William Booth’s article in the Washington Post, “12 Federal Agents Are Slain in Mexico,” highlights yet another act of desperation on the part of the Mexican drug cartels in response to Mexico President Felipe Calderon’s strategy to break the backs of the cartels-once and for all. The cartels are lashing out like never before, because they are slowly and systematically being backed into a corner from which there is no escape. President Calderon’s attack has been relentless and unyielding. The cartels have never before experienced the likes of President Calderon, and to say they are feeling the heat is an understatement. Taking on powerful drug cartels with a global reach is dirty business, and the work ahead for Mexico’s security institutions is most likely going to get even nastier before meaningful signs of improvement are witnessed. However, there is hope.
There are vast differences between Mexico and Colombia, but there are many commonalities with respect to their wars waged against powerful drug cartels. Fifteen years ago Colombia was experiencing levels of violence similar to that which Mexico is experiencing today. Why? Because the Colombian government’s security institutions, thus its people, were threatened by the power and influence of its home grown drug cartels and terrorist groups. Colombian President Uribe, with financial support from the United States, developed an aggressive strategy to take back his country from the ruthless thugs that threatened its democratic existence. Over the past three years Colombia’s kidnappings, murders, robberies, home invasions and other violent crimes have plummeted. There is a police presence in every community of the country for the first time in that nation’s history. Tourism is flourishing in many parts of the country that had not long ago been written off as all but lost to the cartels and terrorists.
Mexico must follow Colombia’s lead and not fold under the pressure of the wrath playing out on her streets today. What is playing out in Mexico today is part of the never-ending struggle between right and wrong; the never-ending battle between good and evil. Good must and will prevail, provided Mexico does not lose the will to fight on-and win. The aid provided by the “Merida Initiative” for Mexico, just like Plan Colombia, is a step in the right direction, but the American people need to show resounding support for the war that is being waged just south of our border. If Mexico loses the will to continue this fight, then life in Mexico and the United States will change as we know it. There are a lot of brave Mexican cops and military personnel fighting and dying for our country as well as their own. They deserve our support.
Finally, there is an important lesson to be learned from all of this. Drug cartels, just like terrorist organizations, work very, very hard to destabilize governments around the globe. They rely on corruption, intimidation and violence, the hallmarks of organized crime, to create permissive environments where they can grow and thrive; areas where they can literally get away with mass murder. When government officials who have taken an oath to serve and protect, no matter what country they represent, succumb to corruption and deal with the devil-they should not be surprised when the devil relentlessly demands more – and more. That’s what the devil does for a living, and in the end innocent blood will always spill.