Mexico, te quiero!

EDITORIAL, 31 October 2011

#189 | Johan Galtung, 31 Oct 2011 - TRANSCEND Media Service

From Monterrey, DF, Puebla, Toluca

1958: My first time in Latin America, the first love, everlasting.  And what is love? Sharing the joy of the Other, like the beauty of Mexico City, DF now with clear sky and good air.  Suffering the suffering of the Other, like the direct violence (50-60 thousand killed the last 5 years: Mexico has 19 of the 50 most violent cities in the world) linked to the narco-tráfico linked to the structural violence of poverty for the lower half of the population (95 percent of the 10 million indigenous population), and the flagrant inequality.  A social pathology, a cancer metastasizing in corruption and pacts in the body politic, police, the military.

Mexico, don’t despair; there are new winds blowing.  From the north the cold air of arms, money and killing as the remedy. But the US empire is falling, and the USA itself is in bad shape.  In fact, much of the West is de-developing, en via de subdesarrollo, but still an enormous, diverse source also for the good as #occupyeverywhere show.  What a blessed geography; the major bi-oceanic country in Latin America!  The winds are blowing from Asia: winds of hope, with a Japanese-Chinese model of how to overcome misery. The winds of the Arab Spring are blowing from the Middle East carrying whispers of an African Spring in a year or two.  The winds are blowing from the South, from Latin American brothers and sisters, new winds, with the voices of the indigenous, of Mother Nature, of lifting the poor, of patient work for integration.  The “Rest” is coming.

Close to the USA and far away from God?  Not at all.  Close to all corners of the world, close to many gods, of many kinds.  With a blessed history filled with rich archetypes, blossoming universities, with ever more charming people, better educated, with so much functioning better than ever.  México mi amor, open your soul to ‘with equity’, with all.  Permit yourself some optimism.

Enters narco-tráfico.  Dear upper half member, what would you have done if your family were dying of hunger and curable diseases but you didn’t have an extra peso?  From the triángulo blanco down south to certain regions of México: produce drugs, distribute them in complex chains where drugs change hands against a commission, the higher the risk the higher the price, highest close to the border where gangs come to collect commission on the commissions before the drugs cross the border for final consumption, filling the spiritual voids of, say, 30 million US addicts.  Well, at least part of the drugs.  Hypothesis: more than half of the traders could be buying-and-selling drugs, not to buy dreams in the real economy of consumption, but for real money in the financial economy of buying and selling.

Higher up they do buying-and-selling of “troubled assets,” of “derivatives”.  But the derivado-traficantes get off scot free, even bailed out by the state, the tax-payers.  And they make more damage than their colleagues lower down in society.  There is a difference though: the banks may run out of money in a “credit squeeze” whereas there seems to be no drug-squeeze.  This matters because it limits what could be obtained by reducing consumption.

A deeply troubled México. Three aspects: social injustice, leading to drug production-distribution-consumption, leading to violence with criminal gangs-police-military infiltrating each other. They are related, but also autonomous.  Use the army–since 1978!–to kill the violent ones, and the social injustice will produce new couriers, in body parts, in children, in women.  Or put an end to drug use to consume something else that is illegal, incurs risks and hence incurs profits. Reduce social injustice and see the culture of violence wrap its articulations around something else. Kill the violent ones and see an increase in the culture of violence.  Hence attend to all three aspects, doubly!, at the same time.

To reduce misery: lift the level of the poorest in the worst communities, in the Chinese way, with micro-companies to produce for basic needs, employing those most in need–financed by Carlos Slim?–;there is enough money in Mexico for a start!  Fight narco and other traffics at the bottom by guaranteeing dignity for all.

To reduce speculation: keep a heavy control -shrinking the finance economy in favor of investment in the real economy- and fight derivado tráfico by making it illegal; but basically reduce inequality by lifting the bottom up, not by taking from the rich.

