Much like the large drug trafficking enterprises, sex trafficking cartels, like Los Lenones, represent a billion-dollar industry that caters to specific orders from American perverts with money to burn. Gangsters prey on girls who dream of going to El Norte. After a gang member cajoles the girl a bit, he gets her alone and then beats, drugs, and kidnaps her. Most of the women sold are Mexican, though hooligans smuggle women from all corners of the globe into the U.S. via Mexico because the border is wide open, the easiest route into the affluent gringo market (1).
It happens on a regular basis. Take the Los Angeles Times story of October 27, 2009. Federal officials arrested almost 700 people, including 60 suspected pimps, in a three-day crackdown on child prostitution. The youngest victim was a 10 years old Mexican girl, authorities say.
Like the drugs Mexican Mafiosos sell to their gringo neighbors, so too, the sex trade signals how impoverished Mexico’s middle class has become, if there ever was one to begin with. Kids don’t become mobsters for the love of a criminal career. Ask most any gangster why they commit horrible crimes, they’ll tell you they join a gang because it’s the family they never had. They live outside the law for the money that gives them some sense of dignity and respect. Almost all have no education, but even if they did, the Mexican economy has always been in such shambles that schooling would not necessarily improve their lot. The most seemingly logical solutions to the poverty of many are the drug and sex trades.
Slavery has been a part of Mexico’s history since at least the arrival of Cortez and continues not only as sex slavery but also as a crushing exploitation of the cheap labor from the poor and uneducated.
“Slaves had the royal brand as well as their successive owners’ initials seared into their faces.”—Mexico Unconquered by John Gibler
Out of desperation large parts of the Mexican population have turned to destructive and illegal business operations in order to piece together a viable living in a brutal culture of presidential sell-outs to the wealthy and economic policies favoring the feudal lords.
“Some people claim that the only differences between the North American and ourselves are economic. That is, they are rich and we are poor, and while their legacy is Democracy, Capitalism and the Industrial Revolution, ours is the counterreformation, Monopoly and Feudalism. But however influential the systems of production may be in the shaping of a culture, I refuse to believe that as soon as we have heavy industry and are free of all economic Imperialism, the differences will vanish.”—The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz.
Why is Mexico so different from its northern neighbor? This is the question that essayist Octavio Paz attempted to answer decades ago. Since Paz’s insights, many developments have widened the gap between Mexico and the U.S. Paz probably never imagined that large organized crime syndicates would generate one of the largest parts of Mexico’s economy by exporting drugs and sex slaves to gringoland’s lucrative buyers who crave exotic experiences to escape the dog-eat-dog reality they inhabit. Yet, the more we look into the apparent chasm between the two countries, the more we find similarities.
Fifty years after Paz’s observations, Mexico is still under the yoke of the Catholic Church. It is still not free of economic imperialism and hardly has any heavy industry. Its economy reflects only increases in monopolized industries. Mexico’s authoritarian theocracy has not evolved much since the Spanish conquistadors converted the Indians to Christianity at the point of a sword and established a feudal society despite a revolution or two.
Meanwhile Americans’ obsession with religious fervor often pulls the U.S. into the same elitist cesspool, as most obviously demonstrated during W’s administration when the neoconservatives had their decade of neoliberal economic policies—liberal only in the sense that a few corporations enjoy unleashed, laissez-faire freedom to dominate our society and to overrun democratic processes. This is what drove the U.S. into its current financial disaster. This is only one of many things that the U.S. shares with its southern third-world neighbor.
The U.S.’s penchant for a theocratic, authoritarian regime resembles the on-off cravings of a cocaine addiction, a hate-love thirst for a self-destructive escape from the real world. Another point that America holds in common with its southern neighbor is the perverse love affaire with neoliberal-style economics shared by its two political parties—the Democrats and Republicans. This has become especially flagrant now that Barack Obama and the Democrat-majority Senate and Congress have not found the will to impose a healthcare bill that meets the standards of other industrialized countries, including Japan and all of Europe. Compared to Europeans, Americans pay double for a less effective healthcare system. Some fifty-thousand Americans die every year because they have no access to healthcare. That’s many times more American casualties than in ten years of the so-called war against terrorism.
Nor has our two-party system been able to solve the financial meltdown. The banks do not want regulation and our government bows in submission to their request. Our government obeys the dictates of the large corporations by not reforming and regulating the financial system that remains in its current status quo of a cannibal capitalism, characteristic of both Mexico and the U.S. Millions of Americans have lost their homes and their jobs. Meanwhile, we do not want “socialism,” cry out the neoliberalists in their billion dollar propaganda machines, so to hell with consumer protections and any other kind of government oversight:
Elected in the midst of a crushing economic crisis brought on by a decade of orgiastic deregulation and unchecked greed, Obama had a clear mandate to rein in Wall Street and remake the entire structure of the American economy. What he did instead was ship even his most marginally progressive campaign adviser off to various bureaucratic Siberias, while packing the key economic positions in his White House with the very people caused the crisis in the first place. The new team of bubble-fattened ex-bankers and laissez-faire intellectuals then proceeded to sell us all out, instituting a massive, trickle –up bailout and systematically gutting regulatory reform from the inside.—Rolling Stone magazine, December 10, 2009, Obama’s Big Sellout, Matt Taibbi.
Obama can now be sautéed in a skillet over hell’s stove as it is ironic that our two-party system resembles the one party system in communist China while we, as voters, have a choice between neoliberal economic policies or neoliberal economic policies. Obama and other Democrat politicians campaigned to offer new alternatives to Milton Freidman’s version of the world. Once in office, though, the promise of “change you can believe in” falls into the shadows as the dominant corporations flash wads of campaign contributions to our political leaders.
