2011


Translation of the description:

This happened inside a kinderganted in the Estanzuela while outside:

Five men outside at a pirate taxi stand, which was apparently also a point of drug sales, were riddled with bullets by an armed group traveling in two small vans, in Estanzuela, in the south of Monterrey.

I want to emphasize the way in which the teacher tries to calm the little ones while outside the shooting happens. But in Nuevo Leon... nothing happens...
posted by GIFtheory at 1:02 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


And all of this to supposedly keep safe the people who *choose* to endanger themselves? I'd rather let the people who elect to take drugs be unsafe than a bunch of people who never wanted anything to do with the drug trade?

I hope this reminds some of the people who need reminding that Mexicans are people, too. Sadly, the people who need to remember that are likely to just imagine that white people would never cause something like this to happen. (Even though they did.)
posted by gracedissolved at 1:06 PM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


that is the sort of teacher kids need! she not only kept them physically safe but also tried to minimize the psychological impact of such a frightening event by keeping them focused on her and singing. she is an inspiration!
posted by supermedusa at 1:17 PM on May 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


Fuck. To say "there was the sound of shooting outside" understated it. When I saw all those kids lying prone. Man. That's what really hit me.
posted by symbioid at 1:25 PM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Such violence has killed more than 35,000 people across Mexico over the past four years.

That's the equivalent of 100,000 people here in the US, or 20,000 in the UK. Think about that.
posted by gottabefunky at 1:26 PM on May 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


Such violence has killed more than 35,000 people across Mexico over the past four years.

That's the equivalent of 100,000 people here in the US, or 20,000 in the UK. Think about that.


I didn't realize the exchange rate had shifted so dramatically!

(Yeah yeah, I know what you meant... it just reads funny...)
posted by chavenet at 1:29 PM on May 30, 2011


It looked like this was a regular occurrence. Man, we Americans have it good.

Baltimore and Detroit called. They told me to tell you they said hi.
posted by phearlez at 1:32 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, we Americans have it good.

you really don't think this can keep going on next door to us without it eventually coming here, do you? - (and yeah, baltimore and detroit, but i'm talking about WORSE than that)
posted by pyramid termite at 1:35 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


This May, 200 people were killed in Monterrey. The latest casualty was a 19 year old mother of two.
posted by Omon Ra at 1:36 PM on May 30, 2011


hasnt there already been a bit of 'spillover' across the us border from this?

not that it matters as far as I am concerned this sort of thing effects us even when usians are not direct victims. mexico is our neighbor, its just terrible what is going on there (I really love mexico!) esp considering the degree of complicity of usian and us policy ie war on drugs etc ugh.
posted by supermedusa at 1:39 PM on May 30, 2011


Worst of all is that Monterrey is not even the worst city in terms of the drug war violence:

The push into Guatemala by the Zetas and other Mexican gangs has coincided with a significant rise in violent crime. Guatemala's murder rate is now twice that of Mexico's. And in neighboring Honduras, which faces a similar problem with drug traffickers, the situation is even worse: Honduras now has the highest homicide rate in the hemisphere.
posted by Omon Ra at 1:40 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


jesus
posted by molecicco at 1:41 PM on May 30, 2011


This two year old article announces the move North, to the US, by Mexican gangs.

Sadness overwhelms watching little kids hunkering down in a classroom, for god's sake!

And Monterrey! These drug gang scum need to be eradicated, period. They are just as much terrorists as radical Islam suicide bombers, and others who would destroy anything or anyone for their filthy drug-running lucre.

On a side note; this is one of the prices of poverty. Unbridled crime, committed by lost souls with nothing left to lose but their lives.
posted by Vibrissae at 1:47 PM on May 30, 2011


Baltimore and Detroit called. They told me to tell you they said hi.

TV and movies called. They told me to tell you to visit sometime and not just base your impression of cities on the entertainment media you consume.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:47 PM on May 30, 2011 [14 favorites]


Those kids are learning early that gunfire is the sound of freedom.
posted by telstar at 1:47 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The majority of this violence is the result of the Merida Initiative signed into law during the Bush Administration. We have been pouring billions into the drug war, and it only reduced shipments briefly until the cartels began routing their deliveries through submarines. It's a failed policy that is modeled after our interventionist disasters in Columbia.

Recently the Federal Police we are funding have started shooting and killing protestors, which seems to back up this statement by Miguel Pickard from the Center for Economic and Political Investigation for Community Action:
The Mérida Initiative, as we see it, is the U.S. implementation of its broader security agenda. It is the visible manifestation of secret negotiating under the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America... It is part of plans to further criminalize social protest, something that is already a fact of life in Mexico.
From the exhaustive RAND studies:
According to the evidence we have reviewed here, the war on drugs has not well met its own objectives and may have had some important negative side effects. The perceptions of the general public have not been more favorable over the years. In 1995, 72 percent of adults declared that the war on drugs had had no effect on drug use in their community. In 1999, 72 percent of registered voters had the (mistaken) impression that drug use had increased (41 percent said “greatly”) over the previous ten years. And half of those asked agreed with the statement, “We are unable to win the war on drugs regardless of what the President and Congress do.” Similarly, in March 2001, 74 percent of adult Americans thought the United States was losing the drug war.

Yet U.S. policymakers, with at least the tacit support of their skeptical electorate, have retained the long-standing enforcement-oriented policy. Why has the same strategy been pursued despite widespread perceptions that it has not succeeded? Why haven’t promising alternative strategies, even within the broad parameters of prohibition, been tried?

Various reasons have been advanced: that enforcement proponents have narrowed the debate, partly by ignoring or maligning critics; that dissenting politicians cannot win by being less tough on drugs than their opponents; that drug use is seen as a moral failing deserving of punishment, not a health problem deserving of treatment. Voters and politicians may perceive that incarceration has more reliably predictable effects than prevention or treatment. They may not be interested in individual use reductions and other half-measures; they may want to see their children free of addiction risk and addicts cured by treatment. It’s natural to want to place the blame on someone else, so interdiction and source country control are popular measures because they assign responsibility for the drug problem to foreigners and also are relatively inexpensive. As we have pointed out, few voters feel drug policy’s negative consequences in their communities. State legislators may find it easier, less of an immediate burden on the budget, and more sympathetic with public outrage to lengthen sentences than to empower more nuanced adjudication efforts or augment treatment funding.

