Sunday, February 12

NAFTA FUELS ILLICIT DRUG TRADE (AS DO AMERICAN USERS)

In a recent post of mine -- "Two Front War On Border -- Mexico's Corruption and America's Apathy" -- I wrote:

American business' appetite for so-called "cheap labor" (only "cheap" because of heavy taxpayer subsidization) and the enormous appetite for drugs by America's legions of addicts and (pardon the euphemism) "casual drug users" exacerbates the myriad problems emanating from our corrupt neighbor to the south.

In today's edition of the Houston Chronicle, James Pinkerton (among my favorites of the Chronicle's writers) writes on the growing drug-related violence in Mexico's border town of Nuevo Laredo and an unintended consequence of the North American Free Trade Agreement:

U.S. agents say police corruption in Nuevo Laredo is a big problem, a point that Suneson concedes.

"Corruption runs deep, deep in Mexico," said Suneson, whose family has owned Marti's, an upscale Nuevo Laredo arts, crafts and jewelry store, for 52 years.

There's plenty of blame to go around.

Americans buy more than $62 billion in cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines per year, according to a February 2005 report by the U.S. National Drug Intelligence Center.

And Texas is one of the country's leading drug-distribution centers.

Fact is, people are dying in Nuevo Laredo and U.S. Border Patrol agents are being threatened (and newspapers intimidated) by Mexican drug cartel enforcers, because, in part, Americans refuse to give up their fascination with illicit drugs and the moral turpitude that goes hand-in-hand with drug use.

As one who writes often on America's porous borders and illegal immigration, and the need for far tighter border security in a post-9/11 age, I nonetheless recognize that we in America share a good part of the blame for the fact that 12 - 20 million illegals are here, that the notorious MS-13 gang operates in 33 states, that a wide network of Mexican consulates insinuate themselves into U.S. domestic and foreign policy, that our country's social fabric is being torn asunder, its educational and healthcare systems ravaged, and much of its treasure depleted because American drug use fuels drug-trafficking and many American politicians, including this nation's president, play to the interests of businesses flaunting federal law in their insatiable appetite for "cheap labor" from the south.

It's not just all about Mexico and Vicente Fox.

Much of it is about us.

And when a patriotic group, such as the Minuteman Project, tries to do something about our porous borders, our Sanctuary Cities, and our day labor sites, the president unabashedly dismisses them out of hand as vigilantes and reveals his accomodating mindset vis-a-vis illegal immigration and all that attends it.

NAFTA may well be among the root causes of all that's going awry along the contiguous U.S.-Mexico border, as the Houston Chronicle piece suggests, but many Americans, many American politicians, and much of American industry must be held accountable, too.