>– Moscow Presents Mexico City with Its Own Version of US Merida Initiative, Offers to Sell Helicopters, Weapons; Russian Military “Advisers” Next?
– 200,000 People Flee Drug War in Ciudad Juarez since 2008, 30,000 Seek Shelter in Neighboring El Paso, Texas; Mexican City’s Once-Prosperous Economy in Danger of Collapsing
On February 16 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks with Mexican counterpart Patricia Espinosa in Mexico City, wrapping up a four-nation tour of Latin America, which included stopovers in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Cuba and Nicaragua, of course, are reliable vassal states in the Communist Bloc.
While rubbing elbows with President Daniel Ortega in Managua, Lavrov announced that the two Cold War allies will hold joint military exercises. The date and place of these drills was not stated but, with the expectation that Russian troops could arrive in Central America in the near future, we published this news under a “Red Dawn Alert.” If a Soviet-Sandinista drill had taken place during US President Ronald Reagan’s watch, then the world would have trembled on the brink of nuclear war. Twenty years later, the Obama White House and the MSM cannot be roused from their self-delusions.
In any case, emerging from the Russian-Mexican tete-a-tete was an agreement to start direct flights between Moscow and Cancun. The 14-hour flight to the popular resort destination on the Yucatan Peninsula will offer Russian tourists another vacation hotspot in addition to Cuba. Both countries also emphasized their interest in signing an Investment Promotion and Reciprocal Protection accord, as well as advancing cooperation agreements in energy, nuclear power, maritime and air transportation, and customs clearance.
Espinosa repeated Mexico’s invitation for Russia to participate in events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, which transformed the USA’s southern neighbor into the world’s first socialist republic in February 1917. Mexico City later became a haven for Russian revolutionary, Leon Trotsky, who was attempting to dodge Joseph Stalin’s assassins. The Bolshevik killers eventually caught up with Trotsky, who succumbed to a pickax in the head in 1940.
Pictured above: Espinosa and Lavrov at a previous meeting in Moscow, on October 8, 2008. At the time they discussed reforming the international financial system or, that is, making the world less dependent on the US dollar.
Many decades later, the Soviet strategists still have sinister plans for Mexico. State-run Novosti reports that while visiting Mexico City, Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s readiness to establish joint Russian-Mexican efforts to suppress the drug cartels, whose insurrection also threatens US national security, especially along the porous US-Mexican border.
Under the terms of the Merida Initiative, Washington pledged to supply weapons and other military equipment to the armed forces of Mexico and Central American allies like Honduras. In terms of combating international terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and money laundering, the Merida Initiative parallels Plan Colombia and the October 2009 US-Colombian military pact. In a New Year’s speech, President Felipe Calderon declared that his government’s top priority for 2010 is suppressing the cartels. The US government, though, has been slack in expediting the arrival of badly needed counter-insurgency hardware.
The presentation of a Russian version of the Merida Initiative, therefore, dovetails nicely with the Soviet strategy for destabilizing Mexico prior to attacking the USA. We have elsewhere documented that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the main source of South American coke, and the Mexican drug cartels are recipients of arms supplied by the Russian Mafia. The latter is a well-known front for Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), itself a repackaged version of the Soviet KGB’s overseas department, and the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces (GRU).
Most troubling of all, the US State Department, long infiltrated by communist agents, has given Moscow the green light to arm the Mexican military. State Dept. spokesman Mark Toner recently soothed: “There are no grounds for anxiety. I mean, Mexico is a close neighbor, friend, partner with the United States. I would just say it’s welcome to pursue bilateral relationships with any country it wants to, including Russia.” When reporters asked Toner whether the strengthening of ties between Russia and Mexico would adversely affect US-Russian relations, Toner said: “No, I don’t believe so.”
Lavrov, too, downplayed Moscow’s geopolitical interest in Latin America, as well as its marketing campaign for Russian-built weapons:
We have recently increased supplies of Russian arms in various regions of the world, including Latin America; our interests are purely commercial.
Russia is still behind the United States [in terms of sales], but we’re seeing certain rather serious progress. The Mexican government is interested in acquiring different types of weapons, including helicopters for coastal monitoring, and other equipment to fight drug trafficking and organized crime, that I hope will help our Mexican friends to combat this scourge.
The epicenter of Mexico’s narco-insurgency is Ciudad Juarez, a once-prosperous city whose population of 1.5 million has contracted by 200,000 since mid-2008. Fearing for their lives, wealthy and middle class families, as well as skilled workers have fled the war zone for other cities such as Guadalajara and Monterrey. Nearly 30,000 residents have sought shelter over the border to El Paso, Texas.
About one quarter of the city’s houses is vacant. Many shops and restaurants are shuttered. Mounds of garbage fill streets where the only parked cars are bullet-riddled ones. Civilians are scarcely seen in streets patrolled by soldiers and elite police units. Drug gangs in league with corrupt law enforcement officers run extortion rackets.
Although factories continue to operate, US businessmen are curtailing investment in the region and the exodus of skilled workers threatens to create a labor shortage. In 2008 the region handled US$50 billion in trade, but now faces a bleak future.
Drug killings in Ciudad Juarez exploded in early 2008 when Mexico’s most-wanted drug lord, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, dispatched his henchmen to wrest the city’s drug corridor from the local cartel headed by Vicente Carrillo Fuentes. From the vantage of Latin America’s cocaine kingpins Ciudad Juarez is strategically situated at the midpoint of the US-Mexican border and boasts highway and rail links deep into the target country. Not so coincidentally, from the vantage of Russia’s military planners, the US Army’s second-largest installation in the Continental USA, Ford Bliss, is located nearby.
Since 2008 more than 4,500 drug operatives–working for half a dozen feuding cartels– civilians, soldiers, and police have been shot dead and/or decapitated in the city’s bloody turf wars. A dozen drug murders occur every day. Across Mexico 18,000 people have died since Calderon launched his crackdown in 2006. Casualty estimates vary and it is therefore likely that we have quoted different figures in different posts.
Having fomented Mexico’s narco-insurgency, the Soviet strategists now offer “solutions” consisting of an expanding net of bilateral relations and opportunities to legitimately insert Russian military “advisers” into Mexico. At the same time, the drug cartels can be expected to intensify their war against the government, while the beleaguered populace once again demands United Nations intervention, such as was issued by Ciudad Juarez business leaders last November. If either scenario comes to pass, then you can be assured that we will issue another “Red Dawn Alert.”