Heightened enforcement has its limits. It is relatively ineffective at suppressing the quantity of drug consumed, and the associated crime and violence, for an established, mass-market drug...

Neither can much be expected of programs outside U.S. borders, which have had little effect on U.S. drug problems. Crop eradication and substitution, in particular, show minimal promise. Close to the drug source, costs are so low that enforcement-induced increases are likely to have no observable effect on street prices. The same is true of increases in the cost of land and labor for producing coca or opium. Obviously, there are many potentially valid reasons for intervention; those might include problems in the country that are partly caused by U.S. drug consumption. However, it is not credible to justify an intervention principally on the grounds that it will reduce U.S. drug consumption
If you care about this issue, call and/or write your representative and ask them to stop funding the militarization of the drug war, to stop incarcerating citizens for non-violent drug offenses, and instead invest that money in rehabilitation and education. Re-aligning our drug policy with reality would reduce the cost of treatment, reduce violence across Latin America and our borders, and reduce drug dependency among US citizens.
posted by notion at 1:54 PM on May 30, 2011 [20 favorites]


On a side note; this is one of the prices of poverty. Unbridled crime, committed by lost souls with nothing left to lose but their lives.

I'd challenge that. Monterrey is one of the richest cities in Mexico and Latin America. Unemployment (at least before the narco war) has been historically quite low. The violence has more to do with a complete failure of Mexican education over the past 20 years mixed with predatory greed and lack of social mobility. The people doing this aren't as poor as you think, there is just no chance in hell they will be more than what they were born into.
posted by Omon Ra at 1:55 PM on May 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


In an age of Hollywood clichés, this strikes me as genuine "courage". It is chilling to even watch this clip, but she maintains perfect composure. Inspiring.
posted by stroke_count at 1:56 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


D:

That lady is awesome.
posted by bayani at 2:02 PM on May 30, 2011


The majority of this violence is the result of the Merida Initiative signed into law during the Bush Administration. We have been pouring billions into the drug war, and it only reduced shipments briefly until the cartels began routing their deliveries through submarines. It's a failed policy that is modeled after our interventionist disasters in Columbia.

Es verdad, those Washington bullets again.
posted by amyms at 2:09 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Monterrey is one of the richest cities in Mexico and Latin America. Unemployment (at least before the narco war) has been historically quite low. The violence has more to do with a complete failure of Mexican education over the past 20 years mixed with predatory greed and lack of social mobility. The people doing this aren't as poor as you think, there is just no chance in hell they will be more than what they were born into.

Agreed, Omon Ra; my point was about Mexican society in general, where (as you correctly point out) there is a serious lack of social mobility. The drug violence problem is slowly becoming widespread throughout Mexico, as gangs look for new "territory" to control and conquer.

Education is also a great lack in Mexico. A side note: roughly half of all new babies born in California are to Mexican mothers, with roughly half of those mothers lacking even an 8th grade education.

Last, I'm personally at a point where I would like to see American troops in Mexico, helping our southern neighbors wipe out these gangs.
posted by Vibrissae at 2:19 PM on May 30, 2011


A side note: roughly half of all new babies born in California are to Mexican mothers, with roughly half of those mothers lacking even an 8th grade education.

Hey, just curious, do you have a citation for those figures? Seems like that's highly unlikely.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:24 PM on May 30, 2011


Also: "new babies"?
posted by Deathalicious at 2:25 PM on May 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Last, I'm personally at a point where I would like to see American troops in Mexico, helping our southern neighbors wipe out these gangs.

I'm not so sure about it. And then what? The violence escalates, drugs become more expensive, more money flows in, along with more corruption. What then? Does the US takes control of individual state governments that are infiltrated by the narcos? What then, a continued military presence throughout the country?

The problem with the fucking war, in the first place, is the fucking war metaphor. If it had been treated from the very beginning as a health issue, as a law enforcement issue, we wouldn't have this problem now. The problem now is that Mexico and the US are still, at this latter date, treating it only as a military insurgency with military means.

This is not to say that, given the conditions now, a military effort is needed, but this has to be done in concert with improving the laws, enforcing the laws, policing corruption, improving education and lastly, frankly, reciprocally legalizing drugs.

The US also has to do it's part. There has to be a lot of corruption alongside the US side of the border for all those tonnes and tonnes of drugs to pass undetected. Somebody is being paid off.
posted by Omon Ra at 2:30 PM on May 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


This is what black market economics look like.

When a dollar's worth of drugs cost a dollar, the violence will essentially disappear. A dollar's worth of drugs will only approach a cost of one dollar when they are legal. This situation is exactly the same situation that gave rise to Al Capone and La Cosa Nostra.

Remember, kids, drugs aren't causing this - politics are.

Also, this teacher deserves a medal and everyone's respect and gratitude.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:32 PM on May 30, 2011 [17 favorites]


Vibrissae said: I would like to see American troops in Mexico, helping our southern neighbors wipe out these gangs.

America doesn't have a very good track record of helping any of our southern neighbors (link goes to The Clash's "Washington Bullets" which was the source of my previous comment).
posted by amyms at 2:33 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was yesterday in a fairly affluent neighborhood.
posted by Omon Ra at 2:36 PM on May 30, 2011


"If you apply the Powell doctrine to Mexico's war on drugs, you will quickly notice that first, there is no overwhelming force — as a matter of fact, there is no force. Second, there is no exit strategy, because there is no way to know whether you have won the war on drugs or not. Third, there is no foreseeable way out of this war." Jorge Castañeda, former Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico.
posted by Omon Ra at 2:41 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I passed through Monterrey back when it was peaceful. Beautiful and the people I met couldn't have been nicer. These scenes are heartbreaking, and too often the violence is dismissed here as "just the way it is down there" as if it has always been like this.
posted by Forktine at 2:41 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Last, I'm personally at a point where I would like to see American troops in Mexico, helping our southern neighbors wipe out these gangs.