To reduce drug production and distribution: invite them to drop that and to participate in the gigantic social work for a better Mexico in return for amnesty or reduced punishment, have local police engage them one by one, negotiating individually, not with the group as a whole, impossible anyhow since there is no “whole”.

To reduce drug consumption:  make soft drugs legal following the successful Portuguese model, supervise soft consumption and weaning of hard consumption like in the USA; there will be less addicts, less violence, fewer Al Capones.  Fill the spiritual needs fulfilled by drugs for many by spiritual means.

To protect the civilian population against violence: call on the international community, the UN and the growing Latin American institutions for humanitarian intervention-assistance like peace-keeping troops in the most vulnerable communities, big and small.

To fight the narco-violence complex: call on the UN and the Latin American community to supervise and help cooperation among the countries most affected.  Not only a Plan Colombia but all of them, including México-United States-Canada, MEXUSCAN, which must deposit their plans to get out of these social pathologies–with annual reports and strong feedbacks.  Strengthen the UN capacity.

Do all six, and the future will be brighter, even bright. You owe it to yourself, to both halves of yourself. And to your friends.

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 31 October 2011.

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11 Responses to “Mexico, te quiero!”

  1. Alberto Portugheis says:

    Dear Johan,

    We share the love of Mexico, but not the understanding of the situation. The United States of America may be – by international standards – a weaker country now than it was a few decades ago, but her grip on Mexico has not weakened an inch.

    Ever since nearly 200 years now, when USA stole (what they paid for half of the Mexican territory – now California, Texas, New Mexico etc – can not be described as a “purchase”) USA has controlled and used Mexican Governments, for the exclusive benefit of the Washington Administration.

    Still today, with the approval of the UN, Mexican politicians receive handsome pay-outs and other gifts (holidays abroad, drugs, sex, etc) to help the USA agenda.

    Mexico was the ideal country to replace Panama, when Washington – through Noriega´s attitude – was losing control of drug traffic. In fact Mexican size and geographical position, means greater and easier USA control of the international drug business.

    The NAFTA Treaty (Satan disguised as an angel) was designed to decimate the Mexican economy (USA businesses came to Mexico and destroyed the Mexican industry) and to open gates (Suarez) to easy trafficking of drugs, young women and children, for forced prostitution and slavery.

    Countires in Latin America are all part of the same corruption network controlled by Washington, happy in fact to have Mexico where it is. Again for money and other favours, the country allows Colombian, Peruvian, Ecuadorian and Bolivian drugs to reach USA via Mexico. A simpler and cheaper way than via Jamaica.

    CIA and other similar Agencies, have masterminded the assassination of many a Mexican politician who opposes the current state of affairs. Most of the armed wars in the drug or corruption business are not clashes between rival private gangs but between a private gang and official drug carriers.

    The Nafta Treaty also allows Mexico to help the American Arms Trade.

    You propose the assistance of Peace Keeping Troops. To me, armed intervention to stop armed conflicts is the same as trying to stop a fire with petrol.

    All good wishes,

    Alberto

    • Steve Biko says:

      I may be late… but dear Mr. Alberto since when is peace keeping = armed intervention? Peace Keeping is still not the same as Art 6,5 if I may say so. Robust interventions are robust interventions but not Peace Keeping. Peace Keeping may have its shortcomings and all but peace keeping and armed intervention are NOT the same thing have never been never will be

  2. satoshi says:

    Mr. Alberto Portugheis says, “To me, armed intervention to stop armed conflicts is the same as trying to stop a fire with petrol.” I agree with him.

    In that regard, allow me quote two sayings of Albert Einstein as follows:

    1) “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

    (By the way, recently I read Mr. Portugheis’ book, “Dear Ahed.” A must read book for any peace-loving people.)

  3. satoshi says:

    PS. One more quote:

    2) “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.”

  4. Alberto Portugheis says:

    Hello Satoshi, delighted to know you understand my thinking. I agree with the Einstein quote you gave us, but not 100%.
    “…..same kind of thinking,,,” is exactly what causes war and what causes fear. I explain: “same kind of thinking” means “agreement on both sides”.

