By Anahi Parra
MEXICO: If you surf the internet looking for some information about Mexico, the first data that comes up from newspapers and websites is inevitably related to drug trafficking, violence, and corruption as constant characteristics of this country.
Official websites from Canada and the U.S. warn their people not to travel to Mexico, unless they want to be killed, robbed, or kidnapped. Mexico's presence on the web is a constant bloodshed, an infinite source of corruption and lies wthin the government, and, ultimately, a land of wilderness, cruelty, and of course, a feared uncivilized people.
US. President Barack Obama in discussion with Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
Yes, Mexico can be a surrealist country, as Andre Breton labelled it in the 1930's. I guess the French artist would have never imagined the chaotic reality that has emerged at the turn of the 21st century: thousands (yes, thousands) of decapitated found in different parts of the country, a beauty queen involved in drug trafficking, tunnels built within borders in order to take the drugs from Mexico to the U.S., the worship of Malverde, a saint who as a man developed a successful career as a drug trafficker, and on the verge of insanity, a guy whose job was to get rid of the corpses that hired killers "produced" by literally desintegrating them with acid.
But is Mexico really that far away from what happens in the U.S.?
Another quick surf on the internet can give some answers to this.
The most profitable transactions of Latin American drug traffickers take place in the U.S. Even though, sadly, drug consumption in Mexico has risen among youngters who are very into cocaine and marijuana, during years the American youth population has always been the target of the trafficking chain that comes all the long way from Mexico to the very streets of American towns, as shown in a Flash Map recently published by the LA Times.
Also, fights among drug cartels to control specific territories both in Mexico and the U.S. have given rise to the need for weapons--that American gun dealers supply every day, crossing their merchandise through the border with no retaliation.
Having this in mind, it seems that violence and corruption are part of a story that takes place in two scenarios. One in which there does exist a market with specific needs, i.e. drug consumers in the U.S. who have enough money to pay for what they want. And two, a country where official policy has been based on importing goods and food, therefore devastating its own agricultural production, leading to many Mexicans to flee to the American tomato fields, or to accept growing cocaine in their own land.
The scenario becomes more complicated when you consider that the richest man in the world lives in Mexico, with a fortune of about US$60 billion, while half of the population lives in poverty and a fifth in extreme poverty.
I do not defend the Mexican nor the American governments, since both of them have built up the whirlwind that we witness now. However, I do want to highlight the extended trend in English-speaking media focusing only on parts of the picture in Mexico.
So, next time you read about Mexico and how wild it is, think twice about it.
Learn more about Anahi
AnahÃ Parra is a passionate lover of Mexico City, where she was born and brought up about three decades ago.
She enjoys walking around to take photographs, eating delicious food, and exploring the night in the city.
She finished a BA in History and worked as a research assistant for some years. However, she has always been interested in the "real life" and now she writes a blog Macha Mexico which is about queer events and characters in Mexico City.
Sometimes, you can find her having an espresso at one of the many old little cafes that are spread out in the so-called biggest city of the world.