What? You mean escalate this to an actual full-scale war in Mexico? We're already involved in three active wars at the moment and are running out of money.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:48 PM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, considering that the problem doesn't originate with the gangs but with the policies, furthering the violence by ratcheting up the war on drug gangs in Mexico seems pointless and reactive. It seems like you're just proposing doing more of the same.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:50 PM on May 30, 2011


A side note: roughly half of all new babies born in California are to Mexican mothers, with roughly half of those mothers lacking even an 8th grade education.

Hey, just curious, do you have a citation for those figures? Seems like that's highly unlikely.



Deathalicious, I heard this in a speech given by a higher up in Obama's Department of Education, about 1 year ago. The caveat is that I think that the DOE official was talking about Latina mothers as a group and not about Mexican mothers. So, my comments about Mexican mothers should be corrected to "Latina mothers". Thanks for pointing this out.

Digging a little:
here's The Latino Education Crisis

Here's a blog post about related items that also include number mostly support what I heard.
posted by Vibrissae at 2:52 PM on May 30, 2011



Couldn't we make drugs legal but put a warning label on the package? You know. Like cigs.
posted by notreally at 2:57 PM on May 30, 2011


Baltimore and Detroit called. They told me to tell you they said hi.

TV and movies called. They told me to tell you to visit sometime and not just base your impression of cities on the entertainment media you consume.


The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S.
#8. Baltimore, Md.
Baltimore had the eighth-highest rate of violent crime per capita in 2010 among cities with 100,000 or more residents, and the second-highest east of the Mississippi. The number of violent crimes has dropped slightly in the past year — from 9,600 to 9,300 — but the Maryland city has some of the worst rates of dangerous offenses in the country. This includes the tenth-worst aggravated assault rate — and the fourth-worst murder rate in the country.
...

#2. Detroit, Michigan
The city crippled the most in America’s post-industrial era is almost certainly Detroit. The Motor City has suffered from high rates of unemployment, homelessness, and crime. The city has one of the ten highest rates for three of the four types of violent crime identified by the FBI. Detroit has the sixth highest murder rate, the fifth highest robbery rate, and the second highest rate of aggravated assault. In 2005, a major reorganization of the city’s police department took place after a federal investigation identified inefficiencies within the system. According to a published report, opponents of Detroit Mayor David Bing called for further intervention by the Justice Department in several shootings that occurred last year.
posted by ericb at 2:59 PM on May 30, 2011


notreally, not only that, imagine if you used the drug war money (15 billion dollars in the US alone, last year) to fund medical treatment and anti-drug campaigns instead.

What has to be drilled again and again, so that very conservative people don't freak out, is that legalization means regulation. It does not mean you can get heroin at your local drugstore.
posted by Omon Ra at 3:04 PM on May 30, 2011


A more logical way for the Americans to help would be to halt the flow of guns down south. At least.
posted by dhruva at 3:17 PM on May 30, 2011


Mexico is the hardest working country in the world, they work more hours per capita than even Japan (which is #2). Too bad wages are so low, they work harder than Americans, and could be a more powerful country if they keep at it and get corruption under control with working institutions.
posted by stbalbach at 3:19 PM on May 30, 2011


I hate this. Omon Ra, it breaks my heart because I really do love Monterrey. I've slagged it off in the past as being just a giant town you had to get through to get to the interior of Mexico when driving from the US, but now I feel like I can't go there at all, and I realize now how much I miss Monterrey. I miss getting hopelessly lost and hiring taxis to lead us out of town - I miss navigating by the mountain peaks in the distance. I miss going downtown to the casa de cambia before hitting the road south, and I miss the awesome open-air mercado on the highway to Santiago. Monterrey has been the jumping-off point for dozens of trips into Mexico and the people there always made me feel welcome and safe.

This really has to change -- it's an untenable, unacceptable situation.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:21 PM on May 30, 2011


The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S.

Those stats are taken from the FBI, and the FBI says they are not trustworthy numbers for the purpose of ranking cities. As the FBI website says:
Each year when Crime in the United States is published, many entities— news media, tourism agencies, and other groups with an interest in crime in our Nation— use reported figures to compile rankings of cities and counties. These rankings, however, are merely a quick choice made by the data user; they provide no insight into the many variables that mold the crime in a particular town, city, county, state, region, or other jurisdiction. Consequently, these rankings lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting cities and counties, along with their residents.
posted by stbalbach at 3:25 PM on May 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


This video is even more amazing if you understand Spanish. The kids, as kids will do, even sometimes in dangerous situations, were fidgeting and failing to keep their heads down. The teacher kept telling them, incredibly calmly considering the circumstances, "Put your little faces back down on the floor." But they kept squirming. So she started singing the "If all the raindrops were lemon drops and gum drops" song (only in Spanish it's about chocolate candy) and made staying on the floor a component of the song, telling the kids that they had to keep their heads down so that the raindrop candy would fall in their mouths.

Which is, um, really horrific considering that the real rain falling just outside was bullets. But it was incredible quick thinking on her part, and it worked, and she kept her voice calm and cheerful the entire time, and I have no idea how she did it so well.

I'm a volunteer school librarian and just a few weeks ago I was trying to keep some kids who are about the same age calm, still, and in the proper tornado position as a fairly frightening storm blasted right past the school. That was a challenge. I can't imagine how much harder it would be to keep the kids still if the threat outside was a hail of gunfire. That woman absolutely deserves a medal.
posted by BlueJae at 3:29 PM on May 30, 2011 [18 favorites]


A more logical way for the Americans to help would be to halt the flow of guns down south. At least.

What? And sacrifice America's last world-class manufactured export? Why are all liberals obsessed with killing American jobs? At the rate the US armaments industry and the various wars on abstract nouns are going, Raytheon's corpse-o-dyne division hopes to have 90% of the US Military's domestic electricity needs provided by harnessing the spinning remains of Ike Eisenhower alone!
posted by [citation needed] at 3:32 PM on May 30, 2011


I check in with El Blog del Narco occasionally and it's horrifying.

