Our Enemy To The South

by Diane Dimond on February 28, 2009

What Happens In Mexico Doesn't Stay In Mexico

What Happens In Mexico Doesn't Stay In Mexico

It is a politically incorrect thing to say but I’m going to say it anyway.  Mexico is our enemy.

Drug desperadoes are, in effect, running that country now and have rendered the Mexican government nearly impotent. It’s gotten so bad, for example, that the Mayor of Juarez has fled his country in fear, along with his entire family. They’ve moved to America! Just how Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz plans to govern from El Paso, Texas is not known but his safety now rests squarely on the shoulders of the El Paso Police Department .

What a metaphor for our problem with Mexico! …A quick history: In 2000, when President Vicente Fox took office he promptly arrested and jailed the leaders of Mexico’s drug cartels. Biting off the head of the snake didn’t work as planned. The gangs have been fighting each other for territory ever since.

In 2006, when Felipe Calderon became Mexico’s President he tried to regain control. But Calderon’s soldiers and police have been overwhelmed. There have been an astounding number of mob murders, kidnappings-for-ransom and assassinations of government officials ever since. More than 5,700 people lost their lives to Mexico’s drug violence last year. Some were Americans simply visiting the country.

Some of the Mexican Police Dead

Some of the Mexican Police Dead

Now, Mexico’s massive crime wave is spilling across our border in tsunami-like fashion, flooding our country with ruthless criminals who aren’t just illegally entering the U.S., they are, literally, like crime-on-the-hoof, crossing our border in the most brazen fashion and committing bloody criminal acts.

Mexico’s problem has become our problem in a big way. A recent report from the U.S. Joint Forces Command lumps Mexico and Pakistan together as being at risk of “rapid and sudden collapse.” The retiring CIA chief, Michael Hayden, says Mexico could rank right next to Iran and Iraq as the biggest challenge for President Obama. Our Justice Department says Mexican gangs are “the biggest organized crime threat to the United States.”

Hello? Is anyone in Washington listening? Is anyone coming up with a workable, consolidated plan to counter this threat and keep us safe? I suggest one great place to start is trying to curb U.S. gun dealers from selling arms to Mexican cartel assassins. Mexican authorities say the bulk of the weapons they’ve seized came from America.

During a recent trip to California a law enforcement officer I know warned me about going anywhere near the border area. “Whatever you do – do not go to San Diego,” he told me. “It isn’t safe.”

Phoenix, Arizona has now been declared the “Kidnap Capitol” of America. More kidnappings-for-ransom and bloody home invasions happen there than any other U.S. city. Almost every case is connected to Mexican drug smuggling. University students in Arizona are being warned not to take Spring Break across the border.

In New Mexico, drugs from the cartel stream in to major cities like Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Farmington severely straining police departments already struggling with budget cuts.

Cole Puffinburger

Cole Puffinburger

In Nevada last year, 6 year old Cole Puffinburger was kidnapped by Mexican gang members. They really wanted little Cole’s grandfather who had apparently run away with millions of their drug dollars. The boy was ultimately found unharmed but the brazen gunmen got away. The episode sent a shock wave through Vegas, some 400 miles inland from the U.S/Mexican border.

In Laredo, Texas, several Americans who crossed the border into Nuevo Laredo to shop or dine have never returned. They simply disappeared into the drug fueled vortex of crime that’s sucking the life out of so many innocent people.

And in Florida, a recent quadruple murder trial was held in the brutal killings of an entire family. Prosecutors say the parents owed $187,000 to a Mexican drug cartel. The Mexican assassins who came for them apparently considered their 3 and 4 year old boys as mere collateral damage.

The wicked facts speak for themselves. Crime is the major export our neighbor to the south sends us – every day – whether we like it or not. And as Mexico continues to be hit by the worldwide economic crisis, as their supply of fresh, sweet crude oil continues to be depleted and thus the outside money they get for it, the situation will only get worse.

When does America do something concrete about this?

We’ve debated immigration policy, borderline fences and beefed up border patrols. We’ve discussed de-criminalizing drugs to deprive the gangs their profit and we have poured millions of drug fighting dollars into Mexico. Still the violence comes. And we let it.

President Elect Obama Pledges Support For Mexico's Calderon

President Elect Obama Pledges Support For Mexico's Calderon

In December America gave Mexico 197 million dollars to help fight the drug cartels. In January we gave them 99 million more with a promise to keep up the payments. This is not the “change” we were promised. This is just more business as usual.

Our country is under attack by another country. If there was ever a time to call out the National Guard and have them stand shoulder-to-shoulder at the U.S./Mexican border until the threat is lessened it is now.

And, if you’re planning a vacation – I’d stay out of Mexico.

