Often the first barriers to international cooperation are our more primordial walls, our tribal instincts developed through the different languages we speak and customs we practice. Mexico is a country with diverse groups of interest operating within, even isolated the armed groups from the unarmed activist or religious movements, it is still important to distinguish within these the difference between armed vigilante community watch programs, activist groups fallen to defensive stances due to past abuses, rural inhabitants who still maintain a tradition of owning firearms, as well as the actual diverse criminal groups themselves. The groups and powers with conflicting interests are as diverse as the several prehispanic tribes that once warred among themselves even long before more interests introduced themselves subtly or forcefully, such as the Catholic church and diverse religious movements through the Spanish, the wars of the 18th century which included extensive combat with American and French troops during their respective wars, and now private interests intruding upon Mexican life in the way of not only criminal groups, but commercial interests.
Subcommandant Marcos, of the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional, or EZLN movement, which broke their pacifism during the 90s in response to government aggression against rural agriculturalists during the mid 90s following the signing of the NAFTA trade deal. They continue to maintain armed patrols of their territories in the state of Chiapas to avoid the intrusion of criminal or government related groups which may desire to displace or abuse the native population.
Doctor Jose Manuel Mireles, doctor, social activist, unfortunately scandals came to light regarding his personal affairs but was prominent in the formation and leadership of vigilante community defense groups in rural Michoacan to combat criminal interests and government corrupt allies of theirs which had a strong previous presence, using their position to illegally mine and deforest segments of territories belonging to indigenous peoples and civilians, forcefully displacing them when need be to avoid interference to such operations as well as drug growth, manufacturing, and transport. Pivotal to the dissolution of the Knights Templar drug organization that once dominated the criminal scene of the state of Michoacan, though it must be noted there remains strong criminal presences in other areas of the state, but Cheran and few others continue to remain a bastion isolated from the rest of Mexican society safeguarded by civilian vigilantes acting in self-defense of their lives and communities.
Because of this, a wide-scale military deployment from either the United States, or The United Nations, would not be suitable, and would be quite destructive, to community and social life of Mexico given the complexity, and size of such a response, would lead to countless incidents of abuse, misfortune, and accident. But the gravity of the situation is such that Mexico would be unlikely to successfully deal with the issue of violent criminal activity on it’s own, given how such interests penetrate public institutes, and the way that criminal groups operate sans borders, not for any national interest but in the interest of economic gains for the group and ultimately oneself, the war on drugs having given to them so much power through financial gains as it has continued to fail, and drug-use has not come to fall.
So it is such that, though foreign intervention caused the issue and escalated the situation, it is still a requirement to confront such horrors, for them to have a hand in picking up their own trash.
Emily Blunt in the movie Sicario, while the city of Juarez no longer resembles the situation portrayed in the film, not since years past, the first movie in the series is a critical analysis of the American interventionist strategy in Mexico as well as an ugly reveal of the brutality of drug violence. The second movie, Sicario 2, being nothing more than a neo-nazi white supremacist masturbatory fantasy of an action movie with little to no basis in reality, taking a steep turn into violent fantasy.
To the disappointment of many, foreign intervention should continue to be limited to what it has already been, but more tightly regulated and transparent given how conflicting interests arising from even the same country, the United States, have come to even be detrimental to each others goals. The infamous Operation Gunrunner, foolishly spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Agency, DEA, directly contributed to the proliferation of arms among Mexican criminals with the goals of tracking by serial numbers these weapons after they had been caught used in a criminal act or found by government agencies, to map how far they may come to reach. This, not only directly contributed to violence, but opened the possibility for such arming of criminals to lead to the same weapons killing not only Mexican nationals be they innocent or opposing criminals, but foreign agents of the DEA or other intelligence services as well. The Central Intelligence Agency has also been known, not just to assist Pablo Escobar directly with the use of military cargo planes for cocaine distribution in the past, but also for agents acting in their representation to come to ally with and promote the interests of criminal groups, even coming to party abusing hard drugs and prostitutes alongside criminal gang members to fortify a working relationship during their operations in Columbia and Guatemala.
Foreign teams should be limited to intelligence agents, as well as small specialized special forces teams chosen with a preference for ethnic minorities and especially Mexican-Americans from among their armed forces, rather than armed forces members of Anglo-Saxon descent, when possible, not excluding entirely any group of persons composing their armed forces and agencies. One must analyze how, purposefully or not, not taking such factors in-mind when operating abroad in delicate situations can aggravate a situation, to give an extreme example, the Nationalist Socialist party, or Nazi party of Germany prior to 1945, would psychologically profile and select for the operation of concentration camps those members of its forces most given towards racism and xenophobia from the rural population, surprisingly enough, many Nazi’s not being racist themselves but willing to abuse the racism of others to steal the riches of a part of the civilian populace before working them to death.
Such profiling to be done with the opposite end in-mind, to strengthen communication and cooperation upon selecting bilingual individuals, upon identifying that not just Spanish but also learning Purepechen, and Nahua or other indigenous tongues may be of mission interest. All members composing a foreign intervention team from any origin should also be tested so that they may identify from Mexican history and current events, figures such as Emiliano Zapata, Porfirio Diaz, Father Hidalgo, Pancho Villa, Leonora Carrington, Lazaro Cardenas, Luis Echeverria, Javier Duarte, Jose Manuel Mireles, Subcommandante Marcos, and Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, they should also be taught to identify Mexican activist movements armed and unarmed, Mexican subcultures that can come to be involved in minor criminal activity of the type that military intervention should not interfere in given it is a police interest such as cholos and others which are not always criminal groups themselves, but disenfranchised youth taking upon a certain styling, as well as the leaders of criminal gangs they may encounter so that this knowledge can be taken into account when identifying criminal groups. They should be taught of previous destructive foreign intervention endeavors, and how they resulted in not only the proliferation of the drug war, but the student massacre of 1968, where a government black operations group composed of Mexican delinquents and Mexican military personnel hand selected for training in the United States infamous School of the Americas, infiltrated a student protest to, in a false flag operation known only to a few select military officers on the ground, open fire on the military to incite return fire which killed hundreds of civilians, the group themselves sticking to the premises overnight to murder witnesses, being families and students who lived in the apartment complexes overlooking the plaza whether or not they were involved in student activism themselves. Ultimately any offensive action should pass through the authorization of Mexican authorities first, acting intimately with foreign authorities, and when it concerns the capture of high-profile targets should be conducted ideally away from population centers and at night-time, to avoid the situation which developed recently and impeded the capture of El Chapo Guzman’s sons within the country.