That teacher really is a hero and I wish U.S. citizens were more able to effect policy changes and stop this war.
posted by snsranch at 3:42 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The comparison with Baltimore is inadvertently really illustrative. Not because the violence in the two cities is similar -- but because it isn't. The populations of the cities and their metro areas are very similar (about a million in each city, and about three million in each metro area). Baltimore has one of the highest murder rates in the US, down to 223 from a high of over 300 in the early 1990s.

If the killings in Monterrey continue at the current rate, this year's total should be between 2000 and 3000 murders -- and that may be an undercount, given that not all bodies are found or reported. In other words, the killings are taking place at a rate ten times that of one the most violent places in the US, and there are other cities in Mexico where the killings are a level higher than this.

I think the scale of the violence, and how recent it is, is hard to comprehend (and is very little reported on here, too), and is directly tied to the "war on drugs" approach of the past decades. The danger of asking for a war is that you might get a war; it is only a matter of time before that violence begins to spill north across the border in a serious way. I hope a major deescalation of the violence can happen soon, because the current state of affairs is just too horrible.
posted by Forktine at 3:51 PM on May 30, 2011 [18 favorites]


I love Monterrey. I have friends there and visit often. That the narcos that were ruining border towns of Tamaulipas are now in one of my favorite cities breaks my heart.

There is so much money in the trafficking of narcotics to the United States that it is a major employer in Mexico. Every day the US or Mexican government grabs leaders of La Familia, Sinaloa and Zetas. They seize tons of drugs all the time. But it doesn't make a dent in the flow. People get killed or captured and more will rise up to finish the job. There's billions of dollars at stake.

A Mexican high school dropout can work for $5 a day in a legit job or make thousands, drive nice cars, get hot girls and live the gangster lifestyle. Or he can stock shelves at an Oxxo. This whole generation of kids looking to the gangster lifestyle and what little regard they have for human life will take years to correct.

We could spend more money, send troops to Mexico, and build to 2000ft fence, but none of it will stop until the money is out of the equation. As long as there's demand, there will be a supply. And that isn't going to happen until the US comes to terms with its drug problem.
posted by birdherder at 4:05 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The war on drugs is a huge favourite back home because only brown people in other countries die. Just like the war for oil. And the war on AIDS/abortion. We used to have a war on communism but that one kind of petered out because it was too effective. These ideological wars have to be unwinnable otherwise the money will stop flowing.

So nauseated right now.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:11 PM on May 30, 2011


The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S.

Apples and oranges.
posted by joe lisboa at 4:15 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


and too often the violence is dismissed here as "just the way it is down there" as if it has always been like this

This couldn't be farther from the truth here in Monterrey. Ask anyone that has lived here their whole life, and they'll tell you, we'll tell you, that 10, 5, even three years ago we would have never imagined this great city to have a problem such as this. Monterrey was the city destined to be the benchmark in industriousness and commerce and foreign investment in México, and now what? It's being led downhill by narcos who seem to be enjoying the panic and bloodshed they're creating.

This situation sucks. It's terrible and it's heartbreaking in SO MANY WAYS. I talked about this in a previous thread from almost a year ago, and my heart breaks yet again in knowing that things don't seem to be getting any better.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 4:45 PM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


And on a teacher's income.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:50 PM on May 30, 2011


Incidentally, my aunt and uncle have a business renting casitas on the beach to tourists in Mexico, where they live about half the year. Last year they had zero tourists - 0. That was the first time that ever happened. Part of it had to do with official travel warnings in places like Canada, where a lot of their visitors were from. Where they are located is far enough from any urban areas that it's not dangerous, but travel to get there can be, and can't blame people for not wanting to take a gamble with their lives. But the increasing violence has absolutely devastated the tourism industry throughout the country, which is a major source of income for the nation as a whole. Now my aunt and uncle are planning on selling the business and traveling on a boat for a while, because they are getting to retirement age and don't want to wait this out while their investment languishes, but as can be expected the offers to buy are not coming yet.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:54 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Last year they had zero tourists - 0.

To clarify, that's last season, which is winter 2010-11. Even winter 2009-10 was not nearly as bad as far as tourists.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:59 PM on May 30, 2011


You know that place where the shooting happened, in la Estanzuela? Yep, it happened again today. Six people are dead.
posted by Omon Ra at 5:13 PM on May 30, 2011


Yep, it happened again today. Six people are dead.

Yeah, I was just reading about that on Twitter. I wonder why now they're targeting taxi drivers.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 5:33 PM on May 30, 2011


That's part of what makes the situation so hard on the nerves, CrazyLemonade. It's such an apparently irrational violence. Nothing is ever cleared up. Nobody really knows anything. What do they want? its not clear; how much do they need? who knows; when will it be enough? god only knows.
posted by Omon Ra at 5:39 PM on May 30, 2011


I'm personally at a point where I would like to see American troops in Mexico,

This has worked out horribly every single time we've put troops into Latin American countries (or offered their troops training). We have to find a different way. And it starts with policy changes, not military ones.
posted by rtha at 5:43 PM on May 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


The Mexican people need a 2nd amendment allowing them the right to bear arms. As it is, only three groups have access to weaponry:

1) The narco-criminals

2) The corrupt police

3) The corrupt military

There is no chance for the average Juan to protect himself.
posted by Renoroc at 5:56 PM on May 30, 2011


Great. Then we can have have lots more bystanders shot and killed.

The narcos don't give a shit if someone might be carrying - they attack each other all the time, remember? They don't pause to think, "Oh, the guy I'm hunting might be armed, so I better not try to shoot him." They think "The guy I'm hunting might be armed, so I will bring five guys with me and shoot of the fuck out of him and anyone near him."
posted by rtha at 6:02 PM on May 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Right, Renoroc, because that's what wee need, more guns in the streets. Your fucking second amendment and the assault weapons market it created is what's making this violence so terrible in the first place! These people have submachine guns. So the solution is for me to carry one in my car?
posted by Omon Ra at 6:04 PM on May 30, 2011


The Mexican people need a 2nd amendment allowing them the right to bear arms.

