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PostMexico's "Ungovernability" (from Gary Moore) (John Eipper, USA, 12/26/19 7:36 am)
Gary Moore writes:
John E brought up an apt parallel case to backlight my discussion (December 23) of the cartel violence in Mexico. His example from an earlier era is "La Violencia," 1940s-'50s, in Colombia--an upheaval so molten and shifting that, as with Mexico today, the violence itself seemed the villain. The catch-word for such chaos is "ungovernability."
Way back in 1848, when the US dictated the draconian Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to a Mexico that had been conquered clear down to its capital city, the enormous territorial grab was still not as great as the slave South was demanding, in its "Golden Circle" vision of a large new Latin empire for slavery. Instead, the victors chose a comparatively northern line in the sand--not as far north as Corpus Christi, Texas, and the Nueces River, as Mexico was advocating, and not quite as far south as the Panuco River of today's Veracruz (the old conquistador boundary of ne plus ultra). The Rio Grande, along with its far-west survey extensions, was being tapped--in a process far too epic to reflect on such things--as what might be called the southern limits of governability. North of the line lay a lawless wilderness which, notwithstanding, could be seen as ultimately tameable by inclusion of this large but digestible chunk.
And once the line was drawn, the vast and tormented realm south of it continued a bandido-plagued trajectory so intense that President Juárez could handle the Plateados horde, among many others, only by declaring victory and anointing them as the new Rural Police. (Today's haunting "hugs not guns" ambivalence reminds that the current Mexican president sees himself overtly as role-modeling Juárez: a nice guy in the chaos, declaring it as victory.)
"Ungovernability" is not a fatal diagnosis like "failed state," but can swell and dwindle in a plagued land while many regions seem placidly undamaged--much as in the real-world profiles of many wars. The 2019 newsroom cliche on Mexico is 250,000 dead in a many-phased drug-cartel eruption since 2006--all of which numbers and dating are like old tourist tales about Acka-Poko and "Ole Mexico." The previous round, neatly centurion, was 1910-1920 in the Mexican Revolution, when the (questionably) recorded Mexican population dropped by a million --though no one could say how many of those losses had simply fled north of the pulsating line, or had died collaterally, or even in the 1919 pandemic of "Spanish" flu.
Thus it's not so unforgivable to see Mexico's upheaval just by standing quizzically on the hotel battlements of the border cities and peering into the smoke. It's in the nature of ungovernability--or "La Violencia," or "the drug war"--that you might not be able to see much more even in the middle of the fight.
JE comments: The "memeosphere" is having a field day with AMLO's "abrazos no balazos" (literally, hugs not bullets). It might be naive, but it does make him sound like a very nice guy.
Have you hugged a politician today?