In the first of a two-part series, yesterday we published Mexico and Jamaica’s march into failed statehood). It is a pattern we discern, and a set of similarities which exists in the way Mexico and Jamaica have approached the challenges they face in dealing with the murderous criminal gangs, and narco-terrorists in the two countries.
One of the myths about how we should deal with dangerous criminals, is that societies can (1) convince criminals to cease and desist,[ be it drugs and gun-running, extortion human-trafficking or whatever], or, (2) live with, and accept their existence and the cancerous harm they bring to our societies.
Personally, I do not subscribe to either of the two options and neither should you.
Criminals push the envelope until society puts a stop to the liberties they take against the law-abiding. The money and power they derive from their criminal activities, they do not give up because they are asked to.
Those derivatives must be wrested from them, confiscated and put to the greater good.
The very acts of trying to pacify gangsters, are viewed as weaknesses.
Gangsters and narco dealers are quick to fill the power vacuums which results from Government inaction and complicity.
Jamaican authorities give the citizens the impression that they are conflicted about crime.
In actuality, many are deeply invested in the crime culture. They are owners and shareholders in security companies and other businesses which depend on a high crime rate to survive.
Mark Shields, a British cop( colonial overseer), was brought in supposedly to modernize the Jamaican police department, he got in on the act.
He married a Jamaican bride, and is now involved in the private security industry. Why fix the system when they can profit from it?
I referenced Mexico as I seek to highlight another society faced with similar conditions as happening in my own beloved Jamaica. Of course, there are other nations in our hemisphere that could potentially have taken the place of Mexico with the same effect. Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua come to mind.
The latter three, however, are well along the failed state highway, so much so that their citizens are leaving in droves. This is creating a huge humanitarian crisis for Mexico and the US which have their own problems.
When we are honest enough to admit facts we begin to realize that as people are leaving Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, so too would people leave Jamaica but for the fact that we are an island and not a country with land borders.
In 2014, 4 in 10 Jamaicans said given a chance they would leave our country. That number may be a lot higher today.
In the case of Mexico, as in Jamaica, one of the crucibles which have resulted in the present lawlessness, is the rampant corruption on the part of Government officials.
Corruption inexorably leads to the precipitous decline in the rule of law and the growth of lawlessness and murder, the type our country is now experiencing.
In Mexico, officials at the highest levels, as is in Jamaica, have not only turned a blind eye to the development of criminal enterprises, there is strong evidence that political leaders are heavily invested in criminal conduct on the one hand, and being facilitators on the other, or both.
In both Mexico and Jamaica the powerful political class has acted as a buffer between law enforcement and criminal enterprises.
In Mexico’s case, there have been leaders who emerged with the desire and determination to take the fight to the drug cartels. However, limits on their times in office and entrenched corruption in the public sector created the impression that the strategy could and did not work.
As president of Mexico from 2006 to 2012, Felipe Calderón presided over one of the bloodiest eras in his country’s history. Calderón’s critics say his decision to deploy the military against the drug cartels led to the massive increase in killings.
President Calderone explained that he had no regrets about the way he decided to fight the drug war. If he could do it all over again, he wouldn’t change a thing, he said.
The former president points to research that suggests violence was already on the rise by the time he was elected. He says rampant corruption in state and local governments undermined his strategy. And he offers data that suggests murders were actually falling in some key cities by the time he left office. Other research showed that no other country in the Western Hemisphere experienced an increase in homicide rate or absolute number of homicides as large as Mexico’s. The violence only continued to climb under his successor, Enrique Peña Nieto.
It is easy to understand that the entrenched nature of the corruption in Mexico would result in those killings. The narco kingpins hit back to show their power and disdain for the authority of the state.
During the ’80s and 90, ‘s the killings and bombings in Colombia escalated as Pablo Escobar hit back with everything he had, as he fought to avoid extradition to the United States.
In 2010 violence peaked as Christopher Duddus Coke’s militia banded with other gangs to protect Coke from extradition to the United States as well.
The inescapable truth is that dislodging entrenched criminal empires in a situation in which public officials are corrupt is extremely difficult.
The longer countries wait to eradicate criminal empires the more difficult it becomes to succeed against them. Removing them without bloodshed is impossible.
During the American civil war, the Union general George Mclellan built up a huge army but refused to move against the treasonous rebels. President Abraham Lincoln was forced to remove him and put in his place a man who was unafraid to do what it takes to win a war.
Given McClellan’s penchant for caution, had Linclon not acted to remove him the United States would not exist as we know it today.
Wars mean spilled blood, it is never our desire to see blood spilled, but the decision to go to war with the state is always up to those who thumb their noses at the laws. It is not the fault of the state to decisively put down such revolt.
Make no mistake about it, we are at war with those who take the lives of the innocent. If we are to have any semblance of a civil society we have to make the hard choices at some point that the state must prevail.
That the greater good of the nation must take precedent over our fear of upsetting bleeding-heart criminal supporters, who pretend to be watchdogs and protectors of human rights.
Wars are not won through appeasement. Wars are won by real leaders who make the hard choices to confront evil head-on, unafraid to buck the trends, unmindful of criticisms.
The biggest beneficiaries of the sacrifices of heroes are those who sacrifice nothing.
A corrupt Colombia criticized Los-Pepes during the dark days of Pablo Escobar’s reign. Sure, Los Pepe, spilled blood, but they saved a nation. Today Colombia is not a Scandanavian prototype, but she is a country that was given a new start. Today Colombians can live in relative peace and security. They can raise their children free from daily bombings and the specter of imminent death.
The longer Jamaica dithers and allows the lawlessness to take hold the closer she inches to becoming a failed state.
No invading army will restore the rule of law. We either stop the lawlessness now or become once and for all a failed state run by gangsters. We are precipitously close to that point.
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police Detective corporal, a business owner, avid researcher, and blogger.
He is a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com.
He’s also a contributor to several websites.
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