That would do nothing to solve the actual problem, but gun violence would probably escalate. Gun ownership doesn't prevent gang violence in the US, and there are different reasons why it has come this far. For one the US has externalized its War on Drugs, the major reason for the violence and the only way to solve it and prevent it in the future, in other words the policy must change, like a major paradigm shift, which is always difficult politically until constituents and/or trading partners demand it. Law enforcement in Mexico is selective in any event. The black market isn't a deterrent for most, although owning a weapon can get you in serious trouble. But the black market has always been a significant segment of Mexico's economy, and the law as such is not respected as much as other considerations. Familial ties and religion tend to be taken far more seriously than the law, which is mostly seen as a joke and mostly inept. Although they have serious corruption issues and are not pleasant to encounter if you get on their bad side.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:04 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gun ownership reducing crime is macho fantasy.
posted by stbalbach at 6:08 PM on May 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


Gun-related homicide rates in the United States are two to four times higher than they are in countries that are economically and politically similar to it.
posted by Omon Ra at 6:13 PM on May 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


The Mexican people need a 2nd amendment allowing them the right to bear arms

I fail to see what this would solve. In fact, it would probably just make things worse with the current situation, and later on contribute to the whole "I killed him because he looked at me funny" sort of crimes that happen when people are drunk, angry, etc.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 6:17 PM on May 30, 2011


The Mexican people need a 2nd amendment allowing them the right to bear arms.

It's amazing what you can find on Google if you take a look:
Article 10 of the Mexican Constitution, as amended, states:

“The inhabitants of the United Mexican States have the right to possess arms in their homes for their security and legitimate defense with the exception of those prohibited by federal law and of those reserved for the exclusive use of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and National Guard. Federal law shall determine the cases, conditions and place in which the inhabitants may be authorized to bear arms.”
In practice this is severely limited by other laws, just as the US second amendment is limited by laws (I can't own a fully automatic weapon in this state, and I'm sure we all remember the recently expired assault weapons bill, for example), but the fundamental right is as enshrined in their constitution as it is here. Lots of details here for those interested.
posted by Forktine at 6:18 PM on May 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Actually, the teacher isn't entirely composed. When she asks if the kids want to sing, her voice almost cracks. She pulls it off though...

I had to turn it off, it was too much.

She's such a hero. I think a lot of people might be able to pull that off in a pinch, good humans are very flexible, but this time the torch fell to her.

All of these horrors are entirely the product of the American "War on Drugs". We're in the middle of our fifth Administration in a row under Presidents who have confessed to using illegal drugs and with no discernable change in Federal law or policy on illegal drugs.

Wikileaks recently revealed a memo showing that in the first month of the Obama Administration the US government successfully put extreme pressure on the UN to even allow the mention of the words "harm reduction" in their policy report on drugs (which will define the UN's position on drugs for the next decade, which is to say that it is entirely a law enforcement issue).

And this Administration has generally continued the standard hard-line policy on drugs, a slight change of language but no let-up in the arrests, and with a peculiar hostility to medical marijuana.

So far the Administration hasn't really addressed the question of the Mexico drug war, and I'm sure they never will in a substantive way.

This Administration has showed no interest in reigning in the secret police who run the vast DHS at astonishing and basically unaudited expense; they've shown little interest in punishing or even policing the criminals who crashed our economy by looting the financial system; no interest in identifying or punishing the Americans who tortured to death innocent men in Abu Ghraib or Gitmo; no interest in protecting whistleblowers who have revealed crimes committed by the US Government and of course no interest in prosecuting those government criminals so revealed - and this Drug War is a massive money mill for hundreds of thousands of evil people. mostly men, all over the United States, there are all sorts of psychopaths in uniforms whose fancy cars and big guns are paid for by our tax money and would be out of a job if they weren't being paid to ruin people's lives over nineteenth century laws.

Why would the Administration address the Drug War?

No one wants to address the drug wars except the people most directly affected by it, and they are forced to vote for the current Administration or no one because of the open hatred of the poor and the veiled fear people of colour that is characteristic of the Republican party - it's good for everyone else!

I can sit in my apartment in Williamsburg and smoke a little weed, and even if any cop cared, it'd only be a ticket if it's in my house and less than half an ounce, and what do I have to do with the drug wars in Mexico(*)? All those cops get cars and much better weapons, and the drug dealers make more money and get better weapons, everyone has to replace their weapons every few years and the weapon guys get more money yet again, we're filling prisons faster than we can even build them! It's good for everyone except the poor and colored folks, but they should be used to it (and queers and cripples and the mentally ill and those sorts of people, but they should be used to it too).

And the next Administration, Republican or Democrat, Obama or not, will do just the same thing, as Bush and Clinton, until the whole shitcan collapses.

I'm old and cynical, I think a lot about history, so let me save you reading the next few years' newspapers on this. Here's how the Mexico drug story will go. And don't think I like it.

1. The violence will continue to escalate until something so awful happens that whatever Administration we have cannot avoid acting.

2. A new joint-country law-enforcement program will be announced, perhaps with a catchy name like "The Surge", which will involve a lot of security/"police" money from the US and a small amount of money spent on prominent Good Works.

3. There will be US police more or less permanently in Mexico - the 13% of Mexicans who still think that the US is a positive force in the world will continue to dwindle.

4. The violence level will drop back to steady 2005 levels (still bad), partly because of all the police, partly because these things burn themselves out in the same way a disease does (so many people die that the only remaining ones simply won't get involved in gangs at all).

5. There will be an article about the Drug War in Mexico once or twice a year in the Times and affluent Americans will feel Informed and superior to the greasers while while smoking pot and snorting cocaine.

6. But the one thing the US Government will never ever do is admit that the century-long drug war which has claimed millions of lives is anything less than completely morally and practically the Right Thing To Do.


Since I'm prognosticating the near future, let's go all the way and predict that there's a good chance that the US will annex Mexico within the next 10 years and very likely in the next 30. The reason is resources - sure, they have oil (6th largest producer in the world though they hit peak oil in 1994) and tons of mineral resources, yes, but it's also a huge and fertile area that's underutilized and undeveloped, two-fifths forests, lots of fresh water...

US politicians on either "side" have already speak mainly in terms of might makes right - as resources become more scarce and Republicans and Democrats alike get more warlike, it's only a matter of time.