Just as in Mexico, where the leaders of as many as three or four political parties are enthralled with neoliberal economics, so too, in the U.S. the leaders of the Democrat and Republican parties act as twins in their lust for the same policies that allow corporations to take over the role of government and that make politicians and the captains of industry richer at the expense of the middle class. Politicians in both Mexico and the U.S. are happy to placate the common, bovine populace with varying forms of comfortable religious spin about their moral foundations.
Counterreformation and Democracy
The Catholic Church began its crusade to hold a strong hand in all aspects of a Mexican’s life from the moment Cortes dropped anchor in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mayan soil, in 1518. At that time, the King of Castile held supreme power under the authority of the Church and his divine right as monarch to a special, direct, and open line with almighty God himself.
It was the same sort of monarchy against which George Washington revolted while struggling to establish a democracy in the late 1700s. Once Washington became immensely popular for his success, many early Americans hoped that he would usurp power and appoint himself king, just as his Mexican counterparts did in the early 1800s, from the priest-king Hidalgo to Iturbide and on through monarchical presidencies of Porfirio Diaz and his successors to the current President Calderon.
One of the single most distinguishing moments in America’s adoption of the Enlightenment Era arose when Washington, a deist, declined monarchy and helped to form a democracy with a legal system of checks and balances, unencumbered from any particular religion and with a state ruled by laws and not by man. This is the fundamental principle that distinguishes America from Mexico, although Americans, especially American politicians and corporatists, often slip and trip on their own foundations, and when they do jump over the laws that form America’s pillars, they pull America into Mexican traditions and into the third world.
Like capitalism, religion has little to do with democracy. Quite the contrary, it most often operates as a pseudo-fascist society in which the participants voluntarily give up substantial parts of their free will in exchange for becoming part of the group and group-think. You visit your local mosque, synagogue or church with the intention to question or change the beliefs, dogmas, rules or leadership, and most often the appointed authorities will eventually impose social sanctions, censors and stigma upon your mortal and spiritual existence until you submit your soul and your critical thinking to those anointed with the powers of God or you will be banned from the society—or worse.
In capitalist, theocratic societies like fascist Saudi Arabia, the consequences of questioning religious authority often leads to capital punishment in public places known commonly as chop-chop square where, among many other cases, a woman loses her head because she’s considered a witch for listening to music by the Beatles.
As in most of Latin America, in Mexico theocratic law has always maintained an authoritarian and pseudo-fascist hold over most of the culture and over almost every aspect of an individual’s life from contraception to birth and to death. By imposing its political authority, the Catholic Church had acquired a majority of Mexico’s land ownership, which included slavery.
“Large numbers of career men came over from Spain to take what they could get out of the newly conquered country, and although slavery was not countenanced, something which was actual slavery was introduced—the Indians came with the land, and they were used with the land.”— Zapata by John Steinbeck
During President Juarez’s administration in the late 1800s, the Catholic Church was prohibited by law from participating in politics, so strong and domineering was its hold on the country. Under President Juarez’s short political career some of the Catholic Church’s land was redistributed to the common people in a noble attempt to develop a middle class in a society where a huge gap divides the wealthy from the poor.
When Porfirio Diaz, Strong Man of Mexico, appointed himself president, he reversed most of Juarez’s short-lived policies and made sure that the land was returned to the Catholic Church and to the wealthy hacienda owners. The feudal lords, caudillos, converted the peasants into slaves again.
President Diaz continued the Mexican tradition of maintaining a strong theocratic regime while imposing right-wing economic policies, the type we now call neo-liberalism or Reaganomics, which made the captains of industry extremely wealthy by doing business in Mexico—such as Rockefeller’s Standard Oil or Morgan and Carnegie’s U.S. Steel. And now, neoliberal economics have brought America, including Mexico, to its knees and bowing to the policies and processes in which a small group of private investors profit from social services—education, healthcare, military, retirement, and housing—that government normally provides or at least regulates for the greatest gains for society in general and not just for the privileged few.
During his thirty-year dictatorship, Diaz controlled the traditional caudillos, feudal lords, to maintain authority in a system of power resembling, if not replicating, organized Mafias. Diaz created Mexico’s Gilded Age, which had first appeared in the U.S. after the Civil War and lasted until the early 1900s, leading up to the Great Depression of the 1930s. By using an alternative to neoliberal, right-wing economic policies, FDR pulled America out of the Great Depression by implementing Keynesian economics that calls on government to bridle corporate greed and power.
As one of Diaz’s “scientificos,” or economic advisors, from the U.S. explained:
The Mexican must be ruled from above because he is not fit for democracy, must be enslaved for the sake of the progress, since he would do nothing for himself or the world if not compelled by the whip.—John Kenneth Turner
As in Diaz’s time, this same neoconservative and theocratic regime continues on in Mexico to the present. Mexico’s current President Calderon, like Barack Obama, may give politically correct lip service to policies that develop the middle class, though he privatizes everything from public utilities to daycare centers, allowing business investors to increase their profits at the expense of the society.
The same can now be said about Barack Obama and the Democrat-majority Congress and Senate, which campaigned on tough regulations to bridle large corporations and on stimulating more competition in the powerful, oligopolistic healthcare industry. Meanwhile backstage of mainstream media, powerful Cigna, WellPoint, AHIP, among other insurance leviathans buy U.S. politicians with advisory salaries and campaign contributions—otherwise known in Mexico as bribes.
1) Source: U.S. Border Patrol, http://www.usborderpatrol.com/Border_Patrol880.htm).