Mexico: Narco-Violence and a Failed State?

Transaction Publishers
9
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* Mexico was named an Outstanding Academic Title of 2010 by Choice Magazine. Bloodshed connected with Mexican drug cartels, how they emerged, and their impact on the United States is the subject of this frightening book. Savage narcotics-related decapitations, castrations, and other murders have destroyed tourism in many Mexican communities and such savagery is now cascading across the border into the United States. Grayson explores how this spiral of violence emerged in Mexico, its impact on the country and its northern neighbor, and the prospects for managing it. Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) ruled in Tammany Hall fashion for seventy-nine years before losing the presidency in 2000 to the center-right National Action Party (PAN). Grayson focuses on drug wars, prohibition, corruption, and other antecedents that occurred during the PRI's hegemony. He illuminates the diaspora of drug cartels and their fragmentation, analyzes the emergence of new gangs, sets forth President Felipe Calder�n's strategy against vicious criminal organizations, and assesses its relative success. Grayson reviews the effect of narcotics-focused issues in U.S.-Mexican relations. He considers the possibility that Mexico may become a failed state, as feared by opinion-leaders, even as it pursues an aggressive but thus far unsuccessful crusade against the importation, processing, and sale of illegal substances. Becoming a "failed state" involves two dimensions of state power: its scope, or the different functions and goals taken on by governments, and its strength, or the government's ability to plan and execute policies. The Mexican state boasts an extensive scope evidenced by its monopoly over the petroleum industry, its role as the major supplier of electricity, its financing of public education, its numerous retirement and health-care programs, its control of public universities, and its dominance over the armed forces. The state has not yet taken control of drug trafficking, and its strength is steadily diminishing. This explosive book is thus a study of drug cartels, but also state disintegration.
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About the author

George W. Grayson is the Class of 1938 Professor of Government at the College of William & Mary, an associate scholar at Foreign Policy Research Institute, and a senior associate at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. He is the author of Mexico's Struggle with Drugs and Thugs and Mexico Narco-Violence and a Failed State?

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Additional Information

Publisher
Transaction Publishers
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Published on
Dec 31, 2011
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Pages
275
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ISBN
9781412815512
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Latin America / General
History / Latin America / Mexico
Political Science / International Relations / General
Political Science / Political Freedom
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Mexico is in a state of siege. Since President Felipe Calderon declared a war on drugs in December 2006, more than 38,000 Mexican have been murdered. During the same period, drug money has infused over $130 billion into Mexico's economy, now the country's single largest source of income. Corruption and graft infiltrate all levels of government. Entire towns have become ungovernable, and of every 100 people killed, Mexican police now only investigate approximately 5 eases.

But the market is booming: In 2009, more people in the United States bought recreational drugs than ever before. In 2009, the United Nations reported that some $350 billion in drug money had been successfully laundered into the global banking system the prior year, saving it from collapse.

How does an "extra" $350 billion in the global economy affect the murder rate in Mexico? To get the story and connect the dogs, acclaimed journalist John Gibler travels across Mexico and slips behind the frontlines to talk with people who live in towns under assault: newspaper reporters and crime-beat photographers, funeral parlor workers, convicted drug traffickers, government officials, cab drivers and others who find themselves living on the lawless frontiers of the drug war. Gibler tells hair-raising stories of wild street battles, kidnappings, narrow escapes, politicians on the take, and the ordinary people who fight for justice as they seek solutions to the crisis that is tearing Mexico apart. Fast-paced and urgent, To Die in Mexico is an extraordinary look inside the raging drug war, and its global implications.

"Gibler's front-line reportage coupled with first-rate analysis gives an uncommonly vivid and nuanced picture of a society riddled and enervated by corruption, shootouts, and raids, where murder is the 'most popular method of conflict resolution.' . . . At great personal risk, the author unearths stories the mainstream media doesn't–or is it too afraid–to cover, and gives voice to those who have been silenced or whose stories have been forgotten." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Gibler argues passionately to undercut this 'case study in failure.' The drug barons are only getting richer, the murders mount and the police and military repression expand as 'illegality increases the value of the commodity.' With legality, both U.S. and Mexican society could address real issues of substance abuse through education and public-health initiatives. A visceral, immediate and reasonable argument." —Kirkus Reviews

"Gibler provides a fascinating and detailed insight into the history of both drug use in the US and the 'war on drugs' unleashed by Ronald Reagan through the very plausible – but radical – lens of social control. . . . Throughout this short but powerful book, Gibler accompanies journalists riding the grim carousel of death on Mexico's streets, exploring the realities of a profession under siege in states such as Sinaloa and just how they cover the drugs war." —Gavin O’Toole, The Latin American Review of Books

John Gibler is a writer based in Mexico and California, the author of Mexico Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt (City Lights Books, 2009), and a contributor to País de muertos: Crónicas contra la impunidad (Random House Mondadori, 2011). He is a correspondent for KPFA in San Francisco and has published in magazines in the United States and Mexico, including Left Turn, Z Magazine, Earth Island Journal, ColorLines, Race, Poverty, and the Environment Fifth Estate, New Politics, In These Times, Yes! Magazine, Contralínea, and Milenio Semanal.

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