If Mexico's drug war continues to grow (how could it GROW?! from this? but we said that before?) your average Mexican might even resign themselves to American troops in the streets as being better than the narcoterroristes.

--

(* - awright, it's hydro and almost certainly domestically-grown but I'm still somewhat implicated in the underground economy...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:01 PM on May 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


Last, I'm personally at a point where I would like to see American troops in Mexico, helping our southern neighbors wipe out these gangs.
What do you think would happen when U.S. troops kill civilians? Do you seriously think it would be an improvement to the situation? I seriously doubt Mexicans would want our troops there to begin with.

The solution is to end the war on drugs. In fact, the Mexican government actually tried to this in the past decade and they chose not to due to pressure from the bush administration. Had they chosen legalization we might not be seeing this high level of crime and violence.

And let's not forget that most of the guns they are using came from legal guns shops in the U.S.
That teacher really is a hero and I wish U.S. citizens were more able to effect policy changes and stop this war.
it's the U.S. government that's driving a lot of this policy. The U.S. uses diplomatic pressure to make other countries keep drugs illegal, when they probably otherwise wouldn't. Especially in Mexico.
posted by delmoi at 7:30 PM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Since I'm prognosticating the near future, let's go all the way and predict that there's a good chance that the US will annex Mexico within the next 10 years and very likely in the next 30. The reason is resources - sure, they have oil (6th largest producer in the world though they hit peak oil in 1994) and tons of mineral resources, yes, but it's also a huge and fertile area that's underutilized and undeveloped, two-fifths forests, lots of fresh water...

Are you out of your fucking mind? What do you think us Mexicans would do, seriously? This is a sovereign country with 3,000 years of history and a cultural identity that has nothing to do with the US. It would be akin to the Germans occupying France. Please tell me you're joking.
posted by Omon Ra at 7:34 PM on May 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


(* - awright, it's hydro and almost certainly domestically-grown but I'm still somewhat implicated in the underground economy...)

This is true but ultimately not very helpful. Yes, the consumption in the US is what drives demand and therefore suppliers, but blaming drug users for the Drug War is like looking through the wrong end of a telescope. You can feel guilty if it helps you personally, I guess. But shifting the blame of the Drug War to individuals is the same thing the policy of the Drug War does by attacking the symptom of what is at worst a health issue by putting people in prison over possession and trafficking in the black market, rather than trying to minimize harm and deal with the situation realistically and eliminate the black market entirely. Again, feel guilty if you like, but it's not possible to lecture and guilt trip every individual who might use drugs and change their minds, so not sure what good could come of that. Well, Nancy Reagan tried, but ...
posted by krinklyfig at 7:51 PM on May 30, 2011


The answer, of course, is moar guns. Even if it isn't, that's what's really gonna happen, so might as well get out in front of the parade and proclaim myself drum major.
posted by telstar at 8:16 PM on May 30, 2011


I'm all for personal freedoms and that includes the right to ingest drugs as one sees fit, and because of that I support ending the war on drugs and legalizing most of them. But I don't see how doing so would suddenly upend the narco gangs. If the U.S. just legalized marijuana, then the gangs would direct all their energies into smuggling cocaine and heroin and whatever else. And if we legalized those too, they would certainly be very strictly controlled and heavily taxed. That would leave an enormous vacuum to be filled by black markets. These frequent calls to end drug prohibition, as if doing so would suddenly end all the criminal activity associated with drugs, seem very simple minded and naive.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:21 PM on May 30, 2011


But I don't see how doing so would suddenly upend the narco gangs. If the U.S. just legalized marijuana, then the gangs would direct all their energies into smuggling cocaine and heroin and whatever else. And if we legalized those too, they would certainly be very strictly controlled and heavily taxed.
Well, look at what happened to the mafia after prohibition ended. The amount of money they were making went way down, and importantly, the amount of killing went way down as well. Even if they continued as organizations, there would be far less of an impetus for violent behavior.

A big reason they're so successful is because they can bribe the police. But without drug money, how will they do that?

As far as taxation leaving a vacuum, well first of all why would the taxes be that high? And second of all, how many people get killed in fights over un-taxed moonshine? Or untaxed cigarettes?
posted by delmoi at 8:25 PM on May 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


A big reason they're so successful is because they can bribe the police. But without drug money, how will they do that?

They will still have the drug money from heroin and cocaine and/or meth. Who's going to legalize that?

As far as taxation leaving a vacuum, well first of all why would the taxes be that high?


States and local communities would see them as huge revenue earners and tax the hell out of them. They would also want to recoup the costs of having to provide more drug treatment centers and distribution and control systems through taxation, as well as use taxes as a means to discourage drug use.

This was one of the flaws of the argument to legalize pot in California. The proponents were saying the increased revenue from taxes would help sort out the budget shortfall, but of course setting up the systems to distribute and monitor the drug would be expensive and the costs passed on to drug sales through taxes. That would force up the price, which would just be undercut by home growers and/or illegal importers.

And second of all, how many people get killed in fights over un-taxed moonshine? Or untaxed cigarettes?

There's not much moonshine or black market cigs being sold in the US because of the ATF. But they wouldn't be able to stop the drugs gangs looking to undercut prices by smuggling their goods across the border.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 11:12 PM on May 30, 2011


Getting hung up on the drug angle here is a mistake. This is not a drug problem, it's a violence problem. The violence arises from groups defending their share of the astronomical profits to be made. If Lego blocks were made illegal while a large population of the world demanded them, we would be fighting a War on Legos.

Drugs happen to be a kind of perfect storm, though. They are extremely small, easily transported, and in very high demand. If we couldn't stop bootlegged liquor, which is much more difficult to transport, how do we figure to stop weed or coke or heroin?

The only sane way to approach this kind of situation is remove the crazy profits. Will that remove the problem completely? No. But far fewer people would be willing to kill or be killed for more realistic profits.

As a bonus, the enforcement money saved could be used to treat the demand side of the equation. It could be spent to help people with drug dependencies - finally treating drugs as the health problem they are instead of the criminal problem they are not.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:23 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


> They will still have the drug money from heroin and cocaine and/or meth. Who's going to legalize that?