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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

DianeDimond February 28, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Albuquerque Journal Reader Wade writes:

"Hello Diane. I found your blunt statement irresponsible in light that Mexico has more reason to consider the U.S.A. their enemy since the drug cartels exist mainly to supply our population with our illegal drugs. Mostly Mexicans die from those cartels and they have the most to lose having that business exist in their country. So if we are their enemy and they are our enemy, who’s going to fight the problem? In a supply and demand system, such as illegal drugs, the problem or solution can be found on either end of the equation, supply or demand. You did not mention at all, the demand side of the issue that exists here, in the U.S.A. I commend you for addressing the arms supply issue however.

One article or approach you may consider for a future column is Guantánamo Bay. If we gave or loaned Mexico Guantánamo Bay and the methodology WE used in Iraq, justice without due process, that may work for them. They could arrest all the drug people and all arrests would be anonymous and the arresting officers would not be required to provide public evidence. Granted, innocents will get caught up in this process but the overall toil will be less on society. This would be a temporary measure only to regain control. The reason for lawlessness exists with illegal drug law enforcement, is the fact that those arresting the bad guys are then placing themselves and their families in jeopardy. Law enforcement personnel need to remain anonymous until the drug cartels becomes weak enough to not pose a threat. So consider Guantánamo Bay as a solution to the supply side. As for the demand side, well, that can be another column later. Switzerland offers some novel but controversial solutions you may want to investigate there.

Wade.

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DianeDimond February 28, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Wade,
So, you think if there weren't so many American drug addicts the Mexican drug cartel boys would suddenly behave themselves, go on the straight and narrow?
Really?
I don't agree – I think they'd just find other customer countries to sell too.
As for your suggestion on the U.S. renting out our Guantanamo facility to Mexican authorities …. Hmmmm. I'll have to think about that one. ~ DD

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Tony A. February 28, 2009 at 7:20 pm

How about some of the troops that are being withdrawn from Iraq? Some are going to another hotspot…Afghanistan.So why not the Southern border…at least these men and women are at or close to their homes stateside.The Border Patrol and the National Guard can only do so much with what they have…just a thought,thanks.

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DianeDimond February 28, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Albuquerque Journal Reader Bill K writes:

" As horrific as your message was, it's about time someone said it.. Same day paper has article re: Vancouver, Canada announcing new laws re: drug crimes due to six people being gunned down in the past month..We are being over run with these thugs yet our Government doesn't seem to want to stop it . Sure we will spend millions pretending to fight it but no one seems willing to stand up to these hoods…Look at the message sent by convicting the two border agents [agree or disagree with what they did] what bugged me was when they went to trial, the drug dealer was in jail for transporting drugs and the jury was not allowed to hear this. Then he filed suit against the Gov. FOR VIOLATING HIS RIGHTS ETC…No wonder these guys think they have free reign in this country!

Here in Albuquerque we have a Mayor and police chief in total denial as to a drug or gang problem …It's only recently that they are admitting yes we have a problem but we have it under control [Really] We have judges [federal] that hear cases and slap them on the wrist and let them go or give them minimum time…And while in prison they still seem able to run their drugs. It's getting ridiculous..I 'm all in favor of the death penalty for these guys but it doesn't seem like we have anyone in Gov't with the guts to do it..

Keep hammering on this ..someone has to take and make a stand and I'll be right there beside you.

Wonder if we could borrow some Stealth bombers and go in with some nukes and just take these thugs out.? Now I'm being politically incorrect but frankly my dear "I DON'T GIVE A DAMN"

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DianeDimond February 28, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Albuquerque Journal Reader Juan writes:

" Hello. I hope you are doing great. I am writing this to you to say that I read your article in the Albuquerque Journal about Mexico's crime and I agree with you. I am Mexican-American and You are right. USA needs to do something about it and make sure the money USA sends to Mexico is used the right way TO FIGHT CRIME. I wish someone does something about it… Thanks alot Juan"

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DianeDimond February 28, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Albuquerque Journal reader Ousama writes:

I'm the ABQ defense attorney who recently communicated with you on another topic.

Again, we find ourselves with common ground. I would point out a significant omission regarding your caveat regarding travel by US citizens into Mexico. I have not, and will not, take my family (wife and 3 girls under 10) there. I tell people that I won't go somewhere where "the cops are more crooked than the crooks." I've heard endless stories of US families being stopped and shaken down by law enforcement there having to cough up all their cash to avoid a bogus arrest.

Maybe in a future article, a series perhaps."

