Trumpismo, Mexico, and the Drug Cartels

Donald Trump is making headlines by claiming that Mexican illegal “aliens” are raping and murdering their way across America – and that the Mexican government is deliberately directing their criminals our way. Mexico’s leaders are “very smart” and ours are “incompetent” or complicit, declares The Donald, whose demagogic denunciations have catapulted him to the top of the polls. However, like much else that the reality show star says, the exact opposite is the case. It isn’t Mexico’s worst who are coming here – it’s the best who are fleeing what is essentially a failed state.

The Mexican government is failing at what is the fundamental function of all governments everywhere: maintaining a monopoly on the use of force within its own territory. Drug gangs have taken over large swathes of Mexican territory, wherein they rule like medieval lords, killing with impunity and getting away with it. Government officials are bribed and bludgeoned into submission: journalists who expose their crimes are killed and “disappeared.” The drug cartels are states within a state, and their tentacles reach into the highest levels of the ruling elites. A more perfect example of regulatory capture can hardly be imagined.

The most recent – and dramatic – example of high level corruption is the escape of Mexico’s top drug lord, Joaquin Guzman Loera, a.k.a. “El Chapo,” from a Mexican maximum security prison. His cell was continuously monitored by a video camera, but for some reason guards didn’t sound the alarm when he went over to the shower, reached down, and then disappeared into the tunnel that had been meticulously cut beneath the floor. The 60 ft. deep tunnel, almost a mile long, was fully equipped to facilitate El Chapo’s escape: complete with electricity,

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