I think these drugs are very bad but I still think their abuse should be considered a medical problem. Yes, I would decriminalize even these drugs, force addicts however to consume them in controlled environments, divert the money from drug dealers to treatment...

But that's irrelevant. The pot market is as big as all of these put together. If they simply legalized pot, they'd suddenly have several times as much money to enforce the rules on these other drugs.

If drug dealers were only selling "bad drugs" it would also serve to marginalize them more... my circle of friends includes more people who have sold drugs at some point or other (usually a decade or two ago) than I can even count, but that's basically pot and psychedelics.

> This was one of the flaws of the argument to legalize pot in California. The proponents were saying the increased revenue from taxes would help sort out the budget shortfall, but of course setting up the systems to distribute and monitor the drug would be expensive and the costs passed on to drug sales through taxes. That would force up the price, which would just be undercut by home growers and/or illegal importers.

No. 100% wrong, 0% correct.

Consider tobacco which is quite similar to marijuana and is restricted in almost exactly the way pot would be. There's already a whole system to distribute and monitor the drug, it costs very little, for that matter you could expand it to include pot but the main point is such a system exists already and is a huge revenue generator for the government.

Absolutely, there's a real market for bootleg cigarettes, and they certainly exist, but I personally have never known anyone to buy them... it's a tiny problem that law enforcement handles fine.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:45 AM on May 31, 2011


The comparison with Baltimore is inadvertently really illustrative. Not because the violence in the two cities is similar -- but because it isn't.

I quipped about those two cities not to draw a perfect parallel but merely to respond to "Man, we Americans have it good." Not all of us American have it so good. I love Baltimore, but I do so at my comfortable 60 mile distance, coming and going to enjoy the culture and architecture at my leisure and never going near some of the worst spots. Many of those people don't have that luxury and their lack of choices started at around 3 minutes old and will never improve.

If I had to choose obviously I'd take the violence levels in Baltimore and gift card embezzling corruption over Monterrey's problems and violence level. But that doesn't make the life of some of the people in Baltimore "good" and it doesn't make me complacent about the problems here in the US.
posted by phearlez at 12:57 PM on May 31, 2011


Since I'm prognosticating the near future, let's go all the way and predict that there's a good chance that the US will annex Mexico...

Are you out of your fucking mind? What do you think us Mexicans would do, seriously?


What if -- and this is a real what if, not intended to be taken seriously -- an offer of statehood was made? Mexico, the sovereign nation, ceases to exist, and the U.S. gets 32 new states, each accorded the same rights as the others (e.g. full interstate trade on the U.S. dollar, two Senators and Congressmen accorded to their populations, Social Security benefits, a Federal income tax, etc, etc.).

Besides the question of how to make a flag with 82 stars ... would it fly? Would some states be eager to give it a shot, while others would push back from the table in disgust?

(Let's say for argument that the entirety of the U.S. greets this idea with enthusiasm ... which won't ever happen).
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:10 PM on May 31, 2011


Mexico, the sovereign nation, ceases to exist, and the U.S. gets 32 new states, each accorded the same rights as the others (e.g. full interstate trade on the U.S. dollar, two Senators and Congressmen accorded to their populations, Social Security benefits, a Federal income tax, etc, etc.).

The Tea Party wing of the Tea Party would be one giant *ASPLODE*!! There is no way in hell the "red-blooded true" Murrkins are giving all their hard-earned freedoms to "those" people.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:36 PM on May 31, 2011


"Absolutely, there's a real market for bootleg cigarettes... it's a tiny problem that law enforcement handles fine." I don't know that many smokers but of the ones I do know at least half smoke only untaxed Indian smokes. I guess it just depends where you live.
posted by arse_hat at 2:09 PM on May 31, 2011


Bootleg smokes are a lot bigger business than you think. I live in Virginia, where cigarette taxes are very low in comparison to most states. A carton of Marlboros runs about 48 dollars.
(I remember when a carton was 3 bucks.)

We're always hearing about operations loading up vans with cigarettes bought here to sell up north. Get them safely to New York and you can pretty easily double your investment. Supposedly the Mafia is a pretty big player.

People with habits (an ongoing expense), be it drugs or booze or cigarettes, will always seek the path of least resistance.

(I switched to rolling my own a few years ago.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:31 PM on May 31, 2011


The Tea Party wing of the Tea Party would be one giant *ASPLODE*!!

Which is why I included the line "Let's say for argument that the entirety of the U.S. greets this idea with enthusiasm ... which won't ever happen."

You do actually read what people are writing, yes? ;-)
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:36 PM on May 31, 2011


I think it's about as likely as all the U.S. states okaying a move to be absorbed by Canada, and all Canadian provinces likewise okaying it. Which is to say, unlikely to the point of no, absolutely not.
posted by rtha at 3:58 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


You do actually read what people are writing, yes

Why ever would I do that? Seriously though, the idea of the US just absorbing Mexico is kinda absurd on the face of it.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:17 PM on May 31, 2011


It's just a thought experiment.

Sheesh, you're no fun at all.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:08 PM on May 31, 2011


What if -- and this is a real what if, not intended to be taken seriously -- an offer of statehood was made?

Thing is with these weird speculations, which involve a lot of strange wishful thinking, is that that's how the US gets into situations like the Contas in Nicaragua, the whole supporting dictators in Latin America, and finally the whole "we'll be greeted as liberators" in Irak. It sounds weirdly logical in principle, but it isn't.

There is this subtext of: "given how rich and successful and powerful the US is, why shouldn't we be able to tell other countries how to live, how to have a democracym etc? Who wouldn't want to join us, and be like us, given how wonderful we are? You would be crazy not to. Trust us. It's the right thing".

The problem with these kinds of fantasy arguments is that they are made with little or no knowledge of the country in question.