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DianeDimond February 28, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Yes! Several years ago my husband and I went into Mexico with another couple. We rented a van and when the other man in our party made a u-turn a constable stopped him and in broken English, literally, put his hand inside the open window for cash so the "problem" would go no further. Ashamedly, I admit, our friend did put money in the man's hand and we were on our way in no time. It has been going on for a long, long time.
I was angry at our friend at the time for capitulating – but the alternative might have been to spend some days in a Mexican jail. I'm glad I didn't have to do THAT!
~ DD

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Lyn February 28, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Well, Mexico is not on my list of places to visit! I will keep away from there. However, so many Americans love to go there….why is that? What has Mexico got (other than tons more crooks and crackpots) that the USA does not?? This country is so big and amazing that well..I feel I never have to go anywhere else in the world other than here. I am settled here and love it. I grew up in a tiny country – England – and though I love it there – I love it here more. Crooked cops – well, I think they are everywhere but the situation at the border is diabolical. To be treated like a piece of you know what – is just not on – but like you said….who's to say they won;t pull a gun on you or punch you in the face if you don;t give them money etc.

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jeff liddell February 28, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Mexico, a thorn in our side for more than the drug cartels creating problems, American jobs have also been lost to cheaper Mexican labor. I am not sure certain divisions of the government, such as the DEA and Border Patrol personnel want to see anything stopped it might cause a decrease in employment in those agencies. I may be naive to the workings of upper levels of government, but I know where there is lots of money flowing, graft exists and am quite sure that corruption in law enforcement exists on both sides of the border. And would not be surprised if money made it to some government officials also. Our military personnel swear an oath to defend against enemies both foreign and domestic, so why not create military bases along both the Mexican and Canadian borders and let our soldiers assist with this problem.

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 12:52 am

Albuquerque Journal reader Jay in Santa Fe writes:

" …. While most of your column is very cogent and factual, there is one area of contention I would raise; namely, that of your comment: "I suggest one great place to start is trying to curb U.S. gun dealers from selling arms to Mexican cartel assassins." As part of your argument, you point out that "Mexican authorities say the bulk of the weapons they've seized came from America".

Ms. Dimond, I can tell you for a fact that relying upon what "Mexican authorities say" is a short path to folly. OF COURSE they're going to say that the weapons are coming from America, because they have to pass the buck to SOMEONE and to try and present a credible argument as to why they're not doing anything substantive to combat the cartels.

….. Why would the Mexican cartels come to the U.S. to buy guns? For one thing, they can go to South America and buy fully-automatic, military grade weaponry for pennies as opposed to going to American gun dealers where they have to shell out four figures to get a weapon capable only of semi-automatic (one shot per trigger pull) fire. Also, the reports from Mexico include references to machine guns, grenades and bazookas, and I'm sorry, but I've never yet seen an American gun dealer selling that kind of ordnance. I've seen gruesome footage of Mexican gunmen killing a police officer in a jewelry store – an assassination that also killed the officer's wife, another woman who was simply in the store, and the store's security guard – and the assassins were utilizing fully-automatic AK-47s as well as a shorter-than-16-inch-barrel M-16; neither of which is available to the average American citizen and certainly not through legal firearms dealers.

Border Issues are critical to our nation, and until we focus on the real issues of the crime and violence threatening to engulf our border states we won't be able to effectively attack them. The argument that tightening American gun control laws will somehow affect the violence in Mexico is folly, and those who argue otherwise are simply making it that much harder to honestly address the problem. I would ask you to consider this as you contemplate the issues of border security."

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 2:45 pm

My Space Reader Matt from Birmingham, Alabama writes:

"Preach on, Diane. Being politically correct isn't always the best way. You're speaking the truth. How much more? That's the question that needs to be asked. Way to go Diane! "

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 3:28 pm

FaceBook Reader Richard D from New York writes:

"No! Mexico is not our enemy. The drug cartels are our enemy. Americans demand for illegal drugs is an enemy."

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 3:31 pm

So, Richard, what your saying is that if we could miraculously cure all the drug addicts in our country the Mexican drug cartels would behave themselves? No more cross border assassinations, no more home invasions or kidnappings?
Really?
I disagree – the cartel goons would just choose another target country or another form of violent crime. They'd likely start robbing American banks – so then, should we DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE BANKS IN OUR COUNTRY? Come on, the problem is THEM.
DD

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm

FaceBook Reader Jeanne V writes;

" I agree with Richard. Mexico is not our enemy. The government exploits their people. There is no middle class system per se. You are either dirt poor, no running water or electricity, or you are filthy rich. Here we have a ghetto with gangs, drug dealers, teenage prostitutes run by teen pimps, and this is curbed by many people trying to help them get out of that life. It is curbed by a Black president giving a sophisticated role model so children don't only have rappers for their heros. In Mexico, they have no social services, outreach centers, just poverty. This is where this mindset of drug cartels come from. Rebelling against the authority, which is screwed up, and the rich who could care less about the poor.

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Face Book Reader Max C from Washington D.C. writes:

"I also agree with Richard. If we would do more to deal with the rampant drug use here in the states, the cartels would not be the issue here."