    In thhe same way that two parties agreed to have a game of war, the same two parties could agree to play Peace.

    Sadly, this is difficult, no matter how much the two parties involve in war want it, because of commercial and power interests promoted by politicians, on behalf of weapon manufacturers and Churches.

    If I gave a gun to each of my children, telling them
    “don´t use them, they are for self-defence only” adding “if there is a conflict between you, solve it through dialogue”, I should not be surprised if at some point, one or two of my children appear wounded or dead”. To bring the Peace Keeping Forces in, their father appearing with his own gun, what solution is it?????? with a gun I could never bring my dead children back to life.

    Scientists and engineers who work on weapon development, better bombs, faster air-fighters, etc, NEVER have “life-saving” in mind. They work to find better, faster ways of killing people. Scientists payed to develop torture instruments,so used by the Church a few years back – are not seeking ways of giving pleasure to the human race.

    As I say in my book, “no matter from each of more than a thousand perspectives I look at war, I know that with a militarised world, we will never attain Peace”. Armies promote Death, not Life.

    Nationalism or patriotism, religious and ethnic bigotry should also disappear. We need to change the EDUCATION of the human race. Buddhism does a little to contribute to this, but there aren´t enough Buddhists!!!!

    Alberto

  5. satoshi says:

    PPS

    After reading Prof. Galtung’s editorial and even after sending my previous comments, I was still thinking about what he means by “peacekeeping troops.” It seems, judging from his editorial, that the “peacekeeping troops” should protect civilians from violence. If he really means that, it is not the peacekeeping operation in the traditional sense. It is, then, perhaps the multidimensional peace operation, the contemporary peace operation or even the peace enforcement operation. It seems that Prof. Galtung expects what he calls the “peacekeeping troops” to perform a wide range of tasks, including the protection of civilians from violence (as mentioned), the fight against the narco-violence complex, to work for humanitarian assistance (and more). If he really means so, what he expects from the “peacekeeping troops” is beyond the traditional sense of peacekeeping operations. This is probably why (or at least one of the reasons why) Mr. Portugheis is against Prof. Galtung’s claim that the peacekeeping troops should be sent to Latin America.

    Let me clarify a few terms relating to peacekeeping operations or rather, peace operations, as follows:

    (1) “Traditional peacekeeping operations” (1948 – ): A traditional (or classical) type of the peace keeping operation is implemented in the area between former belligerents. The peacekeepers monitor the ceasefire, creating the political atmosphere for the negotiation of the conflict in question. This activity of the mission is based on the consent of the conflicting parties “after the ceasefire is achieved.” In short, where there is a peace, even if it is a very fragile peace such as a ceasefire, this type of peace operations can be implemented. In other words, where there is no peace including a ceasefire, this type of peace operations cannot be implemented. (Probably, Prof. Galtung does not mean, in his editorial, this type of peacekeeping operations.)

    (2) “Multidimensional peacekeeping operations” (1992 – ): Multidimensional peacekeeping operations are primarily intended to bring about a settlement of internal conflicts. This means that multidimensional operations are performed in far more complex domestic political environments. It is very often that the operations of this type include civilian components whose tasks are, for instance, humanitarian assistance, human rights monitoring, election monitoring, and/or other relevant tasks.

    (3) “Contemporary peace operations” (1996 – ): The contemporary peace operations are the result of critical reviews of the performance of the peacekeeping operations in the 1990s. New doctrine and concepts have been developed such as “complex peace operations,” “peace support operations,” or the like. The contemporary peace operations may include civilian components that perform various kinds of assignments, especially in the post-conflict situations, not just after the ceasefire. Because of that, many of the contemporary peace operations are also called, “multidimensional peace operations.”