So yeah. In the fantasyland where Mexico is sort of like a mythical failed state from Africa, where everybody is dying of hunger, and where there is zero infrastructure, maybe it makes sense to join with the US or be occupied by US soldiers. Otherwise, it's kind of a weirdly ignorant supposition.
posted by Omon Ra at 9:31 PM on May 31, 2011


In the fantasyland where Mexico is sort of like a mythical failed state from Africa

Up until 2000, Mexico had been under wildly corrupt, one-party rule for 70 years. The ruling party only lost power after a massive economic crisis, which required a U.S. bailout. The analogy to a failed African state is actually kinda on the money.

where everybody is dying of hunger

Maybe not hunger, but does more than 10,000 murders in 2010 count? This is about, oh, twice as violent as Iraq at the height of the post-2003 invasion period. And it's happening right next door to the U.S., where the murder rate has declined every year for the past 20 years (and no one really knows why).

and where there is zero infrastructure

According to the 2000 census, half of the people in Mexico receive water service only intermittently. Only about a third of the wastewater is treated. The rest goes ... somewhere. There's a reason they invented the term "Montezuma's revenge."

Otherwise, it's kind of a weirdly ignorant supposition.

So, I'm a jackass for asking questions I stated ought not be taken seriously? Umm ... all right ... umm ...you smell bad and your mother dresses you funny. Nyah.

Earlier in the thread, people wondered how much the U.S. would step in to address the crime issue. It's not "ignorant" to speculate on what it would look like to take several more steps. An idea to be taken seriously? Hell no, and I said so. Ignorant? Well, it looks like only a few of us have actually been to Mexico, perhaps outside of Cabo and Cancun.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:18 PM on May 31, 2011


It's not "ignorant" to speculate on what it would look like to take several more steps.

No, it's not ignorant to do that. What's ignorant is speculating that one of those steps should be an annexation of Mexico to the US.

...By the way, it's Moctezuma, not Montezuma.

And not that you mentioned it, but the singular of tamales is tamal, not tamale. pet peeve
posted by CrazyLemonade at 10:48 PM on May 31, 2011


C'mon, you guys. I'm sure the Mexicans will greet us as libertadores.
posted by ryanrs at 12:12 AM on June 1, 2011


Up until 2000, Mexico had been under wildly corrupt, one-party rule for 70 years. The ruling party only lost power after a massive economic crisis, which required a U.S. bailout.

Uh, see this is such a simplification it's obvious that you don't have a very deep grasp of the facts. The PRI party had been in crisis almost since the 70s. (Thanks for the money, btw, which, if you recall, we repaid with interest). That particular economic crisis was in 1994. The elections were in 2000 (I voted), and the country had stabilized by then. The PRI was going to fall one way or another.

Also, not all corruptions are equal. A corrupt Mexico has nothing to do with a corrupt Egypt. The US brought the worldwide financial markets almost to a breaking point, in part because of corruption, and nobody expects a failed state there.

Maybe not hunger, but does more than 10,000 murders in 2010 count?

¿So? Culture is culture, sovereignty is sovereignty. In your initial question you said "What if an offer of statehood was made?" (And, nice of you to make one entire country of 111 million people one state btw :P) Well of course the majority of the people would say "que se chinguen los gringos". Do you know of any country with a population that is culturally dramatically different from the host country, that has asked to be annexed? Austrians were kind of ethnically german; Hawaii was taken by force; and the majority of the population of the Republic of Texas came from the US.

According to the 2000 census, half of the people in Mexico receive water service only intermittently. Only about a third of the wastewater is treated. The rest goes ... somewhere. There's a reason they invented the term "Montezuma's revenge."

No Mexican gets Montezuma's revenge unless they have been out of the country for a very long time. We develop an immunity towards the particular microbes that affect everyone else. Americans filter their water according to more stringent regulations. It's debatable wether those are better regulations.

Also, Mexico is 56 in the UN Human Development Index, 9th in the Americas (Barbados, for example, is higher, but it's a tiny country; Brazil is 73, South Africa 110, India 119. Most people, even fairly poor people, have acces to cell phones, television, electricity, education, etc. The majority of the country is urban. I'm not saying it's all peachy, it's clearly not, but it's neither Subsaharan Africa nor India.

Earlier in the thread, people wondered how much the U.S. would step in to address the crime issue. It's not "ignorant" to speculate on what it would look like to take several more steps. An idea to be taken seriously? Hell no, and I said so. Ignorant?

I guess you can speculate all you want, but it's sort of like speculating how many steps would it be needed for the USSR to come back and annex all the countries in it's periphery. Argue it, fine, it's just kind of stupid.

But allright, I'll play. What would happen if the US asked Mexico if it wanted to be annexed. Answer: Mexico would say "No".
posted by Omon Ra at 5:26 AM on June 1, 2011


The analogy to a failed African state is actually kinda on the money.

Omon Ra has this totally covered, but I'll add a vote for "are you high?" Seriously, spend some time in Mexico. Spend some time in (or at least read about) actual failed states. Mexico has a lot of problems, some of which predate the conquest. But it has had functional governance for all of that time, including the present. The current violence is not a failure of the state -- it's the construction of a parastate apparatus (the narcos), fueled by the free flow of guns and money from the US. It's a phenomenon that could happen in the US, too, given the right preconditions.

And like OR says, Mexico is quite highly developed -- it's not all sepia tones and dust, like in movies like Traffic. But I don't care if every person there lived in a geodesic dome and drove a flying car; it will always have a central place in the American imagination as dirty, poor, and backwards. It's how the US has thought about Mexico since before the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

No Mexican gets Montezuma's revenge unless they have been out of the country for a very long time.

Sadly, not true. Mexicans get intestinal issues all the time, as do locals everywhere. I've read research suggesting that these issues are more from other parts of the oral-fecal cycle than untreated water -- your waiter failing to wash his hands after crapping is enormously more risky to your health than the water system being inadequately treated, for example.

But allright, I'll play. What would happen if the US asked Mexico if it wanted to be annexed. Answer: Mexico would say "No".

Very, very true. Except that I think it would be a resounding "fuck no!" instead.
posted by Forktine at 5:45 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


But allright, I'll play. What would happen if the US asked Mexico if it wanted to be annexed. Answer: Mexico would say "No".

Very, very true. Except that I think it would be a resounding "fuck no!" instead.


Apparently it would be "No, are you high?"
posted by phearlez at 7:35 AM on June 1, 2011


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