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Oh Max – I wish we could do something about the "rampant drug use here in the states"…I honestly do. And, I wish we could do something about the gun shops along the border selling their death tools to the cartel assassins.
But in the meantime, what do we do as a country? The evil and violence is crossing our border, coming to get our citizenry. I'm not trying to be a fear monger here – it just is the fact.
A police officer in the Carolina's was recently targeted by the Mexican cartel! Families in Phoenix are being kidnapped, held for ransom and murdered. Little boys in Las Vegas aren't safe because of something their grandfather did!

Are we supposed to just sit back and do nothing until the "rampant drug use here in the states" is all cleared up? ~ DD

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Max C March 1, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Diane… I guess like a lot of people, I just feel that any solution that doesn't deal with the bigger problem, and just with the symptom of the problem just delays the solution. If we're going to do something, let's fix the whole problem (cartels + drug abuse). I don't want to have to keep reading about this over and over again in the years to come with no resolution.

Thanks for raising the issue! You've given me an idea for a story I can pursue here from the Federal government side that can maybe move one of the chess pieces one or two spaces ahead. I'll keep you posted! – Max

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Now THAT'S what I'm talking about! Love the give and take this site affords. Max, by the way, is a radio broadcaster in Washington, D.C. so he is in a unique position to ask for – and get – answers about important topics like this. Thanks for writing, Max. ~ DD

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Web site Reader Michael S from New York writes:

" Blaming the drug users for the mindless, inhuman violence of the drug gangsters is like blaming the rape victim for wearing attractive clothing. There are many alcoholics around the world, but Segrams doesn't go around kidnapping and killing people.

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Face Book Reader Pam B in San Francisco writes:

"I agree with Richard; Mexico is NOT our enemy and it is grossly irresponsible to make that statement!! How bigoted!!"

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 6:07 pm

Not bigoted at all Pam – just stating the facts. what do YOU call someone who illegally comes into your home, kidnaps your family, holds them for ransom, rapes and/or kills them? What do you call someone who illegally brings drugs into our country to poison our population? What do you call the Mexican government that takes billions of our dollars to fight drug violence and doesn't even get close to conquering the problem? Are these our friends, Pam? Wake up….~ DD

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Lyn March 1, 2009 at 7:44 pm

At the end of the day…..it is evident that Mexico is indeed our enemy!

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Jeannine – I don't disagree with your description of life in Mexico – although I do think there are some in Mexico who are neither "dirt poor" or "filthy rich". Just look at the working class in major cities, like Mexico city, for example.
But why is what the Mexicans have done to their country and people OUR FAULT? America has given them billions of dollars in aid over the last few decades. We've dedicated drug-fighting teams to Mexico and employed millions of their people here, whether they came into the US legally or not.
Again – how is this OUR FAULT?
Let's recognize evil as evil, shall we? ~ DD

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 11:09 pm

Albuquerque Journal Reader Dick Y. writes:

"Diane Dimond's lengthy treatise on why Mexico is our enemy because of the escalating violence along parts of the U.S.-Mexico border, and in the US and Mexico as well, provided more than two and one-half columns about the situation and one paragraph dealing with the source of the problem.

Mexico's number one export to the U.S. is not crime, it is drugs. Crime follows drugs. Perhaps Dimond should review the basic law of supply and demand, and instead of blaming Mexico for this situation look at the drug demand issue in the U.S. The complete failure in our war on drugs is summarized with the statement that we "…have discussed de-criminalizing drugs…" and that we have poured millions of dollars into Mexico and beefed up our border security. Neither of those address the problem of demand, and the fact that 95% of the weapons used in the violence comes from the U.S. is not even mentioned.

Innocent Mexican citizens are dying every day in their own country because of our drug habits. If war tactics and fences could somehow stem the flow from Mexico, illegal drugs would find their way in through other channels. She asks "When does America do something concrete about this?" The answer is when America does something concrete about our demand for illegal drugs. The problem is ours, not Mexico's.

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Gee Dick, I hope you spend some time here reading others comments and my responses. ~ DD

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 11:12 pm

Stan H. writes:

" I couldn't agree more with your column on this subject. I do feel that you left out disciplinary action for those that are responsible for much of this turmoil – the druggies and the dealers.

In my opinion, druggies should be arrested and imprisoned for a least 20 years (a nominal generation) and drug dealers should be given the death sentence, or at least, life in prison. I prefer the death sentence because it: a) prevents them from ever contaminating anyone ever again; b) cleans up the gene pool; c) sends a strong message to those who would fall into that line of 'work'; and d) put a serious dent in the distribution network of the drug cartels.

