Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Roderic Ai Camp
© 2011 Marco Pinon-Farah
THE MEXICAN HYDRA: HOW CALDERÓN’S PURSUIT OF PEACE LED TO THE BLOODIEST WAR IN MEXICAN HISTORY. WILL THE MEXICAN PEOPLE INHERIT A FAILED STATE IN 2012?
Marco Antonio Pinon-Farah
The drug-war in Mexico (2006-present) has accelerated at a chilling rate, claiming the lives of 35,000 Mexican people. Since President Felipe Calderón assumed office, Mexico has been battling an internal beast unlike any it has known, the Mexican Hydra. Like the mythical creature, the Mexican cartels have proven capable of not only combating the government forces, but also of regenerating and strengthening themselves in the face of increasing government scrutiny and the loss of several prominent Mexican cartel leaders. Feuding between individual cartels and the Mexican government continue to maintain a significant portion of the country, particularly the states of Chihuahua and Sinaloa, in a paralytic state of fear.
Struggling to maintain the safety of all people in Mexico, the military must also contend with the reality that it is often outgunned by the increasingly powerful drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs). Given the historical accusations of corruption in Mexican judicial, military, and police authorities, this branch of the government is constantly fighting for the trust and support of the Mexican people in order to fulfill its duties and obligations. The moral guide of Mexican society since Spanish conquest, the Catholic Church, has been notably missing from the debate until recent years in which it has chosen to speak up more frequently on behalf of those who have suffered human rights violations. In recent months, the Church and the State have been working towards a partnership to publicly condemn the violence and fear that has become all too common in Mexico. This state of chaos has been further examined by the musical phenomenon, “el narcocorrido,” (drug song). Derived from the “corrido,” one of Mexico’s most valued methods of cultural expression and storytelling, this new take on the genre provides a controversial view and analysis of the Mexican drug-trafficker. Much like the American gangsta-rap genre, the narcocorrido glamorizes the lives of individuals who are considered criminals by society. With police being criticized and the government accused of corruption and abuse, the narcocorrido is a manifestation of the sentiments of many Mexican people past and present. This cultural force allows for a greater understanding of the complexity of the drug-war in Mexico, in that it is not simply a struggle between the people and the drug industry, but rather it exposes the nature of the war for what it truly is, a battle between one Mexican presidential administration and the drug trafficking industry.
President Calderón’s strategy has been successful in eliminating various important Mexican DTO leaders, however it also has been responsible for a rise in violence between the cartels and government. His strategy has left thousands dead and set a precedent for future Mexican presidents in that they are now all committed to this war, for a withdrawal from the conflict would be catastrophic for the Mexican state. Calderón is already struggling to maintain his government’s legitimacy, and it is becoming increasingly true that his state verges on failure due to its inability to guarantee and protect the rights afforded to its citizens by the Mexican Constitution.
Pinon-Farah, Marco A., "The Mexican Hydra: How Calderón's Pursuit of Peace Led to the Bloodiest War in Mexican History? Will the Mexican People Inherit a Failed State in 2012?" (2011). CMC Senior Theses. 200.