Past Features

October 30, 2017

The Mexican border
Do we know what is going on?

NY Times -- October 28, 2017
Mexico's Record Violence Is a Crisis 20 Years in the Making
    The forces driving violence in Mexico, which is now on track for its worst year in decades, were first set in motion 20 years ago by two events that were, at the time, celebrated as triumphs.
    First, Colombia defeated its major drug cartels in the 1990s, driving the center of the drug trade from the country into Mexico.
    Then, in 2000, Mexico transitioned to a multiparty democracy.
    This meant that the drug trade moved to Mexico just as its politics and institutions were in flux, leaving them unable to address a problem they have often made worse.
    Since then, a series of bad breaks, missteps and self-imposed crises have led to an explosion of violence. Last year there were more than 20,000 killings. This year is on track to be worse, exceeding the 2011 record, which was thought to be the drug war's apex.
    “Drug trafficking is not this violent in other countries,” Guillermo Valdés, a former leader of CISEN, the civil national security intelligence service, said in an interview in Mexico City.
    “It makes me desperate,” he said, shaking his head at his country's missteps, “because this violence, it's increasing.”
    In 2006, a new president and a new drug cartel both took extreme actions, the consequences of which are still unfolding.
    The implosion of Colombian cartels set off a fierce competition in Mexico for control of the drug trade. A new cartel, La Familia Michoacána, broke off from a larger group, then cemented its power by deploying extreme, theatrical violence. Though they principally targeted other cartels, the gruesome attacks shocked Mexico.

Glenn Spencer -- October 30,, 2017
Ignored News
    There is Fake News and there is Ignored News. When it comes to the Mexican border, the media ignore any news that might point to the need for better security, failures on the part of the government to do the job, or solutions offered by citizens.
    When American Border Patrol went to great expense to photograph and map the border fence as part of Operation BEEF --- the media totally ignored it.
    I flew all of the missions of Operation BEEF, and I produced all of the reports and graphics. As I poured over the data I discovered something --- a correlation between when the fence went in and the murder rate in Mexico.
    This time, correlation did mean causality --- but the media ignored it.
    The Integrated Fixed Tower project --- the Obama administration idea --- seems to be in serious trouble, but we would never know it from press reports.
    For fifteen yeas, I have been looking for ways to solve the border problem. Along with Mike King, I was granted a patent for one of the best ideas in border security to come along in years.
   With the exception of foreign media, my border work has been totally ignored --- even blacked out.
    A chart in a recent NY Times story shows --- as ABP pointed out --- the Mexican murder rate jumped in 2006 as the fence went in, but dropped as Barack Obama backed off from border enforcement, and increased again when Donald Trump raised the border issue during the presidential campaign --- and began cracking down after becoming president.
    As President Trump continues enforcing our border, we can expect conditions to worsen in Mexico --- making the need for his ‘wall' even more urgent - but don't expect the hear about this from our media.
    Thank goodness for social media, otherwise we would have an electorate that is totally ignorant about our border with Mexico.