It has been a long time since this country got serious about our domestic problems (illlegal drugs, immigration, pornography, deviant behaviour, etc., etc.) and this would be a good place to start. Since it is unlikely that the present administration will do anything about it, it is time for the states to exercise their states' rights and do the job that needs doing.

I enjoy your columns – please keep it up!!!

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Albuquerque Journal Reader Martha E writes:

" … it is imperative to remember that US drug consumers are the drug wars’ very raison d’etre. Some US businesses are making millions off drug dealers, supplying them with weaponry, vehicles, electronic gear, and luxury goods not available in Mexico.

Your suggestion that all of Mexico is dangerous, and that Americans should take our vacations elsewhere is spineless, unhelpful, and insulting to our most important neighbors. Mexicans are very hospitable, they're our neighbors, and we are joined at the hip historically and culturally. They need our support now more than ever. Visitors have nothing to fear but fear itself, the most paralyzing of emotions. By staying away, we only help wreck their legitimate economy. Tourism, what the Mexicans call industria sín chimineas (industry without smokestacks) supports millions of law-abiding Mexicans. Mexico has so much to offer visitors: archaeology, history, natural beauty, gorgeous beaches, fabulous museums, wonderful food, mild weather. Apart from border areas, I feel totally safe wandering around on my own, even in Mexico City.

I read your column the morning after returning from Tulum, a veritable paradise, my fourth trip to Mexico this past year. I visited San Miguel, Guanajuato, Patzcuaro, and Ajijic on a book tour; I spent a week writing on the beach north of Zihuatenejo; I was in Mexico City in November to visit pals, museums, and exhibits.

Police have recently unearthed at least 13 cadavers of murdered women in Rio Rancho. Should that keep me from going there?

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 11:53 pm

FaceBook Reader Terry Lynn M. writes:

"It's time to take a stand, it is our future generation becoming handicapped by this invasion of drugs and cartel. It is time to 2nd guess helping out other countries and use the funds to focus on the healing of our own country and cleaning it up.!"

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Don C. writes:

" Dumb, dumb. The enemy is our stupid government's anti drug policy that promotes prohibition and fuels violence and anarchy. "

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 11:58 pm

Albuquerque Journal Reader Don D writes:

" I just don't understand, we act toward Mexico as if we were supplicants, an inferior, powerless nation dealing with an economic or military giant when just the reverse is true. Start DEMANDING the Mexican government start curing it's problems rather than inflicting them on us. Smoozing with them and having photo ops doesn't work, they have a littany of excuses for their deplorable situation and Calderon said Mexicans anywhere are still Mexicans regardless of where they are. Ok, bring them home, right Felipe?

When we have trade negotiations, I always feel like we have the attitude that we need to give more than we get, not so. The Japanese impose large tarriffs on our cars, can you imagine the howls of outrage if we put tarriffs on Honda, Toyota, and Nissan or if we taxed those cars made in the US differently than domestic manufacturers? Japanese refuse to allow our RICE into their country claiming it is inferior nutrition wise to ours which is just an outrageous lie. We cave to that nonsense. The Chinese refuse to allow their currency to float like the rest of the civilized world, exacerbating our trade deficit.

With respect to the Mexican govt. Why don't we start by demanding the Calderon government reimburse us for the costs of arresting, processing and deporting their illegals and for the cost of dealing with their cartels? No money, pay us with gas/oil from their national petroleum company, Pemex. Don't like that, confiscate any of their assets in the US or sue them in the World Court. Don

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DianeDimond March 2, 2009 at 1:32 am

Web Site Reader Mike C. in Washington DC writes:

"How about legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana? We can't afford to keep this nonsense up: it's killing Mexicans by the thousands and making criminals of Americans by the hundreds of thousands.

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DianeDimond March 2, 2009 at 1:32 am

Web Site Reader Mike C. in Washington DC writes:

"How about legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana? We can't afford to keep this nonsense up: it's killing Mexicans by the thousands and making criminals of Americans by the hundreds of thousands."

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DianeDimond March 2, 2009 at 2:02 am

Web Site Reader Jayne S wrote:
"Yes – Now that we're getting the National Guard back from New Orleans – we need effective help re our Mexican Border problem."

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Frank Praytor March 2, 2009 at 3:06 am

As we all know, the drug cartels, just as the mafia once did with alcohol, are filling demands of all those people who enjoy taking hits on illicit stuff. They rationalize the lie that they're only doing it to themselves. But they are the "demand" element that fuels the cartels. Unlike booze, however, drugs are far more sinister in the addictions they cause. Legalizing them, as many are advocating, probably would cause demand to skyrocket and the cartels probably would go "legit" — at least in appearance — and perhaps the scion of a respectable, reformed drug smuggler will become head of Mexico's Camelot family and president of that country. Such things have happened, you know. Meanwhile, back at the border: Like all disasters before, it'll get worse before we do anything necessary to make it stop. For the information of you other staters: New Mexico latinos y hispanics make great citizens and even greater soldiers. Gracias.

