Tag: Mexico

Today in Political Weirdness

Blue Demon Jr., the “adopted son” of the legendary luchador Blue Demon, is running for mayor of the Mexico City municipality of Gustavo A. Madero (GAM) as a progressive. He is anonymous, and says he will only reveal his identity to authorities if he wins https://t.co/i93MJ3dfWm

— Populism Updates (@PopulismUpdates) January 18, 2021

This is actually kind of reassuring.

It shows that the USA is not alone in the mishugas.

Mexico Takes a Step Forward on the War on Drugs

In a move for their own sovereignty, Mexico has removed diplomatic immunity from foreign law enforcement (US DEA) agents, and added statutory requirements that any foreign law enforcement share collected intelligence with local authorities.

I see this as an unalloyed good.

It will make the destructive pursuit of the “War on Drugs” more difficult, and will force US law enforcement to consider the impacts of their actions on the locals:

Mexico’s congress has approved a new national security law restricting the activities of foreign law enforcement officers, in a move which critics say will endanger intelligence sources and threaten the future of international anti-narcotics operations.

The law passed on Tuesday strips foreign agents of diplomatic immunity and requires foreign officials in the country to share any intelligence they have obtained with Mexican officials.

While not ostensibly targeting officials from any specific country, the new law would probably impact US agencies, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which maintains a robust presence in Mexico.


The DEA works closely with Mexican security officials and creates much of the intelligence used in the so-called war on drugs. But US operations have sometimes caused a nationalist backlash, and despite billions of dollars in US military aid and attempts at judicial reform, Mexico’s militarised crackdown on crime has claimed more than 200,000 lives and left about 70,000 missing.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the president, suddenly sent the bill to congress in early December after complaining of the way the DEA acts in Mexico.

“During other governments, they came into Mexico as if they owned the place. They didn’t just carry out intelligence operations, they went after targets. [Mexican] security forces launched the operations, but the decisions were made by these [foreign] agencies. That no longer happens,” he said.


Ricardo Monreal, senate whip with López Obrador’s ruling Morena party, called the law “an effort to reinforce the principle of reciprocity in matters of national security”.

I’d like to think that this will lead to a more constructive, and less punitive, drug policy in the US, but as Upton Sinclair pithily noted, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it,” and the elements of the US state security apparatus whose salaries are dependent on the “War on Drugs” are unlikely to understand.

I expect a lot of chest thumping and coercion coming from this side of the border.


In a week where “Centrist” candidates for the Democratic nomination for President have embarrassed themselves, Pete Buttigieg takes it to a new leve when he suggests that the United States should invade Mexico:

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said at a Latino forum in Los Angeles on Sunday that he’d be willing to send U.S. troops into Mexico to combat gang and drug violence.

“There is a scenario where we could have security cooperation,” Buttigieg said.

Even so, he added a caveat: “I’d only order American troops into conflict if American lives were on the line and if it was necessary to meet treaty obligations.”

His campaign later clarified that Buttigieg would only be open to military use as a “last resort” in response to Mexican cartel violence or an outside threat that endangers the country’s security.

Buttigieg’s comments came in response to a question at an event hosted by ABC7 Eyewitness News, where he added he would work to “make drug trafficking less profitable by walking away from the failed war on drugs here in the United States.”

He was the only candidate asked directly about moving troops to Mexico.

On Saturday, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro said he disagreed with President Donald Trump’s call to help Mexico “wage war” on cartels following the massacre of nine U.S. women and children in northern Mexico earlier this month.

“I don’t think the United States should send its military down to Mexico. Mexico is a sovereign nation,” he said.

It appears that Mayor Pete has learned absolutely nothing from his experience in Afghanistan.

Deploying US troops is one of the most important actions a President can take, and this sort of blithe and facile response is profoundly troubling.

Canada is Trying to Save the American Labor Movement

The Canadian government is meeting with some of the country’s biggest labor groups to discuss Nafta as talks on the deal are set to resume.