The education can also come to be enriched through cultural programs, exchange programs, and financing of local and foreign entertainment media where it promotes positively cooperation among nations, community values, as well as divulges the lives and differences of different peoples communities, traditions, preferences, and music. Without itself being a tool to mask the crimes of the past, or other vulgar realities affecting present and current events surrounding many issues.
Mexico in the 1960s and 70s, was, like many other countries, alive with waves of student activism in response to institutional abuses committed by their respective governments and their underlying forces. And it is coming to be so again in many urban centers, as well as activism present in rural communities against government corruption and environmental destruction.
Much like in countries abroad, particularly the United States, but also generating friction in countries like China, India, and Chile, the militarization of police forces that has escalated hand-in-hand with both the War on Terror and the War on Drugs is an issue and threat to peace and internal stability. Here in Mexico the police forces even on foot patrol carry either a full-length automatic rifle or a carbine as armament at the very least. I’m not opposed to police forces having access to such, as well as a shotgun or other weapon with a smooth-bore launcher for rubber rounds, taser rounds, and tear gas munitions if one could hope they could be entrusted to not abuse this equipment nor to use it in a disproportionately cruel manner. But such equipment in an urban center would be better kept in the amount of 1-4 rifles depending on the size of the patrol vehicle locked within the vehicle, or in the hands of a sole specialist of the patrol with armory for the rest stored for emergencies. While accidental misfire incidents have been just about absent, police forces should be distinguished from military forces both in operation, armament, and manner of patrolling among the populace as well as interacting with them. A full switch to a smaller caliber rifle such as a sub machine gun, or simply a sidearm plus nonlethal options, would also be a viable path if a change from militarized gear were to be considered, to be changed in emphasis to more defensive, non-lethal, and smaller caliber firearms save for a few specialists with long rifles or automatic weapons.
A smaller munition would have it’s own drawbacks, considering the current armament is due to the abundance of full caliber automatic rifles as well as other equipment in the hands of the criminals they can come to face, including armed technical trucks with mounted heavy machine guns. But is a must, considering police engagement should be defensive with the use of specialized teams, akin to American SWAT teams, for offensive engagements and raids. I am of the opinion that as far as lethal fire arms are concerned, their options should be a hand gun and a full-sized rifle and shotgun kept in the patrol vehicle similar to the police patrols of European and other North American nations, there is already sub machine guns, the Hechler & Koch MP5 chambered for 9mm, in the Mexican arsenal that would make a more ideal patrol weapon than the M16, M4, FN FAL, and G36c variants currently wielded by Mexican police forces. A smaller munition would mean more chance of ricochet when impacting hard surfaces such as sheet metal, concrete, or asphalt, but also means that there is less over penetration of the target, which could result in damage to civilian life or property when a bullet breaks through a dry wall, car door, piece of sheet metal, body, or other material which may or may not have pipes and cabling running through it. A 9mm munition would instead, be stopped and embedded in more cases than a rifle munition, in the dry wall of a house or commercial point of interest, a piece of sheet metal, or a car door.
It is important that such formation of specialized teams should be undertaken not only with their equipment in mind, but also with other specialized roles related to public affairs and community outreach, such as detectives, police negotiators, information analysts, cyber security teams, which would assist in identifying the gravity of a given situation and have input on the corresponding police response so that it is not disproportionate and wasteful to resources, as well as life should a given situation escalate unnecessarily.
Concerning military vehicles and equipment more dedicated to fighting heavily armed groups, it should be of note that come times when patrols within urban centers are deemed necessary, it is not rare to to see Military trucks outfitted with gruesome Mk. 19 Automatic Grenade launchers in the gunners seat, as well as troops outfitted with M203 under-slung rifle launched grenades and personal hand thrown grenades. This is concerning, as explosives should be restricted to a given situation should it arise and not used and displayed in public as they are on patrol during regular day-to-day operations. Should that particular patrol vehicle become engaged with a hostile element while in traffic, with civilian motorists and walkers about, opening fire with the Mk.19 launcher while effective, could likely disperse shrapnel that could lacerate or kill undesired targets as well as damage civilian property.
United States Police Forces abusing pepper spray propellant devices to aggravate and torture restrained student protesters at the university faculties of U.C. Davis, come the Occupy Wall Street manifestations that went hand-in-hand with not only several issues, but the previous economic depression during the final years of the 2000s, entering the 2010s.
Mexican Army troops operating a roadblock for the revision of passing vehicles, to detain any caught with weapons or drugs in their possession. Note that the truck is outfitted with an Mk. 19 Automatic Grenade Launcher, which is not adequate for use in areas populated with civilians as far as I am concerned. Which would be better replaced, despite it’s effectiveness, with a heavy machine gun more traditionally used, the Mk. 19 saved for offensives on criminal controlled strongholds and use outside of the limits of any population centers.