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DianeDimond March 1, 2009 at 11:17 pm

FaceBook Reader Barbara K writes:

""This very sensitive issue creates emotional reactions from many… all we can do is hope to make this situation better. You were brave to write the story.
Our Rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom in Las Vegas is Mexican… one of the reasons he left Mexico about 9 years ago was to give his family a better life. He has a great life here, and can be as politically incorrect as he likes! The story touched nerves… the ingredients of great writers…

Best,
Barbara Kenig

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DianeDimond March 2, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Albuquerque Journal Reader Ronald C of Los Alamos, NM writes:

"This editorial completely missed the primary problem. Indeed the primary problem is that the U.S. is importing a huge volume of illegal drugs. The sale of these drugs is so profitable that the Mexico crime families will go to any length to secure the best routes and sales points in the U.S. This crime problem will never go away while the U.S. is such a profitable place to sell these illegal drugs."

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DianeDimond March 2, 2009 at 5:56 pm

Albuquerque Journal Reader T.M.C. writes:

"THANK YOU. I would like to comment on your editorial on February 28th, 2009 concerning Mexico. I read it several times and I want to thank you for telling the truth and not worring about what people may say.
I'm sure a number of people disagree with what you said, but you were right on target.
I am sick of everything having to be politically correct and in doing so, skirt the real issues. The issue that you addressed is only going to get worse unless something is done.
If the United States dosen't be careful, this country will become the United States of Latin America."

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DianeDimond March 2, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Web site Reader Janine from California writes:

"…Mexico is not OUR enemy. They are their own enemy. And when illegal immigrants come into California, and other states, they take jobs no one else would. There aren't too many Americans lining up waiting on contractors to pick them up, or to wash cars, or to sell ice creams walking down the streets. Look I am living in CA for almost 30 years now. I see these people every day. I also work with them in social services. Time and time again we have explained to you that they are not taking advantage of our social services or our jobs.
They are taking jobs we do not want. Perhaps you should see the movie "A Day Without a Mexican." It will open your eyes to Mexicans in America. But then we were talking about Mexico being our enemy. I am not afraid of them.

In fact, I am more afraid of our own country and what the Bush administration has done to destroy our country, and our relationships in other countries."

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DianeDimond March 2, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Web Site Reader Shelley writes:

"Which came first…the drug or the drug addict? Did millions of people who had never done drugs before demand Mexicans smuggle drugs into this country? The easiest and fastest way to create a market is to sell something that makes people feel good…and if it's addictive you've hit on a gold mine. Just ask our cig and booze companies. And the drug cartels use the same methods to create customers that the cig and booze companies use. They seduce people into trying their product and once they do, they're hooked. Yeah, the poor addict is weak and should know better but the real criminals are those who feed on that weakness. Supply comes first and then the demand in the drug business.

The war on drugs is a joke. It puts money and power into the hands of criminals and you're seeing that up close and personal on the border. Anyone who thinks legalizing and controlling drugs will only create a bigger demand is not aware of the fact that those who want to use drugs can get whatever they want whenever they want NOW. Instead of pouring money into preventing the supply of drugs from getting into this country, why don't we pour money into programs to prevent the demand for that supply? And I don't mean putting drug users in prison. Prison doesn't cure drug addiction.

Our government has made a mess of this issue. They keep using the same failed methods over and over. Citizens who know nothing about the drug sellers and users and just want to kill them all don't help the problem. We need a little common sense here and we need to take the ignorance and the politics out of the equation. There are no easy solutions to the problems we have with Mexico currently. These things have been simmering for a long time and now it's boiling over. A major change has to take place here but frankly, I've lost faith in our government and people in general so we're stuck with whatever happens. Good luck and go buy a gun while you still can."

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DianeDimond March 2, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Shelley – This is the first time anyone has written about THAT angle of the drug supply/demand issue. Your words are enlightening. As another reader wrote (paraphrased) Seagram sells a lot of liquor in America…is it the fault of the company if people buy it and use it irresponsibly? Those who become alcohol addicts ARE weak, as you say, Shelley. And drug addicts are weak victims too.

My brain just won't let me blame the weak in America for the bloody violence perpetrated by the strong…in this case the Mexican based narco-terrorist.

And to answer critics who say I am racist against Mexicans in general. That's a load of crap. I grew up in New Mexico. I recognize the value and honor and integrity of good people no matter what their heritage. What I am prejudiced against are those who prey on others….criminals from every background.