    (4) “Peace enforcement operations”(1995 – ): A peace enforcement operation aims to create a de facto ceasefire and to facilitate negotiations among conflicting parties, by using, when necessary, coercive means to suppress the conflicting parties. It may also protect civilian populations. Some of the examples of this type of operations include NATO’s Implementation Force (IFOR) and its successor, Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as NATO’s KFOR in Kosovo. This operation requires military superiority of the enforcement forces over combined local forces. Nonetheless, even such military superiority could hardly prevent guerrilla or terrorist activities. This implies that even superior military power alone cannot solve the conflict: political solutions are essential.

    (5) The word “peacekeepers” means, in this discussion, military personnel of any type of peace operations mentioned above.

    (6) The term “humanitarian intervention” is understood as a military intervention. (“Humanitarian intervention” should not be confused with “humanitarian assistance.”) Humanitarian intervention is a military intervention as such, intending to achieve humanitarian objectives, rather than to achieve strategic objectives. This is a debatable issue; its pros and cons are debated.

    Those who claim that humanitarian intervention could be justified discuss the following cases:

    1. When large scale and grave human rights incidents occur.
    2. When the security and safety of the neighboring countries are threatened as the result of the above mentioned incidents.
    3. When the extremely poor local democracy weakens the principle of national self-determination.
    4. When all diplomatic means have been exhausted and the human cost of intervention is less than that of non-intervention.

    Those who claim that humanitarian intervention could not be justified discuss as follows:

    1. This military intervention could violate the sovereignty of the state.
    2. No principle to justify humanitarian intervention has yet been established in international law.
    3. Military aggression could be legitimized in the name of humanitarian intervention.
    4. Military intervention could leave matters worse or could draw intervening powers in the long run.

    Considering the fact that Prof. Galtung was against NATO’s military intervention into Kosovo in 1999, I can hardly believe that in his editorial he means “humanitarian intervention” as a military intervention. Perhaps, there could be confusion for him in the use of the term, but I am not sure anyway. Therefore, I do not discuss “humanitarian intervention” here anymore.

    Please note that the term “peacekeeping” has primarily been used in the traditional sense as mentioned above. However, broadened mandates of the peacekeeping operations during the 1990s and after have brought a new phase that it is no longer appropriate to use the term “peacekeeping” when the mandate includes not only peacekeeping but also preventive diplomacy, peacemaking or peacebuilding, or when the mandate is one of them other than peacekeeping. Thus, the term “peace operation” embracing all these concepts, has been employed as the replacement of the term “peacekeeping” since the end of the last century or the beginning of this century. Nonetheless, the term “peacekeeping” is still widely used to mean all the four types of peace operations. Perhaps, Prof. Galtung has used the term “peacekeeping” in this sense in his editorial above.

    Please also note that the above mentioned classification of peace operations is simplified for explanation.

    Let me pick up three issues, among others, from Prof. Galtung’s discussion. He expects the UN peacekeepers to protect local populations and to involve with humanitarian assistance.

    First: Protection of local populations: The areas of responsibility of the UN peace operation are vast. To protect the local population means that the UN peacekeepers are to fight against any local (armed) offensives, including those of local militias, of local criminal groups, etc., whenever serious incidents happen to the local population. How many peacekeepers are necessary to protect the local population living in the vast areas? Latin America is neither Bosnia nor Kosovo. Any countries in Latin America might be too huge for the conventional size of peace operations. It is very often that serious incidents occur, not in urban areas, but in remote villages/hamlets in mountain areas/jungle areas to which it is extremely difficult for UN peacekeepers to access and to protect the local population on time. By the time the UN peacekeepers manage to arrive there, all what they could see are the dead bodies of the local population and completely burned-downed/destroyed local villages or a de facto ghost village. (The local population might receive revenges from local criminal groups if the local people cooperate with the UN peacekeepers.)

