Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Drug war, crime: Top concerns in Mexico; But Pew survey may raise eyebrows, too

As the death toll rises in Mexico's drug war, the major results of a new survey mirror what border residents would surmise. Fewer than half (45%) of Mexicans say their government is making progress in its campaign against drug cartels, according to the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project. A respectable portion-- 29%--say the government is losing ground and 25% say things are about the same as they have been in the past.

Actually, border residents might find that last 25% surprising.

El Paso is seen in the distance from the dirt streets of  an impoverished Juarez neighborhood
The Pew says that an overwhelming majority of Mexicans (83%) continues to endorse the use of the Mexican army to fight drug traffickers, virtually unchanged in recent years. Advocates for human rights in Juarez would not endorse that approach, however. They have consistently called for a retraction of military forces that occupy the city. 

Pew further alleges that many Mexicans welcome U.S. help in training Mexican police and military personnel and providing money and weapons to Mexican police and military forces. But this writer notes that other Mexicans on the El Paso/Juarez border allege military oppression. Neighborhood shake downs comprised of house-to-house looting and targeted oppression of human rights advocates by military forces destabilize society. Further, when the US gives weapons to Mexican military forces, an unknown percentage of U.S. arms lands in the hands of the TCOs (transnational criminal organizations) when individuals defect from the military to cartels, taking their weaponry with them.

Pew says that Mexicans broadly oppose the deployment of U.S. troops to combat drug traffickers in Mexico (38% support and 57% oppose). However, they say, more Mexicans now support this strategy than did so in 2010, when only about a quarter favored the deployment of U.S. troops in their country and two-thirds opposed it.

When asked who is most to blame for the drug violence in their country, more now say both Mexico and the U.S. are to blame than did so in recent surveys. About six-in-ten (61%) Mexicans blame both nations; 51% held this view in 2009 and 2010. Currently, 18% say the U.S. is mostly to blame and about the same percentage (16%) blame Mexico; a year ago, nearly twice as many said the U.S. was mostly to blame as named Mexico (27% vs. 14%).

In brief, the survey of Mexico, conducted between March 22 and April 7, also reports findings on other topics:

U.S. Image
: The image of the U.S. is somewhat improved since the passage of Arizona's controversial immigration bill in April 2010. But it's far more negative than before the law passed.  

Views of Life in the United States: Fewer than half (44%) of Mexicans now say people from their country who move to the U.S. have a better life than those who stay in Mexico.  

Problems Facing the Country: 
Mexicans most frequently name crime (80%) and cartel-related violence (77%) as very big problems. Roughly seven-in-ten (71%) mention illegal drugs. Most (69%) also cite economic problems. Slightly smaller numbers place corruption (65%) and terrorism (62%) in this category. Just half say people leaving the country for jobs elsewhere is a major issue.

For more information:  "Crime and Drug Cartels Top Concerns in Mexico," on the Pew Research Center's Pew Global Attitudes Project website.


RealityZone said...

I still believe that our military will have overt troops [boots] on the ground in Mexico.
Mexico is a target for the Privatizers [Corporations] of the West.

As long as America keeps doing drugs.
Mexico will transport drugs.

The war on drugs has failed.
Along with that Mexico is becoming a failed state.
We are now a [Hamburger Helper Republic].
We can no longer dictate to the Latin countries like we used to.
Unfortunately Calderon chooses to stay a client state.


Billie Greenwood said...

Thanks for that poetic and empassioned comment, RealityZone. I'm still chuckling over the Hamburger Helper Republic--or I would be if it weren't so ruefully true. We certainly need a revolution of the heart. But I think that I'll try to change myself, because I don't see much hope of changing the nation, sad to say.

Anyway, your spirit is enlivening. Thanks for your boundless energy to promote the common good, particularly for the downtrodden. I appreciate you.