Labor Minister Patricia Hajdu will meet union leaders Friday in a round-table discussion near Toronto to get input on the North American Free Trade Agreement. It’s the latest sign that labor has the Trudeau government’s ear in talks that could hinge, in part, on Canada’s push to raise working standards in both the U.S. and Mexico.

“That’s an indication of how much we value our labor movement, and we want to make sure as we go into negotiations that the rights of Canadian workers are protected,” Hajdu said in an interview with Bloomberg. “We’ll do everything in our power to make sure of that.”

Nafta talks resume Monday with a partial round in Washington, without political leaders at the table. Canada wants the U.S. to undo so-called “right to work” provisions in some states, while also calling on Mexico to raise labor standards. One of Canada’s top union leaders, Jerry Dias, has met often with the Canadian negotiating team and regularly predicts Nafta talks will fail.

Trudeau has been pushing to add “progressive” elements like labor, gender and the environment into all trade negotiations — a move derided by political opponents as “virtue signaling” that could make it tougher to get a deal. That strategy was a driving factor in the surprise false start this week of trade talks with China, a country that typically shuns the bells and whistles Canada wants in any trade deal.

Those added elements are among Nafta’s sticking points. Canada wants its two North American partners to ratify eight core conventions, including the right to organize, laid out by the International Labour Organization to make Nafta work. “We did put forward a very ambitious proposal on labor,” chief negotiator Steve Verheul told lawmakers this week. While Canada has adopted all eight and Mexico has nearly done so, the U.S. has adopted only two, Verheul said. “The U.S. is resisting that proposal.”

Canada’s call to claw back U.S. “right-to-work” laws, which ban unions from requiring workers to pay dues, is another obstacle. “The U.S. is also resisting that,” Verheul said.

As Yves Smith pithily observes, “Sounds like the Canadians are doing better by labor than our own Democrats.”

The history of the modern Democratic Party does not show meaningful support for organized labor.

When Republicans pass so-called “right-to-work ” laws, Democrats never repeal them, and the Obama administration dropped its support for the Employee Free Choice Act (Card Check) before the last states were called in 2008.

The positions pushed by Trudeau benefit workers in all three of the signatories of NAFTA, so I expect Democrats, or at least the current Democratic Party establishment to vociferously oppose labor justice, because they have sold their souls to big donors.

Please Don’t Throw Me into the Briar Patch*

A Mexican senator is proposing that they should pull out of their treaties with the United States if Donald Trump is elected.

This is arguably the best argument I’ve heard this far for voting for the Republican Nominee, though I would still never vote for him:

A Mexican senator is proposing legislation to empower the government to retaliate if a U.S. administration led by Donald Trump inflicts expropriations or economic losses on his country to make it pay for a border wall.

Republican presidential nominee Trump has vowed to have Mexico fund the planned wall to keep out illegal immigrants if he is elected, and threatened to fund it by blocking remittances sent home by Mexicans living in the United States.

Armando Rios Piter, an opposition senator for the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), will next week present the initiative he hopes will protect Mexicans, and highlight the risks of targeting them economically.

The plan offers a taste of the kind of tit-for-tat measures that could gain traction between the two heavily-integrated economies if Trump wins the presidency at the Nov. 8 election.

In a preliminary summary of the proposal, which also foresees giving the Senate the power to disavow international treaties when the interests of Mexico or its companies are threatened by other signatories, it states:

“In cases where the property/assets of (our) fellow citizens or companies are affected by a foreign government, as Donald Trump has threatened, the Mexican government should proportionally expropriate assets and properties of foreigners from that country on our territory.”

The only way for this law to work is if Mexico pulls out of NAFTA.

I consider this a win for everyone, except perhaps for the abusive maquiladoras, big pharma, Wall Street, and subsidized US corn.

I can live with that.

*By this, I mean, please do this.  This is a reference to the story of how the trickster Brer Rabbit got out of a sticky situation by convincing Brer Fox that he was afraid of being thrown the place where he would be safe.  See also Tar Baby.