    Second: Humanitarian assistance by the UN: The UN humanitarian agencies (in close cooperation with the UN peacekeepers) transport humanitarian assistance materials to local warehouses from which these assistance materials are to be delivered to local populations living in villages and hamlets. It is very often that these warehouses are attacked by local militias, local criminal groups or the like. They steal the humanitarian assistance materials from these warehouses. Then, the question here is who should protect these warehouses for 24 hours seven days a week, from any possible attacks by these local militarily well-equipped groups? The UN peacekeepers? Then, another question is how many peacekeepers are necessary to protect the warehouses? The number of the warehouses is perhaps hundreds or more, because the areas that the UN peacekeepers are to cover are huge, as mentioned above.

    Third: The proper delivery of humanitarian assistance: Humanitarian assistance might add fuel to local militias, local gangs or the like, if the humanitarian assistance materials are not properly delivered to the local population in the area. What does this mean? It means that humanitarian assistance could be a new income source for local militias, local gangs or the like, if the assistance materials are not properly delivered to the ordinary local citizens. This issue is closely related to the above mentioned second issue. Imagine as follows: If the husband (or the son) is connected with local militias or local gangs. If the wife receives humanitarian assistance materials from the warehouse, what might happen to this family? If it is the case as such, he might sell the assistance materials that his wife obtained, to the local underground market in order to buy drugs. Actually, such cases happened so far. Furthermore, it is very often that local humanitarian organizations or local communities are in charge of the delivery of humanitarian assistance from the warehouse, received from the UN agencies. It is very often that some of these personnel are connected with local mafias, local militias, etc. So, you can imagine how these humanitarian assistance materials might be delivered and to whom. During the war in Bosnia for example, people in the world watched CNN (or other international TV mass media), reporting the UN trucks transporting humanitarian assistance to Sarajevo. The fact behind was that it was estimated that approximately 70% of these humanitarian assistance materials were obtained by local political/militia/criminal groups and that only some 30% of them were delivered to ordinary local citizens. Among various kinds of humanitarian assistance materials, food and medicine are the typical targets of local militias and criminal groups. Then, who should ensure the proper delivery of these humanitarian assistance materials, even in remote villages and hamlets? The UN peacekeepers? Then, the question is the same again: how many peacekeepers are necessary to ensure the proper delivery of these humanitarian assistance materials to local populations? Even if the UN peacekeepers entrust some part of their tasks to international NGO aid workers in the field, these civilian aid workers can hardly work well in the field without the protection of the UN peacekeepers, because the field in which they work has lots of serious security problems. From time to time you hear the news about murdered aid workers working in the field.

    Please be reminded that the areas of their responsibility are vast. So, the UN peacekeepers should 1) protect local populations, 2) protect local warehouses and 3) ensure the proper delivery of humanitarian assistance materials, in incredible huge areas? Is it realistic to think that way when everyone knows that the budgets of the UN and of its peace operations are very limited? Furthermore, which country, in most cases if not all the cases, provides the UN with the substantial part of the budget and of the military personnel for the UN peace operations? The answer is the US that is also one of the permanent members of the Security Council.

    Prof. Galtung’s suggestions are great. But if a peace operation will be implemented according to his suggestions, what will it be? That is to say, to protect local civilians and to fight against (or to manage to reduce) the narco-violence complex and/or to involve with humanitarian assistance, the nature of the peace operation must be a combination of the multidimensional and peace enforcement operations. What will really happen to the local situation then, if such operation will begin? That will surely be a highly risky operation. We can learn from Iraq and Afghanistan (although their cases are not the UN peace operations). It can be said that what the US has been doing in Iraq and in Afghanistan is the “American way of the multidimensional and peace (?) enforcement operations.” Please recall what I wrote above about the peace enforcement operation: “This operation requires military superiority of the enforcement forces over combined local forces. Nonetheless, even such military superiority could hardly prevent guerrilla or terrorist activities.” Look at Iraq until recently after the US declared its military victory, the result of the overwhelming military power. Look at Afghanistan, even now. (In this regard, please note that, in general, I am not against peace operations of the UN at all. I am discussing Prof. Galtung’s editorial above, in relation to peace operations.)

