Three articles have shed a great deal of light on what's really happening in Mexico right now. They're essential reading, particularly because the mainstream media simply aren't covering that country in anything like sufficient detail. To call Mexico a "failed state" is being charitable, as this news report makes clear.
The first article is from The Federalist, titled "A Drug Cartel Just Defeated The Mexican Military In Battle".
The battle of Culiacan marks a turning point in the collapse of the Mexican state. There is now no doubt about who is in control of Sinaloa, let alone the rest of the country. Cartel forces seized a major regional capital city in broad daylight and defeated the national armed forces in open battle.
Violence is rampant across Mexico. Earlier in the week, more than one dozen police officers were massacred in a cartel ambush in western Mexico. A day later, 14 suspected gang members were killed by the Mexican Army. Homicides in Mexico this year are on track to surpass last year’s record total of more than 29,000.
Understand that the fighting in Culiacan is not just another episode in the “drug war,” nor is it merely an incident of organized crime. What’s happening Mexico right now is more like an insurgency. Yes, drug-trafficking is one of the things the cartels do, but it doesn’t nearly describe what they are or what role they’re playing in the disintegration of civil society in Mexico. Indeed, over the past decade cartels have diversified their economic activities to include everything from oil and gas production to industrial agriculture to offshore commercial fishing.
In other words, it’s fair to say that Mexico is now on a trajectory to become a vast gangland governed more by warlordism than by the state. The last time this happened was a century ago, during the decade-long Mexican Revolution, which eventually triggered the invasion and occupation of northern Mexico in 1916 by the U.S. Army, including the mobilization of the entire National Guard and a call for volunteers. Before it was over, U.S. forces attacked and occupied Nogales, Sonora, in 1918 and Ciudad Juarez in 1919.
There's more at the link.
The second and third articles are by Larry Lambert, blogging at Virtual Mirage. He knows the situation in Mexico intimately, and has had extensive experience there. Here's an excerpt from the first of his articles.
The cartels have run Mexico since the days of Amado Carrillo Fuentes. It didn't happen overnight, but in the model before Amado Carrillo, each state in Mexico had an army general who oversaw the state for the PRI Party. They each received the tax/mordida/bribes for allowing drugs to flow through the state and they spread the juice. For the past thirty years it became even more institutionalized.
Let's talk about the recent presidents of Mexico: In the case of President Vincent Fox Quesada, formerly an executive for Coca Cola, his wife, Marta Shagun (and her children) handled the bag for the cartel money. You could say that he made a token effort to distance himself. In essence, Fox and his family "licensed" certain states in Mexico to certain cartels in exchange for a fixed amount. There were some ripples with the Zapatista revolution in Chiapas (left over from the Zedillo presidency), etc. but it was managed.
President Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa took a different approach to the situation, selling the licenses to deal in narcotics more than once (selling the same horse several times to different buyers). This led to a massive drug war since each cartel felt that it had the rights to the states that it bought. During this administration the Catholic Church in the diocese of Morelia (Michoacan) created its own cartel, Los Cabelleros Templarios, which dealt primarily in methamphetamine. The Archbishop took his cut.
Again, more at the link.
Larry's second series of comments on that country may be found by scrolling down at the link to the section titled "Mexico". They're also well worth reading.
Knowing all that, how anybody could dispute the need for a border wall between the USA and Mexico is utterly beyond me. Right now, that sort of institutionalized criminal chaos is being exported wholesale to the USA - because the cartels are running the illegal immigration networks, and putting their own people in place inside our borders. The tighter we can insulate ourselves from that revolutionary chaos, the happier I'll be!