Is it all folding in? Are the wars of itnervention over and a new war closer to home coming? Will Mexico ever clean up its act? Watch Cartel Land and get a feel for how America could reorient its focus and not just fix its border but fix Mexico in the process. The current elite do not want this, so it will not happen. If you want a dose of reality, something tangible and authentic, watch just the first fifteen minutes of this documentary. I recommend this one for all to watch.
The documentary covers what are vigilantes on both sides of the border. Arizona border patrols of citizens concerned about the state of the Southwest are shown in action as are local militias in the Mexican state of Michoacan. Those Mexican vigilante crews I covered two years ago here. The documentary gives more in depth coverage than any of the news blurbs of 2014 did, and it is very interesting. The American lamenting the lawlessness and abandonment by the federal government is poignant, but not the part that sucks you in.
The real draw is the Mexican action. You will hear more stories just like the stories you read about on blogs that describe what is going on with the cartels. Breitbart Texas does a good job, but our big media avoids this while focusing on the Middle East with breathless excitement. The cruelty and vicious violence by the cartels is straight out of Blood Meridian. The cartels know violence and money begets power, and they provide both in copious amounts. You want to see how these vigilantes are standing up to them. It is a complete breakdown of civil society where the duties formerly held by the state as a third party enforcer of safety are so degraded that men have to remove themselves from their familial duties to then take up arms in public safety.
From a technical or cinematic standpoint, the documentary is a fun ride that feels like an intense episode of COPS at times. Interviews are spaced out well to keep the pacing so you're not always on edge watching the action. There are shoot-outs, there are interrogations and there are men cooking meth right on camera. The reveal at the end of the drug cookers from the beginning of the movie is a great summation of the entire madness in Mexico. AT no point in time do you think, "this is a great group of people we should be importing into America".
The autodefensas deliver. They have a charismatic face (Dr. Mireles) in charge who gives speeches about lawlessness, defending oneself and saying no to cartels. He has the giant mustache and hat, to go with the smooth voice and quick wit. They fight back. The cartels pop shots at them. The Mexican military sides with the cartels. The Mexican president continuously wants the vigilantes to stop and promises to improve security in that state. Then, miracle of miracles, the good doctor nearly dies in a plane crash and has to hand power temporarily over to the not as charismatic "Papa Smurf". Things do not end well for the autodefensas.
I would not spoil it, but you will walk away knowing that there was far more at work than just vigilantes and the cartels. Dr. Mireles set up his group incredibly broad like a network, which was ripe for entryism. The group would also solicit words from the people at gatherings and speeches, which was ripe for the cartels to pay or force people to push back and yell at these autodefensas leaders. On the surface, he was taking on a weaker cartel, but an entity (cartel) that is known to buy the government from the local officials right up to the federal functionaries. There did not seem to be much of a plan, and if it is impossible to pull off even in a remote state like Michoacan, then is there any hope in Mexico?
Did a cartel use his group as cover to mess with territory held by other cartels? Maybe. Did the Mexican government move in and co-opt the autodefensas to protect the cartels' drug trade? Most likely. Should America do everything in its power to keep this out of America? Yes, but it's already in our Southwest.
Is Mexico a hell hole, and we should stop letting them use America as a pressure valve for their social and economic problems? Yes.