    As such, Mr. Portugheis’s warning is truly precious.

    Once again, let me remind everyone of you, of Einstein’s sayings:

    1) “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

    2) “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.”

    (Perhaps Einstein was a genius of peace more than he was a genius of physics.)

    Thank you, Mr. Portugheis, for your kind words and insights!

  6. Alberto Portugheis says:

    Thank you Satoshi, for you extended and scholarly essay on the deep explanation of what Peacekeeping Forces mean. I´ll keep my discourse brief, due to work obligations.

    The UN does NOT exist for the creation – or maintenance – oof Peace in the world. After World War II, its “creators”, the League of Nations, lost all its fabricated reputation. So, this Club of Warmonging Nations decided to give themselves a new identity. Thus the United Nations were born.

    I lived for 7 years in Geneva – European UN Headquarters and don´t have enough time now to list the “many” wars, the world over, brewed there, in dirty agreements between diplomats, military people (in uniform or not) and weapon manufacturers. I´ve seen some Ambassadors become filthy rich, through “war negotiations”. UN helped many people do fabulous business thanks to the millions dead in Angola through 27 years of Civil War, by making Angola member of the UN Security Council.

    UN support Warmonger Tony Blair, because he´s fantastic at organising war´death business in the Middle East. Of course,in true UN/political style, they call Blair Peace Envoy and the gullible world swallows the pill.

    A friernd of mine, when working close to Saddrudin Khan, at the UN High Commission for Refugees, described Khan´s activities like this: “he must create refugees, so that he can justify his salary and all his trips around the world, 5 star hotels, etc. I can tell you the same about the UN High Commission for Human Rights: for one abuse they detect, 5 abuses go unnoticed by them. How come?

    Of course there a thousands of people of great integrity and true believers in Peace who work at the UN, but, sadly, they are not in command and most of the time, not even aware of what´s “really” going on.

    Anyway, the Peacekeeping Forces are paid by the same people who pay those who make war. An absurdity !!!! an oxymoron !!!!!! same as if I gave you a chocolate, but knowing that chocolate is bad for you, I gave you another another chocolate, to try to stop you from eating the chocolate I gave you first.

    Since you read my book, you may remember the UN is for me United Necrologists. (or United Merchants of Death)

    Alberto

  7. satoshi says:

    Finally, please allow me to say something briefly as follows:

    1. Latin America’s problems that Prof. Galtung discusses in his editorial above are deeply rooted in Latin America’s social structure.

    2. The UN Peace Operation? Know what peacekeepers can do. Know also what they cannot do. Latin America’s problems belong to the latter category.

    3. To solve Latin America’s problems, the society needs transformation. The transformation should come from inside the society, not from outside.

    4. Any form of intervention from outside into that society may make the current situation much worse and may create new and/or unexpected negative problems. You never know what element(s) of the current problem will bring about what result after such intervention.

    5. The transformation, even if it comes from inside the society, takes time; decades, centuries, or millennia.

    6. The society is resilient and capable of transforming itself by itself. Give it enough time.

    7. Know the reality of the society today. And have hope for tomorrow. If not tomorrow, the day after tomorrow and so on.

    8. Know that many problems, if not necessarily all, that the contemporary societies, including Latin America’s society, face are “essentially” the same problems that Buddha and his people faced some 2500 years ago and that Jesus and his people faced some 2000 years ago.

    9. Peace work is millennia work.

    My highest respect goes to all people, including Alberto, of course, and many other people in the world, who are working for peace!

  8. satoshi says:

    My words, “all people who are working for peace” mentioned above do not include the “arsonist–firefighter” type people = to carry out arson attacks (i.e. to make war or any other kinds of violence) and then to extinguish the fire (i.e. war or any other kinds of violence).

    Enough said for the week.

  9. I agree with Mr. galtung.