Usually when an ex-president speaks, the nation listens.
Of course, it may depend on what he says, but that's a general rule, given the exalted status accorded American presidents.
Apparently, that's over; for, several days ago, former President Jimmy Carter called for an
end to the Drug War, pronouncing it a failure.
This made radio news. But few of the TV networks felt it newsworthy.
Surely, the national mania of 'WienerGate' may've played some part. But also, a media
establishment addicted to sensationalism loves the overflow from the Drug War: the violence, the money and mass fascination. It makes good ratings.
But in Mexico, drugs have destroyed the state. By violence, corruption and the floods of money. If anyone doubts these assertions, I invite you to read To Die In Mexico: Dispatches From Inside the Drug War, by John Gibler, newly published by City Lights' Open Media Series.
Gibler, who lives and writes in Mexico and California, talked to Mexican journalists throughout the country. And rolled with them on their death calls (that is, when bodies are found in the streets), which are freakishly frequent.
He reveals a nation corrupt to its core. From its highest levels to its lowest. Where 'narcos'
hire government forces to do their dirty work.
For the media, one journalist, Javier Valdez Cardenas, said, quite openly of journalism in
Cullacan, "The narcos control the newsroom."
'Narcos' is shorthand for powerful, wealthy drug cartels, which virtually own police forces.
Mayors, governors, the national legislature and, reportedly, the president.
Those they can't buy off–they kill.
Indeed, the nation's most notorious cartel, the zetas (the Spanish pronunciation of the letter, 'z') were originally U.S.-trained police and military who sold their services to the Sinaloa Cartel. When they tired of working for others. they cut out the middlemen and went into business for themselves.
Their reach extends to all levels of Mexican society. And they have imposed an aura of silence and fear.
Simply put, the drug wars are killing Mexico. From top to bottom–from end to end.
It is a failure. On a colossal scale.
And as it has failed there, it has surely failed here as well.