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DianeDimond March 2, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Shelley – This is the first time anyone has written about THAT angle of the drug supply/demand issue. Your words are enlightening. As another reader wrote (paraphrased) Seagram sells a lot of liquor in America…is it the fault of the company if people buy it and use it irresponsibly? Those who become alcohol addicts ARE weak, as you say, Shelley. And drug addicts are weak victims too.

My brain just won't let me blame the weak in America for the bloody violence perpetrated by the strong…in this case the Mexican based narco-terrorist. Blaming the victim has never been my cup of tea.

And to answer critics who say I am racist against Mexicans in general. That's a load of crap. I grew up in New Mexico. I recognize the value and honor and integrity of good people no matter what their heritage. What I am prejudiced against are those who prey on others….criminals from every background.

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DianeDimond March 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Huffington Post reader QM2ss writes:

" I couldn't agree with you more. The Mexican government, for years, has turned a blind eye towards the U.S. while sanctioning a continuing invasion of our country by its citizens. Disregard for the laws, those of Mexico as well as those of the U.S., is a common denominator on both sides of the border by these invaders.

In So. Cal. street gangs are an overflowing menace, flooding our communities with drugs and violence. It is evident that Mexico has no intention of making any definitive move to stem this abhorrent tide. I respectfully submit that it is incumbent on the Mexican people to unify, organize and fight for the establishment of a government of, by and for the people (like we did in this country). Flocking over the fence because the grass is greener on the other side is a weak, tepid perspective on resolving their national issues.

We are losing a way of life here, timidly pressing 1 in order to proceed in English in our own country. Aside from the inundation of drugs and violence in our communities, our social services system is overburdened and closing, our wages are being suppressed and our education system is being dumbed-down in order to accommodate these invaders. There is no doubt about it, we, as a culture, are being attacked physically, economically, socially and culturally. If there was ever a time to call out the National Guard it is now."

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Mario Lorentz March 11, 2009 at 12:49 am

Dianne,
I totally agree with you that we need to dispatch the national guard to our border with Mexico. You know, this would not only cut down on violence, but it would help make our economy stronger by not sending billions of dollars to Mexico buying drugs. Also, it is a double whammy for us, because not only would we not be sending money to the south, but our citiziens would be much more productive drug-free than on drugs.
A surge at the border would be effective like the surge in Iraq. Plus, we need to stop giving money to the Mexican government, because, let's face it, they are corrupt and in the pockets of the cartels. This money is being looted as fast as it gets there. This is the same reason Bill Gates does not give money directly to the governments of African nations to help them. He has his own organization and people there to use his money properly. He knows these dictators would steel his money.

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DianeDimond March 13, 2009 at 3:34 am

Web site reader Jerry P. writes:

" I live in Santa Teresa, New Mexico (on the west side of El Paso, Texas) and have been involved in cross-border trade in the public and private sectors for more than 20 years. I recently read with interest your article titled "U.S. Must Stop Mexico's No. 1 Export – Crime”. Your article begins with the premise that Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz has fled the city of Juarez with his family seeking refuge in El Paso. You then ask the rhetorical question as to how he will be able to govern his city from El Paso, while vesting his safety on the shoulders of the El Paso Police Department.

Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz has lived in El Paso for more than 10 years. I have known the mayor for 20 years and have worked with him on various cross-border projects.

He is a cross-border lawyer who has commuted to his law firm in Juarez during this time. In the earlier part of this decade he was appointed interim Juarez mayor, due to an election controversy between the PRI and PAN candidates. During the nine months he served in this capacity, he was pilloried in the Juarez and El Paso newspapers for living in El Paso and serving as mayor in Juarez. I’m sure that you can Google existing press that covered this topic. In fact, members of Reyes’ cabinet, including his head of economic development, live in El Paso and have for years. It is not uncommon for Mexican citizens of Juarez, both businesspeople and politicians, to have a residence in El Paso.

The subject of the violence that is occurring in Mexico is a serious one that the business community on the border takes seriously. The crime wave that is occurring in Mexico is tied to the drug use in the U.S. Thus, it is a common problem that both the U.S. and Mexico must address. However, the Juarez mayor angle is not only inaccurate, but leans toward sensationalism, which doesn’t help our situation as we continue to attempt to attract new industry to our region. I am sensitive to this issue, as I have been seeing of late an alarming number of articles written by reporters/columnists who do not have a full grasp of the multiple elements at work on in the U.S-Mexico border region."

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DianeDimond March 13, 2009 at 3:49 am

Jerry:

I think I see where you are coming from. But the facts are clear. The Mayor of a foreign city has chosen to move himself and his family to another country to live FOR THEIR OWN SAFETY. I don't think its relevant how long he's had a second home in Texas

I know you want to bring industry/jobs/money back into your community there – but the BEST way to do that is to get the violence spilling out of Mexico under control.

Criticizing Op-Ed columnists for writing about the situation doesn't do much to attract new business to come in.

