The country is beset by drug cartels that terrorize government officials and the general public. Corruption prevents the government from combating the problem more effectively. The violence has unnerved the United States, whose military has discussed the possibility of the collapse of the Mexican state and whose government and universities warn students to stay away from Mexico on spring break.
Something tells me that yet another American import is creating the havoc in Mexico: The US yearning for illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin and marijuana. The northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa, site of much of the drug violence, "is the starting point for much of the drugs that pass through Mexico to the United States," the Washington Post reported last year.
The financial aspect of the drug trade seems to make the problem harder to solve. Sinaloa economist Guillermo Ibarra had some revealing words for The Post:
"If you took drug money out of Sinaloa, half the automobile dealerships would fail," Ibarra said. "Half the restaurants would fail, the real estate market would collapse. Even if you only reduced drug money by 9 percent, there would be an immediate recession, a crisis much like the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States."I'm not sure how best the Mexican government could respond. Strengthening the economy might help, weakening the financial impact of the drug trade and making less people dependent on it. But these are dicey economic times across the globe, and it is hard to see either the Mexican economy, or the stability of the country, getting better any time soon.