We agree, however, there is a serious problem there that needs addressing and I think the best way is to call in our National Guard to stabilize things. Interestingly, I heard President Obama announced today that he is considering such a move. ~ DD

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Jerry Pacheco March 13, 2009 at 11:36 pm

You are missing the point. Mayor Reyes Ferriz did not "move himself and his family to another country FOR THEIR OWN SAFETY." He has lived here for more than 10 years – longer than the current wave of violence has existed. He is a graduate of Notre Dame University and licensed to practice law in Texas, New Mexico, and California. Many Mexican families on the U.S. border own property in the U.S., as many Americans own second homes in Mexico. This is what I am trying to get you to understand. Your point about the mayor is based on wrong information that you have turned into sensationalism. By the way, I also am an Op-Ed columnist who writes the international trade/affairs column for the Albuquerque Journal, so I am not inclined to take shots at other columnists unless I know that they are wrong. I am simply encouraging you to get your facts straight before you write on a topic with which you may not fully be aware.

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Mary Clare March 14, 2009 at 12:44 am

I live in South Texas I'm about two hours from the border of Mexico. I just hope that the drug cartel doesn't come anywhere close to me! President Obama should get the national guard on the borders to keep us safe!!!!

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DianeDimond March 14, 2009 at 2:39 am

Web site reader Diane F. writes:

" Hi, Diane — add to your story this small item — often border guards are as frightening as the drug lords they protect. Two uniformed idiots tried to separate my car from me for no other reason than that they wanted it. "Get out. We're confiscating this car." I waved a plastic name tag at them and explained that I was on Texas' state business. The name tag wasn't legitimate. It was a UTEP Id. And that line I handed them wasn't kosher either but it was all I could think of. It worked. They walked away, mumbled to each other, came back and allowed me to cross, in my car.

If I can survive random rifle fire from Juarez to the UTEP campus one cold new year's morning (I did, out running the dog when someone over there — which is really over here — shot across the Rio at me), I can survive anything . . . except my country's refusal to recognize real danger in the yard.

Diane Fox

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DianeDimond March 14, 2009 at 2:39 am

Web site reader Diane F. writes:

" Hi, Diane — add to your story this small item — often border guards are as frightening as the drug lords they protect. Two uniformed idiots tried to separate my car from me for no other reason than that they wanted it. "Get out. We're confiscating this car." I waved a plastic name tag at them and explained that I was on Texas' state business. The name tag wasn't legitimate. It was a UTEP Id. And that line I handed them wasn't kosher either but it was all I could think of. It worked. They walked away, mumbled to each other, came back and allowed me to cross, in my car.

If I can survive random rifle fire from Juarez to the UTEP campus one cold new year's morning (I did, out running the dog when someone over there — which is really over here — shot across the Rio at me), I can survive anything . . . except my country's refusal to recognize real danger in the yard."

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DianeDimond March 17, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Reader Henry B. writes:

" I'm sure that a fraction of the weapons in the hands of the drug cartels have been obtained illegally from U.S. dealers. However, I'm very skeptical that the majority have been obtained that way, for a couple of reasons:

1. Mexican authorities refuse to provide serial numbers of confiscated firearms to U.S. authorities.

2. Many weapons, notably 'destructive devices' such as grenades and anti-tank weapons, are clearly coming from other sources; U. S. gun dealers cannot possibly be the source for such weapons. Speculation by the LA Times is that the sources are either from Central America or simply marine smugglers; others are also of this opinion.

Item (1) is interpreted by many to indicate that the Mexican authorities know that most of the weapons come from the Mexican military. If the Mexican government provided serial numbers to the U.S., it would be rather easy to learn not just the country of origin, but also the particular dealer, if in fact the weapons originated in the U.S."

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DianeDimond March 17, 2009 at 2:38 pm

NOTE TO READERS:

Henry B. kindly included two links to back up his conclusions. I'm not sure they'll show up as links here so – here goes.
The link to the L.A. Times article is: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-

The "Others" Henry mentions is from an Arizona source: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/03/16

Thanks, Henry B. ! ~ DD

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Chad April 11, 2009 at 10:12 am

You have no idea how correct you are about the problems in Mexico. Our borders are no where near as secure as they are lead to beleive. Our border patrol is understaffed, under equpied and overhwelmed. For every 1 they catch theres 20 more they do not. They catch the same people time and time again and all they do is get sent back to Mexico for another shot to get into the U.S. If they get caught brining 50lbs of weed across the border they send them back to Mexico to try again. The walls in place are not effective either. They have portable ramps on the Mexican side of the border, they pull up to the fence and over the fence the vehicles come. They spotters for the drug cartels know where our agents are and when it is "clear" for the smuggles to make their move. How do I know all this, agents themselves.

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